Rose Emporium Visit

Back in Brenham at the Antique Rose Emporium, there’s lots to see.

Nice bouquet of roses and Celosia in the seminar meeting room.

On the grounds, there are plenty of flowers to enjoy, like this Country Girl Mum (Dendranthema zawadskii).  They are heirlooms from Russia that bloom in the fall and are spreaders.

A Queen butterfly loves it, too.

The Rose Emporium abounds with many decorating ideas for the yard.

Candle bush or candlestick cassia (Cassia alata), becomes a small tree or large bush.
Pollinators are drawn to the bright yellow blossoms, but it needs warm winters.

Wonder if this structure was originally a keyhole garden.

This bloom was way above my head.  It looks like a Datura or Moon Flower.  Datura stramonium is commonly called Jimson weed, Stink weed, Loco Weed, Thorn Apple, Angel’s Trumpet, Devil’s Trumpet, Devil’s Snare, Devil’s See, Mad Hatter, etc.

Most of these names are the result of the fact that the plant is poisonous and have huge seed pods that are so prickly you can’t handle them.  But when they fall to the ground and decay, the small black seeds fall out and propagate new plants.

To me, the flowers justify growing them.

Cosmos can be used to fill any barren spot in the garden.  They will quickly fill the space.

A small rose, Lynn’s Legacy, spoke to me.  I like the cupped shape of the petals.  Also, that it can be grown in a pot.

Dahlias has always been a flower for the northern United States in my mind because they don’t seem suited for our heat.  So, I was surprised to see one growing there.

That area has better soil than we do.  I don’t know if Dahlias have a chance in our caliche clay soil and extreme heat.

Very pretty and tempting.

Porterweed has attracted a Gulf Fritillary.

At the back of the meeting room, small vases of heritage roses were displayed.  One of the main characteristics of heirloom roses, besides being hardy, is the scent.  So this was a chance to smell them and be enticed to buy some bushes.

Very Texas rose display.

It was a great couple of days to hear wonderful, knowledgeable speakers that came from long distances and to enjoy the gardens.

“I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.”  Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Rose Symposium

Every autumn the Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, Texas, provides two days of free informational sessions.  The speakers are specialists in their fields.

The Rose Emporium is certainly about roses, mostly heritage roses.  But there’s so much more there.

We arrived early to wander around and get pictures without people cluttering the landscape.  Arches define many of the walkways.

The gazebo is surrounded by roses and other flowers.

This might be a Gray Golden Aster.

Lovely fern design.  It looks great but isn’t very comfortable.

Surprised to see a lily still blooming.

Love this Celosia.  There are lots of different varieties.  I’ve been told that they reseed but haven’t had success with that.  Guess I’ll have to buy one every year.

This nursery has lots of garden art, some of it for sale.

Texas Sage ‘Heavenly Cloud’ is a hybrid between L. frutescens ‘Green Cloud’ and L. laevigatum.  It was developed at A & M and grows well in different types of soil.

Think this is a soldier butterfly.  On this nice, cool, sunny day, butterflies were feeding on lots of different kind of flowers.

“As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”  Ben Hogan

Roses and More

This year, Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas, is celebrating its 30th year of operation.

Inside the chapel, where the annual symposium is held, rose decorations set the theme.

This wreath hung on the podium.  By the way, the speakers we heard on Friday were excellent.

A frame on an easel held this vase of gorgeous roses.  We all wandered up to try and figure out how it was created.  I think wet florist foam was behind the half pot and all the rose stems were stuck in it.

A couple of these frames were hung on blacked out windows.

And, of course, there had to be a cowboy boot filled with sweet smelling roses.  We were so glad we attended this special event, even though we were only able to stay for one day.

Arriving early and using the lunch hour to wander around the nursery is always a treat.  This is so much more than a nursery.  It’s like an arboretum.  There are flower beds everywhere filled with all kinds of plants, like this fancy Zinna.

One of the things I like about this place is the whimsy scattered all around.  A living bedroom provides a smile.

All sorts of plantings show ideas for lots of different tastes.

Beds of simple, common flowers like these Dianthus or Pinks illustrate that gardening doesn’t have to be expensive.  Although, it definitely can be because it becomes a consuming hobby.  I speak from experience.

Simple, yet elegant setting.

A dying vine with some berries left provided a viewing spot for this bird above our heads.  He certainly seemed oblivious to our presence.

A small fenced in area contained lettuces and other greens and edibles growing beside flowers.

Brightly colored peppers are eye catching.

A bed of one of my favorite perennials:  Henry Duelberg Salvia (Salvia farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’).  Another common name is Henry Duelberg Mealy Cup Sage.  Loves the sun and attracts bees.

But the heart of this place is roses.  So many choices to choose from.

Several posts will follow to show more of Antique Rose Emporium.  Thanks for stopping by.

“I was born with a reading list I will never finish.”  Maud Casey

Giddings Mansion, Upstairs

Over-the-top decorations at the Giddings Mansion in Brenham attract crowds each year.

Downstairs was all glittery white and silver.

Upstairs had more traditional reds and greens with a children’s theme.

On the upstairs landing jolly St. Nick had already delivered many gifts.

Just like downstairs, decorations filled every space.

Clever idea, but I wondered why it looked so haphazardly done.  Maybe that was the intent.

The bright berries against the green makes a strong statement, just like in nature.

The decorations in the bedroom for the parents maintained the subtle silver and white tones that were downstairs.  The “H” probably stands for Hermann’s furniture store that provided the decorations.


Just adding extra items like faux pearls brings more drama.

The crib in the parents’ bedroom showcases children’s garments.

It’s good to remind myself that the decorator had unlimited resources and did not have limited storage space.  I can just enjoy her creativity and take away a few ideas to use.

The master bathroom would have been such a luxury item when this house was built.

So the tiny sink makes sense for that time.

A room decorated for a boy is crammed with Christmas items.

So pretty.

What a great way to use nutcrackers.

The hall bathroom would have been for the children.

The other rooms across the hall were not accessible to visitors.

Looking down to the first landing in the stairway.

Out on the front porch stood a festive sleigh.  The bells look old but are probably modern and made to look that way.  I always search for items like that.

We followed the wrap around porch to the back and sure enough, more decorations.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.  May your holidays be filled with love and joy.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the splendid decorations from this tour in this post and the previous one.

“The manger at Christmas means that, if you live like Jesus, there won’t be room for you in a lot of inns.” Timothy Keller



Giddings Stone Mansion

When we were in Brenham the first weekend in November, we visited several places besides the Antique Rose Emporium.  There was a Christmas at the Mansion tour while we were there.

The home is a 19th century Greek Revival with eleven rooms. On the back right part of house is an attached building that houses the kitchen, laundry and servants’ wing.

The home was built for J. D. Giddings and was completed in 1870.  Mr. Giddings has decided to move him family to the highest hill in Washington county after there was a yellow fever epidemic that was caused by mosquitoes living in the low lying areas.

After moving his family into the home, he died in 1878, but his wife lived there until her death years later.

Descendants lived in the house for the next three generations and it remained in the family until the 1970’s.  Today the building is used as a wedding venue and for other events.

Each year the home is decorated for Christmas by the Hermann Furniture store.  One of their family is an interior decorator.  The proceeds from the tour benefit the Heritage Society of Washington County.

It quickly became obvious that the decorations were done by a professional.   Each year the decorator chooses a theme.

Downstairs was done in glittery silvers and whites with a nature theme.

In the entry hall an upside down Christmas tree was hung.  A docent explained that this is a custom in Germany.  History does shows that an English monk traveled to Thuringia, German to spread the word of God in the 7th century.  He used the triangular shape of a fir tree to represent the Trinity.  He also hung an upside down tree to remind people of Christ on a cross.

But I don’t agree that it is a custom in Germany today.  When we lived there, we never saw one.  Rather, I think it’s an attempt by businesses to get people to buy a hanging tree as an unusual decoration.

Like the sleigh.


The nature part of the theme used many realistic looking stuffed animals.

The house was extremely crowded, so I couldn’t wander around as slowly as I would have liked.

It seemed that every surface was decorated and decorated well.

So simple, yet eye catching.  Guess this chair was brought from the store since it has a price tag.

The dining room table was surrounded by this portable gazebo.  I’m guessing that was brought in for this tour.

Too many trees to count.  Looking at the pictures makes me wonder if all the potted plants, like the Amaryllis were real.

I apologize about the light in some of the pictures.  It was so bright outside that the light from the windows created a glare on some shots.

My one criticism is that this display should have had a little more color.

The banister’s frosted swag fit right in with all the other decorations.

Next post will show the upstairs, which had a very different theme.

“Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem.”  Linus