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Meet The Peggy Martin Rose

I am fascinated with the stories surrounding plants and the Peggy Martin rose story is one of the best.  Also known as the Hurricane Katrina rose, she is a vigorous, thornless climber with clusters of pink flowers and is extremely easy to grow.  Blooming in the spring and again in the fall (even in our Texas heat) this rose is resilient in many ways.



The story begins in 1989 in New Orleans when Peggy Martin was given cuttings from a thornless climbing rose.  Very active in the New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society she showed it to Dr. William Welch of Texas A&M in 2003 who was most impressed by the rose.  He left with cuttings but little hope that it would survive in the hot, dry Texas climate.

Survive it did, quickly covering his 15-foot fence and blooming both in the spring and fall after the second year.  He was most impressed with this “un-named rose”. 



In 2005 Peggy’s home was under 20-feet of salt water for 2 weeks following hurricane Katrina.  When she was finally able to visit her property she found the rose bush still alive and flourishing. Dr. Welch reconnected with Peggy a couple of months after the hurricane and learned of the survival of the rose bush.  He had already been convinced that this rose deserved to be marketed and used funds from a Horticulture Restoration Fund to make it happen.

He came up with the idea to name it the Peggy Martin rose and to also use it as a fund raiser with a $1.00 per plant donation going to the Garden Restoration Fund.  Several rose growers got on board to help grow and market this unique rose. This rose has become a beautiful symbol of survival and a testament of resiliency.

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Grafting: What is it? Why is it done?

Most are familiar with the term grafting, but do you know why most fruit trees, roses, camellias and countless other plants are grafted?  Without getting all scientific, I’ll not only explain why and what but also what to watch for in your grafted plants.

What is grafting?  It is the joining of 2 plants into one.  A grafted plant uses the roots and the bottom portion of one plant (called the rootstock) and the top part from another plant (called the scion).  All the top growth of a grafted plant comes from the scion.

The graft is easy to see on many plants – it can appear as a knot at the base of a rose bush or a crook in the trunk near ground level of an immature fruit tree. 

Why graft?  The grafting union allows the combining of characteristics of both plants to form a superior plant.  Rootstocks can contribute traits to improve yield, cold or drought hardiness and disease resistance.  The scion is usually a young shoot or bud from a plant with great flavor, color or disease resistance. 

It also is a reliable method of reproducing plants that do not grow true to type from seed. 

What to watch for: 

  • Suckers from the rootstock or roots.  They will appear below the graft and need to be removed.  They are not grown from the scion and will not perform the same way – bloom color could be different, growth rate is usually accelerated.
  • Don’t bury the graft joint underground.  The rootstock will grow its own plant and the scion will grow its own roots.  The plant will not be the same once this occurs.
  • If the scion dies the root stock can still be alive and will send up shoots (suckers).  This growth is not from the scion and will perform very differently.

Grafting dates back over 4000 years and there are many methods of grafting and all have their specific uses.  New strains of plants are developed this way and the benefits are many. 

If you want to try grafting yourself, watch a few YouTube videos, follow along and graft away.  It’s a great project to do with the kiddos, they can help and watch the new plant grow.

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Pruning Roses: Tips & Tricks

Pruning rose bushes doesn’t have to be difficult! Follow these simple steps to make pruning easier with these tips and tricks!

Main Tips for Pruning Floribunda and Hybrid Tea Roses

1. Always prune dead wood back to healthy tissue. You will recognize the living tissue by its green bark and white pith core.

2. Remove all growth on the main canes that are not capable of sustaining a reasonably thick stem on its own.

3. Remove all suckers—growths from the root structure that sprout from below the bud union—remove them as close to the main root cane as possible.

4. Remove woody old canes; prune branches back flush to the larger limb they’re growing from – don’t leave stubs.

5. Make your pruning cuts at a 45-degree angle.

6. Choose an eye on the outside of the cane and slope the cut down and away on the opposite side.

7. After you have completed pruning your rose bush, remove any remaining foliage from the canes and clean up debris from around the bush. Discard all foliage (do not use it in the compost heap).

Main Tips for Pruning Shrub Roses like Knock-Out and Earth-kind Roses

  1. Shrub Roses aren’t nearly as PICKY as traditional roses. You can cut them pretty much anywhere and they’ll still be happy!
  2. For BEST results, cut shrub roses at knee height in a round-fashion. This will help them keep their shrub-like shape.
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Treating Black Spot on Roses

We’ve had a really wet spring here in East Texas so far! Unless you’re on a Black spot prevention program for your roses, they most likely have been infected.

blackspotWhat Exactly is Black Spot?

Black spot is a fungal disease that can devastate roses. The fungus develops as black spots on the leaves, and over time, causes the leaves to turn yellow and drop off. Aside from looking unsightly, it can weaken the rose plant overall. Black spot thrives during hot, humid, or rainy summers and hot days with cool, damp nights.

What Does Black Spot Do?

Black spot will look like somewhat circular black spots on leaves. It usually occurs on the upper sides of leaves, but can also develop on the undersides. The outer margins o

infuse

f the black circles are ragged or feathery and they are usually surrounded by a ring of yellow.

Spots begin on the lower leaves and move upward. They can appear as early as when the leaves first unfurl. These spots can enlarge and eventually merge. Affected leaves often fall off the plants, and if left unchecked, the entire plant can defoliate.

The fungus can also infect young canes, causing dark purple or black blisters on the canes, and even the flowers may show some red spotting. Infected plants will set fewer flower buds and without leaves, the plants become stressed and susceptible to more problems.

How do I treat Black Spot?

Black spot is easily treated with a Systemic Disease Control spray. With the active ingredient being Propiconazole (say that 5 times fast!). The systemic disease control will be absorbed up into the plant, so there’s no chance of washing away! You can find Systemic Disease Control at THGC today!

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