ROSE RAMBLER 16.11.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 16.11.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends … phew … another busy week is done and dusted with lots of happy customers enjoying their roses this magnificent season – it was such a joy to be displaying our potted roses surrounded by glorious rose gardens at Werribee State Rose Garden this past weekend.
Tova and I loved all the moments we shared with those who came to our site – it was delightful to have our very own GARDENETTE, Chloe, sharing her gardening knowledge with customers who are interested in organic garden management.

  1. Q. What do skeletons order at restaurants?  A. Spare ribs … yuk!


I think it’s important to repeat how you can prevent the risk of your roses incurring the most common fungal disease infection:

  • PLANT ROSES IN FULL SUN – no less than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day
  • PLANT ROSES IN WELL VENTILATED SPACE – wind will dry wet foliage
  • WATER APPROPRIATELY – never water over foliage from 3 pm onwards
  • CHECK SOIL MOISTURE – roses hate wet feet constantly but love deep-soaking
  • SELECT DISEASE-RESISTANT VARIETIES – yes, some roses are definitely healthier!

Now is a great time to research varieties of roses you want to plant in your garden – don’t just look at pretty flowers, look at the WHOLE BUSH.  Visit the State Rose Garden in your state, take pictures and notes.
When you photograph a rose, photograph the plant label so you remember the name of each rose! 

Hi, Diana and Graham, Just to say thank you and how much we enjoyed our morning tour of your wonderful rose farm and rose nursery.  Everything was so healthy and glossy leaved and so much to learn as we walked with you.  Again many thanks, Whittlesea Garden Club.

Here are a few pics of roses our customers have sent this past week … thank you to you all for sharing!
Top: Terri’s CYMBELINE Left: Susie’s DUBLIN BAY ​ Right:​ Haejin’s NAHEMA
We just know you’re having a most sensational flowering season – enjoy the happiness!

ROSE RAMBLER 9.11.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 09.11.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends as another Melbourne Cup came and went – today ladies are out celebrating OAKS DAY – we donated table centres for YEA OAKS DAY where in past years our roses have raised significant funds for the Ambulance Service at Yea and district – hope the girls have a great day out!
I think they might well change the name of MELBOURNE CUP to MELBOURNE FESTIVAL OF HORSES AND ROSES – weren’t the roses spectacular in television coverage?
This weekend we’re exhibiting at VICTORIA STATE ROSE GARDEN SHOW at WERRIBEE – home also of the WERRIBEE PARK NATIONAL EQUESTRIAN CENTRE, WERRIBEE MANSION and WERRIBEE OPEN RANGE ZOO – a magnificent destination in Victoria and I urge you all to come and visit WERRIBEE this weekend – it is SPECTACULAR IN THE EXTREME


Let me start with a joke … Q. Which of the witch’s friends was good at baseball?  A. The bat
Your roses are growing rampantly now – most will be flowering so it’s important to fertilize with the best quality fertilizer you can buy – go to your local supplier and be advised by what is locally available.  If you’re driving by Clonbinane, call in and collect our COF (complete organic fertilizer) which you can liberally apply to ALL THE PLANTS IN YOUR GARDEN – except Australian Natives!
Healthy, well-fed plants usually indicate healthy foliage – sometimes things go wrong and here is what the LEAVES ON ROSES are indicating …


Really nothing you need to worry about since it is evident when roses are growing voraciously and then it seems to be less indicated … we don’t recommend propagating roses with MOSAIC VIRUS and there is no spray or cure to eradicate it!

Mosaic Virus


A sign of old foliage on lower leaves/stress from lack of fertilizer on newer foliage / moist foliage overnight – generally can be corrected by trimming, fertilizing, deep-soaking watering to promote new foliage and flowering!  Remember that you lose hair and skin EVERY DAY … BLACK SPOT is the mechanism for a rose to lose old foliage – it is up to you to prune!


Is usually evident on the underside of rose foliage where there is almost no ventilation and very damp conditions prevail.  Rose plants are very debilitated by this fungus and it can spread rampantly.

Black spot (left) and Rust (right)


Will occur where there is little or no sunshine, very little air-flow or foliage is constantly wet.  Disease can be eliminated by increasing ventilation – removing ground-covering perennials/annuals/other plants clear to 20cms from the base of roses, shifting shaded roses into a sunny location and NEVER WATERING after 3 pm so that foliage is not wet during the night!

Powdery Mildew
I urge you to use our recommended preventative ORGANIC ROSE MANAGEMENT SPRAY PROGRAM at least monthly to reduce any incidence of disease on your rose plants …
To 10 litres of water add:

You can also add liquid fertilizer to this mix!  Vigorously shake the solution, add water to 10 litres volume and shake again.  Spray over foliage and underside where possible – avoid spraying open flowers if you can as the droplets will be evident on rose petals!
It is extremely important to offer roses conditions which reduce plant stress and ensure they flourish which avoids the need to use the ORGANIC ROSE MANAGEMENT SPRAY too frequently:

  • Water at least 20 litres per plant ONCE EVERY WEEK if there is no rain
  • Fertilize regularly – every 8-12 weeks sprinkled lightly over entire root-zone
  • Mulch garden beds to regulate soil temperature and retain moisture levels
  • Apply ECO-SEAWEED solution whenever you feel inclined!


Q. Which musical instrument do skeletons play?  A. Trom-Bone … ha, ha!


Yes, I’ve got LANGSHAN chickens with their clucky hen mothers, lots of ducklings are venturing from our swale to the neighbour’s dam and although the Magpie bub is well and truly faring for itself, we’ve got pardalotes, wrens and finches all showing off with their fledgelings.
This is a spring of unprecedented joy with an abundance of production – last Tuesday was our last minus 1 frost and we hope it’s the last for this year as we want to plant veggies where the roses were heeled-in this past winter … such an ideal location because excess water from the nursery runs directly to this area.  Hope you’re planting veggies too!
Here are a few pics of spectacular roses in the nursery NOW …

THE OPPORTUNITY ROSE is a profuse bloomer, the habit is compact and a little over knee high. The medium sized buds have attractive form, the rich variable copper shades are not prone to premature fading. It has very high resistance to blackspot when compared to neighbouring varieties and a distinct light fragrance.
THE GOLDEN CHILD magnificent Modern Shrub Rose produces masses of bright canary yellow clusters of fragrant blooms on a beautifully healthy shrub with glossy mid-green foliage and magnificent crimson new foliage – highly recommended rose!
MUNSTEAD WOOD –  David Austin Modern Shrub Rose with large dark crimson heavily petalled and very fragrant blooms continually.  Very suited to pot-planting for a patio.  Ideal as a hedge-row.
Revel in the beauty of your spring garden and we’ll see you at Werribee this weekend or soon at Clonbinane …
Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne Open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday – 9am – 4pm Phone 03 5787 1123


ROSE RAMBLER 02.11.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as this month throughout Victoria heralds the start of our flowering season and we’re flowering magnificently here at Clonbinane.  After the most amazingly freezing cold winter our roses have bolted – glorious healthy foliage and early-flowering specimens heralding the joy of what we can expect to see in coming weeks.


I’m not a gambler but I would bet this season promises to be one of the BEST SEASONS in many years of rose growing … the flowers are HUGE and if it isn’t windy, the fragrance is HUGE too!
Q. Why do witches ride on brooms?  A. Because vacuum cleaners are too expensive!
I’m ever so glad I elected to find an organic alternative to rose management when we first started growing roses – here’s an email exchange you might enjoy after Fiona ordered the organic rose management pack at and we confirmed her order and offered advice should she need it … 

“Thanks, Diana and Graham – I have over 50 roses and 2 small children, so am really hoping an organic program will work to keep the aphids at bay without being too toxic for the family.  We are on a farm with Lucerne near the house and I think between the Lucerne and the roses, the aphids think they have found heaven!  It will just be a matter of making the time to do the regular spraying”  – Peter and Fiona”

My response:  You know what Fiona … I’m in exactly the same kind of location as you with paddocks and grasses all around the rose gardens!  I was out mowing lawns tonight … I don’t think I needed to eat when I came in for dinner as I reckon I ingested so many bugs – I’m told they’re jassids/leafhoppers rather than ‘whitefly’ (which would potentially cause massive issues on rose plants in the nursery!!!).     Out in the gardens, we have a mega army of workers eating everything … our birds are amazing and I feel I would deprive them of delicious dining if I was to spray the gardens … obviously, we have to keep the potted roses ‘clean’ so we spray regularly in the nursery!     There is absolutely NOTHING TOXIC in the OCP products which we promote and have used in our rose growing for more than 28 years!  We’ve only been growing roses for 31 years and decided that if we had to use all the lethal cocktails of chemicals to grow roses then we wouldn’t grow them … that sent us on a journey of exploring the possibilities and introduced us to many wonderful people who shared our passion to work WITH MOTHER NATURE.     It’s been a joy to share our experience with many, many rose gardeners who happily grow beautiful roses who accept the fact that sometimes after a magnificent flowering, rose foliage gets black-spot and defoliation might follow.  With a quick prune, quality fertilizer and deep-soaking watering the rose will continue flowering!   I’m so glad you’re purchasing the organic rose management products we use and highly recommend – you’ll show your kids the beauty of ladybirds mating and feasting on aphids in your healthy garden!

More information from an email exchange:“Dear Diana and Graham, I bought NAHEMA and RENAE from you last winter and both are looking good. NAHEMA has shot up the fence to the trellis (1 metre off the ground), and I’ve trained her two leading canes sideways along the base of the trellis. Both canes now have several big fat buds which will pop soon. I can’t wait. She has a ‘water shoot’ growing from the base right next to one of the leading canes. Do I remove it from the base, or do I let this grow up to become another leading cane?”

LEAVE ALL ‘WATERSHOOTS’ WHICH DEVELOP ON ALL ROSES BECAUSE THEY BECOME THE VITAL NEW GROWTHS TO GIVE YOU LOTS OF FLOWERS AND IT IS THIS NEW GROWTH WHICH SUSTAINS YOUR ROSES FOR YEARS AND YEARS – PRUNE OUT THE OLD ‘WATERSHOOTS’ IN FAVOUR OF THE NEW ONES AND YOUR ROSES WILL CONTINUE TO FLOURISH AND FLOWER! RENAE has sat quietly muttering to herself all winter. She now has suddenly decided that life is good, and has sent out a number of fresh new shoots. I remember you (or someone) said of climbers: ‘The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap’. RENAE is just waking up, but she’ll be a beauty by year three.

I’m hoping to come out to Clonbinane shortly to see all your roses in their glory.”
Thank you for introducing me to Nahema and Renae. I’m enjoying them both already — and that’s before they flower! Happy gardening, Stefanie


The STATE ROSE & GARDEN SHOW is just around the corner so a magnificent display is assured.  Don’t miss their 5th year! 

11th & 12th November 2017, open 10am – 4pm Victoria State Rose Garden   Gate 2, K Road, Werribee South VIC

Visit for more information.

A joke in closing this week …
Q. Which room do ghost houses never have?  A. THE LIVING ROOM!  
Enjoy all the glory of your roses flowering now … if you need advice please email your questions to: and we promise a response within 24 hours.
Come for a drive to Clonbinane soon … cheers from MOOI who knows the value of a mulched garden!
Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 26.10.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 19.10.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as we close the door on the first glorious month of spring weather – our potted roses are starting flowering and we are gasping at their beauty; six months now of beautiful roses to look forward to … stunning pics of our garden will follow in this Rose Rambler but please do come and visit when you’re travelling up the Hume Freeway – we’re at theCLONBINANE INTERCHANGEand worth stopping for a wander through our gardens/nursery!


You could get giddy with all the busyness and ‘stuff’ going on … it’s no different here so I’m just going to present some lovely pics of what our customers have sent as the first roses in their gardens this season …

One joke before the pics …

Q. Why do kangaroo mums hate rainy weather?
A.  Because then their joeys have to play ‘inside’!





It would now be appropriate to remove all frost damaged foliage so that the roses can set about producing lush, healthy foliage for this season – yes, they might be a bit late flowering but if you nurture them with regular weekly/fortnightly seaweed solution, a good dose of quality organic fertilizer and deep soaking water if it gets hot and you don’t get rain in your area, you’ll be rewarded with lovely blooms soon.

We have lived here at Clonbinane for 18 years; our garden has never experienced such extensive frost damage –

Most plants will, however, recover and live to endure possibly greater issues with an expected very hot summer???  Whatever the weather, our plants seem to endure – next week I will talk you through effective, economical and essential water management in your garden during this flowering season.


11th and 12th November – do come along to this most magnificent event in the State Rose Garden at Werribee.  Diana will be doing a stage presentation with Jane Edmanson – more details in following Rose Rambler editions.
If you have a group of friends or belong to a Club who like to take outings to lovely places, please organise your next visit to us here at Clonbinane … see you all soon!



Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …

ROSE RAMBLER 19.10.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 19.10.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends as the lawn just keeps on growing and needing mowing …I guess it’s the same at your place?!

Last week inspired lots of responses as you beautiful gardeners told us which roses were the first flowering in your gardens … how amazing that the same varieties came up ‘FIRST’ in so many gardens!

DOUBLE DELIGHT was a winner here too …

After enjoying so many magnificent roses flowering all over northern Victoria from Kerang, along with the Murray River through to Echuca we’ve arrived home to a nursery bursting forth with lots and lots of colourful rose like this fragrant VICTORIA GOLD….
Thanks to Ben and Tova for holding the fort while we were away for a few days!   


LIQUID FERTILIZER … I’ve had some enquiries about how to go about making your own liquid ‘weed-tea’ fertilizer from a range of non-seeding weeds along with a combination of various manures which you can acquire either in your own garden or from a local source.
Get a hessian bag – you might find one at your local feed store; perhaps a potato grower.  If you cannot find a hessian bag you could use an old pillowcase or maybe a sheet that you can lay weeds/manure in and securely tie to suspend in water.

The container you use might be a wheelie-bin, an old garbage tin or a 44-gallon drum – whatever you can find that has a lid – yes, the brew will stink – locate it in the furthest corner of the yard!

Every couple of days, lift the lid and check the brew; plunge the suspended ‘sack’ of weeds and manure up and down to be sure nutrients from the contents are releasing into the water – add more water perhaps and seaweed powder or solution will be beneficial too!

Q.  Why didn’t the toilet paper cross the road?  A. Because it was stuck in the crack!

After around six weeks of brewing take 1-2 litres of fermented liquid, dilute it in a 9 litre watering can of water and pour over the soil in your rose garden!

This is excellent liquid fertilizer – especially if you added seaweed powder along with some kind of animal manure to the initial weed sack.  Use liberally every couple of weeks.

Because you’re never sure of the fertilizer analysis of this kind of feeding, I recommend you use a Complete Organic Fertilizer at least twice annually to be sure your plants are being fed a complete range of nutrients which ensures continually healthy foliage and masses of flowers throughout the flowering season.

Q. Why did the scarecrow win an award? A. For being outstanding in his field

Infomation Sharing …

“Dear Diana … I recently bought some potted roses from you.  We are rearranging our garden, so the roses cannot go into their permanent positions until next winter. We have made a temporary bed for the roses, but I am wondering if we would be better off just transferring them into bigger pots for this season. Would the roots be happier if they are contained rather than spreading out into their temp home and being moved next season? Kind regards, Rhona”

My response to Rhona:  Ok … you know what the major consideration is:  DO YOU HAVE TIME AND WATER TO WATER POTTED ROSES EVERY DAY???  Pots are a pain in the backside because of the commitment to watering and fertilizing!

After more than 25 years in our gardens at Kilmore, we bulldozed hundreds of roses and DID NOT LOSE ONE OF THEM in the transplant … that was in MAY, 2012

I think you know what I would recommend but you do what works for you! Cheers … Diana & Graham both agree!
Then Rhona responded:

“Wow!!  Nice image of you bulldozing 100s of roses then merrily replanting them. And in May too!!  Thanks so much for your reply and your cheerful, generous way of sharing your knowledge and experience.  Kind regards, Rhona”

Enjoy all the pleasures of your spring rose garden …

Cheers from the team here … Graham, Diana, Mooi, Tova, Ben, Leigh, the chooks and their new-born chicks, baby magpies and everything wonderful about being at CLONBINANE … see you soon …

Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …

ROSE RAMBLER 12.10.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 12.10.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as we enjoy the glory of spring – we’re already halfway through – rushing towards summer and we’re hedging bets between us about which rose will be the very first flowering this season:


Tova is convinced it will be THE OPPORTUNITY ROSE


Graham believes it will be TWILIGHT ZONE

So you can see, despite another minus 2 frost earlier this week, roses in 20cm pots which act like a humid-crib for their roots, on higher ground up in the Rose Nursery are ready to flower … amazing to all of us!


How exciting and how beautiful and how very lucky we are that we all love roses – I think we’re in for a stunning flowering season, the rosebuds are so pumped full of deep soaking rain … it’s raining as I write!  Sorry to our far north friends who are experiencing drought but have had some respite last week perhaps???!!!

Because of all the humidity, it is imperative that you continue the rose spray-maintenance program – people who are continuing with this program on a fortnightly basis are enjoying their roses … no black-spot, no aphids!
Please don’t wait until problems occur – to 10 litres of water mix all of the following:
  • ¼ cup Eco-Rose/Fungicide (powder should be dissolved in water first)
  • ¼ cup Eco-oil and ALWAYS ADD A SEAWEED PRODUCT – we use and recommend ECO-SEAWEED POWDER – extremely economical as you use your own water!
If the aphids have beat you to the punch and your roses are covered in them, you need to add 20ml of Eco-Neem to the above recipe for quicker, effective control.  Otherwise, all the little birds like wrens, pardalotes, finches, etc. will make a feast of aphids – of course, if you see ladybirds mating like this – leave them to do their job …
With all the massive – I MEAN MASSIVE growth on all plants, treat yourself this weekend and  go for a drive to enjoy the GREEN – it is the most relaxing colour of all of Mother Nature’s colours and although it’s a long way, you might just find yourself at CHARLTON where the Rotary Art Show is exhibited all weekend along with 6 delightful OPEN GARDENS – you’ll be hospitably welcomed in the way only Aussie Country Folk know how!

Did you know that going for a drive in your car is the most popular of all recreational activities that Australians do?  Not the footy or sports viewing on TV or going to the theatre …

Q.  How many apples grow on trees?  A. All of them!  

Q.  How many peanuts grow on trees?  A.  Peanuts grow in the ground!

You’ll trick the kids with these two!  Enjoy the giggles!!!

When something dies …

This GOLDEN DIOSMA hedge was very visible in aerial photos we had taken of our property back in 2003 and after severe frost events this past winter, it died.

I called 3CR Garden Show on Sunday morning and the expert panel suggested that the hedge had done its time and demised due to age – I took their advice and removed it – but oh, gosh, what a hole it leaves in a very prominent part of our entrance driveway.

Solution … I will plant a hedge of THE GOLDEN CHILD roses so that when my Mother visits (regularly) I can remind her that I didn’t plant the hedge for my BROTHER but … yes, for her other GOLDEN CHILD, Diana!

What fun you can have with the names of roses … cherish all the wonderfulness of your garden in this magnificent spring!
Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …

ROSE RAMBLER 5.10.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 05.10.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends.  When the Rose Rambler was posted 10 years ago today, it went with a sticker celebrating the arrival of our grandson Logan who now regularly visits the Rose Farm and told us recently that he would like to come and work here on weekends!

Happy 10th Birthday Logan from Oma and Poppy!

The next generation steps up as the sun shines and even the morning temperature allows us to wander into the garden early to pull a weed or lift a nodding daffodil and enjoy its stunning petal formation … take a look at this beauty which you will find in catalogues as Narcissus  ‘MOONDRAGON’ …


Congratulations to the great team who won the Grand Final last weekend … what a game!
I put this poster in because it actually reminds me of the drive and determination it has taken us to pursue and in most cases, achieve our dreams in the horticultural industry – we’ve had some tough times in the past 30 years!

However, all considered, it’s been a sensational journey and we still love doing what we do; grow beautiful roses for gardeners to enjoy in their gardens around Australia!  We are so, so lucky to be living our dream!

Q.  If teeth were shoes what would they be?  A. GUMBOOTS … how could you NOT get that?


yes, you’ll be fertilizing the soil which, in turn, will feed your roses.  Be sure and purchase the best quality fertilizer you can buy locally!!!

Here’s an email conversation …

Hi Gra … All the 19 bareroots I bought off you are coming on nicely. They certainly enjoyed the winter rain at Daylesford.  Just a question, how soon after planting the bareroot roses can we use blood and bone meal? ”  Many thanks – Penny

MY RESPONSE … Hi Penny … Quite frankly, I wouldn’t use it at all – seriously, unless you add ALL THE OTHER NUTRIENTS, (POTASH, TRACE ELEMENTS, ETC. ETC. ETC.) using JUST blood and bone would be like feeding your roses McDonald’s – they’ll get a rush but not a lot of substance!

Fertilizer manufacturers have taken the science of feeding plants and put it in a bag for us – here at the Rose Farm, we have magnificent fertilizer – COMPLETE ORGANIC FERTILIZER manufactured at Invergordon about 1 hour up the road.

Yes, we’re lucky to have this available to us very close to home; it suits our sustainable policy!

Go to your local nursery or horticultural supplier and be advised which is the best and most economical fertilizer (preferably organic) available in your area.  Cheers … Graham

Q. What do you get when you cross a chicken with a cement mixer?  A. A bricklayer.

When fertilizing your soil, consider the following points:

  • Apply fertilizer when plants/foliage is dry to avoid fert sticking to foliage;
  • Never remove mulch; apply fertilizer over mulch then water in;
  • Clever fertilizer application – just prior to soaking rain!
  • Fertilize regularly; light applications / frequently is perfect for most plants;
  • Sprinkle pellet fertilizer over the soil – not in clumps at the base of plants;
  • If using a liquid fertilizer, ALWAYS add ECO-SEAWEED POWDER as a bonus!

If you regularly apply animal manure/compost around your roses, you should be able to alternate, using commercial fertilizer every 6 months or so just to be sure you have a good balance of minor nutrients and trace elements which are REALLY important to maintain healthy foliage, prolific flowering and generally happy roses!

Roses will let you know they need fertilizing when the foliage is continually plagued by black spot which is definitely a sign of stress!

Roses for when you need an angel in your life…

How truly lovely it is when such appropriately named roses suit a certain situation as these two truly beautiful varieties do …

“Hi, Thank you so much for your wonderful roses. I bought 7 roses a few months ago to create a memorial garden. I bought EARTH ANGEL and GUARDIAN ANGEL. You can see they are flourishing.”  Kind regards – Susan



GUARDIAN ANGEL is a very special rose – ideal to gift for the family who lost their child during pregnancy or birthing or simply to have a wonderful creamy-white mass of blooms on an extraordinarily healthy shrub rose!  The flowers are enduring through all weather and vase well too!
  • Extremely healthy shrub rose
  • Creamy-white swirling mass of petals
  • Enduring blooms in all weather
  • Ideal gift for the loss of a pregnancy or baby!



EARTH ANGEL is a magnificent addition to the KORDES PARFUMA COLLECTION with extremely healthy, dark green foliage on a rather short bush to 75-90cms tall and nicely rounded.

The beautifully shaped old-world style blooms remind me of a peony with a thick, swirling mass of petals as the bloom slowly opens to present a fresh fruity fragrance which is particularly evident on a warm, still evening.  Hold a nearly open bloom in your palms – the warmth from your body will entice the sweet fragrance to emerge.


If you’re out and about in country Victoria during the coming weeks there is a Rose Show at the Kyabram Town Hall – no competition but every gardener in town will put their lovely roses on display – Graham will be there with potted roses and products.  He’d love to have a chat with you there!!!

On 15th October there will be six magnificent gardens open in CHARLTON where the Annual Rotary Art Show is exhibiting.  Gra and I will be wandering around there too as we make our way to KERANG for the NORTHERN ANNUAL GARDEN CLUBS CONFERENCE ON MONDAY 16th October – we are keynote speakers at this event.

See you there!!!


Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …

28th SEPTEMBER, 2017

ROSE RAMBLER 28.09.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends from sunny Clonbinane where the day still starts with minus 2 frost and our gardens are a blaze of glorious colour thanks to the daffodils and tulips … delightful!

Most Exciting News …

Diana’s beautiful book ALL ABOUT ROSES is now reprinted and once again available to purchase – go to your local bookstore or to our website to purchase a copy.

Last week I received a rose order along with this lovely message from Les …thanks for the newsletter, and look forward to my shipments.

“I just re-read some of your ALL ABOUT ROSES book.  LOVE IT!  There is even a mention of me in the book!  ” …. Want to grow roses but wouldn’t have a clue.” !!! That’s me!” – Cheers Les

ALL ABOUT ROSES is being reprinted by popular demand!

Reviews since it was first released in 2014 have declared it a book for ALL rose gardeners … very practical advice, magnificent photography and simply the book which EVERY rose lover should have sitting on the coffee table – perhaps in the garden shed because all our organic rose management recipes are right there!

Order a signed copy for yourself or get in early for a Christmas gift for the rose-lover in your life!


I passionately enjoy growing daffodils and this season is one out-of-the-box for magnificent flowers-


Our pretty Daffodils,


and splendid Tulips!

JOKE :  Harry went for a job interview and the first thing they told him was:  “We are looking for someone responsible” to which Harry replied:  “I’m your man because at my last job, every time something went wrong they told me I was responsible”.

Mulching Your Garden…

Is seriously one of the most important tasks you can undertake NOW while there is still good soil moisture deep down in the sub-soil/clay.  To conserve this moisture and have your roses send their roots way down and anchor themselves for years of robust, healthy growing and flowering, I recommend you place a good thick layer of mulch around the entire garden bed.

Notice when we mulch here, there is a ‘biscuit’ of pea straw along the border – this stops birds flicking loose straw out of the bed and we generally place a thick layer of damp newspaper under the ‘biscuit’ to inhibit weeds coming into the garden bed!

In the actual garden bed, the pea straw is pulled apart and fluffed-up – nice and thick – this allows fertilizer pellets to find their way down onto the soil.  NEVER REMOVE THIS LAYER OF MULCH because soil microbes are actively working to enhance your soil and you could destroy them very quickly by exposing them to sunlight!
Some roses in lower areas of our garden are seriously frost damaged but we are not going to prune ANYTHING MORE off them until the first flowering in November and I urge you to do the same where frost damage is evident.   From previous experience here at Clonbinane, I assure you that ALL YOUR ROSES WILL RECOVER and flower this spring.

New foliage is very soft and lush which makes it susceptible to insects who will take advantage of these conditions … see the aphid cycle on this magnificent photo Diana took and which Steve at  (Organic Crop Protectants) has labelled so you now know more about aphids and their cycle …

  • White stuff – these are the shells of the aphids which they’ve shed when moulting
  • Winged insect – these are winged adult aphids and not lacewings.  When aphids enter their final moulting stage they can emerge as either winged or wingless adults.  They produce wings if the area they’re in is already heavily populated with aphids so it allow them to emerge with wings and fly off to find a new feeding ground which is less crowded.  Clever trick really
  • Brown blobs – these are aphids which have had a parasitoid wasp inject an egg into them.  When the juvenile wasp hatches it feeds on the insides of the aphid before pupating and then cutting a tiny hold in the shell of the aphid and emerging as an adult wasp.  During the whole process the aphid swells up, turns brown and dies.
If you have good numbers of birds in your garden, consider the aphids as their seasonal feast!  Don’t be too quick reaching for sprays to eliminate the aphids if you feel they’re under control … ECO OIL is very effective in controlling the immature/larval-stage aphids which of course, in time, interrupts the breeding cycle!  There is no hard and fast KILL with organic rose management so observation is critical – gentle, gentle works and remember, roses recover from all kinds of harsh elements without interference!

Hope you’re enjoying all the glory which spring offers us gardeners – Graham


This weekend is the last opportunity you’ll have to order BARE-ROOTED ROSES because the roses are now beautifully foliaged, lots of roots in the coir-fibre potting mix and some are even budding!  Yes, we have flower buds despite minus 2 frosty mornings!

In between watching the footy this weekend, scroll through and order a few roses to plant for flowering throughout this season and for years to come!  Every reason why so many people resort to purchasing GIFT ROSES as a way of expressing their heartfelt feelings!

Our GIFT ROSE continues to please – here’s an email from Toni who had tried to phone through an order on Tuesday (my day off), resorted to Facebook (which is managed by our IT team – not ME – they emailed me for response) then she finally emailed me and I called her –

“Diana – Haha … No worries I was just trying to cover all bases.  It’s because you do it so beautifully like no one else I found and I didn’t want anyone else’s rose to go to Leanne.  Thank you so much for your assistance :) ” 

Yes, we will be here this FRIDAY which is a public holiday for THE DAY BEFORE THE FOOTBALL GRAND FINAL – gasping as I type that!!!  Yes, we will also be here during the whole weekend although it is a sport weekend … take this opportunity to get down and dirty in your garden …

Slashers Organic Weedkiller…

We’re extremely excited that Slasher Organic Weedkiller is in the running for “Organic Product of the Year” in the 2017 Organic Consumer Choice Awards.

Naturally we’d love Slasher to win and for this we need your help. Please click on the link to vote now. It only takes a minute and will help us spread the organic word!

Grab your bottle of Slasher Organic Weedkiller at or find it at your local garden centre.

Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …

ROSE RAMBLER 21.9.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 21.09.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends – this is another one of those ‘special dates’ – I’m producing a Rambler on the date when, in 6 months, I’ll be turning 60 and I won’t talk about this going forward … let’s see who remembers next February?

Where is Clonbinane?  What is in Clonbinane?  The history of Clonbinane?    You’re right, there is no store, no Post Office, there isn’t even a Pub!  Just up the road (2 kms) from Silkies Rose Farm, there’s a community of houses in Waterford Park … no shop or PO there either but since the tragic Black Saturday fires of 2009, we have a magnificent CLONBINANE COMMUNITY HALL where we frequently get together with all the locals.

So really, CLONBINANE TODAY is ABOUT SILKIES ROSE FARM which is located within 500 meters of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE on the HUME FREEWAY (entry and exit north and south) where thousands of vehicles travel every day between Melbourne / Sydney / Brisbane and everywhere in between.

Do be sure to stop off and say hello on your way past

FUN EMAILS … Last week I posted a lovely rose to Helen and I couldn’t stop giggling when I read her response:

 “Thank you, Diana, I love this rose very much, it has a special place between my Reine Victoria and Mme Pierre Oger!  Lovely!  And this time I will really REALLY look after it properly.  Summer is no good for my brain or my roses.” Helen

Summer can cook your brain just don’t let it cook your roses!

POSTING PRODUCT… yes, of course, I can post ORGANIC ROSE MANGEMENT products to you but please read this email and consider my response …

Thanks, Diana, yes postage was steep but that’s not your fault. Postage is really high now. I can’t seem to buy these products in Traralgon so I had to send to you.  LOVE the products you sent, my rosebuds in Queensland were so plump, I have never seen them like this.  Wasted a lot I think as I put some in a bucket and watered from below, then used as a spray.  I will have to order more!!  Thanks for the intro to Amino Gro.”  Jan

Yes, spraying is the best way!  Can I suggest that you go to your local garden center and ask if they would please stock the OCP range of garden maintenance products … people will definitely buy them if they are available!  Even Bunnings if you have to …?  Cheers, and thank you!


there are lots of NEW RELEASE ROSES in the nursery and as they’re now getting foliage, I’m more and more interested in them and have absconded pots which I will soon be planting in MY garden …

EARTH ANGEL … we displayed this in vases earlier this year at Tesselaar’s Garden Expo and it held up beautifully throughout the weekend – such a lovely specimen for garden display and definitely in a vase …

SUMMER ROMANCE … This very special beauty is what I consider PERFECT PINK … with swirling mass of petals and lovely spicy fragrance, the name says it all!  I’ll be planting it for sure because I know that it will present really well in a vase too.

JOKE:  “Charlie applies for a job in a factory.  The manager asks:  “Have you worked with chemicals before?”  “Yes!” Charlie replies.  “Great.  Can you tell me what nitrate is?” the manager asks.  Charlie answers:  “I’m hoping it’s going to be time and a half.”

The last word from me this week is to remember:

Keep frequent applications of eco-seaweed happening in your rose garden … I think we’re in for a really hot, hot summer and if we condition our roses NOW, we can pretty much guarantee they’ll be ok with whatever this summer has to offer them – it might be water restrictions, perhaps intensely hot sun but whatever they’re presented, offer them great conditioning with regular applications of eco-seaweed solution – you should buy a 600g pack added to every rose order!

I found this and would like to share:

Preoccupied with a single leaf, you won’t see the tree.
Preoccupied with a single tree, you’ll miss the entire forest.

Nurture and love what you have – dream of what is possible to have in your garden and work to achieve your dream … see you at the Yea Garden Expo this weekend – I will be presenting at 2.00 on Saturday … Graham

BARE-ROOTED ROSES STILL AVAILABLE ONLINE … go to where you can still purchase bare-rooted roses for the next few weeks – it is imperative that you plant these magnificent specimens as soon as they arrive at your door – offer them eco-seaweed solution weekly for at least four weeks after planting to reduce transplanting shock and to get their roots settled – most roses will be flowering by November … not long to go now!

Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 meters of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …

ROSE RAMBLER 14.9.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 14.09.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends from Clonbinane …   where morning temperatures still defy the fact that spring has sprung – every morning we are greeted by another frost.  However, all the roses are pruned now and will ‘tough it out’ if frost persists. Take a look at how severely Ben pruned KNOCKOUT hedge last Friday – I’ll let you see pics of this magnificent rose in a few weeks when it’s flowering again.

How severely Ben pruned the KNOCKOUT hedge last week!

How it looked before the pruning!



Soon we’ll be inundated with garden events as roses start to flower and we expect to have one of the busiest seasons on record here – there are bus groups booked and we are attending a few events which might interest you if they’re in your zone:

23 & 24 SEPTEMBER – 10- 4 each day


KYABRAM ROSE SHOW – FRIDAY, 13TH OCTOBER – details in following Rose Ramblers 


Diana and I are guest speakers at this event so if you would like to attend, please contact :  George at to reserve a seat at this very popular event.

We will keep you well informed of events where either of us attend – remember too that I am a regular presenter on the 3CR Garden Show – Community Radio, Melbourne, 855 on the AM BAND every Sunday 7.30-9.15am – I present with the panel EVERY SECOND SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH. 


Every year I diligently save my cents until they become a couple of hundred dollars and I buy daffodils – it’s a thrill to peruse the catalogues, chat with the growers and the greatest delight is seeing them flowering at this time of year and the cold season has been perfect with masses of daffies flowering in absolute profusion – this has to be one of the best seasons I’ve experienced in many years!

Remember DO NOT CUT OFF THE FOLIAGE of your daffodils when they’ve finished flowering – this is VERY IMPORTANT!  When the flowers are spent, you must apply fertilizer so that as the foliage dies down, it takes all the energy into the bulb where it is stored for next season.

Feeding bulbs as they start to shut-down from this spring flowering will almost surely guarantee good multiplication of the bulbs to ensure even greater numbers of flowers next season – we use the same fertilizer for bulbs as we do the roses – Complete Organic Fertilizer – be guided by the assistant at your local garden centre for the best quality fertilizer for your bulbs and roses!


Q. What gets bigger the more your take away?  A. A hole of course! 

Hope you’ve dug a few holes recently to plant more roses; maybe some seedling annuals and veggies for delicious summer salads?  Get your garden looking gorgeous for this season – I’ve got 9 more roses to ‘sneak’ into my garden – testing varieties which will be released in 2018 so I’ll give them premium treatment to ensure they grow really well and I can hopefully highly recommend them for your garden next season too!

From a blissfully happy Graham enjoying my daffodils … cheers!




Yes, it works brilliantly, it’s very economical and extremely environmentally friendly.  You, the gardener MUST contribute positive energy and accept the follies of Mother Nature – expect there might be times when a particular plant isn’t PERFECT … ask yourself :  “am I perfect, always?” and when we speak at Garden Club presentations, we often ask the audience if they would like us to come and visit their home early in the morning … gushingly, the audience is horrified at this prospect because hey, how fabulous do you look when you first step out of bed?

Give your plants the same grace and help them to look beautiful as much and as frequently as they can … here’s my advice to Xiumei recently:

“Hi Diana, Following our previous email, I hesitate to continue to purchase any other roses because I found insects/pests, like aphids and dark spots on some other roses in my garden (I bought from Bunnings previously).  Would you please give some advice how frequency to spray Eco-oil/neem? once per day or per week? I saw the menu it is spray every 1-2 weeks. But for my case, it looks not enough only one spray every 1-2 weeks.  The bare-roots rose I bought from your nursery also looks be impacted. I found one leave with yellow-dark spot on it. 

Currently, I have to give a quick check the leaves and bottom of flowers in the morning, I usually could find some aphids at the back of leaves.  That’s really upset me.  Finger crossed, wish my lovley rose plants could survive in the new home. ” Best regards,  Xiumei
My urgent response to Xiumei:  Hello … it’s very, very important that you STOP WORRYING and being concerned about every little bit of spot or yellow leaf … do you know that you lose skin and hair every day?  Leaves are the same on roses – they run out of being necessary on the plant so they go yellow with black spots and drop!  New leaves ALWAYS FOLLOW … did you know too that aphids are food for birds and other insects/visitors in your garden?  When they become out of control it usually means there’s not adequate ventilation – aphids love to be out of the wind where they can breed prolifically!

You should NEVER EVER use our organic management program more than fortnightly!

Please stop worrying and see the beauty of the flowers rather than what little pests might be there … yellow leaves are normal on spent foliage. As long as your roses are well watered and fed, they will please you!  Best wishes … DIANA
“The response which I truly love:  Brilliant, Diana! Take it in my pocket now.”
Cheers, Xiumei



Ann alerted me to the fact that at they’re asking for people to send pictures of their gardens which might be selected for the covers of local area phone books!  Be adventurous and send a picture of your garden.

I’ll send this one of our garden … PIERRE DE RONSARD (pink bloom on left) and SYMPATHIE (red blooms) with NAHEMA (pink buds on right).  All these magnificent climbers  produce beautiful flowers suitable for a vase!


Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …