ROSE RAMBLER 22.1.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 22.1.2015

Hello dear rose friends … how glorious is the summer rain?  We hope the heavens opened on your garden and it’s had a fair share.  No matter how much you water your garden from the tap, when God wees on the garden, the results are amazing!

The potted roses love the rain too – they are stunning right now as we’ve had good windows of opportunity to spray regular applications of foliage fertilizer as well as our organic rose maintenance program – all this attention means lots of lush, healthy foliage and a bountiful supply of glorious blooms.

Time to load the kids in the car, bring the dog on a lead and a picnic – sit at the table and chairs under the gum trees and feel free to wander around our beautiful gardens while the kids go looking for frogs and snails – we’ll show them how to conduct the races!

Bring your camera so you can take lots of pics of roses if you’re planning a new garden for this coming winter season – you have until Monday, 2nd February to take advantage of $5.00 off every single rose if you have garden beds ready for planting now. We’re so easy to find if you’re on the HUME FREEWAY …


It’s on Saturday, 11th – Sunday, 12th April, 2015 and once again, my Rotary Club has secured a grant to subsidise travel for groups who would love to come and experience our region during this weekend.

The $10 per person travel subsidy will apply for groups of 15 or more.  You will enjoy a stop-over at the delightful Hidden Valley Estate Restaurant for morning/afternoon tea ($7.00 per person) along with a guided history walk by the lake (the estate was established by the late Robert Holmes a Court as a thoroughbred horse stud and was home to the Melbourne Cup Winner, BLACK KNIGHT), play Petanque (Boule) on the lawn or sit and watch golfers hit their balls onto the only island hole in Australia!

Naturally, you will come and visit us here at Silkies Rose Farm where you’ll be entertained by WALK AND TALK IN THE GARDEN WITH GRAHAM (yes, ok, he’ll tell some jokes too!) and you will be our guests to enjoy the scones, jam and cream with refreshments which we’ve never lost the touch of producing!

Then, you will visit Kilmore where you’ll get free entry, catalogue and gallery guide at the Kilmore Art Expo; you can enjoy a delicious lunch (main course is approx $10 per head), great coffee or a glass of local wine in the Expo Café.

If you would like to book a group and take advantage of this spectacular offer of $10 per head travel subsidy to enjoy a day in the country, please contact me on 03 5787 1123 or Andrea (Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell) 0428 410 041.


If you’re the GUEST SPEAKER CO-ORDINATOR of your group, please contact us so that we can organise a visit for Graham or Diana (sometimes both, depending on meeting time) to come and share our gardening knowledge with you … 03 5787 1123.


Had some great response to my ‘brew’ … could start a whole new business – take a look at Diana’s emails with Nat who does the brew:

Nat:  “My weed tea is in an old webbing chaff/wheat/feed bag suspended in a 100 litre tank with a tap at the bottom.  Perfect.  I have a flat stick I stir it with to get new weed additions and oxygen down into the brew. I really don’t mind the fragrance in the least. I grew up in dairy country, and it’s exactly the same to me as the smell of cow poo, which to me is actually nice, believe it or not.”

Diana’s response:  “You and Gra would do well in the perfume industry … you call it ‘fragrance’ which I think is hysterical.  I don’t dislike the smell at all … I just hate when Gra uses the brew on days when the nursery is open, the nursery is full of lovely smelling rose blooms and he disintegrates that glory with the cow poo smell!!!  Like come on, you would have to agree with me on this one?????  Laughing all the way … cheers … Diana”

Nat:  “Amazing you say that about the perfume industry. I was thinking of bottling and marketing it. House of Odieuse, new fragrance ‘O- d’Effluvia’!”

From Laurel in Queensland:   “I reckon that the green weed tea is magic. Up here we add a bit of chook manure for the water melons especially, but roses love it too if I could work out how to make enough to give each a drink. I thought of placing 40 gal drums at spaces along the lines but would need a lot – no shortage of weeds to use though!”

Some emails requested information on how to make the ‘brew’ … here’s what Diana wrote though she’s never made it or used it herself – just complained vehemently about the ‘smell’ but gloried at the results it produces …

This is easy … just get a 44gal drum, a hessian bag, a stick and a piece of string … fill the bag with weeds … all sorts including herbs, anything green, thistles too and any animal poo … tie them off in the bag then suspend the bag over a drum of water .. cover it or leave it open – air is good … stir it every couple of days … you’ll start to see bubbles and you’ll probably start to smell it … some say it’s ‘fragrant’ (what planet they live on is something I wrestle with???).

For ‘proper’ set up … put the drum on a stand and have a tap at the base for easy dispensing … put a couple of them around the yard in strategic locations so you can always have a ‘brew’ happening … within 3-4 weeks just tap-off and dilute with some water (1:10 one litre ‘brew’ to 10 litres water) to be safe if you’re pouring it over plant foliage … this is not so essential if you’re just pouring it over the ground … it’s brilliant fertilizer and it’s so cheap and easy … recommend adding seaweed (powder or solution) to the ‘brew’ every couple of weeks – adds to strengthening the cell wall of the plants reducing pressure from heat/cold stress.

Q.  What do you get if you cross a worm and a young goat?  A.  A dirty kid

Goes to show you can have a whole lot of fun while you’re out in the garden … see you soon at Clonbinane where you can pick up some magnificent roses during our summer promotion and personally check out my ‘brew’ … Gra


Here is a rose which truly shines to its name … SUMMER OF LOVE is an exquisite Hybrid Tea rose of immense beauty!  Tall growing with lush, healthy, dark-green foliage and continual repeat flowering, SUMMER OF LOVE is a must for those of you who love to pick roses for a vase – a stunning beauty in all seasons of flowering but particularly spectacular now and from bud to full bloom…

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going” … applies to roses which are subjected to super-tough conditions which we are likely to experience in the coming weeks of heat – they’ll amaze you with their beauty so do take time out to stop and smell the roses …

~ Cheers from Diana, Graham, Mooi and heaps of baby chickens at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 15.1.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 15.1.2015

ROSE RAMBLER … 15.01.2015

Hello dear rose friends … here at Clonbinane we’ve had a very ordinary 17mm of rain – so disheartening when news reports suggested no less than 20mm every day for at least 4 days – in my dream, I saw the swale filled with water again, I felt the joy of being on the mower and the smell of freshly cut grass … ???  No wonder we hardly ever watch the TV!




Use the promotional coupon code ‘MIDSUMMER5′
in your shopping cart

*Conditions apply: Only valid for orders over $50.00.
Offer is not available for the Gift Rose.


Several weeks ago I told you about ‘free fertilizer’ made up by adding weeds along with herbs like comfrey, parsley, etc. in a hessian bag  suspended in a drum/garbage bin filled with water.  Well, there were potted roses in the nursery which for some reason or another looked like they were starved of nutrient – maybe they missed out on fertilizer or fertilizer fell out if the pot was tipped over in high wind – so I’ve been pouring my ‘brew’ over those yellow-leaved, sickly looking roses and the response has been astounding!  The leaves greened-up almost overnight and now they’re flowering again.

Here’s a pic of how I set this up … remember to keep it well away from the house because it’s got a very potent smell about it!

Q. What has a head and a tail but no body?  …. You’ve gotta guess this one??? A.  A coin

My very own-bred rose, GRA’S BLUE continues to amaze me with its perpetual continuity of free-flowering habit and I’m so glad that it’s thornless because I just grab a handful of spent flower stems and chop it … within days it has fresh foliage and is ready to set flowers all over again.  I recently picked a bunch for a vase – aaah, the fragrance and the blooms lasted well despite the heat.

If you would like to create a low-growing hedge of roses, similar to the one we have planted here at the Rose Farm, I highly recommend my little beauty – GRA’S BLUE for a continual show of small lavender-blue, fragrant blooms throughout the season.

Q. What is the best way to communicate with a fish?  A. Drop him a line!

I watched Diana throwing letters into the Jamieson River after I told her this joke … she didn’t catch a single fish!  We had fun though!!!



  • Remove spent flowers regularly – leave good foliage cover on the bush to prevent sunburning the stems
  • Fertilize with quality organic fertilizer – liquid or solid – just feed the roses every 8 weeks over the entire soil surface around the bushes!
  • Top-up mulch – quality lucerne/pea straw highly recommended but any mulch is better than none at all – we don’t recommend mushroom compost
  • Deep soak weekly with no less than 20 litres per watering


  • Never water late in the day – walk through the rose garden with a morning coffee in one hand, a hose in the other – enjoy the evenings with only a glass in your hand!
  • Never spray the organic rose management program on a day when the temperature is expected to exceed 30 degrees
  • Never remove all the foliage when dead-heading/summer pruning – here’s a recent email enquiry:
“A lady up here (central N.S.W.) has a very old overgrown rose. It has some lovely water shoots on it, is it too late to cut the old wood back???”

ANSWER:  It’s never too late to remove old wood from a rose which is rejuvenating by producing healthy water shoots … however, because of the potential of hot sun burning newly cut stems, be sure to cover them – some shade mesh would do the trick – you don’t want to cause sunburn on newly cut branches!  If the new water shoots have good foliage cover on them, that foliage would be adequate to stop any sun burn.  Go for it … cheers

If you grow RUGOSA ROSES, now is the time to harvest their summer crop of hips to make ROSE HIP JAM … in exchange for a jar of jam, I would be happy to pick our rose hips and forward them to the adventurous jam-maker.  Please contact me on 03-5787 1123 if you’re interested in this barter!

In closing … we’ll obviously see you at the Rose Farm soon to take advantage of this great Mid-Summer offer!  The roses look sensationally healthy and blooming profusely; they are more than ready and waiting to be planted in your garden … ooh, the joy of an instant rose garden during this wonderful summer.

~ Cheers from Graham, Diana & Mooi at CLONBINANE



ROSE RAMBLER … 08.01.2015

Hello dear rose friends and welcome to the excitement of a whole brand new year – may you enjoy lots of pleasure in your garden with good health and loving throughout 2015.

We hosted my Rotary Club Christmas party here at the Rose Farm and had the most extraordinary fun doing a snail race … the snails were marked with little stickers and we had to remember which sticker was attached to the snail we ‘bought’.  The snails were placed in a bucket and first snail to reach the top was the winner – talk about laugh!  After a few races, we had to wake the snails up by putting some water in the bucket after which, they went like rockets!!!

I shared this fun with a friend in Queensland and she told me they put frogs in a circle and the first frog out of the circle is the winner … we have lots of frogs in our garden because we don’t use lethal chemical weedicides/pesticides and when our grandchildren visit, it’s the first thing they do … find frogs and make a ‘habitat’ (container with grass, sand, sticks, etc.) add a skink (lizard), and other bugs.  We’ll be doing races with frogs next!

This is the type of thing kids should be doing and I’m sharing these ideas so that you can enjoy time with your kids and grandkids over the holidays.  Make sure you have fun with them in your eco-friendly garden!


I know Christmas is over but this is funny and worth sharing:

Q.  What do you get if you cross Santa Claus with a duck?  A.  A Christmas quacker!

While I water the pots, there’s usually a rose variety which stands out on a particular day but NEPTUNE impresses me every single time I water it – the highly, highly fragrant, rich lavender blue blooms with a blush of purple on the outer edge of the petals produces a consistently abundant amount of flowers.  The leaves are huge, very leathery and extremely disease resistant.  I reckon NEPTUNE is the BEST mauve-blue Hybrid Tea rose of them all!

I do hope you’ve mulched your garden beds as we’ll be experiencing some hot weather from here on in … you can source wheat/oat/barley straw (the cheapest and good on the compost heap and garden borders) but use either pea straw or lucerne around the roses because as it breaks down, it actually feeds the plants.

By mulching your garden, you are helping the environment by enriching the soil with carbon, reducing water consumption and feeding soil microbes and worms … etc. etc.

Q.  Why do giraffes have such long necks?  A.  Because their feet stink.


Recently I received an email with a request to identify a rose and I want to share with you how easy it is to get 100% correct ID if you forward a series of photos exactly as Jennifer did – the fully open flower, the foliage, the thorns, the bud …


So easy to identify this magnificent rose as MERMAID.  Remember too, if you need to have a rose budded because it is no longer in production, now is the time to forward the budwood to us so that we can request ‘custom budding’ by our grower – no later than end January!!!  Call us if you need advice (03) 5787 1123.


Recipe forwarded by Deborah after I sent her a box of fragrant, dark red rose petals …

“My grandmother-in-law has fond memories of her mother making ros pe jam out of wild roses that grew along the fence of where they used to holiday in Poland.  So for her birthday, I decided to recreate a jar of sweet rose jam for her to enjoy, using the sweetest and most fragrant rose petals from Silkies Rose Farm!  Here’s the recipe, so that you can enjoy this summer delight!”

Ingredients: makes ~ 600g of jam

  • 230g fresh rose petals (make sure they’re pesticide-free, like Silkies roses!)
  • 450g sugar
  • 1.2 litres of cold water
  • The juice of two lemons and all their pips


  1. Sterilise jam jars by washing them in the dishwasher, or washing them with boiled water, then dry them.
  2. Trim the white tips and any brown blemishes off the rose petals – these parts of the petals can make the jam bitter.
  3. Rinse the petals well but gently, making sure there are no bugs or dirt.
  4. Bruise the petals gently with your fingers to release their oils, then toss them in sugar, ensuring that each petal is coated with sugar.
  5. Set aside the leftover sugar and cover the sugared petals with clingfilm to leave in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next day, place the water, remaining sugar, lemon juice and pips in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
  7. Add your rose petals and simmer for 20 minutes, then boil rapidly for 5 minutes.
  8. Test if the jam is ready by placing a drop of jam on a cold saucer, letting it cool, then jiggling the saucer to see if the jam holds and feels sticky.  If not, keep boiling and test after every minute until ready.  The best tasting jam should be a little runny (but not watery), to get that full rose flavour!  Over-boiling will make the jam taste more sugary and less rosie.
  9. Once ready, take the saucepan off the heat, fish out any lemon pips you can see, then decant the jam into warmed jars (sitting the jars in hot water will do the trick).
  10. Let the jam cool before placing the lid on and refrigerating.


Is going from strength to strength with many people taking advantage of this delightful way of expressing their love in the form of a gorgeous rose bush.  I received this beautiful testimonial recently:

“My friends Kerry and Kath ordered a gift rose PEACE rose from you and it arrived two days before Christmas on my Dad’s anniversary and I took two blooms with other roses from our garden and some catmint to Mum and Dad’s grave.

The gift rose box is fantastic.  I got sprung in the front garden in my dressing gown (rescuing a limp hydrangea) by a man saying “hello lady” holding a very impressive box.  When you take a sneak peak in the top as suggested you look down into gorgeous blooms and foliage.  The tabs hold the pot very firmly and the white writing and design contrasts with the brown cardboard very nicely.

You must enjoy packing these roses off knowing how welcomed they will be.

Thanks so much for your beautiful roses and Happy Christmas.  Monica”

Yes, I do indeed enjoy packing the roses into the ‘GIFT ROSE’ box knowing they won’t move a millimetre no matter how roughly they are handled in transit.  Where possible, I select a specimen which is flowering – most definitely one with buds for the recipient to enjoy soon after the rose arrives.

If you’re not happy to order online at or, just phone me on 03 5787 1123 and I will organise a beautiful GIFT ROSE for you.

Enjoy this holiday season – maybe it will afford you time to come and visit us here at Clonbinane any FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY and MONDAY or other times by appointment.
~ Cheers from Graham, Diana & Mooi 

ROSE RAMBLER 18.12.2014

ROSE RAMBLER 18.12.2014

Hello dear rose friends – don’t be frantic but grab a cuppa, slow down and believe me, all will be fine and dandy when you sit down for Christmas lunch this time next week.

If you need a ‘last minute’ gift sent somewhere in Victoria, call me NOW on 5787 1123 and I will organise posting a GIFT ROSE on your behalf. Anywhere else, I can still post a BOOK or GIFT VOUCHER, a pair of secateurs or gloves … take a look at and let me ease the pressure of your Christmas gift-giving – only today or tomorrow, Friday 19th at the very latest!

We won’t come to your ‘inbox’ on Christmas Day so this is our final Rose Rambler for 2014 – we have enjoyed the fabulous learning experience of our interactions with you as a result of the ‘rose issues’ raised – really, truly, Graham and I love putting this together each week!

Thank you for your constant feed-back which gives us a feeling that this newsletter from Clonbinane makes a valuable contribution to your learning about how to successfully grow beautiful roses just as Nature intended, organically!

In reflection, this has been an amazing year – this time last year, I signed a contract to write a book; ALL ABOUT ROSES was published in September and Graham had heart surgery in March from which he has made an amazingly speedy recovery; we’ve experienced the usual ups and downs that go with a family and running a business; 2014 will definitely be remembered!

Life’s great when one has a rose garden to come home to … the place where you can dump your troubles, take respite from the heat and hassles, trim spent rose blooms and one by one, pretend each spent flower is a problem you’re quitting from your life – let them rot in the compost heap and let that compost along with the experiences of life renew and revitalise your garden.


If you’re planning on going away this Christmas and don’t have an automated watering system in your garden, here are some tips:

  • DEEP SOAK … like, really DEEP SOAK the garden before you go and do the same the minute you step out of the car when you get home!
  • Put potted plants in a filtered light or shady area of the garden with water trays under them.
  • Ensure a good layer of mulch is placed over all garden beds and milled lucerne is excellent mulch for potted plants and veg seedlings.
  • Have a reliable person visit once a week to water the garden!
  • Give every plant a soak with seaweed solution before you go!

Water is a most vital and precious commodity in our gardens and you don’t need to be a WALLY WITH WATER to enjoy a beautifully flowering rose garden but rather, get smart with how you water, know your soil and …

“By holding the intention of peace towards water, by thinking,
speaking and acting with the intention of peace towards water,
water can and will bring peace, to our bodies and to the world”

Masaru Emoto, Author of “The Messages From Water”   


Yes, you MUST continue to feed your roses during summer, especially if you are watering the roses and a most reliable way to feed roses is by way of a watering can (with a sprinkler or ‘rose’ on the spout for light cover over foliage) to which you add:

Natrakelp, eco-seaweed powder or other (follow pack directions)
Eco-aminogro or other liquid fertilizer (follow pack directions)

Here is a ‘free’ method of fertilizing your roses this summer:

Put a bucket full of horsesh, cowsh, sheepsh or chooksh (any animal sh.. or blend of sh..s will work) in a hessian bag and soak it suspended in a drum of water for 2-3 weeks.  Put it well away from the house (and washing line to keep the wife happy!) then dilute that solution at the rate of 1 litre ‘free’ fertilizer to 9 litres of water – always add seaweed!

Q.  What did the farmer call the cow that had no milk?  A.  An udder failure!

Every FORTNIGHT pour the solution over rose foliage – preferably in the morning when the stomata (like the pores of your skin) are open and very receptive to nutrient uptake.
If time permits, it is more product economical to spray any fertilizer products over the leaves but they work just as well from a watering can because residual nutrients go into the soil which is important too!

Thank you for all the loving messages I received during my recovery earlier this year, thanks too for telling me how much you love my crazy jokes – enjoy Christmas and see you soon at Clonbinane … Gra


Cannot leave you without this picture of Mooi posing for promotional pics of our new gift box and the rose Forget-Me-Not …

Thank you for being such loyal customers of our business…


~ Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane





ROSE RAMBLER 11.12.2014

ROSE RAMBLER 11.12.2014

Hello dear rose friends … there’s been a bit of rain about so we encourage you to diligently proceed with your organic rose management program to protect the roses from fungal disease – remember prevention is far better than cure and in the case of the organic rose management program, way more economical too!

If you haven’t applied fertilizer over the garden beds, rain events are a brilliant opportunity to feed the garden but NEVER APPLY FERTILIZER TO WET FOLIAGE unless you know for 100% that heavy rain will follow the application.  We usually water over the plants to be sure no fertilizer is sitting on the foliage … even quality organic fertilizer can burn foliage if hot sun shines on it!!!

When fertilizing, remember that you are feeding the soil so distribute the fertilizer pellets evenly around the plant root-zone – very important!


“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine,
food and medicine for the soul.”

– Luther Burbank

Hope your garden beds are well mulched by now!  When I’m pulling weeds from my veggie patch, I keep two very separate piles of weeds – the creepy-crawly (couch, etc.) in one bucket and all the others are added to my compost heap and covered with a light layer of straw.  Occasionally, I turn the heap and I most definitely keep it moist to speed up the break-down process.

I do the same thing around the garden – you become a bit resourceful when you get that little bit older!  I make ‘mini compost heaps’ all around the yard like in my orchard, I’ve been trimming the trees prior to netting – those trimmed bits will go straight onto the ground, I’ll cover them with a bit of mulch and in no time, they’ll be composted back into the soil to benefit the fruit trees.

Doing compost like this DOES NOT LOOK UNTIDY – once it’s mulched it just looks like a mulched garden bed yet there’s a whole lot of goodness going on under that mulch.  I always feel like I’m ‘giving back’ what the soil has so graciously provided.

The most important thing about composting in summer is to keep the heap nice and moist AT ALL TIMES and water-over occasionally with seaweed solution as this speeds up decomposition.  When you use this compost to mulch around your roses, always put a light layer of straw over it so that the hot sun doesn’t kill off any beneficial microbes!

Q.  What do you call a fly with no wings?  A.  A walk …. ! 

Tell this one at Christmas lunch – you’ll be a HIT … just like me … ha ha!

Summer gardening tip … get up early and go work in the garden in your dressing gown – just you and the birds!  Take a rest in the very hot middle of the day and then go out again after dinner.  You’ll get an adequate dose of Vitamin D and all you MUST DO will be done … enjoy the moments … Gra


– so let us take the pressure off by sending a beautifully packaged ‘gift rose’ to someone you love … next MONDAY, 15TH DECEMBER is the cut-off date so DO IT NOW … you’re welcome to call me on 03 5787 1123 or you can proceed to or where you’ll find a plethora of appropriately named roses to suit the recipient.

Here are a few roses named appropriately for gifting:
PLAYBOY for the fun guy and girls, you NEED one of these too
– if not in your bed, most definitely plant one in your garden!

PLAYGIRL for the ‘sassy-lassy’ in your life
– every guy should have one!

– the name simply says it all at Christmas!

FORGET ME NOT – one of THE MOST MAGNIFICENT roses to be released last year;
it will grow beautifully for even the most novice rose gardener.

Call me if you don’t like the above suggestions and together we’ll find a really beautiful variety to make a lasting impression of your giving this Christmas!

Of course, you can ALWAYS very simply buy my book – ALL ABOUT ROSES which I will happily inscribe with your personal message or organise for a gift voucher to be posted!

Remember to use your garden for respite as the season hots up
– see you soon at Clonbinane …
~ Diana, Graham & Mooi 

ROSE RAMBLER 3.12.2014

ROSE RAMBLER 4.12.2014

Hello dear rose friends – welcome to summer and exactly four weeks to Christmas Day!  As the excitement of the holiday season builds, I’d like to focus on HOW TO WATER ROSES so that both you and your plants are prepared for your garden to flourish this summer.

In my book, ALL ABOUT ROSES, which I urge you to buy so that you can keep it on hand to give you ‘personal’ advice for the management of your rose garden, I dedicated a whole chapter to watering the rose garden and there’s a tip which I would like to share because when I talk with our customers and tell them this, they’re visibly astounded at how easy this is and why they never thought of it themselves.

Roses will continue flowering with 20 litres of water per rose per week so do a flow-rate check of your water pressure.  Get a 10 litre bucket, turn the tap on full pressure and fill the bucket.  Accurately time how long it takes to fill the bucket.

Once you determine the water pressure/flow rate, create a simple design of garden beds, take a core sample of your soil and then go visit a specialist irrigation supplier who will advise the best method of watering your garden.

After 30 years of (mostly frustrating) experience and having installed every single type of irrigation system available, our garden is now very satisfactorily watered using ‘shrubblers’ on an automatic system which we treated ourselves to having professionally installed!

We both like to SEE water being delivered to our plants and shrubblers offer this – they’re also very low maintenance and the flow-rate can be adjusted where plants with different water requirements are planted in the same bed.


There are plants that help other plants keep insects away, often commonly referred to as ‘companion plants’ – roses love a range of plants which provide shelter for beneficial insects which make a feast of aphids, whitefly and thrip – insects which cause nightmares for rose gardeners because they seriously damage the flowers.

You can plant calendular, alyssum, nasturtiums and of course, garlic but I find it much easier to buy packets of seeds called ‘BACKYARD BUDDIES’ which I plant in large pots, polystyrene boxes and greensmart (self-watering) pots so that I can move them around the garden if/when there is a prevailing insect attack.

I planted seeds and within days the plants are emerging – a mix of annual and perennials flowers including Red clover, Lucerne, Anise, Sweet Alice, Dill, Caraway, Coriander, Cosmos, Buckwheat, Baby’s Breath, Marigold and Queen Anne’s Lace … last year, the flowers from all these plants were beautiful companions around the nursery amongst the potted roses.

Kids will love to plant these seeds so here’s a great Christmas idea – call OCP on 1800 634 204 and order a few packs, plant them with the kids over the holidays and watch them be entranced by how quickly the plants emerge and let them observe how ‘their’ plants manage to keep pesky insects under control in your rose garden this summer.  This is a brilliant opportunity to get kids involved outdoors and in the garden!

Q. What do you get from nervous cows?  A.  Milk shakes!


Men can be difficult to buy gifts for … this gloriously fragrant rose, named FATHER’S LOVE is a perfect gift for the ‘difficult to buy for’ Dad in your life.  This rose is so appropriate as most men LOVE red roses – they also NEED to have FRAGRANT RED ROSES.

FATHER’S LOVE couldn’t be more appropriately named because it meets all the demands of a guy in a rose garden – red, supremely fragrant, healthy and surprisingly, not ugly with thorns!  I took pics of it in the garden today and as with most photos of red roses, this doesn’t do the rose justice but gives an idea of what a delightful addition this rose would be to any rose garden … if you’re struggling with what to buy your Dad this Christmas, take a look at how beautifully we package our ‘gift roses’ at – perfect solution and a gorgeous gift …


Don’t wait until the very last minute to get gift roses sorted for this Christmas because…



Take respite in your garden when things get frantic in the lead-up to Christmas or come and visit us here at Clonbinane … see you soon

~ Diana, Graham and Mooi  

ROSE RAMBLER 27.11.2014

Hello dear rose friends – we’re on the home-run to Christmas – all the family festivities and fun; kids school holidays for six weeks and for lots, annual leave and some blissful free time … yeah!

To help you get gifts organised, here are a few ideas:

A signed copy of Diana’s book which includes 30 years of rose-growing experience in a magnificently presented publication filled with hints and tips, glorious photographs and a very practical guide to growing roses using organic methods.  $29.95 – plus pack and post $44.95
Click here for more details

The most preferred secateurs we have ever used which suit young and old, small and large hands.  $49.50 – plus pack and post $64.50

Magnificently presented flowering rose of your choice can be sent direct to the recipient’s home with your own personal message transcribed in a beautiful card in time for Christmas.
$69.90 all inclusive

Cut-off date for parcel posting is – MONDAY, 15TH DECEMBER, 2014

Gift Vouchers an be posted until FRIDAY, 19TH DECEMBER, and we will add $10 to the redeem value of all gift vouchers purchased during December.
Click here for more details


The dog run fence is now a spectacle with Clematis scrambling through the climbing roses and I highly recommend you consider planting them together with your climbing roses – no, they’re not hard to grow and they have exactly the same cultural requirements as roses.  They’re tough plants when you plant them deeper than the pot, place them so that the climbing rose shades their roots and cover them annually with loads of compost and mulch.

We have the most spectacular range of Clematis at the Rose Farm NOW.

Q.  Did you hear about the messy soccer player?  A.  He dribbled a lot!

With the recent rainy weather, I’ve been diligent with snail baiting – my potato crop was being decimated.  Because Mooi (our toy poodle) is always in the garden with us, I did some research and have found a product developed by Australian scientist called ERADICATE which is of low-toxicity to non-target animals such as dogs, cats, birds and earthworms because the active ingredient is an iron EDTA complex.  ERADICATE is toxic to snails, slugs and woodlice and while there is some evidence that excessive consumption of Iron EDTA complex baits leads to vomiting and diarrhoea, these effects are probably due to the alkaline nature of the product.

Do your pets and the earthworms a favour – purchase ERADICATE next time you buy snail bait!

Q.  Why did the bacon laugh?  A.  Because the egg cracked a yolk.


SUNDANCE – a spectacular Hybrid Tea rose which produces masses of intense, unfading yellow blooms with a hint of orange around the tips of the petals and is beautifully enduring in a vase.  Healthy dark green foliage compliments the long stemmed, very quick repeating blooms.  Great rose for a hot-spot in your rose garden.

With the Christmas rush impending, take quiet moments to relax and unwind in your rose garden … see you soon at Clonbinane.

~ Diana, Graham & Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 20.11.2014

ROSE RAMBLER 20.11.2014

Hello dear rose friends … the spectacle of the Victorian State Rose Garden at Werribee is something you all deserve to see – it’s a hidden treasure managed by a host of volunteers under the banner of the Rose Society of Victoria and Wyndham City Council … you MUST go there and you MUST take a picnic lunch, a pen and paper and most definitely a camera.

The memory of this magnificent garden will stay in your mind forever but if you like to photograph rose flowers, perhaps you are contemplating planting more roses for your garden and not sure what varieties of roses you like – this is THE place in Victoria to see roses in their glory!

Our son Eric, who assisted us at Werribee last weekend sent this email after he was so inspired by the magnificent specimen trees in the park surrounding the mansion and rose gardens …

If today’s modest financial gain wasn’t necessary to live, provide for my family and have some things for us to enjoy, I would be most happy knowing that the hundred or so people who purchased roses today (and going home with all the knowledge necessary to grow them well) will succeed and hopefully be inspired to grow more and maybe go even further and plant something (like I am) that can be enjoyed (as I did today) by future generations. I would happily do it every day… Thanks for a great day.  Love you … Eric

Plan a visit to the State Rose Garden at Werribee soon!


If you continually pick roses for vases in the house, you are doing your rose bushes the best of favours!  This long-stemmed pruning will encourage strong re-growth which keeps the rose garden looking neat; you’ll enjoy the variety of colour in the new growth (usually red foliage) and older leaves (usually dark green foliage) and most pleasantly, your rose bushes will produce prolific numbers of large, quality blooms throughout the heat of summer!

Keep up the watering and feeding – most important!  Fertilize every 6-8 weeks over the entire soil surface around the rose garden with quality complete organic fertilizer and deliver at least 20 litres of water to each bush every time you water – this will ensure water is soaked to the roots of the plants.

All of this rose management is covered so well in Diana’s newly published book:  ALL ABOUT ROSES which should be in a bookstore near you (ask for the book if it isn’t on the shelf!!!) or can be purchased through our website:

Watering and feeding roses is such an important part of rose management and once you understand the mechanics of it, you will grow the most spectacular roses, easily and confidently.

Q.  On which day do giants eat people?  A. Chewsday (thankfully, our day off!)

During coming hot weather months, liquid fertilizing rose bushes fortnightly with AminoGro to which you add seaweed solution will lessen plant heat-stress and guarantee continual healthy foliage and flowering – during hot weather it is most important to have good foliage cover on the bushes – liquid feeds ensure this!!!

Q.  What’s the difference between broccoli and bogies?  A.  Kids will eat bogies

Get the kids into the garden with you and they just might start eating the goodies they have a hand in producing … happy gardening … Gra


Gawd, how do you pick just one???  I picked these flowers and put them in the water fountain nearby to photograph their unsurpassed beauty.  The bush is stunningly healthy, a very robust hybrid-tea bush which awes me each time I enjoy its glory – TROPICAL SUNSET


GIFTROSES.COM.AU is now launched and you can order flowering rose plants to be sent anywhere except TAS and WA.  Experience tells us that a gift rose for any occasion has such amazing impact – the rose can reflect joy, it can offer solace – a rose in the garden is most definitely an enduring reminder of an event in the life of the recipient.

With so many gloriously healthy, appropriately named roses available, do take advantage of this opportunity of gifting to your loved ones!  Take a look at the website which my creative assistants have recently developed and let us make your gift-giving a beautiful experience …

Have a beautiful week in your rose garden – talk soon
Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 13.11.2014

ROSE RAMBLER 13.11.2014

And better a week late than never!  Hello dear rose friends during this most glorious of rose seasons where roses are featuring in all their beauty everywhere.  Here at Clonbinane we have still been experiencing cold nights but gorgeous sunny days which has produced the most magnificent garden and potted nursery display that we have had in some years – we were starting to think our garden was just a ‘summer garden’ which became a picture very late November-early December but this year the weather has been kind.

A violent windy storm late this afternoon reminds me to tell you that staking your standard/weeping roses is a most imperative task in the rose garden – one that screams ‘DO IT NOW’ … you might see a slipped tie or a broken stake as you’re racing into the house after work … please do stop and tie the standard/weeping roses appropriately – re-stake with steel as necessary!

Yes, you might think it’s great for the industry when a gardener has to re-invest in a new rose… I despair at the waste which could well have been avoided – it also improves the overall aesthetic of the garden when your standard roses are appropriately staked.

I really like the ‘look’ of the ‘rio-rod’ because it is almost invisible and very, very easy to use – my local hardware cut the rod into 1.8metre lengths and they were simple for me to (standing up on a wire crate) bang into the ground.

When you purchase standard roses, they usually come with a cane stake which is totally inadequate for long-term support.  The rubber tie is designed to rot after a while – please make it a high-priority task to properly stake standards!


Gotta start with a funny one:
Q.  What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple?
A.  Finding just half a worm in the apple!

This applies to harvesting organic fruit and veg from your garden and you can be assured that you won’t die from eating a grub in an apple or a caterpillar on the lettuce or silverbeet; earwigs which are in the broccoli will float to the top when you cook it.

So important that you get out in the garden – whether it’s harvesting veggies, mowing lawns, trimming the roses – oh, by the way, be sure that when you are trimming roses, use sharp secateurs.  Blunt secateurs ‘tear’ the stems of the rose which will almost definitely result in dead/woody ends which may take time to recover with healthy new growth.  Good sharp cuts – whether to an outward-facing bud or not will result in healthy new shoots and flowering stems – time now to trim, trim, trim and don’t be shy.

Cut 30cm lengths of spent flowers and you’ll have an amazing display of roses for Christmas.

Q.  What do you give to a sick lemon?  A. Lemon aid.

10.00am – 3.00pm






There are so many glorious roses but EYES FOR YOU is outstanding with the most amazing fragrance which is distinct from other rose perfumes.  The eye-catching blooms are continual and the rounded, healthy bush is ideal for pots or garden borders.

Enjoy the delight of your rose garden this week …
See you at Werribee State Rose Garden on Sunday …

Cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 30.10.2014

ROSE RAMBLER 30.10.2104

Hello dear rose friends … here’s a pinch and a punch for the LAST day of the month – another one gone and yep, our roses are blooming.  They’re so healthy and robust – inviting you to come and take a look at how beautiful they are and the outstanding queen this week is FIONA’S WISH with her heavenly fragrance and stunning HUGE blooms demanding attention from the moment you step out of your car … gawd, what a rose …

Following on from last week’s Rose Rambler, the sharing continues and we are all benefiting from the input of readers – Noeline has this great contribution which will please those of you who are plagued by rosellas and other birds who strip your roses …

“Hello Diana, I am sending you the following email to let you know about the success I’m having with keeping the rosellas away from my roses. I’ve had it on each rose bush (a strip of about half a metre) for 3 weeks now and believe it to be the best protection ever. Believe me I’ve tried every other conceivable device. The tape is strong enough to withstand further use. Very effective especially when the sun is out and a slight breeze is blowing. The bright colours are amazing. I can send you a sample strip if you would like. I did forget to put the tape on one standard bush and the birds only just found it a couple of days ago. Threw my shoe at it and put a piece of the tape on it and they haven’t been back since.  Regards … Noeline”

Ok, so what is the product Noeline is successful with?  Here’s the information you need …

Holographic Tape
When exposed to sunlight the tape reflects multi-coloured light in a random chaotic manner and is available from:
Bird Gard Pty Ltd, PO Box 737, Cotton Tree QLD 4558
Tel: 07 5443 6344

It would be most interesting to know if this tape, when attached to roses where there is possibly some night light may deter possums … might be worth a try for those gardeners who despair at the destruction of the rose garden due to possums – let’s keep this conversation alive.

Here’s another tip: Yvonne has the snails stumped …  “Even the snails (of which there were many) are few and far between as we now use coffee grounds around the plants, and snails and slugs do not like coffee grounds.  The lemon tree was being attacked by snails and the fruit skins were snail marked.  So, out came the coffee grounds.  We sprinkled it around the tree and have not been bothered with snails on the lemon tree since that time.”


We’ve been collecting coffee grinds from a local Café since we left our own Café at Kilmore … we KNOW the coffee grinds are an amazing addition to the organic garden because worms absolutely LOVE them!!!

Q.  Where do ants go for their holidays?  A.  Fr-ants of course!… laugh till you cry.

So that you get great, CORRECT information to assist you in your quest for caring for our environment by employing organic management principles in all aspects of your garden adventures, please keep these addresses handy and sign up for their very useful, extremely informative newsletters:

SGA is Sustainable Gardening Australia with whom our business is registered as a Sustainable Garden Centre while OCP are the creators of our eco-friendly rose management products.


Don’t throw away any old shoes or boots.  Get the kids to drill holes in the soles, paint them all the colours of the rainbow, then fill them with quality potting mix and plant flower seedlings or herbs for a beautiful display.  Ask this joke while you’re busy helping them:

Q. Why did the picture go to jail?  A. Because it was framed.


To get more blooms as soon as the flowers finish, continually trim 30cm of stem and I guarantee you will have new roses within 50 days.  Some people call this ‘summer pruning’ but if you do it at least once a week throughout the flowering season, you’ll have a continuous display of beautiful flowers and keep the rose bushes neat.  Remove any dead-wood when you see it as this will make the winter pruning a whole lot easier.


We highly recommend that you NOT squish them with your fingers because you will very likely squish all the beneficial insects that are there trying to eat them!!!

Take a look at these pics … plump ladybird and

Lacewings (very fine-winged insects) voraciously ingesting aphids

If you have a severe outbreak of aphids, apply ECO-OIL (suffocates mainly the larval stage) with ECO-NEEM (starves both adults and young) at 3-5 day intervals until the blighters are under control but WILL NOT HARM all the beneficial insects!!!

Enjoy these last magnificent weeks of spring and do come and visit on this beautiful Victorian holiday weekend for the ‘race that stops the Nation’ … Melbourne Cup, for us, is all about the glorious roses but if you back a horse, may you back the winner …

~ Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi