- PHOTO BY A.P. Whyte The Peggy Martin rose, a symbol of survival, blooms in Zerita Rogers’ garden, the Hudson Bend Garden Club Yard of the Month.
By A.P. Whyte
Glorious is the only way to describe Zerita Rogers’ garden, Hudson Bend Garden Club’s Yard of the Month.
April ushers in the most anticipated time of year for gardeners: spring. No matter how long a gardener has tended the earth, the annual resurgence of bloom still mesmerizes. The brown bleakness of winter dormancy yields to a profusion of kaleidoscopic color, the cycle, renewed.
Originally from Louisiana, Rogers has been an avid gardener all her life. She and her husband, Don, are longtime Austin residents and for 12 years have created a magical landscape at their Hudson Bend home.
There are many groupings of plantings.
At the entrance, one is greeted by a sea of red amaryllis, a grouping of sego palms and another that includes bougainvillea, each vignette beautifully manicured. Rogers’ keen pruning skills, probably honed by her bonsai training, are clearly evident. But the real treat lies in the rear of the property. She has amassed a breathtaking Texas style cottage garden.
What is known as a cottage garden is a style of gardening heralded by the well-known 19th century English garden designer, horticulturist and writer, Gertrude Jekyll. Jekyll proposed utilizing roses and other companion plants to achieve a sequence of bloom.
The grand dames of Rogers’ garden are indeed, roses. Varieties include, Mutabilis, Belinda’s Dream, Easy Does It, Knock Out, Old Blush, Dortmund and Mardi Gras.
An extensive array of herbaceous perennials is harmoniously planted at the feet of the roses, creating visual interest by variations in height, color and texture.
The most stunning feature of the garden is the magnificent climbing rose, Peggy Martin.
The Peggy Martin is a found (unknown) rose discovered growing in New Orleans. Martin had cuttings of the rose and grew it at her home in Plaquemines Parish. Hurricane Katrina took the lives of her parents, and her home was destroyed. Her only solace came from the lone survivor, the unknown rose.
The rose was named for Peggy and propagated in an effort to raise money for the victims. As testament to Rogers’ Louisiana heritage and the Darwinian theory of Survival of the Fittest, Peggy Martin blooms in celebration of the arrival of spring.
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