This past weekend we had a workday to Jonesboro Community Garden and among the new plantings were four Peggy Martin roses donated by the BHHA president.
I was told the roses had come from Petals from the Past. Being a friend of Jason Powell, who owns Petals, and knowing how he feels about antique roses, I decided to do some research on this one.
Come to find out, it's not an old rose, at least under this name. But Jason played an important role in its recent history.
Peggy Martin was a resident of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana,when hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Her house and gardens were covered with 20 feet of water, and she lost her parents in the flood as well. When she was able to return two weeks later, the only plants remaining in her garden were this climbing rose and a lily.
In 2003, Bill Welch, a landscape horticulturist at Texas A&M, had taken some cuttings from Peggy Martin's rose and rose enthusiasts, including Jason, took cuttings from his and propagated the rose. After the tragedy of Katrina it was decided to let this rose become a fundraiser for the Zone IX Horticulture Restoration Fund and it is now available commercially at select nurseries, with some of the proceeds going to the Greater Houston Community Foundation, with the purpose of assisting in the task of garden restoration projects in New Orleans, Beaumont and other Gulf Coast locations.
Peggy Martin rose from the garden of Bill Welch
"Since then, it has been introduced into commerce in the United States and has become a symbol among gardeners and rose lovers of a tenacious plant associated with a spirit of renewal and regrowth in the aftermath of a devastating blow of Nature against those living and gardening in the Gulf Coast area."
The Peggy Martin rose is available at Petals from the Past and other nurseries, listed on the web site.
The Jonesboro Community Garden is open to the public. Two couples have exchanged vows in the Garden, political campaign events have been held, and this year the Garden will host an Earth Day celebration this month with a potluck dinner and get together on April 23. I hear that an Easter Egg hunt may be part of the celebration.