|Peggy Martin Rose, 2012, Newburyport, MA|
Unlike the way we usually post updates in which we include links to previous posts on the same topic, this post will contain every previous entry in journal format, dated and in chronological order. The current year's updates will always appear at the top and we'll try to update the diary at least once each season.
If you are new to this Diary, please scroll down to read the inspiring story of the remarkable woman for whom this rose is named and who has shared this incredible "found" rose for the benefit of the Heritage Rose Society and the American Rose Society.
Latest Updates - June - July, 2013
(Scroll down to see the rose in full bloom at the end of June.)
June 7, 2013: Completely Budded and Soon to Bloom
We need not have worried.
May 27th was The Big Move, and then on June 2nd, we departed for New York for our spring volunteer work at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden's Cranford Rose Garden.
The day we left, I was happy to see that Peggy had started to sprout a few buds and I breathed a sigh of relief. My thought was that while the buds that I could see were pretty sparse, at least she would bloom. My only regret was that with the warm humid weather, the buds might open while we were away and I'd miss their 2013 debut.
We returned home and in less than four short days, she had exploded in a halo of buds. many are ready to burst open but so far, they are still very tightly held buds, clustered on every branch and twig.
I can hardly wait for them to open!
|June 8, 2012: Once again, every branch promises to be a gorgeous pink bouquet.|
June 26, 2013: In Full Bloom!
Despite having been heavily pruned in order to install the new trellis, Peggy has rewarded us with a spectacular bloom. The blossoms began opening on June 11th and blooming in earnest a week later. By June 26th, the bloom was at peak.
|June 16th, blooming in earnest.|
|June 26th: Sharing the trellis with New Dawn|
|June 26th: Sharing the trellis with New Dawn; the lavender hedges are in full bloom as well.|
|June 26th: A stunning entrance to the formal garden.|
See the Rest of the 2013 Diary, Below
January 1, 2013: Happy New Year, Peggy Martin
|January 1, 2013: Happy New Year, Peggy Martin. So far the winter has been cold and wet but not frigid. We had snow over Christmas week but it quickly melted away revealing a still very green Peggy.|
|January 16, 2013: One of many snowfalls. Peggy spent much of the rest of the winter nestled under a blanket of snow or enjoying the warm sun when the weather warmed up and the snow melted.|
The trellis twisted so much over the winter that the top separated from the side, which is now leaning back at a significant angle, the metal actually bending where it inserts into the cement. (The posts are cemented into sauna tubes which remain firmly in place.)
We had known that the trellis would need to be changed out this spring and in anticipation, we had already purchased, assembled and stained a lovely cedar trellis. Hopefully, we will have it installed as Peggy's new home this weekend. Her weight will be supported by eight large re-bar poles inserted along the inside and outside of each panel at each corner.
The photograph below shows the disarticulation of the trellis and the degree to which it leans most dramatically. Peggy has already been pruned once this spring and her growth continues unabated. (We aren't complaining, however.)
Significant pruning will again be required to remove the existing metal unit and replace it with long pieces of re-bar and the decorative wooden trellis. I hope that doesn't affect her bloom cycle, although my guess is that we are doing this early enough not to interfere. She has not set any buds that I can see and she is still a full month away from blooming.
May 27, 2013: Peggy's New Home
Pruning everything back took much of the afternoon. We filled two garden wagons twice, piled high, with clippings. I was amazed at the enormous amount of growth we had to cut away.
Now, I expected that from New Dawn, and to a certain extent, Sweet Autumn, but Peggy had already been cut back once this spring. So while I expected to do a little bit of pruning, I didn't expect that everything I'd already cut would have grown back and then some, and in less than a month.
However, she had once again crested the top of the trellis and was climbing back down through New Dawn. Long canes arched down from the top of the trellis, almost to the ground.
We pruned away three wheelbarrows-full from both roses in order to be able to dismantle and remove the old trellis. Then we moved the new trellis into place and secured it with four foot lengths of re-bar and 5 foot fence posts. Living so close to the ocean, our yard often resembles a wind tunnel and our trellises have been known to take flight in gale force winds, with sauna tubes attached!
|May 27, 2013: With the new trellis finally in place, we tied the canes with twine to support them until they were able to grab and intertwine around the trellis.|
|Look at the size of this cane -- and it is not one of the older canes, either. The growth rate on this rose is startling. For a rose that arrived as a bare root, this Jack-in-the-Beanstalk has far exceeded our expectations.|
The Peggy Martin Rose Journal
Spring, 2011: A Bit of History ~ Why We Even Bought This Rose
In the spring of 2011, Manny Mendes, then president of the New England Rose Society, encouraged us to purchase the Peggy Martin Rose. After calling and repeatedly badgering me, he mailed me a catalog from the Antique Rose Emporium. The Peggy Martin Rose was featured on the cover. It doesn't get more in your face than that. We had been slowly adding heritage roses to our garden and there isn't a more comprehensive source around than this one anyway, so I went through the catalog and sent in an order.
That late in the spring, most of the roses I was interested in acquiring were already sold out and the pickings were slim. Along with Conrad Ferdinand Meyer and Clothilde Soupert, we ordered the Peggy Martin Rose.
Marketed as a vigorous but "mannerly" grower, the photograph on Antique Rose Emporium's catalog cover showed an enormous, mature climber with a profusion of bloom-covered canes cascading over the top of an immense conical support. The presentation was so dramatic, I couldn't imagine that this fairly young rose (hey, I did the math; the hurricane only happened in 2005!) could have grown that much, and I wondered at the time if the image had been photo-shopped. We planted our Peggy Martin on the rose arbor at the entrance to our formal English garden where it would share an arch with New Dawn.
The side of the arbor where Peggy Martin was planted had previously been occupied by a gorgeous Sweet Autumn Clematis which had been the perfect trellis mate for New Dawn. Unfortunately, for the second time in recent years, voles had destroyed the clematis over the winter, gnawing at both the root ball and its main trunks. It looked as though the clematis was a total loss. (NOT!, we found out a month or so later!) We decided to try something else. Since they had ignored New Dawn in favor of the clematis, maybe a rose would be a better choice.
|June 2011, the bare root rose leafed out fully within a month|
Despite the dramatic picture on the cover of that year's print catalog, this is not a rose I would ordinarily have ever chosen for our garden. In fact, the more I had read about the rose itself, the less interested in it I was. But after reading the history of this particular rose, the only reason I decided to add it to our order was to support the real Peggy Martin's efforts to restore the historic gardens in New Orleans, not out of a personal interest in this particular rose variety.
|June 15, 2011 She has big shoes to fill!|
With 225 roses already and little room to add more, unless it's a species rose we have been hunting for or a historically important Old Garden Rose we have been trying to add to our collection, any new rose we acquire has to have a major physical attribute - incredible fragrance or over-the-top, unusual or gorgeous bloom, for example - for us to even give it a second look. What Peggy Martin had was a story that both broke my heart and inspired me at the same time. I bought both the rose and signed on for membership in the Heritage Rose Foundation to support the "real" Peggy Martin.
The biggest concern for me in planting this rose at all was that our zone 6b winters can be wildly variable and in our micro-climate, located as we are on the northernmost point of Cape Ann, what we don't get in sub-zero temperatures we more than make up for in brisk, drying wind and ice storms over the winter. Gale force winds are a regular occurrence here and they take a tremendous toll on climbers that are harder to protect from the ravages of winter. I have learned the hard way to stick with roses that are rated for zone 5 or colder. So despite what I read, I was far from convinced that this Southern belle could handle one of our winters on the North Atlantic coast and I wasn't completely sold on the idea of spending an entire growing season to find out. Coincidentally, we discovered that our Sweet Autumn had seeded itself everywhere, including the spot where Peggy was now planted. So I consoled myself with the thought that if Peggy didn't survive, there was another young clematis growing as well. Oh me of little faith; I definitely should have had more in a rose that survived being submerged under salt water for two weeks!
|July, 2011, First Blooms. Note the tall cane heading up the trellis at left|
In May of 2011, a bright green bare root rose arrived and within days of being set in the ground, she began to sprout canes that quickly leafed out. I wouldn't have called her growth at that point vigorous. I wouldn't have even called it enthusiastic. I would have called it scary. Once it started to grow, it was straight out of Jack in the Beanstalk.
Within a month canes were snaking up the side of the arbor.
She bloomed for us her very first summer, barely 5 weeks after being set in the ground. It wasn't an exciting bloom since the shrub itself was still very young and still quite small, but when you consider that I didn't plant her until late in May and she's known as a spring bloomer, we weren't expecting a bloom at all.
In contrast, Conrad never bloomed that first year and Clothilde set her first buds at the end of the summer when Peggy was giving us her second flowery show.
|August 15, 2011: Canes stretched nearly to the top of the trellis|
|October 16, 2011|
When the surprise snowstorm hit, we had been talking about winter protection for Peggy. We never got the chance to follow through. Then again, we didn't need to.
January,1, 2012 ~ Happy New Year, Peggy Martin
|January 1, 2012: The only rose showing leaves and active growth in our garden. Note the Sweet Autumn sprouting as well.|
Still, this is New England, temperatures were often well below freezing, especially at night, and all of our roses were dormant. All, that is, except for Peggy. Not only did Peggy remain vividly green all winter, but whenever temperatures rose into the 40's, she would sprout fresh leaves.and her canes would inch higher on the arbor. Even when it snowed, her canes remained a bright, vibrant green beneath the white cloak.
I had wondered about the image on the cover of the Antique Rose Emporium's cover but I had my answer. In less than 6 months, our Peggy had sent more than a half dozen strong canes up the side of our trellis. And when she bloomed in the spring of 2012, any doubts about this rose vaporized completely.
|During a snowstorm, early morning, February 29, 2012|
|February 29, 2012: The snow ended by mid morning and the day was warm and sunny - well into the 40's. After the snow melted, I was shocked to discover fresh, new growth sprouting on many of her canes.|
|Buried in snow again, March 4, 2012. The leaves stayed green even under the snow.|
|April 4, 2012 ~ On her way to take over the trellis|
Spring - Summer, 2012
|May 7, 2012|
A year later, I am in awe of this rose every single day. She does not disappoint.
After a very mild winter, spring arrived weeks earlier than usual. By the beginning of March, the garden was waking up and growth and blooms we typically see in April were appearing everywhere. We started to prune the roses as they slowly awakened, snipping a twig here, an inch or two there. Not so for Peggy.
By the first of March, her newest canes were more than six feet high, and the older eight to ten foot canes crossed both over and under the arch of the arbor, teasing the still dormant New Dawn and bending back down to the walkway.
By the middle of April, as the other roses were just starting to leaf out, we were already reining in Peggy, trimming her back to keep her under some measure of control.
The Antique Rose Emporium catalog had described her growth as "mannerly". In less than a month, her new growth almost completely filled the entire space under the arch, making the walkway impassable and she showed no signs of slowing down. (I'm trying to figure out how an UN-mannerly rose grows -- and what Emily Post would think of our Peggy, completely gobbling up every available space and refusing to share her trellis!)
|By the end of April, Peggy was fully leafed out with mature leaves, and sprouting new shoots and canes with wild abandon.|
Masses of buds were just beginning to open when we returned, and while the other roses had caught up over the month of May (a couple even graced us with blooms before Memorial Day, weeks ahead of schedule), nothing in our garden compared to Peggy when she started to bloom on June 11th.
|June 11, 2012 ~ Despite two assertive prunings, Peggy has completely crested and covered the top of the arbor and the canes are covered with clusters of blooms.|
|The canes and branches completely enveloped the side of the trellis in blossoms. Sweet Autumn is also growing up along the trellis, intertwining with Peggy. I can hardly wait to see the blooms in August.|
|June 11, 2012 ~ The longest canes crested the center of the arch of the arbor and curled down along the far side where New Dawn was also in bloom.|
|The first blossoms open, June 11, 2012. Peggy has been growing for barely a year. And this followed two substantial prunings.|
|The same trellis one week later, June 19, 2012 Note the blooms on the cane that has arched down on the New Dawn side.|
|July 16, 2012 ~ Still blooming, although beginning to wind down. Note the Sweet Autumn Clematis growing up through and intertwining with the canes. Also note, the trellis is beginning to bend on Peggy's side under the weight of her prolific growth.|
|July 18, 2012: Fading clusters of flowers after almost six weeks in bloom.|
|July 23, 2012, assembled and stained and ready to be moved into place|
We heavily pruned the New Dawn that shares the other side of her "duplex" and admittedly, we allowed self-seeded seedlings of the Sweet Autumn clematis to sublet, since the clematis blooms when both roses tend to slow down. (Our favorite garden combinations are clematis and climbing roses.)
Despite that, Peggy Martin's growth has been nothing short of astounding. However, on Peggy's side, the existing metal trellis (which is not the sturdy wrought iron that it was styled to resemble) is beginning to twist under her weight (one of the reasons we so aggressively pruned again). I think the only reason it didn't topple is because it is cemented into the ground. It was clear to us that we needed to find a sturdier structure to support her.
My friend Blaine (visiting from Texas) helped me to assemble and stain the trellis when it coincidentally arrived the same day that she did. I should have guessed that a trellis this size would arrive in, well, too many pieces! Thank goodness Blaine and I are equally proficient with a drill!
By the time we purchased, assembled, and stained the new trellis, the clematis was about to bloom so we'll hold off switching them out for now, since much of the clematis and both roses will have to be extensively pruned in order to accomplish this. Still, the new trellis (pictured above, set in front of the trellis it will replace), isn't as much larger as it will be sturdier.
Although regarded as highly disease resistant, we discovered that downy mildew really can be a problem for Peggy Martin. We noticed a small touch of it in the summer of 2011 and immediately sprayed with a baking soda solution. The infestation did not spread to other leaves or roses and we pruned away the affected branches.
|August, 2012: Downy mildew and possibly a touch of black spot appeared during extremely hot and humid weather.|
This August, after several days of hot, humid, rainy weather, fungus appeared once again and as before, spraying with a baking soda solution completely contained it. Since we discovered this mid- to late August, when we were experiencing extremely hot, humid weather and late afternoon thunderstorms, we added some canola oil and clear soap to the spray, and sprayed every couple of days while we were actively experiencing rain. The shrub was now enormous and the infection was widespread. Spraying every 2-3 days over a two week period completely contained it, however, and while New Dawn also showed signs of mildew (and was sprayed as well), it didn't spread to the roses in the adjacent beds.
It's important to note that the baking soda solution stopped the infection in it's tracks. It never progressed and the rose never defoliated. We were careful to dispose of leaf litter, however, when the rose went dormant over winter.
When the Sweet Autumn Clematis finally bloomed in August, it made a spectacular showing. The spicy fragrance was intense and with the clematis completely entwined through New Dawn and Peggy Martin, the effect was stunning. New Dawn and Peggy Martin also both blessed us with a scant flush of blooms in early October.
|November, 2012: Despite many freezing nights, Peggy Martin continues to send out new growth. Residual infection with downy mildew is still present on the older growth but has neither advanced in affected areas nor spread to new growth.|
The Story of the Peggy Martin Rose
|Peggy Martin in front of her namesake rose.|
Peggy Martin, for whom this rose is named, has been a tour de force behind the Restoration Fund for the four Historical Gardens in New Orleans as well as several other historic rose gardens in the Gulf Coast area that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. An active member of both the American Rose Society and the Heritage Rose Foundation, she is perhaps best known for her dedication to and leadership of the New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society. Over the course of the past several decades, Peggy's name has become virtually synonymous with old garden roses and heritage roses.
The exact genetics of the Peggy Martin Rose are unknown. A thornless rambler that grows vigorously and is covered with literally an explosion of blooms both spring and fall and occasionally in between, it came to the "real" Peggy as a cutting given to her by a friend who had acquired cuttings from her mother.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which claimed not only Peggy's and her husband's home and fishing business but the lives of her beloved parents as well, Peggy returned to where her home had previously stood. After twenty feet of salt water finally receded, this rose remained as the only rose and one of only two plants from her extensive garden to survive, a reflection of Peggy's own tenacity in the face of extreme adversity and incomprehensible loss and tragedy.
Since that time, Peggy has spearheaded the restoration of the historic gardens and old garden rose collections that were destroyed by Katrina. The funds for these projects have come in large part from the sale of roses propagated from cuttings of the original Peggy Martin Rose that Peggy had kindly shared with Dr. William C. Welch, a professor at Texas A&M University.
From the rose grown from those original cuttings, Dr. Welch was able to provide cuttings so that the rose could be made available commercially to other rose lovers and in so doing, support efforts to restore the historic collections of gardens across the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Texas. Rose lovers can support the restoration efforts by acquiring the Peggy Martin Rose from the Antique Rose Emporium or one of the other nurseries listed HERE. If you don't have a place for this prolific rambler in a garden of your own, please consider making an outright donation to the Heritage Rose Foundation or the the New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society.
Additional links to Information about the Peggy Martin Rose:
The Official Peggy Martin Rose Web Site
A History of the Peggy Martin Rose bt Dr. William C. Welch
Dr. Welch's Update on the Status of the Peggy Martin Rose
Photograph of Mrs. Peggy Martin used with permission, courtesy of Mrs. Peggy Martin.