Rosa ‘Francis E. Lester’ photo taken June 2011 at Penn State Rose & Fragrance Garden
I can’t wait for us to someday own our own home for lots of reasons, but one of them being that I would finally have the room to plant gorgeous rambling roses such as this Hybrid-Musk beauty, ‘Francis E. Lester’. These photos were taken last summer, upon our first visit to the Rose & Fragrance Garden at Penn State. When we arrived, the sun was just dipping below the horizon so everything had a magical quality to it and the white, tinged-with-pink blossoms were positively glowing. This rose literally stopped me in my tracks, not only because it looked stunning, but the sweet, almost orange-blossomy fragrance wafting from it was so intoxicating. (Incidentally, HMF describes the scent as only “moderate” which makes me wonder if the fragrance of ‘Francis E. Lester’ is stronger in the evening.) Bred by Lester Rose Gardens in 1946, this hybrid musk is a descendant of ‘Kathleen’, another popular hybrid musk rose, and is hardy to zone 6b through 10b. A vigorous grower, give it lots of room, because this rose can spread upwards of 10 feet. Wouldn’t it be absolutely perfect for a Moon Garden?
‘Francis E. Lester’ is available for purchase from Vintage Gardens