Why Antique Roses?

Roses Are The Ultimate Garden Plant

Until the discovery of old garden roses, we believed the prevailing bias that roses were hard to grow, fussy, needed to be sprayed, needed to be pruned in a certain way and were short lived.  Antique roses, we have since discovered, have changed that bias and made us lifelong advocates of easy care roses. We truly believe they are the ultimate garden plant. Thousands of customers and guests have proven us right.

Our First Rose Crush

The beauty and hardiness of a rose called Mermaid first got us hooked on antique roses almost 40 years ago, and our fascination with them - and unbounded appreciation for them - has been growing since.  We didn't start out as rose lovers. 

In The Beginning...

With a masters degree in Horticulture in hand, we started a nursery in 1976 as growers of woody ornamentals for the landscape industry and retail centers in central Texas.  Our founder Mike Shoup soon lost interest in the overused plants (ligustrum, pittosporum etc.) and began to look for plants native to Texas that might fill the same demand. 


On our forays to hunt native plants, our staff (which numbered two at the time) also started finding ever-blooming roses surviving without any apparent care in rather desolate surroundings.  This was fascinating to us, as we had never thought of roses as something that could endure the notorious extremes of the Texas climate (droughts and blue northerns) without a gardener's care. 

In 1982, while returning from a delivery and taking an unaccustomed route back to the nursery, we chanced upon a huge rose covering a chain link fence.  We made an unauthorized "rustle," and brought back flowers and cuttings.  It was surviving, indeed, performing spectacularly, in a completely neglected setting. Identified by a rosarian as 'Mermaid,' we could not find it available in commerce anywhere.  Soon it, and the other "survivor" roses became the foundation of the Antique Rose Emporium offerings.

Our Roses Are Different

For the past 35 years our goal has been to give credibility to these plants, and happily we find ourselves part of a recent upsurge of interest in antique roses.  From experience, comments, and feedback from our many repeat customers, we reiterate, there is no way one can begin to appreciate the versatility of these roses until after a few seasons of working with them.  Nothing we say here will substitute for the benefits of hands-on experience.  But we hope to answer enough questions (see our FAQs) and generate enough enthusiasm to launch you into the world of old roses with confidence.  Be aware, however, that these are captivating plants, and once taken with them you're likely to never be the same.