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.