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Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Search of the Perfect Rose

Ed is helping me build a trellis in the back yard next to the house.  It has an interesting design and will be painted white.  It needs a red rose. Not just any red rose. The color must be deep, it must produce hips, it must endure the Texas summer, it can’t be a water hog, it must be pest and disease resistant, and the scent must knock me down. Lucky for me the Antique Rose Emporium has just the thing.  It’s called a Crimson Glory climber.  Even luckier for me, they were having a gardening event with speakers and other activities. Ed and I decided to make a weekend of it.

We drove 90 miles to Brenham Texas.  It is on highway 290 – the road to Houston – and passes through some beautiful country.  When we got to Bastrop County, the live oak gave way to pine trees.  It was like seeing old friends.  The landscape reminded me of Southern Oregon where I grew up.  A little further on it was if we passed through a rain shadow.  Suddenly the roadside grass was green and lush and the wildflowers were in bloom.  Our cares immediately began to fall away. 
Brenham is a very old Texas town.  The Texas Declaration of Independence was signed near there on March 2, 1836.  There are lots of older buildings and craftsman style homes.  We stayed in the Ant Inn.  It’s a bed and breakfast located in an old mercantile building.  We booked the “Austin” room and lived in opulence.  They were very nice people and it was a lovely place to stay. 

The Antique Rose Emporium is an amazing place.  The display gardens are incredible and packed with roses.  Not the fussy Jackson & Perkins roses that I grew up with, but old-fashioned, tough as nails, real roses.  Both of us were constantly shoving our face into blooms to take in the scent. 

As part of the festivities, Mike had the Brenham high school drama club on the grounds doing Shakespeare vignettes. They were completely in costume and deep in character.  I was called “M’Lady” several times (so much nicer than “ma’am”.)
There was so much to see and do.

The trellises and gazebos were very inspiring.


They have several rebar Monet-like structures, one almost two stories high.
The talks were interesting too. Every time I went to one I discovered new roses that would go great in my home garden. Which meant I came outside and put more roses in my wagon that was parked at the checkout. I ended up with a dozen at the end.

I met a lot of fellow master gardeners and got to talk shop with several.  It was fun to talk about scents and growth habits.  Everyone had a favorite that they had to drag others to go and see.  Yes, more roses for my wagon.

The area around the Antique Rose Emporium was beautiful too.  Ed and I found a group of roses in the parking lot that was framed by the vista of a farmhouse on the prairie.

We came home today and I unloaded my treasures.  As I lined them up against the garage in the order they were going to be planted I made a discovery.  I had grabbed the wrong rose.  Instead of the Crimson Glory that had inspired the trip, I had picked up a Jacob’s Coat by mistake. Luckily I have just the spot for it - it will replace a passion vine that the caterpillars ate.

So what to do about my red rose?

I guess I have to go back.