The Antique Rose Emporium



The antique rose:  Marie Pavie.

The Round Top Antiques Fair is just around the corner - April 2 - 5, 2008.  If you're in the area and get tired of antiquing, you might want to visit the Antique Rose Emporium for a change of pace.  Located outside of Brenham in Independence, Texas, it's about 37 bluebonnet-filled miles from Round Top.  As it's name implies, The Antique Rose Emporium specializes in antique roses.   Some of the roses they sell were "rustled" from cemeteries  and from the sides of highways where they were given names such as Caldwell Pink or Highway 290 Pink Buttons.  Antique roses are a hardy bunch - they thrive with little or no care.   They don't require pesticides to bloom and they need little or no pruning.  The owner started the Antique Rose Emporium in 1985 after he found an antique rose blooming and flourishing despite decades of utter neglect.  Helped along in collecting more varieties of antique roses by the Texas Rose Rustlers, Mike Shoup, the owner, opened his doors after building the visitor's Display Garden.  Over the years,  Shoup's  venture  has grown from a small nursery to a large, international presence in the rose business.  Today there are two Display Gardens - the one in Independence and a newer one in San Antonio, Texas.  The Display Garden in Independence has changed greatly over the years. Today there is a lovely country chapel on the property where couples can marry, there's a children's garden, a gift shop, and a supplies store.   It's best to visit in the spring  when it's at its prettiest with the roses just starting to bloom.  If you've never been to the emporium and you're in the area for Round Top, The Antique Rose Emporium is a must see.  And, if you go, be sure to purchase an antique rose or two. 



The Antique Rose Emporium parking lot:  pulling up to arches and picket fences and cobblestone walkways, you know this is not your typical nursery.


A  specimen tree greets you in the parking lot.


The omnipresent windmill towers over the property.


Here is the windmill after climbing flowers have been allowed to take it over.


The cottage garden in full bloom.


Antique rose specimens are grouped together in masses in order to have a full appreciation of their growing traits.


Here is the nursery with pots available for purchase.  In the back, you can just see an old log cabin.


Wildflowers mixed in with the antique roses.


A view of the roses in pots for sale.  In the background, you can just see a wooden pergola covered in evergreen vine.


In this area, a circle of roses are planted in chronological order of their beginnings withmarkers telling their historical significance. 60292736_g32006_04_09uploadtopbasegazebo1

A gazebo where weddings take place.


The walkway leading from the gazebo.


The walkway to the gazebo in full bloom.


A border of "Old Blush."


The old greenhouse and windmill.


The greenhouse with roses in full bloom.

Springtime at the Antique Rose Emporium.   Picture courtesy of


Roses cover a picket fence.

The sign says it all.  Picture courtesy of


A new attraction - The Children's Garden is surrounded by a purple picket fence.

The Yellow Brick Road leads to the Children's Garden.  Picture courtesy of


Spring flowers in the Children's Garden.


Birdhouses in the Children's Garden.

Spring daisies and sculpture.  Picture courtesy of

A cemetery of broken flower pots.  Picture courtesy of

One of the old structures that houses a store on the property.  Picture courtesy of


A chapel was built on the property for wedding ceremonies. 


Texas bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush grow in the fields next to the chapel.


Alongside the property line, roses grow on the picket fences.


One of the water features on the property. 


A picture from the early days of the Antique Rose Emporium. 


A picture from the beginning before the chapel, the gazebo, the history garden and the Children's Garden.



If you go to Round Top and want to visit the nursery - here's the route to take:  highway 290 to 390 to Independence.   Look for the picket fences and windmill!

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The Shlenker Elementary School, Class of 2010's Rose Garden

On a personal note:  Years ago, when my daughter graduated elementary school, I was put on the committee in charge of decorating the room where the graduation luncheon was to be held.  Of course, the budget was small and we were desperate to stretch the dollar.  I came up with the idea of a living gift that the class could present to the school.  Instead of cut flowers, each table would have a pot of blooming roses which we would then donate to The Shlenker School in honor of the class of 2010.   I drove up, with a friend in tow, to Independence to the Antique Rose Emporium to load up our cars with the bounty.  It was on this trip that I discovered the "real" Antique Rose Emporium, the fields where the roses are grown.   About 1/2 mile from the visitor's Display Garden are rows upon rows of blooming roses as far as the eye could see.  The average customer has no idea that these fields even exist, believing as I did, the Antique Rose Emporium consisted of the Display Garden only. 

If I recall correctly, on that day I bought 10 pots of 5 different rose varieties to place on all the luncheon tables.  The ride home was heavenly - the scent of the roses in my car was intoxicating.   After the luncheon, we gathered the pots up and took them to the school.  There was a large, empty median in the school's parking lot where the carpool line is.  This is where we planted the flowers - each variety was planted in mass.   The small plants grew and thrived without much care, just as they are advertised.   Some of the graduates returned a few years later to weed the flowerbed to satisfy some type of charitable activity.  If you ever happen to be in the parking lot of Temple Beth Israel in Houston and you come upon a bed of formidable antique roses, think of those graduates from the class of 2010 and the Antique Rose Emporium.


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These roses were really blooming today when I took these pictures at The Shlenker School.

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So was this variety.

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And more.






With the gorgeous weather that Houston has been enjoying (and let us please enjoy our few days of gorgeous weather!) spring fever is definitely in the air.   Now that Daylight Savings Time is in effect, thoughts of roses and bluebonnets and hydrangeas are replacing those of roaring fires and early, dark nights.   It's time to start planting spring gardens and planning summer vacations.   Those who are lucky to be taking a trip to France this summer, might just want to think about visiting St. Remy de Provence.   A small hamlet built on Roman ruins in the south of France, St. Remy is where Europeans of means have summer homes and where American tourists come to soak up the sun and  go antiquing in the surrounding areas.   It is here that Diana, the Princess of Wales, was once rumored to be buying a summer house and it is here where  Princess Caroline of Monaco and her children came following the death of her second husband.  The famous seer Nostradamus was born in St. Remy.  And it's most famous resident, Vincent Van Gogh, was treated for mental illness at a psychiatric center here.   Another famous summer resident is Pierre Berge, longtime partner and once lover of Yves St. Laurent.  Berge  has spent the last two decades remodeling and refurbishing the two homes and gardens that make up his summer estate.  Originally, the estate consisted of the Farmhouse Theo only.   Over time, neighboring gardens were added.  In 2002, another addition brought the Farmhouse Vincent (the houses are, of course, named after Van Gogh and his brother) into the property.  Berge hired the architect Hugues Bosc and landscape designer Michel Semini to make the disparate farmhouses and gardens into one glorious country estate.   Here, thanks to Cote Sud and the photographer Nicolas Matheus , are pictures of his summer paradise:


The Farmhouse Vincent, the larger of the two, is built of native limestone.  Note the quaint birdcage and white doves on the right.  I love the potted plants going up the stairs on the left.


A covered porch serves as an outdoor dining area.  Today, the famous pink roses of the estate are being arranged on the metal garden table.


The property is made up of two houses surrounded by extensive gardens.  Here, to the right, is the smaller farmhouse "Theo."  The pool house, with arched doorways,  over looks the "Pink Garden"  and swimming pool.    At the left, a statue, Neptune, surrounded by yellow irises, was purchased at Sotheby's in New York.  


The farmhouse "Vincent" overlooks the aromatic gardens with views to the Alpilles mountains.


An arbor holds up the estate's famous pink roses, Pierre de Ronsard, which are planted throughout the property.  Note the candle lanterns that light the way at night.


In the large living room of the Farmhouse Vincent, slipcovered furniture is by Christian Liaigre.  The floor is made up of ancient Burgundy flagstone. Most interesting are the niches that are carved into the walls flanking the fireplace.


The kitchen at Farmhouse Vincent has cabinets made of stained glass.


The smaller Farmhouse Theo is more provencal in appearance and furnishings than Farmhouse Vincent.  The furniture came from nearby antique haunts.  The plate above the mantel is signed by Picasso.  I love the traditional French decor in this room.


A bed is piled high with typical provencal quilts or boutis.


Portrait of St. Joseph and the armoire were found at Isle-on-the-Sorgue,the famous antique destination in the region.


The bathroom has a tiled floor and claw foot tub.  I love the European bath fittings, including the sponge and soap holder across the tub.


Under the shade of old mulberry trees, a long cement bench is made more comfortable with antique Army mattresses.


An antique cement pergola is set in the gardens outside the Farmhouse Theo.  Lunch and dinner are often served here.


Apparently,  Pierre Berge has decided to spend more time at his St. Remy country estate.  He recently sold his American Pied a Terre, located in the Pierre Hotel, NYC.  The $7,500,000 (plus monthly maintenance fees of $7,080)  abode was designed by a trio of famous men:  Jacques Grange, Peter Marino, and the late Jed Johnson (wonder how that went down and who did what?)  Interestingly enough, Berge, partner and former lover of Yves St. Laurent, sold the apartment to Giancarlo Giametti, the business and life partner of Valentino.  Thanks to the Real Estalker for the information.



View of Central Park from Berge's Pierre apartment.


The entry hall of the apartment.  Mahogany woodwork creates a masculine club-like atmosphere.  The bench is a gorgeous antique.


The living room with French empire antiques and blue leather upholstered sofa!


One of two master bedrooms.  This bedroom has a gorgeous antique rug.


Whereas this master bedroom has a leopard carpet!   Notice how the bathroom door is screened off.


Both bathrooms are fitted out with marble and mahogany.

Need I ask?  If you won the lotto, which property would you buy:  The  St. Remy country estate OR the Pied a Terre at The Pierre Hotel in New York City?   I'm sure I don't have to tell you MY choice!