Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jeri Jennings

Jeri Jennings
The Rose, more than any other flower, has been associated throughout history with people, common peasants, characters and aristocrats alike.  The names of many, many varieties reflect their time and their heritage, echoing important historical figures, wealthy benefactors, lovers, and rosarians.  One such rose however, of more modern heritage, is named after a prominent current rosarian; 'Jeri Jennings'.

'Jeri Jennings' (or ARDjeri), the rose, is a 2007 release from the breeding program of Paul Barden.  She is a Hybrid Musk of esquisite golden-yellow color, as you can see at the top, heavy gold in the center with the outer edges fading to golden-pink, and she is cluster-flowered with individual flowers just shy of 2 inches across. The fragrance of 'Jeri Jennings' is intense, with aftertones of her musky origins and the blooms drop cleanly at the end of their time.  She's in her second summer in my garden now, about 2.5 feet tall, and I have little doubt she'll reach her predicted height of between 4-7 feet.  Her canes are supple and sprawl a bit, so it looks like the bush will be wider than she is tall at maturity.  Those sprawling canes are of great benefit, as they seem to promote flowering all along their length.  Both flushes that have occurred thus far in my garden this summer have been lush with color  (a sun-bleached picture of the second recent flush is pictured at the left).   A cross of  miniature 'Joycie' and a 1904 Lambert Hybrid musk named 'Trier', 'Jeri Jennings' is labeled as being hardy to 6A and has survived nicely in my mid-Continental clime.  Paul Barden describes her on helpmefind.com as "possibly the best rose I have bred, to date."

I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Jeri Jennings, the person, but I know of her passion for rescuing lost roses, and of her writing (she has two chapters in The Sustainable Rose Garden, printed by Newberry Books in 2010), and I know that she is a still-active rosarian, with excellent advice about roses and gardening, who participates in the Antique Rose forum on gardenweb.com.   One of the chapters by Jeri Jennings in the aforementioned book is "Secret Garden Musk Climber", so I can't imagine a better tribute for a lovely rosarian. 

I've seen one drawback to 'Jeri Jennings' here in Kansas.  Last year, as a very young rose, she had a little bit of blackspot, but this year she's had a full-blown outbreak, losing about 70% of her leaves at one point near the first bloom cycle, although you can see from the picture that she has rebounded nicely.  I think she likes the heat better and a little spraying didn't hurt.  Given the severity of the first outbreak, though, I think this is a rose who will become a sentinel for fungal disease in my garden, signaling the occasion to spray my few remaining Hybrid Teas and other susceptible roses.  I seem to have the same problem with 'Golden Celebration' an English rose of similar hue, the only two roses in my garden with that golden-yellow color and two of the three most likely to show blackspot early (Morden Blush is the third), so perhaps the Kansas environment is still just resentful of all the Forty-niners a century ago, greedy men who crossed this dry prairie at a hard sprint and left it behind for the rich California coast.

(P.S.; Jeri Jennings, the rose, is not very thorny;  small, insignificant prickles).

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful rose for a truly great lady. Ms. Jennings is generosity itself. She is always anxious to pass on her vast knowledge to others, making sure they "catch the rose bug". Thank you for this review! I've lingered at the Paul Barden site over this rose. Perhaps I'll take a chance with it!


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