Fall Festival 2013 at Antique Rose Emporium: Arbors, labyrinth & garden shops


On a perfect fall day last Saturday at the Antique Rose Emporium near Brenham, Texas, after I’d given my Lawn Gone! talk, I strolled around for an hour taking pictures in the golden light of late afternoon. Felder Rushing, the final speaker of the day, was entertaining a crowd in the speakers’ hall, so I had the display gardens largely to myself.


The gardens occupy several acres of former farmland — wide, open space that can dwarf a garden that lacks sufficient structure. A handful of old houses and other buildings have been rescued and revived as gift shops, speaking venues, and information booths, providing structure and quaint charm. Large-scale arbors also add structure — not to mention vertical space to grow roses and other climbers — as we’ll see below. The wall pictured here, however, is cloaked in tidy fig ivy, with a classic spitting fountain and circular basin. I love this.


The wall is part of an old stone house that contains garden decor, bulbs, and gift items. No employees ever seem to man the little shops scattered around the grounds, relying on the honor system for customers who want to buy. The trust is so refreshing.


Lattice screening stands tall along a side path…


…and helps to shelter a blue bistro set on a small patio.


‘Fireworks’ gomphrena blazing alongside a picket fence


The central part of the display gardens is quite open, given over to a winding, brick labyrinth. Enormous shrub roses and arching arbors give definition to the space.


A gravel walk curves beneath a series of arched arbors planted with roses.


Hot-pink roses like these


You exit the arbors into the labyrinth, whose narrow, brick path meanders around several treelike metal rose towers.


This is a big one.


There’s so much rural Texas charm in the old farm structures that adorn the property. I’ve never peeked in the windows to see if it’s an occupied or rentable structure. ARE does rent out the gardens and buildings for weddings.


Another look from a more open viewpoint


I have this same rooster sculpture, a gift from my sweet husband, in my own garden. Here it’s elevated to sculptural prominence on an overturned pot inside a larger, planted pot.


This spiraling, terracotta-pot archway greets visitors entering the nursery.


How many pots do you reckon make up this arch?


Just inside the arch, a statue of a young gardener kneels in a flowerbed, with an audience of meditating frogs for company.


The frogs are funny, but something else has caught her eye.


A tin-roofed gallery — another gift shop — enclosed by a picket fence and cottage garden, beckons visitors.


Flame-tipped celosia beckons the butterflies as well.


Porch chairs and rockers invite you to sit a spell.


On this day, white mistflower was attracting queen butterflies, skippers, and bees by the hundreds.


Leaning in for a photo I caught its spicy fragrance, a distinctive and pleasant autumn smell in central Texas.


The butterflies were frenzied for it.


Pillowy pink roses offered their own sweet scent as well.


Near the gallery, a log cabin contains bagged soils and other gardening supplies for sale.


And in back, red roses clamber across a picket fence…


…as a metal rooster stands sentry.


Yes, ARE does have nursery display tables. Here they are, filled with colorful perennials and cool-season annuals. I imagine this woman is thinking, “How can I ever choose?”


At one end of the nursery space, a wooden arbor is absolutely smothered in exotic-looking blue sky vine (Thunbergia grandiflora).


I love these showy, purple flowers with deep, pale-yellow throats.


Aren’t they stunning?


And so were the roses, flowery and full thanks to recent rains and cooler weather.


ARE offers plenty of roses for sale, of course, though I neglected to photograph them (potted roses lined up in rows aren’t particularly scenic). After your shopping and garden touring is done you may wish to rest a while. It must be pleasantly shady here on hot days…


…cooled by a towering bald cypress and winding stream.


By this time it was getting late, and it was time to grab a bite to eat and then hit the road back to Austin. What a lovely day it was. Thanks again, ARE!

For more Rose Emporium goodness, check out my other two posts about the nursery this week:
Fall Festival 2013 at Antique Rose Emporium: Country Girl mums, grasses, and chapel garden
Fall Festival 2013 at Antique Rose Emporium: Beatrix Potter garden, bottle trees & cottage charm

All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

10 Responses

  1. Chris F says:

    The purple vine is Thunbergia Grandiflora. I know this post is more about atmosphere than ID, but I thought I’d offer that.

    Thanks, Chris, although I had already provided the ID under the first photo of it, the one where it’s smothering the arbor. ;-) Thanks for commenting though. Everyone’s been so quiet the past few days, but I’m glad to know I’m not alone in here! —Pam

  2. Alison says:

    It’s been so lovely to see what fall is like in your area, through your ARE posts. Blue sky, sunshine, but cool, and no rain, unlike here, where it’s cold and damp and gray and horrid.

    Alison, sounds like it’s time to head south! :-) —Pam

  3. Oh, I love those sculptures with the water flowing through them. The piece with the young gardener and frogs is wonderful, too. Everything you’ve shown us here tells me this would be a garden to visit during a trip to Texas. Thanks!

    PP, this nursery is well worth a special trip if you’re ever in central or east Texas. —Pam

  4. Lovely indeed. I enjoyed this tour.

    Thanks for coming along, Lisa. —Pam

  5. deb says:

    What a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing.

    My pleasure, Deb! —Pam

  6. Robin P. says:

    Hi Pam,

    Your photos are wonderful. I think the pillowy pink roses are Souvenir de la Malmaison (my favourite shrub rose here in Dallas …I have also the climbing version). And the red roses look like Martha Gonzales. This year has been great for roses, probably because we have had more rain than usual. Thanks for your generosity, Robin.

    Thanks for the IDs, Robin! I love Martha Gonzales. If I ever have a sunny, deer-proof garden again, I’m going to plant that one. —Pam

  7. Thanks for the tours.
    I’ve been wanting to go here for some time. Always meant to get to the one in San Antonio, and waited too long.

    Glad you had such a good group for your talk.

    I was so sad when the ARE in San Antonio closed. Hopefully the Brenham location will be around for many years to come! —Pam

  8. Layanee says:

    Glorious photos. The terra cotta arch is divine. Also, the labyrinth is quite interesting. I can see the little feet of children following that with glee.

    Yes, I know mine would have enjoyed it! —Pam

  9. Man, that is a nice piece of property! I really have to make it a point to have a family day there…can’t believe we have never been yet. Although…with you and your tours, you capture everything. :) labyrinth is super neat….I like the way they designed that one…more than others I have seen. Thanks Pam!

    Yes, go for the day and see the gardens at ARE, do a little antiquing in downtown Brenham, and visit Blue Bell’s headquarters and get some ice cream. A fun day! —Pam

  10. Rose says:

    I didn’t realize until I scrolled down that you had three posts on the Emporium–what a lovely place! I love the labyrinth and all the arbors here, especially the arbor made out of pots. The rose towers are certainly unique.

    I checked out their website trying to see where it was located, thinking it would be a great place to visit next time I visit my daughter in Dallas. I keep forgetting how big Texas is!:)

    Yes, there’s a lotta highway in this state, Rose. But ARE and Brenham make for a nice destination if you’re looking for a day trip one beautiful spring or fall day. —Pam