Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Spot the cat inspecting a Jack-o-Lantern on the gift shop porch at the Antique Rose Emporium San Antonio.

The Garden Center - Fall in South Texas

During October I posted about some of my favorite San Antonio area nurseries each Wednesday for Support Your Independent Nursery Month hosted by Pam at Digging.  With only four Wednesdays in October and so many good independent nurseries here in San Antonio to choose from I had to leave out quite a few favorites.  Some I'll save for next year, but The Garden Center has great fall displays and activities just right for highlighting now.  The Garden Center is on the northwest side of the city at
10682 Bandera Road, not too far from Rainbow Gardens #3.

Jamie Durie will be here for a book signing in November

These seasonal displays were very cheerful and inviting

Great color on these pots

The Garden Center features beautiful Monrovia displays.  Love the colors in this one

The succulent display has nice large specimens with a reminder that these are deer resistant.

The gift shop was all decked out for fall too


A nice place to visit any time, they have seasonal events all year and I plan to post more about The Garden Center in the future.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Before and After: The North Side

I used to avoid it altogether.  There was no good reason to go around the corner to see the north side yard.  We were focused on other projects and not much would grow here anyway, or so I thought.

March 2010

Then a trench for electrical service to the new detached garage/workshop became the unlikely spark for progress.

December 2010

Construction completed, rocks were used to form a raised bed, and a much needed gravel path was added from the gate to the deck. 

March 4, 2011

Filled with top soil and compost, the bed was ready to plant.
March 24, 2011
and then the best part....

April 2011
These plants were shared with me by fellow gardeners!  Yes, this bed was filled by the generosity of local gardeners.
June 2011
The plants grew well all summer, shaded from the relentless sun by the house

July 2011
Just a little morning and afternoon sun was all they needed this year

August 2011
Now instead of rushing through, I almost always linger here amazed at the sight of all this blooming in a year of record heat and drought.


A few weeks ago the wind blew some of the plants over the walkway and I'm even enjoying that part.

Many of these plants I wouldn't have selected from a nursery this early on since I'm more focused on structure.  Those gorgeous yellow blooms are Forsythia Sage (Salvia Madrensis), a large shade loving, fall bloomer that is perfect here.  Other plants include Monarda 'Raspberry Wine', Walker's Low Nepeta, Red Salvia microphylla, and Shrimp Plant 'Fruit Cocktail' (Justicia brandegeana).  Some are commonly shared plants like pigeonberry, cannas, red spider lily, ruellia.  The blue potato bush (Lychianthes rantonnetii) arrived as a small rooted cutting and is now overgrowing the space and it really needs more sun.


Even though this was meant to be a holding space, the north side turned out to be the best spot in this year of drought and heat.  Over the winter additional beds will be built and these plants divided or transplanted in the spring.  Weeping yaupon or another tall plant will be added for some height against the house.  The old fence will be replaced soon too.

This area could change a lot next year, but I'll still have the pictures of this amazing little garden with all its promise

So thank you my San Antonio gardening friends.  These plants have flourished just like the friendships they represent.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Antique Rose Emporium - San Antonio

As part of Support Your Independent Nursery Month hosted by Pam Penick at Digging I'm visiting some of my favorite San Antonio nurseries.  This week I visit The Antique Rose Emporium located at 7561 E. Evans Road, San Antonio.  They have two locations with the original demonstration gardens in Independence near Brenham.


The Antique Rose Emporium appears to be far out in the country down an unpaved road over Cibolo Creek, but it's really not far from two major highways - Loop 1604 and I-35.  I'm fortunate that the north side San Antonio location is convenient enough for me to drop in often.  The Antique Rose Emporium is far more than just a garden center -- it's a destination for the unique demonstration gardens which set this place apart.  We go to walk the gardens and enjoy how the plants have been integrated into such an artfully designed setting that reflects its Texas roots, to admire the passion for "found" roses that built these beautiful gardens and to appreciate the vision that roses should be one element of garden design and not the garden itself.  It's unlike any other rose garden I've seen and it's enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

In addition to the legendary selection of roses, they carry annuals, perennials, succulents, trees, native plants, bulbs, seeds, containers, garden ornaments, organic garden supplies and gifts.  Their competitive prices and seasonal discount sales make it easy to stock up on plants and many of my favorites are available in the 4" pot size too.  In the fall and spring great seminars and events are presented.

The photos for this post are from two visits made in October, the demonstration gardens were toured on a weekday and additional photos were taken on a much busier Saturday, October 22, during their annual Festival in the Roses and Art in the Garden events.  Even though the 2011 summer heat and drought took its toll and the fall rose blooms have been delayed, the gardens are still impressive and there's always something blooming.
The large entry arch of Texas cedar sets the stage.

I often find newly arrived plants at the front entrance as seen on this day.

Walk into the gardens where roses are presented in combination with natives, hardy perennials and other plants to beautiful effect. 

First a tour of the business side.  Containers, arches, and all types of garden ornament are found in small groupings throughout the sales display area. 

The big bottle tree is a favorite sight

A few of the roses on display and view of the gift shop


Picnic area by the greenhouse

4" perennials are available


Bat face cuphea blooming away in front of the gift shop

No plants on the porch at check out! 

There are several cats in residence at the ARE.  Spot is the friendliest and loves cameras.  He jumped up on this table to pose and then jumped down to follow the camera again.  According to the staff, he's in more than a few wedding photos too.

The veggie garden is inspiring

 Herbs and veggies for sale in the shade

 More herbs in the sun

The Hacienda de las Rosas is the special event center at the far end of the gardens

Rose petals line the path when an event is held here

Inviting porches welcome visitors

Texas Mountain Laurel 'Silver Peso' (sophora secundiflora) with blackfoot daisies

Gomphrena is striking with a sotol

It's a popular place for weddings

Gregg's mist flower borders the lawn

Each October Mike Shoup, founder and owner of The Antique Rose Emporium, shares fascinating stories from his many years of finding and propagating old roses.   This year his topic was "The Ultimate Garden Plant" and he included information on how they care for the roses in the demonstration gardens.  About 90% of the time is spent pruning the climbing roses to follow the architecture of the trellis or structure.  His best pruning advice is to be "ruthless."

This year he shared the story of discovering the Louis Phillipe rose brought to Texas from France around 1834.

I try to attend each year and learn something new every time.  Like many others, he has completely changed my view of roses in the garden.

Art in the Garden event vendor displays were set up in the gazebo garden.


Rusty Toad Ironworks - bottle trees and planters are especially striking.  She also has a booth at Wimberley.

Colorful concrete planters and faux bois garden furniture also on display

Finally, a tour of the demonstration gardens.  No captions needed  -


Worth a visit any time of year, the gardens are beautiful even when dormant.  The Antique Rose Emporium hours are:  Mon-Sat 9am-5:30pm, Sun 11:00am-5:30pm

You can look back at three other nurseries in the San Antonio area highlighted during October, Rainbow Gardens  #1 at 2585 Thousand Oaks Drive in north central San Antonio, Rainbow Gardens #3 on Bandera Road northwest of the city and  Hill Country Gardens in New Braunfels.