Roses Create That Romantic Interpretation Often Found Missing In Landscapes
Story by Natalie de la Garza
Roses get a bad rap, and no one knows better than Mike Shoup, the founder of the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham. But times, they have a-changed.
From spraying to pruning, the rules that once made roses seem “fussy” are gone, with Shoup saying that homeowners now have access to “a selection of roses that really are the ultimate garden plants offering color, fragrance and ease of care throughout the gardening season.”
“The reality is that the success of a Houstonian with roses often depends on the types of roses that they choose,” says Shoup.
One of his best sellers is Belinda’s Dream, a crowd-pleaser for its perfect pink flowers held on a nice drop stem, and the pale apricot variation of Belinda’s Blush. “It’s a great cut flower,” says Shoup. “It’s very fragrant and it’s an easy performer.”
Among the China roses, which originated in Chinese coastal communities with high humidity and heat similar to Houston and Gulf Coast locales, Shoup says you can’t go wrong with the butterfly rose, mutabilis, whose blooms appear like multi-colored “butterflies dancing on the foliage”; the dark red Cramoisi Supérieur and its pure white version, Ducher; or the “time-tested survivor” Old Blush. Clusters of the semi-double, lilac pink blooms can be found in cemeteries all over the South.
“If dead people can grow them, anybody can,” jokes Shoup.
And the sweetheart rose, a polyantha named Cecile Brunner, is a perfectly formed little bud, ideal for a boutonniere and with a wonderful fragrance.
Shoup believes fragrance is important, and he notes that breeders are now moving toward fragrant, easy-care roses. In fact, the Antique Rose Emporium has developed two such award-winning roses, Thomas Affleck and Pioneer Spirit, through its own breeding program.
After carefully selecting your roses, Shoup says “it’s the life of the soil that determines the success of your plants.” Shoup recommends a compost of about two to three inches on top with about six to seven inches integrated into the soil so it’s throughout the entire root base of the plant. Layer a mulch on top, like pine or hardwood bark, and get out of the way so millions of microbes can get to work.
“If you do a good job of providing organic living soil then the microbes will take care of your plants,” says Shoup.
Lastly, if you’re looking to add a little drama, Shoup says “the ooh and aah of a garden is really from a few selections of good climbing roses.”
“A good, well-placed climber sometimes is the most evocative and most beautiful thing you can do,” says Shoup. “They create that romantic interpretation that is often missing in a good landscape.”
With fall around the corner, the best time for Houstonians to plant, Shoup hopes homeowners will “just give it a try.”
“The garden is a lot bigger than the individual plants residing in it,” says Shoup, noting its potential for individual artistry and creativity.
“Expression is so important to people,” adds Shoup, and in a garden, “the expression is infinite.”
Antique Rose Emporium
10000 FM 50, Brenham