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Beautify Your Landscaping With Crape Myrtles

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Beautify Your Landscaping With Crape MyrtlesTrees have long been used for shade in landscaping. They gracefully lend a sense of majesty and beauty. Trees impart a sense of ownership and history as well. Crape myrtles are a flowering tree that lend a sense of style and elegance to modern Texas landscapes.

Summer Flowering

Many trees flower for a few weeks in the spring and early summer. They then grow past the flowering stage as their blossoms turn into nuts or berries. The beauty of the flowers is a transitory condition and lasts a short time. This is not the case with crape myrtles. They display their beautiful flowers all summer and well into autumn for continued color in any landscape.

Large Color Variety

Crape myrtles come in many different colors. These range from white and pink flowers and go all the way through red and purple blossoms. This is dependent on the choice of tree chosen. Each variety of tree has its own color blossoms. This makes pairing the tree with a certain area or garden scheme an easy choice for color matching.

A Range Of Sizes

Making the choice to plant a tree depends on the size the tree will grow. This is not an issue with the crape myrtle tree. Sizes range from only 1 foot to trees that will grow up to 100 feet tall. The range of height gives these beautiful trees a wide variety of location options for the grower. Their use in large or small areas and their size makes them the perfect complement for any garden area.

There are a great deal of choices for crape myrtles and we have nearly 30 varieties available. Please contact us for help with choosing the perfect tree for your landscaping needs.

Testimonial: “I highly recommend Chambersville Tree Farm”

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Chambersville Tree Farm Testimonial:

Ever since I moved into my house 3 years ago, I have been unhappy with my landscaping.  The builders landscaper never listened to me and planted things that I didn’t want. I tried to redo things myself with no success.  I had a quote from another company, but it was $10K.  After finding out that Anna, from Chambersville Tree Farm, did landscape design, I had her come out to give me a quote.  She did an amazing job in completely transforming my beds from mismatched and ugly, to beautiful!  She stayed within a reasonable budget and even reused my existing plants.  For the first time in 3 years, I am proud of how beautiful the front of my house looks!  I highly recommend Anna, and Chambersville Tree Farm, they are a great company who puts their clients first!


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Its going to be a beautiful day so make sure you stop by Chambersville Tree Farms for Rose Dango A Celebration of Blooms this Saturday, May 2nd!  We will start at 8 am with coffee and donuts.  The day will be full of tours, rose sales, and information about our beautiful roses!

We will have several speakers including Claude Graves who will be informing us on the dangers of Rose Rosette disease.


You won’t want to miss this event!  Visit for more information!  We will see you THIS SATURDAY, MAY 2nd!


The 8th Annual RoseDango Celebration

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Spring is here at Chambersville Tree Farms and you won’t want to miss our 8th Annual RoseDango Celebration!  It will take place on Saturday, May 2nd.  Come ready to walk our gardens, hear informative speakers, and purchase some roses of your own! The event opens at 8:00am with coffee and donuts and the gates will close at 5 pm.  Please join us in our celebration of blooms!

Not only is RoseDango a celebration of roses and wine, but it’s a learning experience too! Join our speakers on their adventures with roses and enjoy free admission to each presentation!

Click here to view the agenda and learn more about RoseDango!

The 8th Annual RoseDango Celebration



Chambersville Tree Farm attends the Collin County Garden Show

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Last week, Chambersville Tree Farm attended the Collin County Garden Show. The Garden Show is an indoor event packed with exciting and informative educational events with hands on activities and demos from local experts. Presentations were made by well-known keynote speakers, including Claude Graves, who discussed the Rose Rosette disease.  The emphasis on the show was Earth Kind Gardening.  We spent the day listening to experts and learning about Earth-Kind gardening in Collin County.


Chambersville Tree Farm attends the Collin County Garden Show



Have Questions Before You Plant Your Tree?

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The Texas A&M Forest Service website is a great online resource for Texas Trees. On their website, you will find information that can help you plan for your available space and determine how to care for your tree after it’s planted. There are distinct characteristics with every tree and the Texas Tree Planting Guide provides information on watering needs, tree size, leaf type and growth rate, etc. You can also contact the Chambersville Tree Farm with tree planting questions and we can help you find the perfect tree.

Have Questions Before You Plant Your Tree?

Spring is Coming!

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At this point we are all ready for winter to be over! Don’t worry, spring is coming!  But is your yard as ready for spring as we are? Here are some tips for getting your landscape in top condition before spring!

  1. Remove your yard of leaves, sticks and other seasonal debris to give your lawn a chance to breathe. Raking removes dead roots and grasses. Raking also clears the way for mowing, watering and planting seed.
  2. Applying mulch around the bases of trees, shrubs and in flowerbeds helps keep plants moist and warm.
  3. Do you ever wonder how much you should water?  Wait until your lawn needs it, and then really drench it.  Watering deeply as needed promotes healthy growth.
  4. Prune your fruit trees.  If you want a juicy, tasty piece of fruit in a few months, prune your tree before new buds begin to bloom. This helps produce a more plentiful crop.
  5. Prune your roses just before new growth repairs.  This helps produce strong, healthy shoots with more abundant blooms.

Contact Chambersville Tree Farms for more information on getting ready for the spring!

Spring is coming!

Track Your Tree With North Texas Tree Tracker

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An average tree absorbs ten pounds of pollutants from the air each year, including four pounds of ozone and three pounds of particulates: A medium sized deciduous tree removes pollutants from the atmosphere and reduces emissions of air pollution at an average savings of $1.89 per year in an urban environment. Over the tree’s estimated 40-year lifespan, each tree will save about $75.60 in reduced and removed air pollutants. (Source: Center for Urban Forest Research, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service; Davis, CA)

Click here to submit your tree information on the Texas Trees Foundation website.

North Texas Tree Tracker

Track Your Tree With North Texas Tree Tracker

Magnolia Trees On Sale!

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30, 45, and 60 gallon Magnolia Trees are on sale for $50. This sale includes all varieties except Little Gems. Come take advantage of this sale at Chambersville Tree Farm while supplies last!

Click here to contact Chambersville Tree Farm!

Magnolia Trees On Sale

How To Prevent Ice Damage On Trees

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How To Prevent Ice Damage On TreesHow can you help prevent ice damage to trees? Proper pruning is one way. Particularly important is the removal of weak, narrow-angled, v-shaped crotches. Trees that tend to suffer the worst damage as a result of snow and ice are multiple leader, upright evergreens like arborvitae and juniper, and multiple leader or clump trees like birch. On these trees, locating and pruning weak-jointed branches before they become a problem is important. Slow-growing trees like oak are less likely to lose limbs. And, when it comes to ice, age does not make a tree stronger; younger trees actually tend to survive better in ice storms.

When you find your trees are bending or drooping as a result of ice and snow accumulation, your first instinct is probably to shake the branches and free them of the winter burden. Branches coated in ice can become quite brittle – shaking them can cause damage or breakage. Also, since trees are flexible, suddenly knocking the ice weight off may cause branches to snap back, potentially damaging the tree’s circulatory system.

If after a severe ice storm, you notice some limb breakage, properly prune the damaged area as soon as the weather allows. In the case of undamaged limbs bending under the weight of ice or snow, don’t prune as a means of correcting the situation; the limbs should return naturally as the weather conditions change.

Contact Chambersville Tree Farm to learn more about proper pruning techniques!

Protecting Japanese Maples From Winter Damage

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Water your Japanese Maple tree properly during the winter. When the ground freezes, trees are deprived of water and newly planted trees can suffer damage as a result. Providing them with adequate water alleviates the problem.

The most important protection you can give your Japanese Maple is to mulch it well. You should do so immediately upon planting and continuing for at least the first few years. Mulch early and often, but keep a bit away from trunk so as to not cause insect or water damage.

Protecting Japanese Maples From Winter Damage

Tree Trimming/Tree Pruning

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Trimming trees is one of the most important aspects of landscape management. In addition to safeguarding your family, properly trimming overgrown trees and shrubs can restore structural integrity while improving overall plant health. In some cases, install bracing systems to support structurally weak or injured trees on your property is necessary. This support helps reduce the risk of storm-related injuries and extends the life and well-being of your trees.

Tree Trimming/Tree Pruning

50% Off Select Japanese Maples!

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Starting December 2, 2014, select Japanese Maples will be on sale. Call Chambersville Tree Farm to inquire about details or click here for directions to the farm.

With over 35 varieties of Japanese Maples in various sizes, we are sure to have a tree to suite you ornamental needs.
View Our Japanese Maple Inventory

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wishing you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

We are sincerely grateful to you for trusting us with your plant needs.

The relationships we have established with our customers is very important to each member of our team. Please keep in touch and let us know if we can assist you in your future goals.

In observance of the holiday: We will close at 4pm on Wednesday November 26 & will reopen for normal business on Tuesday December 2.

Our Best Rose Sale Ever!!


First Time Ever!  End Of Season Overstock sale!!

50% Off 

*Select Roses – Over 600 to choose from.

Lady Pamela-Carol Rosa_Iceberg_1 Belinda's Dream

October Sale – 10% Off Everything, Plus 5% On Select Items

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10% Off Everything!

Stop by Chambersville Tree Farms to take advantage of our October sale! 10% off everything in our inventory plus take an additional 5% off of Pond Cypress, Bald Cypress, Montezuma Cypress and all Magnolias!




Heirloom & Hybrid Roses at Collin County Community College in Plano, TX


Dean Oswald, Gregg Martin and Claude Graves recently spoke at Collin County Community College in Plano, Texas. They discussed heirloom and hybrid roses as well as best practices for pest control and nutrition.

Collin County Community College in Plano, TX

Chambersville Tree Farm Crape Myrtles

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Crape Myrtles are one of the most versatile plants in Texas! Flowering all summer and available in different colors, our crape myrtles are ideal for any landscape. The crape myrtle can be planted as a specimen or in groups, and looks attractive when a ground cover is planted under and around the plant. It adapts well to confined spaces, and is, therefore, well-suited for small areas close to sidewalks or parking lots, and can provide shade in deck and patio areas. The crape myrtle is valued mainly for its long period of striking summer flowers. These showy flowers may be shades of white, pink, red or lavender. Contact us today to learn more about our crape myrtles!

Looking for the best route to Chambersville Tree Farm?


Looking for the best route to Chambersville Tree Farm? We’ve got you covered!

Click here to stay up-to-date with construction information and directions to the farm. You can also call our office (972) 837-4223

Construction updates can also be viewed on the City of McKinney’s website and on the live traffic map from the Texas Department of Transportation.

August Sale – 10% Off All Plants!

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August Sale – 10% Off All Plants On The Farm! Special Ends 8/30/2014

Call or stop by Chambersville Tree Farm today.

Local Sales Office: (972) 837-4223

Tree Farm August Sale

July Special! Althea – Rose of Sharon in Multiple Colors 15Gal $80 each

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Althea – Rose of Sharon

Hibiscus syriacus, also called Rose of Sharon is on sale! It is a flowering shrub reaching 6-14 feet in height. The flowers come in several colors, including white, pink, purple, blue, red or bicolors. Continuous blooms often occur from July through September. The flowers can reach 2-4 inches in diameter.

Call or stop by Chambersville Tree Farm today to learn more about our July special “Rose of Sharon”.

Local Sales Office: (972) 837-4223

Save The Date For RoseDango 2014!


Saturday May 3, 2014. Gates open at 8:00 am and close at 5:00pm. We will have great speakers, a wide variety of vendors, lunch and more! Check and for more information and updates!

Q&A Forum 9/5/13


September 5, 2013 we will be hosting a Q&A Forum on our Chambersville TF Staff page on Facebook from 6-7pm. Barbara Villarreal will be taking and answering your questions you have about trees, shrubs and roses. We look forward to chatting with you! Also, don’ t forget to like our interest page!!/chambersvilletf001?fref=ts

Save the Date for RoseDango 2013!


April 28, 2013

RoseDango is coming early this year! Sunday April 28, 2013! We are getting all of our speakers together and looking forward to a great bloom and great speakers! Please visit for details and updates for RoseDango 2013!

10/10/12 Japanese Maple Event @ Dallas Arboretum


Chambersville Tree Farm is sponsoring a Japanese Maple Conference at the Dallas Arboretum to expand attendees knowledge on this magnificent tree.  Guest speakers include: Dr. David Creech, Harold Spiegel, and Talon Buchholz.  Dr. David Creech is a Professor of Horticulture  at Stephen F Austin University.  Harold Spiegel is the Founder and Owner of Preservation Tree Service and a Japanese Maple enthusiast.  Talon Buchholz is Owner and President of Buchholz & Buchholz Nursery in Gaston, Oregon which specialize in Japanese Maples and Conifers.  We look forward to seeing everyone there, please stay tuned for more details.

RoseDango is set for October 21st 2012


RoseDango is quickly approching, so save the date! October 21, 2012. Gates open at 8:00 am and close at 5:00pm. We will have great speakers, a wide variety of vendors, lunch and more! Check and for more information and updates!

Chambersville Tree Farm will be at ArborDay in Van Alstyne! 4-28-12


Come visit Chambersville Tree Farm at Van Alstyne’s Arbor Day Festival on April 28, 2012! It will be a half day event celebrating trees! The event is sponsored by Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful and will be held down town. If you’re not busy come visit us at our booth and help us celebrate these beautiful wonders! Visit Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful facebook page for more information about the event.

Garden club gets 25-foot-long thank-you

Dan Eakin/Staff Photo – McKinney Garden Club members lined up behind a 25-foot-long thank-you banner that was signed and sent to them by Caldwell Elementary School students and teachers for the club’s $500 donation to the Caldwell Community Gardens at the school.


By Dan Eakin,

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 9:44 PM CDT
About 60 members of the McKinney Garden Club lined up behind a 25-foot-long thank-you banner from Caldwell Elementary School students and teachers at a club meeting Tuesday at Heard-Craig Hall.

The students and teachers were expressing their gratitude for a recent $500 donation to the Caldwell Community Gardens Club at the school.

Carolyn Curfman, who with Marilee Crawford and Marcie York serve as volunteer leaders to help with the gardens, told McKinney Garden Club members the money is being used to purchase seeds, plants, craft items and gloves for children. Some of the money will go toward purchasing a tool shed for the gardens.

Dan Eakin/Staff Photo – Carolyn Curfman, left, and Marilee Crawford admire the Caldwell Elementary School Community Gardens, which include a flower garden (foreground) and a vegetable garden (background). The gardens beautify the campus and provide vegetables for families of Caldwell students.

The three women provide leadership to as many as a dozen volunteers who help in the gardens. Volunteers are either members of First United Methodist Church (FUMC), parents or master gardeners.

About two years ago, some FUMC members conceived the idea of planting a flower garden just outside the Caldwell school library so teachers could have a pleasant place to go for a break or lunch and where students could study nature. That idea eventually blossomed into having both a flower garden and a vegetable garden.

The FUMC, Collin County Master Gardeners Association and Chambersville Tree Farm have made contributions to the gardens.

Last year, about 15 students signed up to join the Caldwell Elementary School Community Garden Club. This year, after the gardens obviously did so well, 150 students joined the club, Curfman said.

Crawford said the students really enjoy working in the garden, planting seeds or plants and watching them grow.

The flowers add beauty to the school campus, and the vegetables provide food for many of the families of children who attend Caldwell Elementary, Crawford said.

“Many of the children at Caldwell would not otherwise have many garden vegetables at home,” she said, “and in the spring they often get sacks of vegetables out of the garden to take home for family meals.”

Among the vegetables that have been or are being grown in the garden are carrots, Brussels sprouts, onions, beets, cabbage, parsley, bell peppers and others. Fruits are also raised in the garden.

“Last year, we had tons of cantaloupes and tomatoes,” Crawford said.

She said FUMC, which is only a few blocks from Caldwell Elementary, sort of “adopted” the school a few years ago and has helped the students there in various ways. Church members often mentor the children and address their needs and concerns.

“At Christmas time, the church provides clothing and other items for many of the students,” she said.

Crawford, Curfman and York are all master gardeners and members of the Collin County Master Gardeners Association, as are some of the other volunteers.

Mrs. J. L. Lovejoy and a group of local women in October 1930 organized the McKinney Garden Club to promote an interest in gardens, their designs and management, and to encourage and help with civic plantings.

Among the special civic projects the club has supported over the years include the Collin McKinney Pioneer Home, the McKinney Library grounds, City Park, the Chestnut Square Gardens, and the Heard-Craig House Gardens.

Today’s members remain dedicated to civic improvement and beautification.

The club meets at 11:30 a.m. every second Tuesday from September through May. Informative meetings with a scheduled guest speaker and program are held at the corner of Church and Hunt streets in the Heard-Craig Hall Gallery.

Club membership is limited to 60 people, and there is a waiting list. But visitors and guests are welcome.

Circle of Trees Dedication


The Chambersville Tree Farm’s Centennial Circle of Trees, consisting of more than 100 native and adapted trees of North Texas, will be formally dedicated at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13. The tree farm is located four miles north of McKinney off F.M. 543 near Weston.

The project is a combined conservation effort between the Chambersville Tree Farm and the Boy Scouts of America’s Lone Star District, which includes 56 Cub Scout and Boy Scout units located in McKinney, Anna, Blue Ridge, Farmersville, Melissa and Princeton.

This planned conservation and educational program includes the Chambersville Tree Farm providing more than 100 native and adapted trees for planting, with the Lone Star District’s scouting units providing the youthful manpower to assist in the planting, trail development, and perpetual maintenance of the tree circle.

The Centennial Circle of Trees is a Collin County Scouting conservation effort to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, which was founded in 1910. Through their efforts in the project, local Scouting youth can learn more about nature, forestry, wildlife and water conservation while assisting in an educational program that will be available to local school districts, youth organizations and the public, for tours of the site.

When completed in 2011, the Centennial Circle of Trees will consist of more than 125 different tree species that can grow in the North Texas blackland prairie soils. Tree Farm officials plan to have at least 80 trees planted and identified when the tree circle formally opens Nov. 13.

For more information and directions to the Chambersville Tree Farm, visit

Arbor Day Feature: Happy Trees, Roses Thrive at Organic Tree Farm – By Beth Shumate


McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureau, 321 N. Central Expwy, Ste 101, McKinney TX 75070, (214) 544-1407, 888-649-8499

McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureau

McKinney, TX — The trees at Chambersville Tree Farms are pampered, receiving only the best food, living conditions and a scenic view with wide open spaces to spread their branches. What more could a tree ask for, especially during a week when the nation is celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day

Chambersville Tree Farms, Collin Countys only completely organic tree farm, sits on a 10-plus acre section of Dean Oswalds 266 acres a mere 10 minutes northwest of McKinney. The remainder of the acreage is filled with rolling wooded hills, ponds, lush iris and rose bushes.

Everything we do is organic. We dont use any herbicide, and we harvest rain water from the roof of the barn, Oswald says, pointing to several large cisterns located behind the barn.

This water is added to liquid drawn from the farms compost mixture of bark and dairy cow manure.

We only use dairy cow compost, never any sludge or anything containing human waste.

Oswald points to a good-sized pond across from rows of magnolia trees.

That pond collects water, too. Its 15 feet deep and its full now, as it was last year with all the rains, but I mowed the bottom of that pond during the drought of 2006. That drought nearly killed us, Oswald said.

The farm, which Oswald bought in the late 1990s and opened in 2004, shows no sign of suffering this year, though. In fact, Oswald and his crew of about a dozen are busy this spring expanding the tree portion of the farms to around 15 acres.

Were adding new fields and setting up additional irrigation, Oswald said, stopping to inspect some new rows of bald cypress trees part of his crew were working with.

The crew members were removing nearly 6-foot tall trees from plastic pots and placing them in the special white fabric pots favored at the farm for the way they stimulate and support healthy root growth.

Working at a steady pace, crew members placed the pots a carefully-measured distance apart, filling them with rich soil from the conveyer belt of a large trailer. Once new rows are complete, a sophisticated tubing system is put into place, running along the rows and directing the organic drink into the trees.

Larger trees are repotted into planter boxes the farm crew custom makes in the shop on the premises. These are located in the more mature tree section of the farm.

The trees raised at the farm were not grown from seeds here, but are instead brought in from other farms as small trees, Oswald and his farm manager Chad Simmons, a degreed biologist, explained. Both men share interesting stories about some of the unique varieties found on the farm, including a prehistoric-era tree found in a Chinese monastery many years after it was thought to be extinct.

The Chambersville Tree Farms offer every imaginable type of free, from a wide variety of crape myrtles, oaks, elms, magnolias and a large grove of varying sizes of Japanese maples.

This Burr Oak is like the tree we donated to the [City of McKinneys ceremonial] Arbor Day celebration [on Saturday, April 19], Simmons said, grabbing hold of one of the potted burr oaks that towered over his head.

The farm also sells a wide variety of rose bushes, none of which are grafted, but rather are all original root stock, Oswald explained.

During a recent foot-tour of the operation, Oswald and Simmons both stop to answer questions from visitors to the farm. Oswald also field questions about another of his points of pride the Chambersville Heritage Rose Garden, which sits on a hillside of his property, surrounded by woods not far from the rows of trees in his tree farm. This rose garden, a regular meeting spot for rose enthusiasts, is one of only four such gardens in the U.S, and will soon feature a gazebo. A large national gathering of rose enthusiasts plans to meet here in October.

The Chambersville Tree Farms is open to the public on weekends and some days of the week. Call ahead to (214) 295-1058 or check hours on the farm Web site, The Web site also provides clear instructions for getting to the farm. The picturesque, relaxing 10 minute drive out FM roads 543 and 206 is well worth the trip for a visit to some of the happiest trees in Collin County.

For more information, contact: MCKINNEY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Beth Shumate, Communication Services Manager

About McKinney CVB: The McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureaus vision is to generate economic impact by promoting and developing McKinney as a premiere destination for business and leisure travelers, so they fully experience McKinneys historic charm and friendly, unique atmosphere.

Spotlight on Chambersville Tree Farms – Texas Nursery & Landscape Association (TNLA)


Chambersville Tree Farms, Inc. (CTF) was established to supply North Central Texas with quality trees, organically grown, at competitive prices.  Dean and his wife, Carol, have long been avid and knowledgeable gardeners. Dean is particularly interested in trees, while Carol is passionate about roses. Upon retirement, they launched a new business, which ultimately combines both of their special interests.

From the outset, conservation of the land has been the Oswald family’s mission. During construction of the nursery, care was taken to use and enhance topographic features for pond construction and rainwater harvesting; water conservation has been a key element in all planning. For growing, CTF uses a custom potting mix from Shamrock Soil Products, which provides the best in organic media and composted Texas native mulch.

CTF’s inventory consists of natives, as well as trees that are well adapted to our North Texas soils and climate. CTF uses Rootmaker certified products for enhanced root systems, which provides superior caliper and top growth, and purchases only Rootmaker liners, so that their trees develop the best possible root system from propagation to installation, ensuring that they will thrive after installation.

The small farming community of Chambersville, whose small church and cemetery are the last relics of its existence, gave its name to the farm. The property itself was once the Chandler family homestead and Mrs. Chandler was a renowned gardener in the area, which has given rise to another aspect of the present farm.

As they developed the farm, Dean and Carol envisioned a beautiful rose garden in this spacious natural setting, in part as a tribute to the former owner. With the encouragement and assistance of the Heritage Rose Foundation, and particularly, Claude Graves, the treasurer of the Foundation, Dean and Carol began work on the rose garden, which is devoted to only roses grown on their own roots.

After more than a year of design and construction of the garden and the purchase by Dean and Carol of almost every commercially available Tea, China and Noisette rose, planting began in the summer of 2006. The garden is laid out so that each rose has ample space to grow its natural mature size, in a setting akin to the locations where many of the Texas found roses were discovered by the notorious Texas Rose Rustlers twenty to thirty years ago. 145 roses have been planted to date; more than 70 cuttings are currently being grown out for future planting and additional varieties are being sought to complete the collection. In addition to its inherent beauty, the garden will serve as an ongoing demonstration of the best-adapted roses for north Texas’ climate and soil.

The Chambersville Heritage Rose Garden was dedicated on October 12, 2006, as part of the Heritage Rose Foundation’s Annual Conference, held in Dallas that year. The garden is private, but is open to heritage rose enthusiasts by appointment, and plans are being made to open the garden to the public several times a year, as well as for special events. As the garden matures and other amenities are added, many more events will be added to the calendar. For more information about the establishment and goals of the garden, as well as future updates, visit the Heritage Rose Foundation website,

The Oswald family has plans for many more subsidiary ventures on the farm, such as pick-your-own veggies, local fishing derbies and other family-oriented events.

Chambersville Heritage Rose Garden – Presented by Claude Graves


On a warm spring day in 2004 my friend Dean Oswald called and asked me if I would come up to their farm and give them some advice on putting in a rose garden. I had known Dean and his wife Carol for a number of years as members of the Collin County Rose Society. They had graciously opened their magnificent garden at their home in Plano numerous times for the annual Collin County R S Garden Tour. Judging from my knowledge of their home garden I anticipated their thoughts for a “rose garden” at their farm would be something extraordinary.

Dean’s passion is trees, Carol’s passion is roses. I was soon to learn that the “farm” was actually a tree farm. Dean had started a new business in his retirement which dovetailed with this great interest in trees. Dean had founded Chambersville Tree Farms named for the small country church and cemetery adjoining his property. The church and cemetery stand as the last visible signs of the small farming community of Chambersville, Texas which is just a few miles north of McKinney, which is 30 miles north of Dallas. His property was the farmstead of the Chandler family. Mrs. Chandler had a reputation as a renowned gardener. It is said that people would come from miles around on Sunday afternoons to enjoy Mrs. Chandler’s garden. In fact my wife Pamela who was born and raised in McKinney remembers as a child doing exactly that. Although the original home is gone, each spring the legacy of Mrs. Chandler springs forth in a display of naturalized bulbs from her gardens. Dean felt that it was fitting to re-establish a beautiful garden on the property befitting the history of the land.

When Dean showed me the area that he envisioned as a rose garden my earlier feelings that this might be something special were confirmed. It was a beautiful plot about 5 acres in size bordered by a Lake on one side and a few native pecan trees on the other side with a grass meadow sloping down to a large water conservation lake beyond the pecan trees . I was excited about the possibilities for this wonderful site, but then Dean said, “But, maybe it would be better to put it here…” He walked me down behind the tank’s dam and thru an opening in the tree line which had been obscuring my view to the East.

The panorama before me was breathtaking. The area immediately in front of me was the continuation of the sloping grass meadow mentioned previously plus the area below the earthen dam forming the conservation lake. The entire area sloped gently to an almost dry creek bed to my left. Across the creek bed a complimentary area sloped gently upwards to a number of large native trees. This was the place for an extraordinary garden! The two areas combined looked to be about 20 acres which included perhaps 5 acres that were heavily wooded.

Dean and Carol were initially envisioning a beautiful garden of shrub and Hybrid Tea roses in traditional “beds” however they were concerned about the maintenance problem they might be creating. When I saw the property I saw something quite different!

For a number of years the Heritage Rose Foundation, of whom I am the Treasurer, had been discussing various garden schemes for HRF gardens. One of the main missions of the foundation from its inception in 1987 was the establishment of a national heritage rose garden. Over the years it became more apparent that the creation and operation of a garden by the foundation was not realistic both from an economic and geographic perspective. Discussions had begun to be developed by Gregg Lowery of Vintage Gardens, a Trustee of the Foundation, that a more logical approach was to recognize and support numerous regional public and private gardens around the country. (This concept has now expanded to around the world). The idea was to recognize and catalog gardens in different climatic zones that offer special interest to those that wish to study and preserve important heritage roses. It was anticipated that each garden in each unique environment would grow the roses that excelled in their climate, providing an opportunity to see those selected roses growing at their absolute best, while leaving the rest to be grown in other gardens in environs more suited to those rose’s needs.

When I saw Dean & Carol’s property it begged to become a repository for all the wonderful Teas, China’s and Noisette’s that grow so well in our Texas heat. One problem with these roses is that some can grow to quite enormous sizes. In most gardens they must be severely pruned to keep them confined to the available space. Here was a space of sufficient size to allow the roses to be grown to their natural mature size in a rural setting not unlike where many of the Texas found roses were discovered by the Texas Rose Rustlers in the late 1970′s and 1980′s.

At first Dean & Carol were not enthusiastic about the “old roses” but they warmed rapidly to the idea of vigorous healthy plants without spraying and massive pruning. I am happy to say that they have both come full circle now with more exposure to just how beautiful the Teas and Chinas can be with their continuous bloom and carefree manner. After a trip to the International Heritage Rose Conference in Duneden, New Zealand last December they are forever captive to old roses!

In addition to changing the content of the garden we also changed the concept of the garden from the traditional rose beds with neat straight rows of roses to a concept of roses planted in individual prepared sites (in effect a separate “bed” for each rose). The idea for this came from my memory of a garden my wife and I visited in France on the Post Tour of the Conference Internationale Des Roses Anciennes in 1999. This special garden was actually just a pathway around the periphery of a public golf course. Every hundred feet or so there was a rose planted as a singular specimen plant. Most if not all of the roses were species roses. The effect was startling with these massive roses standing alone very much as nature had intended them to be. We did not have the space of an entire golf course at Chambersville but we did have enough space to simulate roses growing in the wild at least on a limited scale.

Actual work on the garden began in 2005 with the purchase of most every Tea, China and Noisette that was commercial available from Mike Shoup at the Antique Rose Emporium and Mark Chamblee of Chamblee’s Roses. Additionally Gregg Lowery furnished many roses that were more unusual and less commonly available.

Chambersville Tree Farm is set up to grow out small nursery stock trees to larger sizes on a production basis, they are not equipped to take care of very small rooted cuttings and they have no propagation facilities. The very small roses, mostly from Vintage Gardens, were farmed out to the members of the Dallas Area Historical Rose Society (DAHRS) to be grown out to a larger size compatible with Chambersville’s capabilities. The larger one and two gallon roses were grown out at Chambersville in the same fabric bags used for trees. These bags were developed by Dr. Carl Whitcomb of Oklahoma State University and are designed to prevent root circling in the container. The roots actually penetrate the fabric bags very small pores then air prune. The result is a root that branches inside the container instead of circling. Evidentially the bags work great on roses as the roses demonstrated excellent growth during their time in both 7 and 15 gallon bags.

In the spring of 2006 actual site preparation work began. The initial garden design was done by Carolyn Hayward, currently President of the Collin County Rose Society and a professional garden designer. The original design centered around the concept of a “natural” looking field of roses, with just enough symmetry to not be chaotic. An important criteria in the design was that the China roses would be planted on 15 foot centers and the Tea roses planted on 20 foot centers. Over time the initial design was morphed by Dean and myself into a slightly more organized plan that included features added as we progressed. Stephen Scanniello, President of HRF and noted rose author, felt it was important that the garden incorporate the rich history of Texas found roses. We were in full agreement and added a section devoted to the roses found in Texas as the entrance to the garden. Individual sections are devoted to Tea roses and China roses. Noisettes will be displayed on pillars, fences and column/rope swag structures around the garden to provide an element of height. A section was also added to display a full collection of the Bermuda Mystery Roses. As the garden design evolves Stephen Scanniello is having significant influence on the project to make it a place of great beauty as well as a place to observe and study historical roses.

After staking out the location of every rose the next step was the improvement of the soil at each rose location. The soil improvement method used was a close adaptation of the technique recommended by the Texas Cooperative Extension in their EarthKindâ„¢ Rose and Environmental Soil System. Each rose location was first tilled with a tractor mounted tiller. A layer of fully composted tree trimmings and dairy cattle manure was added and then a layer of expanded shale was added and the area was again tilled. (Expanded Shale is a product of Texas Industries, Inc. it is produced by heating shale in a kiln to a temperature that expands the shale into a small porous aggregate. Texas Cooperative Extension has found that inclusion of expanded Shale into clay soils will greatly increase the friability and drainage of the soil).

After the site soil preparation the next step was to install an irrigation system. Here Dean outdid himself. A fully automatic irrigation system was installed that delivers water by way of individually controlled bubblers directly to the base of each rose. Then came the BIG day, the planting the first roses. I remember the story of the 100 year flood on the day they planted the San Jose Historical Rose Garden… Our experience was a little different, but just as memorable. It was August 15th, 2006 and the temperature reached 105 degrees. Over the next few weeks we planted 145 roses most of which had been growing for about a year and a half in 7 and 15 gallon containers. We finally found the most efficient way to plant them was to dig a hole at each site with a thirty inch auger on a tractor, two men then place the rose into the hole and removed the growing bag after placing the rose in the hole. The hole was then backfilled with the native clay soil/compost/expanded shale mixture. The roses were then heavily mulched. In spite of 28 consecutive days in August of temperatures over 100 degrees and no rain the roses thrived. We lost one rose out of the 145 we planted.

On October 12th 2006 a dedication ceremony was held to dedicate the Chambersville Heritage Rose Garden as part of the Heritage Rose Foundation’s Annual Conference held in Dallas. The dedication marked just the beginning of what we plan will be a significant resource for those rosarians wanting to study our heat loving historical roses. We currently have over 70 additional roses being grown out to sufficient size to plant in the ground. The current “Phase I” still has 150 empty irrigated holes to fill (Chinas and Teas) and Phase I only encompass 5.5 acres of the 25 acre site. We have lots of room for more roses!

The Chambersville Heritage Rose Garden is a private garden, however it is currently open to heritage rose enthusiasts on a pre arranged appointment basis. Plans are to schedule at least two weekends next year to have the garden open to the general public. We will also be planning HRF and DAHRS events in the garden. As the garden grows and matures we hope to make the garden available to the public more frequently.

We are asking for help from the heritage rose community to help us build our collection of Tea, China and Noisette roses. In the spirit of the HRF Garden Scheme we will be eager to share our roses with others to insure that more of the rare roses are grown in more locations to help preclude the loss of any more historically significant roses. We hope you will look upon the Chambersville Heritage Rose garden as one more link in the chain of protection for old roses. We solicit your help in providing unusual and endangered China, Tea and Noisette roses for our collection. Rooted cutting would be preferred however various members of the DAHRS and I are willing and able to root cuttings for the garden.