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Cultivating Faith


For Theresa Pham, B.A. ’05, MBA Finance ’08, and M.A. in Accounting ’10, everything is coming up roses. No, really. On her 10-acre Life in Rose Farm in “the old part” of Magnolia, Texas, Pham has planted 5,000 rose bushes in the last two years. Here is her thinking on the number: 


“My purpose is to bring unique, one-of-a-kind roses here. So if I’m going to grow 10 rose bushes, I might as well grow 5,000.” 

The talented wife and mother of two young daughters planted each bush with her own hands, no doubt using some of the discipline she developed at the University of St. Thomas back when she juggled 60-hour work weeks and school simultaneously. 

How Did Pham Wind Up on a Rose Farm? 

In 2020, the COVID-19 situation prompted Pham and her husband, Shaw Nguyen, to examine their situation. She had already left her hard-earned job in financial planning and analysis, realizing it did not make her happy. Instead, she had begun designing for her mother-daughter fashion line. Shaw was head of technology for an oil and gas company but had the itch to move out of Houston and live in the country. Pham was not crazy about the idea. 

“My husband,” Pham remembered, “wanted to leave all the comfort and conveniences of the city to hang out with bugs and wildlife. I said no.” 

Ultimately, Shaw enticed her with one of her greatest passions — growing roses. Pham was sold. 

On their farm in Magnolia, where the family now lives, Shaw, in his spare time, has built the hoop houses his wife envisioned, and he drives the tractors. Pham researches and cultivates the most beautiful roses on earth. She sells them to consumers and wholesale to florists who seek them for stunning weddings and events. 

Way Better than Grocery Store Roses  

In response to the saying, ‘A rose is a rose is a rose,’ Pham said, “Nonsense!” 

“Mine are nothing like the roses you see in the grocery store,” she explained. “There is a deeper level of roses, which are so gorgeous and fragrant they take your breath away. You won’t find them anywhere else around here because they are so hard to grow.”  

She advises that the world’s most beautiful varieties demand good drainage, raised beds, and a sound soil system. For example, roses love to drink a lot of water but don’t like to sit in water. 

Pham specializes in European varieties with dreamy names like Sweet Mademoiselle, Princess Charlene De Monaco, Cathedral Bells and Moonlight in Paris. One of her favorites, a German breed called Earth Angel, has 100 petals per bloom and a fragrance she describes as “divine like champagne with a hint of citrus, tea, pear and vanilla.” 

Expansion and Entrepreneurship  

To share her marvelously colorful and fragrant environment, the green-thumbed entrepreneur and artist oversaw construction of a cottage and a French-European glass house with stone, aged wood and chandeliers. People come to enjoy high tea and pastries in a fantastic garden setting. 

Entrepreneurship and running a successful business may be in Pham’s blood. Her parents owned and managed the popular Marble Slab Creamery, located only blocks from UST when she was a student. Wanting the best for her and her sister, they enrolled both at the nearby Catholic university. 

Pham, a faithful Catholic, recalled, “They were the greatest years of my life.”  

At UST, she grew in knowledge and discipline. The foundation has her following her passion for growing the most beautiful roses in the world.    

Visit Life in Rose Farm at 24272 Grand Pines Road, Magnolia, TX  77355

About the Author — Jamie Roark

Jamie RoarkJamie Roark is an experienced, Houston-based content creator & communications skills coach. Through her company, Simply Communicate USA, she especially enjoys helping Higher Education and healthcare organizations to tell stories that inform and influence.

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