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.


  1. Hi Shirley! I'm so glad to have stumbled into another San Antonio garden blogger. I'm looking forward to following.

  2. That is one nice TX Nursery! And great minds do work in the same way...I took photos of some of the same angles as you did, my one visit in 9/2004. Except you're smarter, since you captured more than I did!

    Antique Rose Emporium and all their displays and garden spaces are proof on how one sells is as important as what one sells.

  3. Great post. I love this place. How was the Roses and Art in the Garden event? I didn't get a chance to make it out there.

  4. Hi Abbey, so nice to find you too! I've put you on my blog list.

    DD - Don't know about smarter, it's difficult to edit anything out. Mike Shoup says the interest in old roses came first, then the mail order business and the gardens were established when customers asked to see the roses in bloom. I think he exceeded expectations a bit. It's a great example of "do what you love and love what you do."

    RW - Mike Shoup was amazing as usual, the roses were just beginning to bloom so should be even better in a week or so. I enjoyed seeing the different booths at Art in the Garden but had to leave before everyone was set up.

  5. Both locations of the Antique Rose Emporium are remarkable for their beautiful display gardens and fun gift shops, but I do love the San Antone location for roses draped along warm adobe walls. Thanks for a great tour, Shirley.

  6. You're welcome Pam, I enjoyed all the visits I made for Support Your Independent Nursery Month. I'll try to catch the roses in full bloom in the future.

  7. This is a great review. One of these days, I'm going to make it down there. It's not that far.
    Thanks for the tour.

  8. Thanks Linda, this is a good time to visit and it's worth the drive.

    I keep saying I need to get back up to Wimberley sometime too, really want to see the larger pieces at Rusty Toad Iron Works.

  9. This used to be one of our favorite places whe we lived on the North side of SA. Now we live outside Castroville and happy to say have our share of roses as well. This is thanks to place such as this that both inspires and motivates. Thanks for reminding me of this wee part of heaven on earth...think we just might have to make the drive this weekend and relive the past.


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