Thursday, February 26, 2015

SHSU Botanical Research-Headed to the Main Campus Grounds (Self-Guided Tour #1)

FITNESS WALKING ROUTE Between 1.0 & 1.5 Mile
There are several great ways to explore the campus and see the sites and botanicals mentioned in my research posts.  I will mainly be referencing the same designated numbers on the SELF-GUIDED TOUR map, but will make a loose reference to the FITNESS WALKING ROUTE MAP. 
I found that the Self-Guided Tour map was better suited for my research, but you could combine the two Maps and get extra exercise and see more of our beautiful campus and museum grounds.    
There are eager helpers at the Visitors Information Center where you can request a SELF-GUIDED CAMPUS TOUR map, or another option is to follow the designated signs on campus or print off a FITNESS WALKING ROUTE MAP. 

Don't Forget to Enjoy the Earth Kind Roses
Lining the entryway of the Visitor Center
Many students, faculty, and visitors may know of and have used the available Campus Tour maps to navigate around campus, but a surprising numbers of us who are not aware of the 1.5 mile walking route markers.
The Fitness Route all began, with a University Wellness Committee that was formed in 2007-2008, in an effort to provide opportunities for employees to be more active and make use of their "release time" given to them by the University for personal workouts.
Mrs. Nancy Gaertner, former First Lady of SHSU, and Mindy Oden, Lecturer and Coordinator for KINE 2115, served on this committee.  They measured and marked off the distances and walking paths that would be the safest for pedestrians.  Also, for future uses in 5K runs held on the SHSU campus. 
Go grab a map, walking shoes, camera, sketchbook, whatever you like and discover more about Sam Houston State University and the Museum grounds.
Until Next Time.


Monday, February 23, 2015

SHSU Botanical Study- Flowering Quince Trees (Main Campus & Woodland Home)

I was working on my research in late December, when I spotted these beauties, which by the way bees seem to love.  Unfortunately, these blooms fall off by spring time.  So, if you are fortunate enough and happen to be walking either on the museum grounds at the Houston's Woodland home site or the campus in front of Austin Hall's entryway you may still be able to catch a fleeting glimpse of these brightly colored blooms of the flowering Quince tree. 

In front of Austin Hall

Close up of branches of trees lining sidewalk at the Woodland home

The Quince is often mistaken for the Camellia.  This variety is possibly the Orange Storm, which is an old-fashioned deciduous shrub that American farmers of the 1800's often grew on their homesteads.  These plants would be used sometimes for the little bit of fruit they produced, but mainly this tree's blooms are beautiful and can brighten any dreary day.  The blooms resemble and are often mistaken for the Camellia.

In speaking to Peter, the Museum Groundskeeper he told me of documentation about these plants.  I was able to get copies Mrs. W. A. Leigh's recollection of the grounds from her childhood and when the Houston's lived.  This is her words concerning these plants,  "On the west side of the walk, leading to garden, a short distance from the back porch there grew in a row extending almost to the garden fence, five quince trees."

So it appears these group of 5 Quince trees are still living in the same spot where Margaret Houston planted them sometime in the 1800's.  Also, one can reasonably speculate that the Quince tree growing at Austin Hall, another historically significant building in Texas history, is most likely from this same root stock.

I was able to find a internet site which had interesting ways Quince was used in England.  To read follow this link Historical Reference of the Quince Tree.

Until Next Time.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

SHSU Botanical Study: What’s in a name? The Sam Houston Rose


If you happen to be strolling by or visiting the Sam Houston Museum Walker Education Center; take a closer look at the dozen plants that make up a 3-4' high hedge of 3" semi-double pale pink colored roses. Those roses are named, the Sam Houston Rose. 
Hedge at Walker Education Center

Closer View of "Sam Houston" rose

Being a curious rose lover that I am, I began an investigation into this species of heirloom rose. My first clue was that they were heirloom roses.  In this area of Texas, if you want to know something about heirloom roses, The Antique Rose Emporium located in Independence Texas right down the road from the Baptist church where Sam Houston was baptized, is a logical place to start.

I spoke with Mr. Mike Shoup, the owner of the Rose Emporium. He told me that the SHSU Bicentennial Committee contacted him in 1992, with the intentions of finding a rose variety to plant in the newly created Bicentennial garden located in the ruins of Old Main. 

Later, groundskeepers discovered the Bicentennial garden was too shady for the roses to thrive, therefore they had to be removed. 

Old Main Ruins
"Bicentennial Garden" location

Garden located next to large Mescal Tree

Shoup invited and welcomed, Dr. Barry Bequette and Mr. Frank Krystyniak to The Emporium. During that particular visit in the spring of 1992, they decided that a seedling of the "Katy Road Pink," also known as "Carefree Beauty" would donate the maternal genes known to produce profuse blooming in the fall as well as the spring, and the paternal genes from the "Mrs. Oakley Fisher" because of its' yellow orange colorations. 

This rose would be unique because of its blend of traits: the yellow coloration representing the Yellow Rose of Texas, and the orange coloration representing the orange colors of the University. The rose was so important it was patented by Sam Houston State University.

Until Next Time.