Lord Penzance's Hybrid Sweet Briars,
R. rubiginosa hybrida by Rose G. Kingsley, 1908

related pages: walter scott, lord penzance and roses

These invaluable roses, the result of years of careful hybridization of the common Sweet Briar, R. rubiginosa, with various old-fashioned roses, are amongst the greatest gifts of the last century to the rosarians, the amateur, and the cottager.

'Lady Penzance', one of the most attractive, though less hardy and vigorous than others, resulted from a cross with the Austrian Copper; 'Lord Penzance' from the Austrian Yellow. This last is extraordinarily fragrant, the scent of the leaves after rain filling the air to a considerable distance. The rather small flowers of both these show their parentage very clearly in colour. But for size of blossom and effect, none of the fourteen varieties equal the bright pink and white 'Flora McIvor', the crimson 'Meg Merrilies', and the superb dark crimson 'Anne of Gierstein'. This last is a plant of extraordinary vigour, forming in a few years huge bushes ten feet high and nearly as many through. For a high rose hedge or screen these hybrid sweet briars are invaluable, while they may be also used for pillars and arches. And, with the exception of 'Lord' and 'Lady Penzance', which are of more moderate growth, they are easy to propagate, growing readily from cuttings, which, if put in early in the autumn are in flower the next summer. The foliage of the common Sweet Briar, however, remains the most fragrant of all, with a clean, wholesome sweetness that is unsurpassed by its more showy children, always excepting 'Lord Penzance', which if possible excels it. Therefore let no one discard the old friend, and let them plant it beside a walk, so that they may give it a friendly pinch as they pass, to be rewarded by its delicious scent.

Text from Roses and Rose Growing by Rose Kingsley, 1908