Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Antique Rose Emporium: One Last Time

An invitation in the form of a newsletter from The Antique Rose Emporium was upbeat and offered one last chance to walk through their San Antonio gardens and share a refreshment before they closed down this location.

I was still a bit unsure if I wanted to return.  My last visit had been just before the closing of the gardens was announced.  Going back now meant knowing it was my last visit.  How did I want to remember these gardens?

When Sunday arrived, I decided not to miss this opportunity and It turned out to be a good decision.  Mike Shoup, founder, owner and legendary rose rustler of The Antique Rose Emporium, was there to greet us and offer homemade tamales and sweets.

Even though I have attended his seminars over the years, I'd never had the chance to speak with Mike directly.  There I am in the blue shirt and hat with the surprised look.  We're not talking plant business.  It turns out we grew up in the same area of Houston and attended nearby rival high schools at the same time. 

Time to tour the gardens for one last look

Mike and Robbie, the manager of this location, walking in the courtyard.  I will always marvel at his vision in creating this beautiful garden.

One more look at the stunning yucca in the blue adobe courtyard.

A view of the many native plants between the adobe courtyards and Hacienda.  I don't think I've shown this view before.

The resident cats are now in adoptive homes and report that their new people have adjusted well. 

A long view of the sales area with the bottle tree and gift shop in the background.

The windmill and hacienda

The windmill, cactus, greenhouse from the other direction

The A. ovatifolia bloom I wrote about this spring was dropping dried petals but had not yet formed bulbils.  The lower leaves are beginning to die out.

After a tour of the gardens, I decided to pick up the plants I kept planning on adding "next time".  Now or never I decided and finally bought that native Texas Sotol (Sotol Texanum) I'd been looking at.  A dwarf pomegranate, dicliptera/wooly justicia, red rocket russelia, clerodendrum ugandense, weeping muhly, and salvia argentea are also added to my cart there in front of the check out.

Clyda, a member of the staff working the register, was glad we stopped by one more time.  She thought the Agave americana bloom by the adobe courtyard might just fall over from sadness on Sunday.  It is very tilted but was still there when we left.

The remaining inventory will be moved to the Brenham nursery, which will remain open, and this property will be sold.

Mike put it simply, "it's time".

Thank you Mike for sharing this beautiful and inspiring place with us.  We'll visit you in Brenham.


  1. Glad you could make it, since I couldn' it's nicely immortalized. If only I can make it out to your area to visit that sculpture garden, before it permanently closes in a month or so...this doggone day job!

  2. Wonderful Post. I spent some time out there on Thursday and Friday. I stayed for 2 hours on Friday just walking the gardens and trying to take it all in. I did purchase a Mexican Lime tree and some other plants that I knew I was not going to be able to find anywhere else. It is amazing how much wildlife the display gardens supported including hummingbirds, migrating Monarchs and countless other creatures. I just wish we had more display gardens like ARE had in San Antonio.

  3. Thanks for the last look. I'm sad to see it close.

  4. I hope the property gets a good owner. It really has a lot to offer wildlife and people alike.

  5. Sad to see it go. We never did make it down there.
    Hopefully, someone will buy the property who can really appreciate it.

  6. It's sad yet I understand. Love all the plants here and can't go wrong with that:) Glad you could see it one more time before it closes.

  7. Bidding one last, bittersweet goodbye did have the advantage of pushing you to make purchases rather than put it off for another day. Now you will have living memorials in your own garden.
    Lovely place...lovely memories.


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