Building A Home for Peggy An Enduring Friendship

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Peggy Martin endured the worst. She learned that her parents had not survived the storm and her beloved home had been destroyed in an eight foot sea wall of water. Upon her return to the homestead, she found that the only vegetation growing on the property was a rose her mother had loved. Now known around the world as the 'Peggy Martin Rose' , it has become a symbol of renewal and revival in the garden. We acquired a one gallon shrub of this rose three years ago and I quickly planted it at the corner of our house next to the garden entry gate.

Peggy Martin Rose in our Alabama garden.

I had always hoped to have a pergola built over the gate so that Peggy would have plenty of room to spread out and have a comfortable home in our garden. Alas, this project was put on the back burner, as Peggy began to grow.. Grow she did. Now, at the top of the house and spread out about eight feet in every direction, this was the year for action.

Springtime in the garden.

Did you ever just meet someone and instantly feel as if you've known them all your life? My best friend and I are like that. We just hit it off and haven't shut up since. Always filled with ideas, Brian is one of those individuals who, when he gets a vision for something in his mind, he makes it happen.

The Big Idea

At a recent lunch, we were talking about the pergola and I told him I had an old garden bench that had seen better days that had a nice metal piece for the back that I wanted to incorporate into the design. Brian quickly grabbed the receipt from lunch and sketched out his ideas and said "you know we could also add some custom pergola pieces cut in a crescent shape" and it just expanded from there.

Big ideas often are the result of great collaboration. Planning is everything.

That night, I enlisted my wife to paint the metal piece in preparation for a planned work day. True to form, Brian showed up Saturday and we went to work. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

Metal piece in place

We quickly went to work measuring, cutting and putting together what is now Peggy's permanent home in our garden.

If you live your entire life and have only one good friend in whom you can trust, you are truly blessed.

With the structure and network in place, its time to cut out the pergola pieces. Using an old garden pot, he sketched out a template and went to work. In no time at all, he had cut seven top pieces.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Peggy Martin a few years ago and as you can imagine her story gripped my heart. She told me that the minute she saw this rose that day, she knew it was Gods way of telling her everything was going to be ok. She said that the help of supportive friends made all the difference in her life. I couldn't agree more. People come in and out of our lives, some for a little while and some for a lifetime. I'm thankful for those friendships that have stood the test of time, trials and triumphs, my life is richer for them.

It all comes together

With it all in place, it's time to stand back and check out our creation.

Now comes the task of securing the rose to the structure.

Peggy moves in.

With a rose that we've basically allowed to grow her own way for three years, all her canes aren't necessarily reaching in the direction of the pergola. So, I carefully coaxed canes growing in the right direction onto the structure., securing with cup hooks and twine. It will take some time and I'll wait until after this years bloom cycle is complete to make a few strategic pruning cuts to point Peggy even further towards home.

Home at last

An old hymn reminds me that "my faith has found a resting place", and with the construction of this pergola, Peggy now has one too. As she grows and flourishes underneath Gods great big sky, I'll never walk beneath it that I won't think of this day and the collaboration and friendship that brought it all together.

Here is a picture of Brian and I with Helena Mayor Mark Hall at a recent planting event. You'll often find us poking around Old Town taking pictures and checking on the hundreds of flowers we've helped plant as a part of the Helena Beautification Board. If you see us, stop and say hey, we'd love to hear your big idea!
Welcome home Peggy

Grateful thanks to My best bud Brian Puckett who made this a reality. Without him, this would still only exist in my mind.

To my lovely wife for painting the metalwork and for putting up with my rose growing madness.

To Brian's wife Michelle and their precious girls for allowing him to spend an entire Saturday at my house creating his brand of magic.

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