(Images from my Mother’s garden)
Many of you who have followed my blog for a while are aware that the inspiration for Beautiful Gardener came from my Mother’s life long passion for gardening and floral design. Today is her birthday, and I find myself thinking of some of the blessings that she brought into my life. She truly led by example with her quiet strength, humility, endless energy, faith, sacrifice, and Christian values. Modeling grace, character, and virtue in every area of her life, she influenced so many people in our small Mississippi town of Pontotoc as well as in the surrounding towns and communities.
A true Rosarian in every sense of the word, she grew roses for almost forty years. Although her generosity and love for others extended far beyond her beloved rose garden, she freely shared her garden roses and artistically arranged them for Sunday morning worship services, receptions, meetings, and for rush week at my Ole Miss sorority house. When the official Delta Gamma rose was introduced, Mother enthusiastically ordered several of the cream colored tea hybrids for her garden. A couple of times she actually put roses on Greyhound buses, packed securely in water picks and insulated styrofoam chests, to send to my sister in Georgia and to me here in Alabama! Although Mother lost a 30 year battle with a rare autoimmune disease known as scleroderma in 2010, her love and passion for gardening have left a legacy that will always keep her memory alive.
In January, 2011, one year after Mother passed away, a sweet friend, Thelmanne McGaughey, gave me a Peggy Martin rose to honor Mother’s memory. Peggy Martin is often referred to as the “Katrina rose” since it survived for several weeks under water during this historic and devastating storm. (For more information on the rose, check out this post from 2013: ( https://beautifulgardener.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/katrinas-aftermath-a-survivor-rose-symbolizes-hope/) I planted it several weeks after I received it. In 2012, there were a few blooms and it had actually grown a couple of feet. In 2013, there was a little more growth. This year, however, I have been amazed at the bountiful blooms, and it has actually topped the fence! My only rose growing experience has been with Knock Out roses so, to me, this is quite a feat! I think Mother would have been almost elated as I was!
My Peggy Martin is pictured below on a few weeks ago on April 23rd:
The pictures below were made from April 25-28th:
Memphis Rosarian and American Rose Society judge, Jimmy Moser, recommended last year that I apply Triple 13 fertilizer to my prized climbing rose. Incidentally, he was a friend and garden mentor to my Mother. Below are photographs made this past Saturday, two weeks post the fertilizer and the steady downpour of rain we had last week.
The most magnificent Peggy Martin roses I have ever seen grow in the garden of my fellow native Mississippian and now Dothan friend, Mary Beth Davis. Cascading blooms cover literally two walls of her enclosed backyard garden. She attributes her prolific blooms to the use of Holly Tone fertilizer for roses. This gardening tip was passed on to Mary Beth from her Mother who was also a wonderful gardener.
Over the weekend, I collected some of my Mother’s favorite silver pieces that were passed on to me, and created a little Peggy Martin rose vignette. These arrangements are almost effortless. After filling the containers with water, leaf lettuce was placed as a “liner”. Then the roses were arranged in the center.
The gorgeous blooms of the Peggy Martin rose will always remind me of a sweet friend’s thoughtfulness and friendship and will be a lasting tribute to my Mother…
Mother would have celebrated her 84th birthday today, and I can’t help but think that that she is walking through a celestial rose garden of her own right now..