At first glance from the parking lot very little had changed in the fifteen months since they closed their San Antonio location. Roses in full bloom greeted us just as I remembered from previous visits.
The front entry looked the same as always though it seemed a bit empty without most of the plant displays
We had discussed on the drive over that it would probably look like a ghost town....
....and it did. A beautifully landscaped ghost town. Only the tumbleweeds were missing.
Fittingly we had a rare cloudy day to match our mood.
The bright orange cosmos were going to seed giving us a good reason (excuse) to be here.
Our seed gathering task completed, I headed off for a tour of my favorite spots which is basically every part of these gardens. For those of you who know the gardens well this will be tough to see, but it has remained a beautiful spot to the end.
The cedar gazebo with a white and blue garden walk looked beautiful.
A crinum still blooming among the white roses in November
The now-empty bottle tree and on the right is the way the tree looked when the nursery was open.
The gardens looked surprisingly good with all the late summer rain.
As I walked through the gardens I reminisced with Robbi, the manager of this location, and Melody about my first visit five years ago when I didn't know the names of most of these plants. Now I know almost all of them and many are in my own gardens.
More of that brilliant orange of the Cosmos accent the perennials and roses in the center garden. Still magical.
Here the Cosmos mix with Mexican Bush Sage
The gardens look ready for the holidays with the red shrimp plant and cedar deer in another section
Gregg's Dalea as groundcover on the other side
I followed the path to the Hacienda
Silvery yuccas and a Texas Mountain Laurel 'Silver Peso' grace the entrance with Autumn Sage at their feet.
Agave parryi carries the silvery theme around a nearby border
The Hacienda lawn has seen its last wedding.
The fountains were still bubbling in the blue adobe courtyard
Clerodendron ugandense blooming against the blue wall.
One more look at the huge yucca with the strappy silver leaves and a reminder I never did ask the name of this one.
The adobe courtyard
The green between the bricks are self-seeded flowers and not weeds.
The arcade spanning across the two courtyards
Changsha orange tree loaded with fruit
Tempting but I didn't pick any
Darkness was falling and we headed home after more than two hours walking and talking with Robbi in the gardens. Behind the shed you can see the empty rose display. All the roses and other plants from the sales area were moved to the Independence location near Brenham.
Back on the road, I hopped out to move the rope.....
...and we took one last look back.
The faded writing requests "Visit your local independent nursery or garden center to find our antique roses locally". An excellent idea no matter where you live or what type of plant you are looking for.
There's no way around the news so I'll just put it out there as is: The property has been sold. The gardens will be removed and the land put to another use.
For those of you who loved visiting these gardens over the years, I hope you enjoyed this "last chance" tour and you can always take a trip to The Antique Rose Emporium gardens in Independence.