The Writer’s Garden lineup of speakers has been tweaked. It seems that “due to a family situation,” Professor and Texas AgriLife Extension Service Horticulturist Dr. Bill Welch will be unable to be at the Women’s Council of the Arboretum’s fundraiser on Tuesday, November 16, at Rosine Hall.
But luckily, Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Lisa Loy Laughlin and Writer’s Garden Chair Sandy Ammons managed to get a colleague of Bill’s to step in for him — author G. Michael Shoup, who wrote “Landscaping With Antique Roses” in 1986, “Roses In The Southern Garden” in 2000 and “Empress of the Garden” in 2012. In the book he shared his “practical and poetic wisdom” on the “growth habits and personalities of dozens of different antique or old garden roses.”
As he told the Houston Chronicle’s Molly Glentzer in 2015, this love story of Michael and roses took time to grow. Upon earning his master in horticulture in 1976 Michael admitted, “I didn’t start out as a rose lover… roses were just one bush with a thousand different flowers.”
Eventually he hooked up with “a group of plant hunters called the Texas Rose Rustlers who were rescuing century-old plants from cemeteries and abandoned homesteads across the state.”
Working with Bill and others, he “brought hundreds of forgotten old varieties back into commerce.” The result was that Michael became part of a “new generation of rose breeders who have used old varieties to develop new, earth-friendly shrubs with better form and fragrant qualities.”
In 1983 he founded The Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham. In addition to becoming the inspiration for rose lovers around the world, the Emporium’s roses are available to gardeners through its mail order operation.
While Bill will be missed, Michael is the perfect step-in since this year’s Writer’s Garden theme is “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and he’s obviously a man who has “rosed” to the occasion.
Ticket and sponsorship information is available here.