Rosa 'Francis E. Lester' planted in the San Marcos Growers garden.
This uncommon and very attractive rambling hybrid Musk, or multiflora rambler as it is categorized by Peter Beales, originated in Watsonville, California. It was the result of the cross of the beautiful musk rose Kathleen with an unnamed seedling. It grows up to about 15 feet tall with bushy growth with glossy elegant foliage. In late spring into early summer there is a profusion of flowers, which are pink in bud, fading to white when opened, and are very pleasantly fragrant. Small red hips are produced in fall. The flowers appear in Southern California coastal gardens in late spring and early summer in Northern California. There is an occasional light second flowering in fall with the dark red hips from the strong spring flowering. A great rose trained up a post or wall. Named in memory of its hybiridizer, Francis E. Lester, shortly after his death in 1945. This rose was very popular in European gardens and catalogs for many years and is still respected by rosarians the world over for it profussion of bloom. This was one of the first of the more unusual climbing roses that we now grow. Bruce Van Dyke, a local Santa Barbara horticulturist has had a plant in his garden since the late 1950's. The plant performed admirably every year and he lamented to us of its absence in the trade so in 1983 we took cuttings and by 1984 were offering this beautiful rose for sale. A large specimen graces the front fence across from our main entrance. Hardy to zones 4-9.