28 March 2008

The Antique Rose Emporium

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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. 

 

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

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A  specimen tree greets you in the parking lot.

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The omnipresent windmill towers over the property.

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

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The cottage garden in full bloom.

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

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

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Wildflowers mixed in with the antique roses.

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

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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.

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The walkway leading from the gazebo.

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The walkway to the gazebo in full bloom.

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A border of "Old Blush."

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The old greenhouse and windmill.

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The greenhouse with roses in full bloom.

Springtime at the Antique Rose Emporium.   Picture courtesy of www.picassodreams.com

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Roses cover a picket fence.

The sign says it all.  Picture courtesy of www.picassodreams.com

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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 www.picassodreams.com

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Spring flowers in the Children's Garden.

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Birdhouses in the Children's Garden.

Spring daisies and sculpture.  Picture courtesy of www.picassodreams.com

A cemetery of broken flower pots.  Picture courtesy of www.picassodreams.com

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

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A chapel was built on the property for wedding ceremonies. 

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

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

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One of the water features on the property. 

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

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

 

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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.