Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses

Photographic Portrait of Joseph Hardwick Pemberton
Photographic Portrait of Joseph Hardwick Pemberton

The Joseph Hardwick Pemberton was born on October 5, 1852, in a rose surrounded house in the small village of Havering-atte-Bower, about 26 kilometers northeast of London.

The happy parents of Joseph Pemberton were Amelia Elizabeth and Joseph Pemberton – Father, who a few years later, in 1857, and especially on December 1 of that year, would become just as happy as they brought Joseph’s sister Florence into the world.

For the creator of Hybrid Musk roses Joseph Pemberton, besides the fact that Florence was indisputable his sister, she was also his faithful friend and his sincere partner until the day he would forever leave planet Earth on July 22, 1926.

On the day of its passing, two shocking events occurred in the Universe: The minimum temperature at the Lowestoft English seaside resort was 13.0 °C and the maximum 18.8 °C, and the legendary Babe Ruth with his seventh attempt at Mitchel Field military airport, on Long Island of USA, caught a baseball that was dropped at him from an airplane, which flied at an altitude of about 90 meters high (300 ft).

Joseph Hardwick Pemberton’s breeding persistent efforts worked: the first Daphne Hybrid Musk rose.

Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses - The Flowers of the Daphne Rose Hybrid Musk Variety
Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses - The Flowers of the Daphne Rose Hybrid Musk Variety
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Joseph Pemberton's Without Ceremony Initiation in the Roses Worship

In the introduction to his 1908 book titled ‘Roses, Their History, Development & Cultivation‘ Joseph Pemberton writes: (…) ‘I do not think there was any sudden conversion, or conversion at all, in my case; I was raised in a rose atmosphere, and loved the rose when a child in petticoats.

The Old Gardener

Right from the time his grandmother was still living, they had at home an excellent old man as gardener who created colored and fragrant stunningly birthday bunches by combining masterfully the various roses they had in their garden.

Of all these, the most memorable compositions for Joseph Pemberton were those consisting of roses from the 1853 Gloire de Dijon climbing Old Garden Noisette variety, with rosy-pink colored flowers, and roses from the also climbing Old Garden Bourbon variety Souvenir de la Malmaison, with its double pink and very fragrant flowers.

Pemberton’s old gardener, had an admirable way to bud roses and especially to bud different colors roses on the same standard.

Unfortunately, the name of this kind old gardener, as Joseph Pemberton wrote, will be unknown, since when his grandmother died he was pensioned off.

Little Pemberton

Every Sunday the Pemberton family went to an old Queen Anne church. There they had their own family enclosed square pew, and the little Pemberton could not see anything except the church’s gallery, because they sat round facing one another. But when was hymns standing-up time, he standed on the seat and could see over the top of the pew.

In the bordering pew, litlle Pemberton could see a gentleman who used to have a different rose in his buttonhole every week.

And the litlle Joseph Pemberton was not tired of admiring the roses, and was eager to come next Sunday to enjoy the new rose on the gentleman’s buttonhole.

Pemberton Father

Joseph Pemberton – Father went to the Rose Show almost every year at the Crystal Palace in London. He often took his beloved son with him. Pemberton – Father didn’t buy as many roses as could possibly impress him. He first consulted the book ‘The Rose Amateur’s Guide‘ by Thomas Rivers, a rose producer, and then decided. Little Pemberton was just enjoying the trip and just admiring the roses in the exhibition room.

However, Joseph Pemberton – Son, owes to his father, not only the most beautiful memories of his visits to the Crystal Palace. He still owes his first study on the methods of rose vegetative propagation by grafting. At the age of 12 his father taught him the budding method.

And in the same period he gave to him a small area of the family garden, with three red standard roses.

Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses

Studies & Priesthood

In 1871 Joseph Pemberton went on to board at Dorset’s Manston School, where he is recorded. After completing the basic studies there, he attended to Salisbury, in 1878, to the ecumenical centre for Christian study and research in Sarum College, where he was ordained in 1880.

A year later, in 1881, was made Curate of St Alban’s, in Romford, while after his ordainment in 1880, he had began his ministry at the Collier Row Mission, an Anglican Church – where he served until 1923.

At the end of his studies, the Reverend will return to his hometown of Havering-atte-Bower, but with a slightly larger name, that is, as Rev. Joseph Hardwick Pemberton.

Despite his priesthood, however, he did not intend to spend his entire life as a humble servant of the Church of England.

Joseph Pemberton’s Hybrid Musk Roses were already en route.

Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses

Joseph Pemberton's First Rose Award

In 1874 Joseph Pemberton – Father dies, and in the summer of the same year Joseph Pemberton – Son decides to present some of the family roses at a Rose Show.

He wins the second prize and his enthusiasm is so great that he decides to engage more systematically with the cultivation of the plant. His beloved sister Florence will assist him in this endeavor.

Exhilarated, he orders 50 standard rose plants from the Thomas Rivers nursery in Hertfordshire, which they imported from France. Consequently, he cleans a section of the family garden in Havering-atte-Bower, and planting them there so they can grow free from gooseberry bushes.

Probably without even knowing it himself, he had laid solid foundations to become a champion and a winningest in the Rose Exhibitions and Shows that would follow in the years to come.

Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses

The Royal National Rose Society, Exhibitions & Joseph Pemberton

In 1876 the famous Royal National Rose Society was founded in the United Kingdom. The founding members of the club include the names of Joseph Pemberton and his sister Florence.

The First Rose Show of the Royal National Rose Society

In 1877, a year after its founding, the Royal National Rose Society holds its first Rose Exhibition at London’s St James’s Hall – a thriving institution that continues to this day.

Among the participants is our reverend, who, although appearing late, becomes a burden – and who knows what else – to the judges manages to allowed him to expose.

Both Joseph Pemberton and the judges did well: with forty exhibitors in 12 total variety categories, the roses of the reverend awarded second place.

The "Grandmother's Roses"

In 1882, at the National Rose Society annual exhibition in South Kensington, Rev. Joseph Pemberton took permission to stage out of competition some of his grandmother’s roses. The old-fashioned ‘Grandmother’s Roses’, as he wrote in the labels informing about the plants, made a particular impression on the visitors of the exhibition.

Joseph Pemberton & the Royal National Rose Society

His relationship with the National Rose Society was continuous and uninterrupted. Not only was he not missing one of the Society’s exhibitions, but his ‘amateur’ passion, the non-specialist knowledge and love to learning, and his organizational skills were so highly valued by other members that in 1911 he became President of Royal National Rose Society for a period of two years.

Before this, in 1909, he was received the chief National Rose Society honour, the Dean Hole medal, in recognition of his total excellent services to the Society.

The Joseph Pemberton Travelling Roses

In addition to the National Rose Society’s Rose Exhibitions, Joseph and Florence Pemberton also participated in many others, with different organizers.

The apogee of their entries, as well as the awards and the prizes for the roses they exhibited, stood in the year 1896. Starting in Colchester on 18 June and ending in Leicester on 4 August, they had participated in 12 Rose Exhibitions and Shows, winning in total 48 awards, of which 32 were first prizes.

That year they had already grown more than 4,000 roses in the family estate.

Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses

Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses - Cornelia Hybrid Musk Rose Variety by Joseph Pemberton, 1925
Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses - Cornelia Hybrid Musk Rose Variety by Joseph Pemberton, 1925

Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses

Since the early 1900s Joseph Pemberton and his sister Florence have been living in the famous Round House of Havering-atte-Bower.

The story of this unique and beautiful three-storey architecture, though worthy of highlight, unfortunately cannot be presented here, as it departs from the main purpose of the article, a purpose which the editorial team of ‘Kalliergeia’ outspokenly says that totally ignores.

However, the just above mentioned team does not ignore that Joseph Pemberton and the pair of Jack and Ann Bentall – the Pemberton chief gardeners – would breed its famous roses on the Round House estate.

The Idea

The ‘Grandmother’s Roses’ not only had emotional value for the Anglican clergyman, but also something else: they had vigor, health, and very fragrant flowers. What didn’t they have? Long lasting bloom, since they stopped flowering around the end of July.

So the question for Joseph Pemberton was one: the creation of new varieties of roses, which would combine the many benefits of grandmother’s rose with the prolongation of their flowering season.

On this simple and clear conception of the idea his whole roses improvement and breeding work based.

The Material Basis of the Breeding Work

The Peter Lambert (1 June 1859 – 28 February 1939), a German rose breeder, offered to Pemberton the material background that formed the core of the latter’s breeding research. In 1895 Lambert created the variety Rosa moschata cv. ‘Aglaia’, and in 1904 the variety Rosa multiflora cv. ‘Trier’, which belong to the Hybrid Multiflora of the Old Garden Roses.

The R. moschata cv. ‘Aglaia’ has moderately aromatic, double, and large sized roses, light yellow-creamy in color, and blooms in spring or summer.

The R. multiflora cv. ‘Trier’ has small, creamy-white, moderately fragrant roses, with repeat-flowering from spring to early winter and excellent shade resistance.

Joseph Pemberton took advantage of these two cultivars, and the successive crosses he made between them with carefully selected roses from the Tea Roses, the Hybrid Tea Roses, and the Hybrid Perpetual Roses, had a successful end to the creation of the new group of roses, the Hybrid Musk.

The first Pemberton’s Hybrid Musk rose, released in 1912 and was the ‘Daphne’.

Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses

The Round House, Residence of Joseph Pemberton & his Sister Florence
The Round House, Residence of Joseph Pemberton & his Sister Florence
Joseph Hardwick Pemberton and his Gardener Bentall
Joseph Hardwick Pemberton and his Gardener Bentall

Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses in Market & Time

The firm of ‘J. Pemberton’ (Pemberton Nursery) established in 1913-14 and was based in the Round House estate of approximately 12 acres, together with the nearby Scotchers estate of 10 acres.

Each year 35,000 to 40,000 Hybrid Musk roses were grown for sale.

At the same time, Joseph Pemberton’s breeding work continued, which after Daphne introduced the varieties Danaë and Moonlight (1913), Ceres (1914), Clytemnestra (1915), Callisto (1920), Aurora (1923), and Cornelia & Rivers Musk (1925).

After its passing, Jack and Ann Bentall continued on Pemberton’s footsteps, introducing varieties breeded by him past years and varieties which were their own breeding work such as Autumn Delight (1933), Ballerina (1937) and Buff Beauty (1939).

Of particular interest is the fact that it was not until 1919 that Joseph Hardwick Pemberton adopted the term Hybrid Musk for his new group of roses. Until then, classified them in Hybrid Teas – reminiscent of that, and let’s forgive us for the unfair comparison, the great (master of disaster) seaman Christopher Columbus.



The References of the most informative, most instructive, and who knows what else article entitled Joseph Pemberton & Hybrid Musk Roses, with accompanying lively rose fragrance, are alongside presented by Joe Bonamassa, with not (near miss Reverend) Bob Dylan’s ‘Slow Train Coming’ song but with its own Slow Train – plain.

With Pomp and Circumstance

Joe Bonamassa & his Slow Train at the Vienna Opera House.

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