The Peggy Martin Rose

In 2004, Peggy Martin received a rose cutting from a friend’s garden in New Orleans. It was thornless with showy pink flowers. It was a rapidly growing rose that bloomed from spring until the fall. No one has ever identified the species of the rose, but Peggy and the friends she gave cuttings to didn’t care.

One year after Peggy Martin planted her rose, New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, a level 5 hurricane. New Orleans was obliterated. Peggy’s parents did not survive the storm. Peggy and her husband’s home had been overrun with 20 feet of saltwater as the levees broke.

The Martins lived on 12 acres of land that her parents had bought. It was a special place for Peggy to grow her 450 roses, mostly old varieties.

When Peggy and her husband were able to return home, their house was gone along with the shrimp boat. The garden was nothing but a deep layer of mud. The roses were buried. But Peggy discovered something green popping through the mud. It was the rose that her friend had given her. The rose had survived one of the worst disasters in America’s history.

Peggy began to give cuttings of the rose to friends. One of those friends was on the faculty at Texas A&M. He came up with the idea that he would provide cuttings from his Peggy Martin rose to online nurseries to help reestablish gardens in the coastal areas destroyed by Katrina. For Peggy, the restoration of what Katrina destroyed was the perfect way to remember her parents who had not survived Katrina’s ravages.

We can find hope arising from all disasters. It may be the courage of survivors helping others. It may be in the acts of kindness that wipe away differences. Or it could be simply a rose that refused to give up.

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“Dignity of human nature requires that we must face the storms of life.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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