Plant Based | Memorial Village Moms

Let me begin by saying that I am not a gardener. I choose plants on which ones I think will look best as they wither on my front porch. However, I finally had some success with some climbing roses and thought my thumb might, in fact, be green. I have to confess, I did not plant these roses. We had a landscape company that picked them out, set up the wire and did the planting. I did not have big hopes for the fledgling vines since our area had been hit with several freezes that killed off many plants. However, I did spray water on the vines during the hottest months and gave it plant food once or twice.  After two years, the vines had reached the top of the climbing wire and bloomed!

I was so excited about the success of plant that I took a picture and posed it on social media.  I have never had so many likes or comments on a post before. One friend wrote “Hey, Peggy!” Another said “Katrina roses!” I had no idea of the name of the flowers that I posted, I only took the photo because I was so impressed that something that beautiful had flourished under my care (or lack there of). I was intrigued, started researching and could not believe what I learned.

I was shocked to learn that this rose only got its official name a few years ago. Native to the South, the Peggy Martin rose is not just a stunning flower; it is a symbol of resilience and hope. Named after a passionate Louisiana gardener, Peggy Martin, this rose survived unimaginable hardship. When Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, Peggy Martin’s home and property were submerged under 20 feet of salt water for two weeks. Miraculously, amidst the devastation, one crinum and a single rose plant managed to survive.

The rose, a vigorous climber with no name, had been acquired by Peggy Martin through pass-along cuttings from friends in New Orleans. Recognizing its exceptional resilience, author and Texas A&M professor Dr. William C. Welch obtained cuttings from Martin before the storm. After Katrina, he and six growers collaborated to propagate the rose, naming it “Peggy Martin” in honor of its original owner.

What makes the Peggy Martin rose truly remarkable is not just its ability to survive, but its generous spirit. For some time after Hurricane Katrina, a portion of the proceeds from each rose sold went towards funding garden restoration projects in New Orleans, Beaumont, Texas, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast—a testament to the rose’s enduring impact and the resilience of the communities it symbolizes.

“She’s just a good girl,” says Texas gardener Ruthie Burrus. “She’s a rambler and can be very aggressive, but she has no thorns. She’s not a cutting rose, either—but from a distance, she’s just stunning.” Ruthie’s words echo my sentiments exactly. The Peggy Martin rose is more than just a plant; it’s a symbol of survival, hope, and the enduring beauty of the South.

When I learned about the Peggy Martin rose’s story, it resonated with me deeply. As a New Orleans native, I had family and friends who were profoundly affected by Katrina. The idea of a plant surviving such adversity filled me with awe and admiration. Each time I look at my Peggy Martin rose, I am reminded of the strength and resilience of the human spirit and the beauty that can emerge from even the darkest of times.

I am not sure how Peggy found me, but I am so glad that she did!



You can grow your own Peggy Martin Roses!

These roses are easy to grow from cuttings. That’s one way they’ve made their way through the South. To take a cutting, look for a 6- to 8-inch piece of new growth and cut it off at an angle. Remove any lower leaves from the stem and plant in moistened potting soil. Keep the soil moist, not soggy, and cover the cutting with a plastic bag to maintain humidity. After 6 to 10 weeks, the cutting should have roots and can be transferred to a larger container or outside. Southern Living Article 2024.

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