Friday, April 30, 2010

One day last week Charlene picked me up and off we went to the Antique Rose Emporium. I'm sure most Texas gardeners have been there countless times (Charlene has) but this was just my second trip and I was psyched! Plus driving out to the Brenham area in the height of wildflower season is always a pleasure, not to mention the fact that we were planning to eat at Must Be Heaven in Brenham. That is truly a reason to get excited -- I won't drive an hour and a half to eat just anywhere!

The Antique Rose Emporium is located in Independence, Texas, a little town just outside of Brenham, another somewhat larger town (famous for Blue Bell Ice Cream). They have a thriving mail order business, and this retail outlet is kind of a demonstration garden. In looking online I read many lukewarm to negative posts about the ARE; most complaints were about the condition of the roses and the beds -- leggy and blackspotted plants in weedy beds. I didn't find this to be the case on our trip, and I'm also not sure why people would expect to find ideal conditions in the middle of the Texas summer, or after weeks of rain.
Things were lookin' good to us! My advice is go in the early spring. It looked very well-stocked to me, although wouldn't cha know, they were sold out of a rose I wanted -- an orange Livin' Easy. The one I bought last year at the MG plant sale gave up the ghost -- I think I planted it too late and the summer was brutal. Instead I bought a Caldwell Pink. This is a "found" Polyantha that some experts believe to be the China rose known as "Pink Pet". (See the link for more info.) It's supposed to bloom profusely all summer and that was my main requirement. Also important is that it is cold hardy, and heat and drought hardy, and resistant to disease and pests. Sounds like a winner to me! My rose is literally covered with buds, but it's a late bloomer, so I didn't take a picture of it. I will once they open.
I did take pictures of some of the roses at the ARE like this gorgeous yellow rose. No, I don't remember what it is! I gotta learn to take notes while I'm taking pictures but I've never been that organized.
Part of the attraction at the ARE is not just the individual plants, but the way they are grown and displayed. I'm not sure if this is called a trellis -- seems like it should have its own name -- but it was absolutely spectacular with the pink roses cascading down on all sides! There are lots and lots of roses and other plants for sale, but also, as I mentioned, demonstration gardens to give the customer some clever ideas about how to use roses in the landscape. Wonder how much this would cost? I didn't know the expression about if you need to ask...
This gorgeous white rose really got me thinking about what I can set up for some climbing roses. Our property is mostly shady, but we finally made some raised beds in the vegetable garden for roses, and they are doing great! So now I want to make some more beds and get some "mannerly" climbers like this one.
We've all seen this use of a "flower bed" before, but it got me fired up again about dragging out the antique bed frame that has been languishing in the barn, and making it a home for some deserving plants. By the way, the ARE is all about roses, but not totally. If you're not in the market for a rose, it's worth the trip to see the gardens, and then have a look at the annuals and perennials they have for sale. Charlene and I both bought several herbs that were healthy and inexpensive, and there were lots of other plants I wanted to buy but I restrained myself. Just thinking about the 40 or so plants in my potting shed waiting to go in the ground is a sobering and restraining thought!
Everything is so beautifully arranged and displayed and crying out "take me home!" that it is really easy to buy more than you can deal with, which is what usually happens to me when plant shopping!
I had my hair cut this morning and Brian, my hair sylist, said he had been to a wedding last weekend at The Antique Rose Emporium. If anyone is interested, you must supply your own food and drink, etc. -- all they supply is the venue, but what a venue it is! How about walking down this aisle! You wouldn't have to buy any flowers! Probably not too great for a summer wedding, but April brides, take note!


paula said...

nice to come home today and see this...REFRESHING!!! love that trellis thing wow...its like some freaky tree!

Mary Henderson said...

Wow! The place is beautiful! If I were to have another wedding, I'll choose that venue. Maybe, i'll just have to recommend this to people I know who are planning for their wedding. I also love the trellis with pink roses and the climbing white rose. How I would like to go there and do some plant shopping. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Samara said...

Your photos and descriptions are just lovely. I'm really interested in taking my family out to see everything! Hopefully we can make it there before summer.

Cynthia said...

I know -- isn't that trellis amazing??? Thanks Paula!

You're welcome, Mary -- thanks for reading and commenting! Tomorrow I'm going to The Arbor Gate in Tomball and hope to write about that soon!

Thanks, Samara! Yes, go before it gets too hot -- and make sure you eat at Must Be Heaven!!! ;-D

Susie Flatau said...

The photographs of the ARE are absolutely beautiful. You really made me feel like I was there, taking in all of the magic of the gardens. And, yes, I love the "trellis" of garden art if you ask me! With the pics of the roses AND the wildflowers (Rockport getaway)...I am feeling really, really, really homesick for Texas flowers! great stuff, Cyn! xo susie

Cynthia said...

Thanks Susie! Yes, the Texas flowers are great -- but so are the NY ones! When I was there in May of 2008 there were so many gorgeous things blooming, most notably (to me)many huge pink dogwoods. And several years ago when I visited my aunt in Buffalo I was blown away by the size of her hostas! Well, you'll just have to come visit the Texas flowers -- and friends!

artsysister said...

Always wanted to go this beautiful location - thanks for the photos :)

Enjoying your blog :)

Take care Cynthia Paula King, Cortex Co until November ;)

Cynthia said...

Thanks Paula!
What does that cryptic phrase mean -- Cortex Co until November? then what?