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Rosa Penelope

SuesynSuesyn Posts: 660
I would appreciate some advice on what to plant against this wall. I would like something which will flower all summer and have been considering the rose Penelope but different websites say differing things and l'm not sure if this would be the right choice.  The soil is heavy clay and the wall faces east so although it gets a reasonable amount of sun in the morning during summer it doesn't really get much in winter.  I want something with pale flowers so that it stands out against the wall and would like something which doesn't need to be tied in. 

Scented would also be a bonus. As you can see there is a Sambus Nigra and hellebores in the border and self sown ferns, it retains the moisture pretty well but I have plenty of grit and compost which can be dug in. Any comments or alternative suggestions  please


  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,350
    Don't worry about winter sun, as long as it gets at least 6 hours of sun in summer, it should be fine. Penelope is a pretty rose but it has an arching habit, it would need some support if you want to grow it up, otherwise it will form a wide arching shrub.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,772
    I have a Penelope which is free standing, doesn't need support. I prune it as for a shrub. I have clay. I planted it in 1991 and it's still there. I have recently planted another against a fence which I will prune as a climber as I read on websites that they can be grown as a shrub or a short climber, depends how you train them. I love it and I think it would be good against your wall. Roses don't need sun in winter, they are dormant.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • SuesynSuesyn Posts: 660
    Thanks for your input, I did read one website that said Penelope doesn't like to pruned heavily but will grow 6ft x 6ft. Am I right in thinking that if it has an arching habit it will form it's own horizontal growth and flower all over?  I don't think I have seen a picture of the whole plant from a distance . 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,819
    edited February 2020
    Penelope is a gorgeous rose ... but will form quite a large shrub ... 6’ x 6’ means 6’ in every direction ... front to back as well as from side to side ... so it’ll come out from that wall by a lot, (is that a pathway in front of it?)  unless you prune and train it against the wall as if it is a rambler as @Busy-Lizzie has described. 
    It is a gorgeous rose tho’ ... perhaps you have somewhere else for it. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • SuesynSuesyn Posts: 660
    The space is about 3.5m x 4.5m, a sort of raised beds with a step up to it and a path on the corner furtherest  from the wall, which goes through the gate in the fence to the vegetable area. The centre of the bed has weed proof membrane and bark chippings so I will be quite happy if it grows forwards too .
    Previously this area was a dumping ground for things that I didn't have space for and because the soil is so claggy it was too difficult to keep weeded so this is OH  solution. I'm intending to plant things in the border at the front which will grow over the low wall but not be too rampant as we have a narrow path with the greenhouse on the other side. The Hamstone which is holding the membrane down is quarried locally and we have rather an abundance of it so that low wall is going to be slightly taller when the weather allows. 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,772
    My Penelope hasn't grown as big as that, it's shorter than me and I'm 5'3", but maybe the hot, dry summers in SW France curtail it's growth. But Peter Beales Classic Roses say it's smaller too.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • SuesynSuesyn Posts: 660
    That's what's confusing,  David Austen says 6ft  x 6. ft, Crocus says 3m x 1.1m,  RHS says 0.5m x 0.5m to 1m x 1m,which is why I appreciate  you sharing your experience of the plant.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,365
    Hello @Suesyn, My Penelope rose is grown against a wall in a 1 m wide raised bed and I'm training it more like a short climber. It's not more than 4-5ft high and wide and is about 8 years old.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • SuesynSuesyn Posts: 660
    @Lizzie27 @Busy-Lizzie Just to update you, I decided against  Penelope as it appears that it doesn't grow as tall as I wanted so have ordered Starlight Symphony instead. It looks as if it will do what I want and is said to be disease resistant, will let you know. Thanks for your input.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,772
    Starlight Symphony was rose of the year in 2019 and looks lovely, I don't have it. But it is a climber that grows 2.5 - 3m and will need to be tied to a support like wires attached to rings screwed into your wall. You said you wanted a rose that didn't need to be tied in. All real climbers need to be tied in though.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
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