Antique Rose Emporium, Again

For people who like whimsy in the garden or just creative ideas, Antique Rose Emporium is the place to visit.

emporiumThese stacked pot arches are in several places in the gardens.emporium3

emporium6Several older houses and buildings are scattered around the grounds.  This one may have been the home of the owner at one time.emporium1As one would expect, there are lots and lots of roses for sale.

emporium0I absolutely love this vine.  It is tropical and so impractical for me, but I was sure tempted to buy one.

emporium5The flowers are breathtaking and exotic.

Skyvine (Thunbergia grandiflora) has lots of common names such as Blue Thunbergia, Bengal Clock Vine, Bengal Trumpet Vine, and Blue Sky Flower.  It has naturalized in many tropical areas around the world.

emporium9

emporiumaCute.

emporium7There are so many of these extra tall towers for climbers that I couldn’t pass up snapping shots of them.

emporium2More roses.  It’s fun to walk around soaking up the scents.

emporium8The bushes with blue flowers are Cape Plumbagos (Plumbago auriculata), which must have winter protection in my area.

emporiumbSomething for everyone.

emporiumjlI only remember the story line of The Wizard of Oz in a general line.  Here is one of the wicked witches.

emporiumlThe sign:  “Come in, my pretties”.  The old lady Elmira Gulch rode a bike and was swept into the tornado.  The same actress played Elmira and the two witches.

emporiumjThe Tin Man has run out of oil.

roseempcToto waits for Dorothy.

emporiumcInteresting plant with the pink tips.

emporiumdSpiked Cockscomb (Celosia spicata) definitely attracts butterflies, even at the end of blooming season.

emporiumeTheir twisted stems also got my attention.

emporiumfAs you can see, each photo opportunity seemed better than the last one.

emporiumgA simple flat bucket of Marigolds, I think.  Put a rabbit and a mailbox with it, and voila, you have something to draw attention.

emporiumhA new favorite bush, Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a tropical bush that requires zone 9.  I’ve been debating with myself about giving it a try.  Maybe I could find a protected spot where it could make it through freezes.

emporiumiLike the hair on this one.

emporiumkGrasses, ferns, and other plants, all mixed together.

emporiummThey make gardening look so easy.

emporiumnLast year I looked for a deep red Coleus but couldn’t find one.  Now I know where to find one.

emporiumoAlso liked this unusual Coleus with a polka dot look.

emporiumpLiked it so much that I just had to take a picture of one in a pot with a spiky plant.

emporiumqThis metal cat greets visitors or hisses a goodby.

Our visit at Antique Rose Emporium sparked my creative juices.

“If a man says he will fix it, he will.  There is no need to remind him every six months.”  unknown

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Antique Rose Emporium

The first week-end in November we attended the 29th annual Fall Festival at the Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, Texas.

antique-roseThe first day was overcast and misty, so pictures are a little dark.

There are several entrances to this 10 acre nursery.  Yes, it is a nursery, but to me it’s a destination worth visiting.

antique-rose1Although the emphasis is on antique roses, there are other plants in the landscape and for sale.

These Cigar Plants (Cuphea ignea) or Firecracker Plants or really tall.  Independence is about the same latitude as Austin and therefore, have pretty warm winters.

antique-rose2The meetings were held in this chapel.  The speakers were great, but unfortunately, the acoustics were not good.

antique-rose4The gardeners are very creative at setting up vignettes that make people smile as they walk through the landscape.

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antique-rose6There are many of these unusual trellises (I don’t know what else to call them) throughout the gardens.  The heavy rebar makes them very sturdy, so they are great for vigorous climbing roses, like Lady Banks.

antique-rose7A cute little green house for those who don’t have much room on their property.

antique-rose8Of course, it is all about roses.  This looks like Belinda’s Dream.  Antique Rose Emporium was started by a couple of guys who were involved in a group called Rose Rustlers.  They visited cemeteries and other places searching for antique roses that they could take cuttings from and then propagate them.  All of the roses here are propagated in fields owned by the nursery.

antique-rose9I had never seen Salvia Greggii White Autumn Sage before.  They have a more rounded bush shape and were very striking.  The nursery did not have any in stock.

antique-roseaA hardy Hibiscus still blooming.

antique-rosebAlthough I’m not big fan of fairy gardens, I liked this one.

antique-rosecBut technically, this is a gnome garden.  I liked the way they have tiny flowers planted to match the size of the houses.

antique-rosedLooked cute, even with some weeds.

antique-rosee

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antique-rosegA small Persimmon tree with fruit.

antique-rosehI wish I could remember the names of these yellow flowers on tall stems.  Anyone?

antique-rosejSeveral places were set up for weddings.  I guess the guest list would have to be small for this spot.

antique-rosekArches lead up to a gazebo that could be used for a wedding ceremony.

antique-roselBehind the gazebo are rose bushes as well as climbing roses and other plants.

There will be two more posts about the Antique Rose Emporium.  I could gladly spend days there.

“Definition of maturity:  to be able to stick with a job until it’s finished; to do one’s duty without being supervised; to be able to carry money without spending it; and to be able to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.”  unknown

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That Time of the Year

This post is about the ugly side of gardening.  As weather forecasts predict freezing temperatures, it’s time to say goodbye to flowers blooming and prepare to protect plants.

autumnchore9Strawberry Gompheras still hang on in the compost pile, but they too will succumb to frost.

aautumnchorePlants will be hauled into these two sheds.  We choose metal sheds for greenhouses because other structures would not hold up to the high winds here.

autumnchoreSo the process begins.  It takes both of us to lift the really large pots.

autumnchore1Load after load has filled up one shed.  It has an electric heater with a thermostat that is set just high enough to keep everything from freezing.

autumnchore2It has already been cold enough to effect the tropical hibiscus.  The humidity from watering will be a cozy environment for most of the plants.  Through the winter I only need to water every two weeks.

autumnchore3All of the plants have been watered.  The floor slopes to a drain in the center.

autumnchore5The second shed does not have heat but is also insulated.  Plants that cannot endure hard freezes but can take some cold are put here.

autumnchore6Yes, the shed is messy but functional.

autumnchore7Between the two sheds are some newly potted roses.  They are protected from direct northerly winds.  Hopefully, next spring these will be planted in new flowerbeds.

autumnchore8I may regret leaving this Umbrella plant out.  But some of the pots are just too heavy.  Notice that the Poinsettias from last year are getting some red brackets.  I’m hoping a little chilly weather will cause more red.

fallMay you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

“Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.  It’s a way to live.”  Jackie Windspear

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Awesome Autumn

In our region, every drop of rain and every cool day is a blessing.  Makes us all feel rejuvenated.

autumnblooms Vitex still has blooms.

autumnblooms12Flame Acanthus has gotten a lot of attention from butterflies lately.  Here some fast little Sulphurs zip from flower to flower making it a challenge to photograph even a blur of yellow.

autumnblooms1This Giant Swallowtail lingered at each tubular blossom.

autumnblooms2Beauty in motion.

autumnblooms6Swallowtails have a wingspan of 4 to 5 and a half inches, so it’s easy to spot them.

autumnblooms3Globe Mallow is covered with bright orange cup shaped flowers.  Boy, I never expected this native to get so large.

autumnblooms4The orange flowers pop on the grey-green ruffled leaves.  The bush is a nice contrast to all the green leafed bushes around it.

autumnblooms5The flowers on the Blue Plumbago or Cape Plumbago are dropping daily.  The blue flowers are so pale that in bright light they look white.  Soon it will be time to carry it into the shed.

autumnblooms7Roses are putting on a final extravaganza.  I love how rose bushes perform year after year.

autumnblooms8Pale peachy color on the flowers from this bush is stunning.  I’ve had it so long that I don’t remember the variety.

autumnblooms9A tight bud.

autumnbloomsaTropical Ixora (Ixora coccinia) is known as jungle flame.  It amazes me that the flowers bloom almost indefinitely.  The evergreen shrub has a rounded shape with glossy foliage.

Being a plant that naturally grows in Asian heavily wooded areas, it prefers shade.  Mine is grown in a pot that is tucked into a corner where it only receives late afternoon sun as it is low on the horizon.

autumnbloomsbReblooming Irises are back, although on very short stems.

autumnbloomsccVariegated Fritillary on a Pink Coneflower (Echinacea).  Most of the Coneflowers have dried, but a few have appeared in recent weeks.  Coneflower is an easy plant to grow.  It reseeds and multiples every year.

bunches5Back in August after a heavy rainfall, this trellis that has Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) was growing so thickly that it toppled over.  We cut back the vines to the ground, put in more concrete, and righted the trellis.

Since that time, the vine is growing like crazy.  It’s going to be difficult to keep this thing in check.  Okay. Maybe it’s becoming invasive.

autumnbloomsdCopper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) blooms in late fall and is always a nice surprise.  It is native to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northern Mexico and truly doesn’t need much water.

Up close it also stinks, so deer don’t like it.  It’s not a problem outside but reeks in a confined space.

autumnbloomsddIt flowers on the ends of wispy stems that bounce around in the wind.

autumnbloomsdddNice bright yellow flowers.  This might be a Painted Lady butterfly on it.

“Love is like wildflowers; it’s often found in the most unlikely places.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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A Healthy Garden

The day we were in the community garden in Menard, butterflies were everywhere – one sign of a healthy garden.

gardenmenard6A Southern Dogface Butterfly is enjoying the Zinnias.

gardenmenard5Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia Leucantha) has a wonderful velvety texture and butterflies gravitate to them.

gardenmenardaA Pipevine Swallowtail also like the Zinnias.

gardenmenardbWhat is it about butterflies that is so spellbinding?  The fact that they are fragile?  Always in motion?  Or just plain gorgeous?

gardenmenardThis garden has many purposes besides looking pretty.  It provides raised beds for citizens to rent for growing vegetables.

gardenmenard1Some okra pods look ready to be picked.

gardenmenard7Our group of Master Gardener students was here specifically to learn about water conservation.  In a demonstration, Billy Kniffen pours water into four different plastic boxes on top of a rack.  The water then flows down into other boxes on the lower shelf that have drain pipes.  The purpose of the demo is to show how much water pours out of the pipe and how quickly it empties out.

What is planted in the ground makes a difference for water absorption.  The bin on the left has native prairie grasses growing, which allows the rainfall to soak in, and the long roots of the grasses leads the water further into the ground, replenishing the water table.

gardenmenard8The next container is turf sod or grass like what is used in most yards, which allows some runoff.

Then there is a container that has very little growing in it.  Bare ground becomes hard and doesn’t absorb water, which then washes away even more soil.

This shelter and some other small sheds have gutters that direct rainwater into water storage tanks.

gardenmenard9The last container has a house.  Sponges are placed around the house.  Once they have soaked up water, then it will gradually seep out.  He suggested having water permeable hard surfaces to prevent water runoff.  Replacing concrete with other materials like gravel would help.  There are products that have a strong enough surface for walking or even parking a car, but have holes that allow water to pass through.  Those have been in use in Europe for many years.

Manufactured permeable blocks that look like concrete are available, but are extremely expensive. Hopefully companies will come up with ways to produce more affordable materials.

gardenmenardcLarge ornamental grasses similar to the native prairie grasses hold water and are good choices for landscaping.

gardenmenarddAnd of course, every garden needs pretty plants like Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus drummondii).

Enjoy the butterflies in your garden now before cold weather comes.

“You can’t fix stupid, but you can vote it out.”  unknown

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Menard Community Garden

Menard, Texas, is a small town with concerned citizens.  One couple has taken on the project of educating children about gardening through the Junior Master Gardener program.  They have classes for students from kindergarten through junior high.

This couple also maintains the citys Marjorie Russel Education memorial garden.

menardgarden5Following a relatively wet year, the garden has grown tremendously.  My husband and I were there in early spring this year to help other volunteers do clean-up to get ready for the new season.

menardgardenOn this visit with the Master Gardener students who were finishing their course for certification, the garden was alive with butterflies.  Bluemist Flowers (Conoclinium coelestinum) is a must have plant for central Texans to attract butterflies.  I admit that I’m prejudged about this plant because it has been so successful in my own yard.

menardgarden1A Viceroy butterfly busy feeding.  In front of the Blue Mist Flower is Artemisia, another wonderful plant.

menardgarden2Monarch butterflies absolutely must have milkweed plants to survive.  This tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is one of the showier milkweeds that is a beauty in the garden.  Unfortunately, mine freeze each year and don’t return.

On the right are rose hips from spent roses.

menardgarden3Lots of Zinnas are scattered throughout the garden.  Anyone who says they can’t afford plants should consider buying cheap zinna seeds.  The flowers reseed, so they keep on giving.

menardgarden4Behind the zinnas is Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) which adds another dimension of form and texture to the garden.

menardgardencThe layers of plants, even with their intertwining, appeal to me.  Guess I just like a jungle look.  Not for everyone; I understand.

menardgarden6Not only do the Junior Master Gardeners meet here and plant their own plots, anyone in the community can rent one of these plots for $10 to $30, depending on what they can afford.  The city provides the water, and the couple in charge do the watering.  What a deal.

menardgarden8Another popular plant that appeals to pollinators is Salvia Greggii.  Not sure what kind of butterfly this is.

menardgarden7I think this is a Black Swallowtail.

menardgarden9This Salvia Greggii is called Lipstick.  The grower that came up with this name had quite an imagination.

menardgardenaBluemist Flower usually has lots of dead blossoms.  Doesn’t seem to bother the butterflies.

menardgardenb

menardgardendThere are several fruit trees in the garden, including this Fig.   Many of the plants and trees have been donated.

menardgardeneRock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) is a hardy Texas native with small flowers.

I admire people who give of themselves to their communities.

“Trump and Clinton are like divorced parents fighting over custody of us. And we just wanna live with Grandma.”  unknown

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Eden

A small town in the midst of scrub brush in flat West Texas has a garden, which was the result of one man’s labor.

eden01The Garden of Eden has some surprising elements.  It’s been two years since I last visited, and it has changed some.

eden1A large plastic tank has recycling water – nice soothing sound.

eden2An old milk can is used as the spout vessel.  I’m surprised that it hasn’t rusted out.

eden3Flame Acanthus (Aniscanthus quadrifidus var. quadrifidus var. wrightii) is scattered throughout the garden.  Once established, it’s very hardy.

eden4No surprise that hummingbirds and butterflies visit the tubular flowers.  It is drought tolerant and even does well in poor soils.

eden5Coral Honeysuckle or Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) has become a bramble beside the metal archway where it was originally trained to grow.

eden7A banana tree growing in West Texas.  Hard to believe that it can withstand the dry heat or the winter temperatures.  Yet, here it is producing bananas.

eden6This was a volunteer plant that came up and no one has been able to identify it.

eden8Lots of pretty grasses.  Although many ornamental grasses last only one year, this one must be perennial.

edenaNative Morning Glory grabs hold of lots of bushes and intertwines in the stems and leaves.  Here it is growing among Mexican Petunias.

edenbThe yellow flowers are Texas Yellow Bells (Tacoma stans), which is a beloved plant that is native to far West Texas in the Big Bend area.  It is a tall shrub with gorgeous flowers that is drought tolerant and abides limestone soils.

However, cold winters have done mine in.  But I keep trying to save one.

eden02Although this garden has been turned over to the city and depends on volunteers for maintenance, the man who planted it is still very much involved.

edencTypical agave with Mexican Petunias behind them.  Agaves are not all that cold hardy, so I’m surprised to see them here.

edendTangerine Beauty Crossvine (Bignonia capreolate ‘Tangerine Beauty’) is a perfect fit for this part of Texas.  It is cold hardy, endures the hot summers, and is pretty, to boot.

edeneTexas Sotol (Dasylirion leiophyllum) is a common sight in pastures and is extremely hardy.  It has sharp edges, so it should not be planted close to walkways.

edenfAnother hardy plant, Salvia Greggii Red Sage has a pleasant scent, especially when brushed as one passes by it.  It is a semi woody plant that is native to Texas and Mexico.  It thrives in the heat but does not tolerant wet feet.

edengAs a soft plant for touching, Artemesia in the Mugwort family is a wonderful choice.  They are grown for their silvery-green foliage and for their wonderful aroma.

edenhMore Yellow Bells

edeniFour O’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) were grown by the Aztecs for medicinal and ornamental purposes.  They spread profusely.  Where each black seed falls, a new plant will spring up.  The seeds can be seen in the picture where spend flowers have fallen.

edenjPalo Verde Trees (Parkinsonia aculeata) are desert trees that have pretty yellow flowers in the spring.  Maybe the mild winters the last few years have allowed this one to get a foothold.
edenkA clever tin man that I would like to duplicate but finding the right size cans could be a problem.

Although most of the plants in this garden are what one would expect to see in this area, it seems lush with the paths winding through tall shrubs and full plantings.

“Knowledge is knowing what to say.  Wisdom is knowing when to say it.”  unknown

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