ROSE RAMBLER 25.8.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 25.8.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends as we farewell a cold, wet, bleak winter which reminded me of when I was a kid walking to school breaking ice on puddles.  Of course, because of the great rains experienced around Australia, we’ll enjoy a bumper season of spring gardening!


Although I’ve successfully grown clematis for more than 25 years and wouldn’t consider my garden ‘complete’ without their magnificence, I was shocked when I started pulling weeds in the front garden yesterday to note that all the clematis are loaded with lovely foliage … I HAVEN’T HAD TIME TO PRUNE THEM! 

Normally, I prune every branch down to around 30cms and remove the spent foliage but I’ve spent all my time up in the nursery these past months and totally neglected my front garden so I had to resort to assistance from our clematis guru for advice as to what I should do … just in case you’ve not pruned your clematis this winter, here’s some helpful advice:

Hi Diana, You can prune now or leave them and prune after flowering.  Just give them a good feed with rose food.  Regards, Judy

I definitely WON’T be pruning the clematis now but WILL definitely be placing a heap of compost and Complete Organic Fertilizer then pea-straw mulch around the base of every one of those magnificent plants – I’ll do the same for my asparagus while I’m down there.

And, I suppose, while I’m pulling all the weeds which I told you about last week, I will make an effort to prune the roses too … maybe they will wait for summer pruning …???  I’m quite sure they’ll forgive me – let’s wait and see how they perform this spring/summer.


Q. Did you hear about the magician who sawed people in half?  A.  He had lots of half-brothers and sisters. 

As of tomorrow and until the end of August, we move into a very favourable moon phase for weeding … if you weed any time during the next week, you will experience the weeds pull from the soil a lot easier.

It is important to always look after your back and knees while weeding so take your time, do half-hour stints!  Extensive research has proven that gardens and gardening reduce stress, moderate anxiety/depression and assist those with post-traumatic stress.   Being in your garden – whether you’re weeding, pruning, fertilizing or even sitting on a chair contemplating which task you might do next – its ALL GOOD FOR YOU!

There has been increased interest in CLIMBING ROSES … we guess it’s because people have smaller gardens, they still want colourful, fragrant flowers for at least 8 – 9 months of the year so they’re going ‘upwards’ … here are a few of my favourite climbing roses which are sure to delight you in your garden …

Grows to around 3 metres in a beautiful fan shape against a wall with pure, bright red, moderately fragrant blooms continually throughout the season.

Light pink, full-petalled blooms with the most amazing fragrance.  This rose is the most-used flower in bridal arrangements in Europe … awesome rose!

Strong pink/magenta intensely fragrant blooms cover the vigorous branches of this supremely healthy, disease resistant climber.

This week Diana received an on-line order from MR. LAJOIE … and responded:

Hi  .. thank you for your order.  I saw your name first and thought “oh, I hope he’s getting JEANNE LA JOIE” and sure enough you are!!!  So pleased as you will be thrilled with it in your garden.  Your roses will be posted today … enjoy!

His response:  Cheers!! Not a common name here. We’ve planted one in every home we’ve had. Many thanks … K Lajoie

We both absolutely love this miniature climbing rose and highly recommend it where you want prolific cover and masses of blooms continually – ideal to espalier.

My dear mate Barry (Bawwy) has a rabbit (wabbit) that’s always getting tired so a friend suggested that he place the rabbit in the refrigerator.  Why?  Because it’s a Westinghouse.  Read it again and you’ll get it … Enjoy the last days of winter – Gra


Got space for another couple of roses this season?  You’ll notice in the online store that we are now posting POTTED ROSES but unless you absolutely have to have the roses in pots, please continue ordering BARE-ROOTED ROSES because I pack them so well, they continue to grow in transit!  Yes, they do because there is coir-fibre potting medium at their root-zone, they’re moist and travel extremely well!

When you get your roses, I suggest you plant them as soon as possible – not necessarily as urgently as Jenny did …

Good evening, Diana.  My lovely new rose arrived in the mail yesterday in perfect condition. I planted it last night in the dark when I arrived home from work. I am very happy with my new purchase and am looking forward to springtime. Many thanks. Regards Jenny

By mid-late September I will cancel the BARE-ROOTED ROSES option in the online store so please, if you need more roses this season, take advantage of acquiring magnificent quality bare-rooted roses NOW!

See you at Clonbinane soon … Graham, Diana, Tova and Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 18.8.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 18.8.16 …

Hello dear rose friends in another week of brighter weather alluding to spring around the corner … we still haven’t done the rose garden pruning but feel the weather is definitely on our side now so it will happen in the next week or so.

Once we’ve pruned the roses, we’ll have to weed the garden beds … unfortunately, Graham mulched with wheat-straw which was ‘left over’ from the hay bales we used for seating our guests during the Art & Roses Expo.

Any field-grown mulch products – lucerne / pea straw will probably contain some weed seeds which are generally very easy to pull out but you can guarantee significant weed production if you use wheat/barley/oat straw mulch or in fact, manure from animals who have eaten these straws!

With wonderful wet conditions, we’ve watched the weeds grow in this mulch so they’ll be pulled and placed over the existing mulch as a ‘green manure crop’ of mulch!

I’ve already saved my dollars for a bulk load of pea straw to be delivered.  Once the beds are weeded, we will fertilize with Complete Organic Fertilizer and throw rock dust over the beds before we place layers of pea straw.

Oh my word, it will be a huge task but the gardens will look sensational afterwards and the results will be immense throughout this coming flowering season.

Heads down, bums up and into it!


Now is a great time to re-pot roses that you’ve had growing in tubs for more than 12 months – here’s a simple guide to follow to ensure your roses continue to flourish in pots:

  1. Select a pot which suits the type of rose you’re growing – the larger the pot for a climbing rose, the greater growth the rose will produce; miniature/patio roses will be happy for a whole season in a 400mm pot while any shrub/HT rose will perform exceptionally well in a 500mm pot – try the self-watering pots!
  2. Use a quality potting mix which is guaranteed to contain a blend of nutrients to sustain healthy growth for months
  3. Select a sunny location with no less than 5 hours of direct sunshine per day
  4. When you lift the rose, cut roots back by about half after removing all the old potting mix from around the roots – take advantage of severely pruning the rose while you have it ‘bare-rooted’ – remove all old branches and dead wood
  5. Once re-potted, soak and re-soak the new medium to expel all air around the roots and water when necessary
  6. Pour seaweed solution OVER THE ENTIRE PLANT at least fortnightly to maintain healthy foliage

Q.  Why did the little cookie cry?  A.  Because his mum was a wafer so long.

If you happen to have potted plants which are impossible to remove from the pots because of their size, I suggest you gently fork out as much of the old potting mix as you can reach, deep down into the base of the pot and refill the pot with high-quality potting mix then top up with compost, a sprinkling of rock-dust and soak with seaweed solution – plants which have been flowering in pots for several seasons deserve rejuvenating!

When you are watering pots throughout this coming season remember to WATER OVER THE ENTIRE SURFACE OF THE POT and FILL THE POT AT EACH WATERING to almost overflowing – this ensures that ALL THE ROOTS of the potted plant are receiving necessary water to sustain healthy growth.

If you water just to the middle of the pot, you can guarantee that roots which have reached the side of the pot will perish, the potting medium will become dry and the plant will not flourish – watering pots is not as ‘mindless’ a task as it might seem!

Q.  How do you catch a squirrel?  A. Climb a tree and act like a nut! 

Here are a few beautiful rose pics in the GIFT ROSE series available at and which now have lovely foliage and will soon set flower buds in the recipient’s garden to remind them of your loving thoughts when they needed them …

Enjoy the last days of winter in your garden …
Graham, Diana, Tova & Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 11.8.2016

ROSE RAMBLER … 11.8.2016

Hello dear rose friends from a rather more sunny, warm Clonbinane where the birds a chirping loudly, the morning light is welcoming and lots of our garden roses haven’t been pruned yet!  Nice though, the new-season roses are ALL POTTED into high-quality coir potting mix where the black plastic pot acts as a ‘humid-crib’ so they’ll set roots very quickly to be beautiful plants for those of you who are late with purchasing roses to plant this season.

Don’t panic – our magnificent quality roses are available and can be planted at ANY TIME OF THE YEAR and most especially important – WHENEVER YOUR GARDEN BEDS ARE READY FOR PLANTING … this is such a vital part of gardening which is overlooked as we view TV programs which promote ‘instant gardening’.  There’s really no such thing!

Take time to prepare your garden beds and you will reap the rewards of magnificently flowering roses for many, many years – if you need advice, don’t hesitate sending an email to and we will give you all the common-sense guidance to make your garden a special place!  Remember too, all back-issues of this ROSE RAMBLER NEWSLETTER are available at so you can always find helpful information when you’ve got spare moments.


MY BOOK is now being reprinted!  Wow!  If you don’t already have a copy and would like a signed copy of the FIRST EDITION, we have the last 28 available which you can purchase at or call in at the Rose Farm.  Here is a review published recently:

“Thanks Diana, I settled in to read your wonderful book and enjoyed it right to the end. I looked at the last page and thought I saw a familiar photo and realised that I did! Thank you for remembering this old rose-lady in your superb book. I was so thrilled!  Love Laurel”


Since we’re early riser’s, it’s so nice to see daylight happening earlier so I can get out into the yard, feed the chooks, turn the compost heap and weed and prune the gardens – get set for a bumper spring!

Q.  Did you hear about the two silkworms who had a race?  A.  It ended in a tie. 

Now, I don’t know anything much about silkworms but I do know that if you don’t start the organic management rose spray program NOW, you might have to contend with insect infestation on your roses in early spring!

I urge you to start spraying as soon as the roses are pruned to be effective in controlling aphid/mite/scale and other bugs in the LARVAL STAGE … that’s when they first start breeding – if you reduce the incidence of their numbers NOW, you’ll be more than a step ahead – believe me, when we know we’re going to have a bumper spring because of all the lovely winter rains, the insects are definitely thinking the same thing!


When you’re out in the rose garden either pruning, planting or walking on garden beds, please take biscuits of straw to step on.  If you think your roses have ‘sunk’ due to the wet conditions, fork around them and gently lift them by placing some soil/compost under the upper-level roots so the bud-union is above soil level to ensure the rose can produce lovely fresh water-shoots at the crown.

Birds will often fling mulch over the bud-union which is ok because it’s usually a friable medium and water shoots can push their way through.

Q.  Did you hear about the Frenchman who hated snails?  A.  He liked fast food!

Talking of snails – with recent rains, conditions are PERFECT FOR SNAILS to proliferate in your garden – you can place small trays of beer around the garden for slugs and other pesky insects to drown in but I prefer to use ‘pet-friendly’ snail baits to protect my veggies, bulbs and perennials.  Be vigilant NOW.


I said to Diana today, “when I plant any rose now, I want to be sure it’s a standard” because I find them just so easy to maintain.  Pruning standard roses is an absolute pleasure because I don’t have to crouch to the ground – I know there’s lots of air-flow around my standards which means I can plant herbs and veggies underneath and standard roses add a lovely high profile in my garden.

The extraordinary quality of our standard roses this year is such a pleasure and I recommend you take a look at the varieties we have to offer – a few UNUSUAL varieties which I recommend are:

Such strikingly beautiful form and a strong grower

Most free-flowering, healthy David Austin rose

Beautifully, highly fragrant, perfectly formed blooms on a strong, healthy bush

All the above varieties are pretty rare to find and they would all make a lovely statement in your garden for years to come – I remember visiting gardens in Alexandra years ago whilst researching my family – there are roses in the Church garden there that must be more than 50 years old!  If you’re getting a bit ‘long in the tooth’ like I am, plant standards and enjoy having roses at eye-level and so you don’t have to crawl around the ground when you want to pick a bunch of roses for a vase in your home!

Here’s a pic of our darling little Mooi who loves to be with us up in the nursery – she chose a sunny spot one cold morning this past week … we laughed and want to share the joy.


Have a beaut week in your garden…
Graham, Diana, Mooi & Tova at Clonbinane


4.8.2016 …
It’s another whole new month and we start to see new foliage emerging on our roses – be sure to protect all that development with the implementation of the organic rose management program which you should continue at least monthly to ensure prolific healthy foliage which in turn will offer magnificent blooms soon!

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face – Victor Hugo



Most of you will now have your roses planted – there was a bit of doubt about what Graham mentioned last week – “prune 1/3 of the new bushes back” … yes, DO IT as this will promote creation of WATER SHOOTS – these are the thick stems which shoot from the ‘crown’ (the point where the rose was budded).  Roses which are now being posted to you or collected in their pots here at the nursery are all VERY PRUNED and producing magnificent new growth!

See these ‘trimmed’ PAPA MEILLAND which are now potted in the nursery – your roses will do exactly the same if you give them a good prune NOW …

When roses produce lots of water shoots you can be guaranteed there is great root development which means the rose will continue to produce magnificent blooms throughout this flowering season – on new roses, these sturdy water shoots are an indication that the bush will be extremely well established for many seasons to come!



“I received your latest newsletter yesterday, & I accidentally deleted it, while attempting to get used to a new tablet I had just purchased. I meant to press save, buy somehow pressed delete.  I wonder if it’s possible for you to send it to me again, as I get very good information from your newsletters.

By the way I brought some bare rooted roses from you a few months back. I have followed the advice in your newsletters about spraying with the “ECO” products, & I just wanted to say it’s worked a treat & they are thriving.  In fact, if you want a recommendation for the Eco products here’s my experience.

I had an older rose that had really suffered during last summers drought & very hot weather (despite my best efforts to look after it). When I received the bare rooted roses, you had also included information about using the Eco products, so I purchased some (as recommended), & began spraying that sick rose every fortnight. When I began the rose was just sticks, with no leaf at all & I thought I would lose it. In fact it looked so crook I never even gave it a winter pruning.

That rose responded like nothing I have ever seen.  It went from bare sticks to producing foliage quite quickly. Then quite remarkable, given the fact that it was quite cold, the rose formed petals & next thing it was in full bloom.  That rose right now has mass foliage & has rose flowers all over it. That’s remarkable considering we have had quite a number of heavy frosts, & it has been cold & windy.

My neighbours can’t believe it, nor can I. That’s so much for the advice about the sprays they are brilliant. Hope you are able to re-send me the latest newsletter.  Mervyn”

Truly, really, if you want to have beautiful, healthy-foliaged roses throughout this season, roses which produce masses of blooms continually and give you the greatest pleasure, please use the ECO-PRODUCTS which we have used for more than 25 years of rose-growing – safe for us and our family who have grown up around roses, safe for our visitors and customers who purchase our fabulous quality roses!

If you cannot find the OCP (Organic Crop Protectants) products in your local garden centre, please go to our online store and we will send the products to you via Australia Post.  ALL PRODUCTS MADE IN AUSTRALIA – ALL REGISTERED ORGANIC!



I had another lovely group of people for rose pruning demonstration last Saturday and if I am about when you come to visit us at the Rose Farm, please don’t hesitate asking for a special demonstration – always happy to oblige!

Q.  Why did the bees go on strike? 
A.  Because they wanted more honey and shorter working flowers.

In MY garden I have a couple of lovely hedges of DAVID AUSTIN ROSESMUNSTEAD WOOD and MOLINEUX – here are a couple of varieties which I’m definitely going to plant as hedges in coming months … they’re so much like peony flowers …

Large globular clear pink flowers with strong rich, old-rose myrrh fragrance.  The blooms are held on strong, thornless stems of a very healthy, robust bush of 1.2 x 1 metre – very highly recommended rose!

One of the largest blooms in the DA selection and has an exceptionally strong tea-rose perfume.  Can be used as a short climber or nicely rounded, slightly arching shrub to 1.5 x 1.5 metres – awesomely beautiful rose!

Magnificently fragrant blooms of clotted cream on a sturdy rounded shrub to delight ALL your senses continually throughout the flowering season – stunning

We are constantly asked about PEONY ROSES (they’re not ROSES AT ALL) – but rather, an herbaceous plant which flowers in spring/early summer and unless you live in a very cold zone or are prepared to place ice over their corms whilst they are developing flowers in late winter, we suggest you grow some of these David Austin roses which will afford you huge, frilled-petalled blooms from spring through to winter and have all the glory of PEONIES!

Q.  What is black and white and dangerous?  A.  A magpie with a machine gun. 

With spring fast approaching we can see the magpies starting to pair-up, the kookaburras keeping an eye on them and yesterday morning, I’m sure I heard a thrush … all signs of the birds around us starting to build nests when their bubs herald the new season.

It’s been pretty wet EVERYWHERE so do take care while trouncing around the rose garden, whether you’re pruning or weeding … be sure to take a couple of ‘biscuits’ of straw, maybe thick wads of newspaper or pieces of carpet to stand on because your weight will compact the soil and could cause long-term damage and drainage issues in the garden!

Once you’ve pruned all the roses be sure and fertilize with quality all-purpose organic fertilizer – pick up a bag of COF (complete organic fertilizer) when you visit or get the best quality you can buy at your local garden centre.  DON’T FERTILIZE NEWLY PLANTED ROSES just yet – seaweed applications weekly for the ‘new roses’ then fertilizer for ALL THE ROSES again in 8 weeks …

See you soon at the Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane … Graham, Diana, Mooi & Tova

ROSE RAMBLER 28.7.2016

ROSE RAMBLER … 28.7.2016

Hello dear rose friends as we head into the last month of winter and our roses are shooting madly … soon they’ll be in full-leaf and if you haven’t pruned, the coming weeks will be ideal as the new shoots will guide you exactly where to cut!   If you didn’t prune at least one-third from each stem of this seasons newly planted roses which came from Silkies Rose Farm, please do that now too!!!


After one of the coldest, bleakest winter weeks I can remember, let me start with a bit of humour:

Q.  Why couldn’t the butterfly go to the dance?  A.  Because it was a moth ball.

With more favourable weather conditions on the horizon, the coming weeks would be ideal  to enjoy some gardening time … upon completion of pruning it is wise to treat plants and their roots for fungus spores and insects which can ‘over-winter’ on the remaining branches and in mulch/soil.

Here at Silkies Rose Farm we use and recommend spraying with Eco-oil (botanical insecticide), Eco-rose (fungicide) combined with Eco-seaweed which acts as a stimulant for healthy foliage and prolific root development – we have used this organic spray management program on ALL our roses for MORE THAN 28 YEARS!

By definition, let me once again explain each of the products we use to retain consistently healthy foliage which is generally free of insect attack – remember too (don’t mean to harp on it) HEALTHY FOLIAGE MEANS A HEALTHY PLANT WHICH PRODUCES MASSES OF BLOOOMS CONSISTENTLY THROUGHOUT THE FLOWERING SEASON!!!

ECO-OIL is made from 100% plant oils (eucalyptus, melaleuca and canola) which effectively controls a broad range of insects including scale, mites, aphids, white fly and others most efficiently at the larval stage – ie, when the insect is tiny and not able to breed rampantly!

There is less risk of burning foliage using plant oils compared to white oil and other mineral based oils – care should always be taken to apply ANY oils and they should be used in the morning when the day temperature is not expected to exceed 30 degrees!

ECO-ROSE (also marketed as ECO-FUNGICIDE – same product, different packaging!) is made from food-grade ingredients and will effectively control powdery mildew, black spot and rust because it alters the pH on the foliage so these fungus cannot survive.  Can be used to treat existing fungus infections and prevent mildew problems occurring.

ALWAYS combine with Eco-Oil which makes the Eco-Rose ‘stick’ to the foliage and add seaweed to strengthen foliage.

ECO-SEAWEED – is 100% seaweed POWDER– you add water which means this product is extremely concentrated, very economical and environmentally sustainable … one small scoop to a watering can dissolves readily and you don’t use more product than is necessary for complete plant health.


Pour seaweed solution over ALL plants, especially pots, at least once a month!
I recommend you start the organic rose management program NOW –
To 10 litres water add:
¼ cup ECO – ROSE fungicide
¼ cup ECO – OIL insecticide

ALWAYS add ECO-SEAWEED (or whichever seaweed product you prefer) to the above mix and if you like foliage fertilizer, add ECO-AMINOGRO or other liquid fertilizer to the spray container – saves time, will encourage healthy foliage and prevent fungus and insect attack all in one application – do this at least monthly from here on.

Q.  How many rotten eggs does it take to make a stink bomb?  A.  A phew!

For those who still haven’t pruned, come along to the Rose Farm this Saturday, 30th July and I’ll conduct a ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATION at 10.30am – we’ll also talk about how to construct a compost heap and how to control weeds leading into spring … see you soon – Gra


We are now busy potting all the roses into coir-fibre potting mix – they’re professionally pruned to ensure they create a nicely structured bush in your garden from here onwards.

Although we will continue to pack and post bare-rooted roses throughout August / September, there’s no rush with ordering however, there will be a price increase on MONDAY, 1ST AUGUST and you can now order POTTED ROSES if that is your preferred method of having the roses sent.


As space becomes a premium in lots of backyards, here are a few of the most popular nearly thornless roses which are easily maintained and appropriate to plant on walls, up pergola posts or in pillar/obelisk frames:

One of the most popular climbing roses for a continual show of apricot/cream blooms – lush, healthy foliage – very highly recommended rose for almost any situation

Flowering almost all year, this robust, healthy climbing rose can be trained in any situation – thornless wood with a burr at the back of the foliage – stunning, stunning rose

Most highly fragrant bunches of pale pink flowers in massive clusters continually on completely thornless wood, very healthy, robust and spectacular

Have a great week in your garden – see you at Silkies soon … cheers from Graham, Diana and Mooi (rugged up while she sits with us waiting for visitors to have a hug from!)

ROSE RAMBLER 21.7.2016

Hello dear rose friends from a rather more warmish winter week here at Clonbinane – by golly but there’s been some rain all around Australia and I don’t know about your garden, but ours could do with a little bit of a dry spell so that we can go and mow the lawns!

Our garden looks a bit shabby with lots of weeds, unpruned roses and lawns needing to be mowed – we’ll get there!  Our current priority is to get your roses packed and posted; we’re busy potting them too and always here with a smile when you come to collect.

When things get busy, put them on a row as I do and you know, it all works out in the end because we’ve received some beautiful emails from customers who are so delighted with the quality of our roses.  My day travels less stressfully when I read these lovely messages during such a busy time – thank you to all of you who share happy emails with me or for the whole world to see … sharing some testimonials –

Hi, Just a note to say thankyou. I received my order quickly and in excellent condition. Very Happy,

Hello Diana, just to let you know that beautiful roses arrived in lovely condition. Nicely settled in their beds. Cannot wait until spring, summer. Thank you so much for all your help.
Kind regards, Ann
Hi Diana, Wow I’m so impressed! I will definitely buy from you in the future. The roses are large and so healthy, delivery was prompt, and communication really enjoyable. I wish I knew about your service years ago. Thank you so much!
Kind regards Maree :)

Yes, there are still lots of roses in the ground waiting to be dug because of extremely wet conditions so again, I urge you to be patient and I promise to contact you immediately the roses are available and ready to be collected/posted.


It is essential when planting new roses (and other plants) to blend compost with existing soil to the planting hole.  Obtain a high-quality compost from your local garden centre or the Zoo (they supply great ‘zoo-poo’ compost and use funds for zoo projects – take some bags home next time you visit).

Use your own ‘home-made’ compost as long as it smells as good as it looks – never use smelly/steamy/gluggy compost which is in an anaerobic (still rotting) state.  If your compost isn’t ready, buy bagged product!

When you add compost to the planting hole you can be sure of the following:

  • Supresses disease in plants
  • Retains nutrients and stops top-soil leaching
  • Regulates nutrient availability in plant establishment
  • Builds soil structure to reduce water use
  • Increases root depth of plants
  • Improves soil moisture access held in soil cavities which roots could not otherwise access.

Q.  What do you call a donkey with only three legs?  A.  A wonkey

On the second Sunday of each month, either Diana or myself present on 3CR Garden Show (talk-back radio for gardeners at 855 AM band EVERY Sunday 7.30-9.15am) we share with a panel of professional horticulturalists – Karen, at Edible Garden Design is always very inspiring and I would like to share her solution to a weed which can be very frustrating when it flourishes in your garden:

It’s good to have a positive attitude to problems in the garden. ‘The problem is the solution’ says Permaculture. Even so, Soursob, or Oxalis pes-caprae  can dampen the spirits of the most enthusiastic gardeners – quite literally if you spend hours in the rain removing it!

After battling this winter weed for nearly 30 years in my garden, I feel qualified to give advice and encouragement! It is possible to control this weed almost 100%, which is good news if you’ve just discovered it since it came out of warm weather dormancy. Unfortunately, digging up your garden to start a new patch, gives Soursob a new lease on life, by bringing the tiny brown bulbs up to the surface from the depths of your soil. New gardens also feed the bulbs with manure, compost and mulch.

To get Soursob under control, you have two main options – hand weeding or chicken tractors. Chickens love the stuff, as you may have seen from my recent web post.

For hand weeding, remove only the tops of the plants, including the thick white centre of the plant at the base of the leaves, but don’t attempt to dig out the bulbs as they are usually so tiny they are difficult to find and deep digging brings more to the surface. Removing plants as they appear starves the resources of the bulbs, but waiting a little longer and removing plants when the bright yellow flowers bloom removes more resources as most of the plant’s energy is above ground at this point and therefore at your mercy.

Chickens are ideal to keep Soursob under control. Use a moveable hutch or tractor moved to a different location each day but make sure to house your chickens safely each night in their predator proof house. Winter is a time when it’s hard to find enough greens for the hard working girls so the partnership of fowls and this really foul weed is perfect!

Diligent removal over the colder months for at least 2 years will result in substantially reduced and quite manageable Soursob in your garden. Don’t forget you get a break through the warmer months of the year when this weed is dormant. If you have particularly bad infestations, you can also try growing dense groundcovers and low shrubs that are just higher than the Oxalis plants, to compete with light and space.

Take a look at Karen’s website for more great information –

If you have an issue with particular weeds in your garden, don’t rush in and resort to GLYPHOSATE products as they can have very serious detrimental effects on the biological and ecological environment of your garden!  Take extreme care with their use!

From 28th July – 2nd August there is an ideal moon cycle for removing weeds – get down and dirty in your garden and reap the rewards of easy weeding during those dates.

Last joke for this week:  Q. What has webbed feet and fangs?  A. Count Quackula … Gra


There are quite a few flamboyantly striped roses available – I would have sworn I could never like them until I recognised their healthy, free-flowering habit …  here are a few of our absolute favourites…

An outstanding Delbard rose of robust health, exceedingly free-flowering and such delightfully interesting, fragrant blooms of lasting quality – highly recommended rose!

Has the most glossy foliage, dark wood and profuse number of blooms continually on a very upright, tall bush – stunning!

Is rather subtle with pink-on-pink if you are wanting to venture into stripes without going ‘over the top’ … robustly healthy and very free-flowering, aptly named for the gardener/artist of such repute …


We are so proud to offer such exceptional quality standard roses – strong, straight stems which deserve pride-of-place in your garden.

Remember to stake them with sturdy rio-rod – 16mm steel which easily penetrates deep into the soil and is there for the life of your standard roses – tie with Velcro ‘one-wrap’ which is also very durable.

See you at the Rose Farm or talk to you soon on email at  …
~ Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 14.7.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 14.7.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends after a most freezing wintery blast here at Clonbinane and surely felt in most states … rug up Queenslanders – it just might reach you too so you’ll experience the last beautiful roses of this past season and have to get down and start pruning as we are here in the south!


So you can expect notification of orders being posted / ready for collection – however, there are still some in the ground due to extremely wet conditions – please wait for my phone call/text message and know that I am responding to missed calls and messages left on both phones.

Please email me if you have any urgent requests or need advice about your order or information about rose care during this extreme weather!


It was amazing to do a pruning demonstration at Whittlesea last Saturday where roses were still flowering – remember what I said last week, “be the boss of pruning your roses and do it when you feel it’s right to prune” – leave pruning until as late as August and you’ll still have roses flowering in November!

Make pruning your rose garden a pleasure rather than a chore … use quality, sharp secateurs and wear protective gloves/clothing knowing that once all the roses are pruned, you start the organic rose management program to ensure disease and pests will be kept at bay for when the foliage starts to emerge … here’s the recipe which includes seaweed powder/solution of whichever brand you use:

To 10 litres water add:


If you apply the three products mixed together and either sprayed or poured over your roses AT LEAST MONTHLY from pruning onwards, you will enjoy the pleasure of pest and disease-free roses throughout the flowering season!

Q.  Where did the kittens go for their school excursion?  A.  The meowseum! 

Here are a few of my favourite roses which fill ALL my senses …

Feel the strong ruffled/split petals of beautiful soft, mid-pink – huge blooms with awesome fragrance – this rose compliments the sound of nature all around me and it will definitely add a magnificence in your rose garden …

Is a gorgeously tall Floribunda rose with Hybrid Tea shaped blooms which flowers continually, producing the most amazing abundance of picking-stems which draws you to enjoy the subtle perfume on a strong bush …

Produces creamy/light yellow classic shaped blooms on a very disease-resistant tall bush with glossy green foliage and a lovely soft fragrance – excellent rose …

Q.  Who earns a living driving their customers away?  A. A taxi driver.

Hope you can make time to come to my pruning demo this SATURDAY, 16TH JULY at the Rose Farm – 10.30 and 1.30 where we’ll take a walk around the gardens and talk about all aspects of organic rose management, complimentary planting amongst roses and you’ll enjoy listening to all my ‘garble’ – the weather is predicted to be fine so bring your secateurs and stay for a cuppa if you like!  See you soon – Gra


Because we pack the roses so beautifully in damp newspaper then sealed in plastic, there’s no immediate rush to plant them but place the pack in a cool location (is there a warm spot anywhere right now?).  Then, a few hours prior to expected planting, unpack and put them in a bucket of seaweed solution so the roots are wet at planting.  Once planted, soak the soil to a slurry with the hose, pour seaweed solution over them and DON’T WATER as long as there is rain!

Remember roses DON’T LIKE WET FEET and since we’re enjoying good rainfall, the bushes are best left to their own devices with just a light, weekly application of seaweed solution poured over the entire bush to stimulate root development.

Potted roses here are already sprouting… oooh, so exciting and a promise of great things to come.  Enjoy the moments in your winter garden, even more the moments in your warm home …

~ Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane


7.7.2016 …
Hello dear rose friends!  We hope you’re enjoying the excitement of roses arriving in a parcel at your door – lovely to see so many folks coming to the Rose Farm to collect their new roses for this winter too!

Let’s get down to the basics of caring for roses in your winter garden …


We are still receiving email photos of roses blooming in gardens around the country after very mild early-winter conditions – no, don’t prune the roses yet if they’re still blooming!  If you’re fed up with looking at untidy bushes, get pruning – one thing none of us is in control of is the weather and despite frosty conditions, I’m randomly pruning roses in different areas of the gardens here – the south gardens cop severe frost while garden beds on the northern side are relatively protected from frost.

Pruning roses in our gardens here is more about when we have time or are in the mood to prune rather than worrying about weather conditions!

PLEASE NOTE … YOU CAN PLANT AND PRUNE ROSES ANY TIME OF THE YEAR – I say this with such conviction because of my 30 years of working amongst roses – every season is different, our climatic conditions are varied and really, truly, roses are the most forgiving plants.  Don’t get stuck in the rut of thinking you HAVE TO PRUNE IN JULY or CAN ONLY PLANT ROSES IN WINTER!!!


Q.  Which dinosaur knew the most words?  A. The Thesaurus (bet your kids didn’t have that dinosaur on their list!)

Should severe frost impact your garden after you’ve pruned and the bushes might have sprouted new growth, don’t panic – they’ll recover with light pruning before flowering.

One of the most important things you can do for newly planted / pruned roses is give them a soak over the entire bush with seaweed solution at least EVERY FORTNIGHT which will offer 3-5 degrees of frost tolerance, ensure great root development and make nutrients in the soil readily available to guarantee creation of healthy foliage … this will convert to masses of beautiful flowers!


Here are a few of my absolutely TOP 5 ROSES which I pick constantly for pleasure and fragrance in vases in our home:

Was the most popular rose sold in our nursery again last year and if you haven’t already got this rose in your garden, you MUST have it for a robust bush which produces masses of long-stemmed, highly fragrant blooms continually throughout the season – highly recommended rose!

Has delighted all of our customers who took the recommendation to plant this most healthy, robust, free flowering and highly fragrant rose – awesome, unsurpassed beauty and delightful GIFT ROSE ..

Is one of the longest-lasting roses in a vase – yes, striped red with dark red slashes – if only it had a fragrance!

Is a climber which produces lovely long, thornless stems of the most beautifully fragrant blooms continually – awesome rose!

Is such an amazingly brilliant rose of stunning health and vibrant colour continually – should be planted as a border of at least three plants – this CFA rose is such an enduring tribute to CFA volunteers that every rose garden should behold at least one FIRESTAR!

My list could go on and on because I love to pick roses and put them on the island bench in our kitchen … Diana complains that she hasn’t got room when it comes to cooking but she loves the flowers too – we’re looking forward to our island bench filled with lots of roses again soon.

Q.  How do you know when an egg is getting on in the world?  A. When it’s on a roll.  I was on a roll at the Langshan Club of Victoria’s Show this past weekend at Melbourne Showgrounds where I took a few beautifully washed chooks – came away with the BEST BREEDING PAIR of white Langshans.  Nice!  Come and see my beauties here at Clonbinane soon … Gra


Graham will be doing a pruning demonstration at Whittlesea Coursehouse, this SATURDAY 9TH JULY FROM 10.30 AM – 12 NOON … if you live close, this is one of the most popular pruning demonstration events – be there!

If you can’t make it this weekend to Whittlesea, come see us at the Rose Farm next SATURDAY, 16TH JULY at 10.30am – bring your secateurs!


People who are coming to the Rose Farm or calling on the phone will often meet TOVA who has been working with us regularly – here she is trimming roots on roses ready to be labelled …

She is an integral part of our team now and we wish her a very happy time when she leaves on Sunday to explore her heritage in Lithuania with her father and sister.  Bon Voyage Tova – the roses will be waiting to be potted on your return!

~ Warm wishes to you all during this cold wet winter – Graham, Diana & Mooi


ROSE RAMBLER … 1.7.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends on the first day of the last half of this year and another cold/wet week here at Clonbinane where we are up to our eyeballs in bare-rooted roses and enjoying all the moments of sorting/labelling and packing your roses ready for posting and collection.  The roses are ‘tucked in’ so if you happen to be going away just let us know and we’ll either pot your roses or hold them in the heel-in beds until you get back as late as August!

It’s been lovely to read emails about the excitement of planting new roses this season; this one is worth a giggle …

Your book ALL ABOUT ROSES and Canberra Gardener are my bibles.  You may laugh, it has been cold and frosty here over the last few weeks and one morning I went out at 5.00am to put more mulch on to keep my new roses “warm”…they do look to be OK!  Cheers, Fiona

Of course, the roses will be fine in all this cold weather – the only thing some of you might need to check is that drainage is in order so they’re not drowning during extreme rain events – remember, roses do not like wet feet – most especially while they’re establishing new roots this winter!


Tomorrow is the start of ‘traditional’ rose pruning month – in the very cold zones, definitely wait until later this month or August.  Pruning early or late has no influence on the flowering time in October/November, which is determined by weather patterns during September.

There’s no rush for pruning or for that matter, planting roses this winter … we’ve got months to get organised which is ideal for procrastinators like myself!  I know that I’ll be planting my selection of this season’s new roses during August/September and still be pruning roses then too.

Q.  What did the grape say to the elephant?  Q.  Nothing, grapes cannot talk!

Bare-rooted roses will still be available in our online store until late August!


It is important to accept that you cannot prune a rose wrongly!!!

A 2m high rose bush that was cut back or pruned to 75cm last year can receive the same treatment any time now.

By inspecting and observing how each rose has grown over the past season you will see where the best stems developed and that gives one a lead – that is, to follow the strongest sap flow which is evident in good strong healthy stems and retain them while removing any twiggy older stems that have already been neglected by the bush.

Deciding how severely to prune back a rose is, to a degree, a very personal choice. The principle is that every remaining stem will sprout new growth.  So, leaving lots of stems means lots of medium to short stemmed blooms, while reducing the amount of stems will produce more longer stemmed blooms.

Because roses are sun loving plants, meaning they need lots of direct light onto the leaves to encourage photosynthesis which produces food that is transported to the roots, removing stems that are growing towards the inside centre is ideal.

Q.  What has a neck but no head?  A.  A bottle.


  • Sharpen secateurs/shears before you start pruning
  • Wear protective clothing – especially comfortable, fitting gloves
  • Prune one-half to two-thirds off each bush rose
  • Tie down and trim lateral branches of climbing roses
  • Remove all dead wood right to the crown – use loppers if necessary
  • Pruning will enhance the flowering capacity – just DO IT and enjoy getting down and dirty with your roses this winter!

If all else fails and you want me to give you a very simple, easy to follow run down on pruning, come along on SATURDAY, 16TH JULY at 10.30am – bring your secateurs!


We’ve already potted lots of selected lines of roses ready to be beautifully gift wrapped, carded with your personal message and posted in the exquisite gift box for when you have an occasion when only a beautiful rose plant will convey your loving thoughts – these roses will be flowering in October/November and afford a lasting memory in the recipient’s garden …

A Modern Shrub Rose of extraordinary health and vigour as a pleasant reminder of the hero in your life! My Hero produces an abundance of classic, shining rose pink blooms which clothe the shrub over a very long flowering season. The petals are massed and have a rather old-fashioned look when the bloom is fully opened.


A Hybrid Tea rose with a delightful confection of colours including burnt orange, amber and beige with burnt red edges. It is extremely healthy and robustly produces pale-green watershoots from the base which ensure the rose flowers continuously. In extremely hot weather, the flowers may be slightly smaller and the colour will be more intense.


Mother’s Love has beautifully long pointed buds of the palest pink with slightly deeper pink centres which may fade in the very hot sun. It is a very feminine rose with graceful branches often producing a single rose but very often a cluster of blooms. The perfume is charming.

… are just a few – go to for more ideas or select any rose at and we will make it a gift to remember!


It’s been a busy time and finally, most of the general varieties of roses are here and being processed for posting.  Due to very wet conditions, standards will be delayed even further – digging them in wet conditions causes damage to stems and can incur lasting devastating impact on the soil … please be patient!  We guarantee you’ll be pleased with the quality of our roses when you finally plant them and enjoy them flowering in your garden for many years!

Warm hugs from us here at cold Clonbinane … Diana, Graham, Mooi & Tova

ROSE RAMBLER 23.6.2016

ROSE RAMBLER … 23.6.2016 …

With the shortest day behind us, winter is well and truly making its presence felt with good rain in most areas.  We are finally able to tell you that most varieties of roses are here tucked in the heel-in beds (except STANDARD ROSES and some ‘contract budded’ varieties which are still to be dug) so we’ll be busy packing and posting your roses any day now!

Please still be patient as we can only physically manage to pack around 40 parcels per day!
Here’s a pic of our lovely assistant, Tova.

Graham has also been busy loading our van, getting ready to deliver to Australia Post at Kilmore!


I’m always being asked “What is the best manure to use when planting roses?”  Any animal manure is great in the soil but it MUST BE COMPOSTED prior to using at the planting hole of roses!  Raw animal manure has the potential of being highly acidic with the risk of burning new roots which the roses will produce as soon as they settle into the soil!  Exactly the reason for not placing fertilizer in the planting hole unless it’s way deep down in the hole, covered deeply with soil and available when the rose is nicely established with a solid root system.

If you have access to fresh manure, spread it over a compost heap for at least six weeks, water weekly with seaweed solution and turn it fortnightly – you’ll see steam coming from the heap which means it’s not ready to be applied in planting holes!  Wait until it is more like the consistency of soil – at this point, place it around the base of your roses and cover with a light layer of mulch to protect all the microbes and worms.

Q. Why does a chicken coop have two doors?  A.  If it had four doors, it would be a chicken sedan. 

Bagged manure and composted material is wonderful to ADD TO THE SOIL at planting – the product is guaranteed to be well decomposed and safe to use around newly establishing bare-rooted roses, especially when blended with existing soil!

I’ll be conducting a ROSE PRUNING DEMO this weekend on SATURDAY, 25TH AT 11.00am and will advise of more demonstrations during July in later Rose Ramblers.

Q.  What is the difference between a cat and a comma?  A.  A cat has claws at the end of paws; a comma is a pause at the end of a clause. 


Diana will be part of the panel this Sunday – 855 on the AM Band where you can call in, donate and be rewarded with garden products, books, professional garden consultations or gift vouchers from many nurseries to the value of every dollar you donate to this magnificent Community Radio program which regular radio listeners say is the most informed, interesting and BEST garden talk-back radio which airs in Melbourne every Sunday from 7.30 – 9.15am.

Lay in bed with your cuppa and toast, pick up the phone: (03) 9419 8377 or (03) 9419 0155 and treat yourself to purchasing lots of goodies to indulge your garden, gifts for friends or simply to know you’re donating $’s to keep a wonderful garden show on the air so you can call in when you need FREE ADVICE from a professional panel of horticulturists.

There are SILKIES ROSE FARM gift vouchers available during the program!

Congratulations to our Facebook photo competition winners!

A big THANK YOU again for all who participated in our photo competition.

We set the challenge for you to select your favourite rose to post to us, and you guys set us the bigger challenge of selecting our favourites from yours!

It was wonderful to see the beautiful blooms from everyone’s gardens! They were all gorgeous but we managed to narrow down our winners to… *drum roll*….

1st place: Ellarose Osbourne’s array of beautiful roses!!

2nd place: Emily Blades’s frosty AMAZING Gallipoli Centenary rose!

3rd place: Karen Allan’s GORGEOUS rose on a hot summers day!

Congratulations to Ellarose, Emily and Karen!

Thank you again to all our participants, we hope you had as much fun sharing as we did liking all the photos! We’ll definitely be looking forward to our next photo comp!

If you’d like to keep up to date with any new events, news and updates happening at Rose Sales Online, follow us on Facebook at

Stay warm and well … Cheers from us all at Clonbinane
– Graham, Diana, Tova & Mooi