ROSE RAMBLER .. 23.2.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 23.02.2017 …

… HELLO DEAR ROSE FRIENDS after a few hot days to remind us that we are still in summertime!  However, autumn is just around the corner and this promises to be a most spectacular season as all States experienced above-average rainfall which means our autumn trees are well foliaged and will display magnificent autumn colours like we haven’t seen in some years!

PRUNING FOR AN EVENT … we’ve been madly pruning our roses so they’ll be in full-bloom during the Art & Roses weekend just 6 weeks away …

Be sure and book your bus group NOW … there has been extreme interest in coming to Kilmore for the Art Show but also to visit Kilmore’s most magnificent, plant diverse garden at 10 Curry Road, Kilmore and enjoy meeting Kevin & Rhonda Butler at the BLAZEAID Shearing Shed!

All visitors on this weekend will be welcomed here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane too … importantly, once you arrive here, EVERYTHING except lunch is FREE.

At the Art Expo Café you’ll enjoy a magnificent home-cooked country lunch for around $12 per head and if you want, you will pop a gold coin in the Rotary donation boxes at each destination where there is a cuppa/Devonshire tea.


… with frosty mornings occurring, we are seeing spectacular colour in the roses already – this is real ‘gardener’s weather’ so we’ve been doing some ‘out-of-season’ pruning and mulching.

Q. What do you get if you cross a centipede with a chicken?  A. Enough drumsticks for everyone! 

It gets really, really cold here at Clonbinane so rather than do heavy winter pruning, we like to trim the roses well NOW and throughout autumn.  Here, winter pruning could only really be done late August/early September and even so, in most years we still experience extreme frost then too – especially in the lower parts of the garden.  Thankfully, the potted roses are at the higher, northern end of the property where it’s warmer!

Which leads me to tell you that we are pouring ECO-SEAWEED solution over EVERYTHING in order to protect our plants of frost protection between 3-5 degrees … it really does work!  If your garden has recently been subjected to intense heat, please, please recover trees and plants with liberal applications of ECO-SEAWEED – soon those same plants will be subjected to extreme cold/frost conditions – give them some relief!

ECO-SEAWEED powder contains a range of naturally occurring plant hormones, anti-oxidants and nutrients which stimulate beneficial responses within plants.  Our 30 years of successful rose growing shows that where SEAWEED SOLUTION is used regularly, say, twice a month (weekly if you feel like it) your plants will enjoy …

  • Enhanced flowering numbers and quality of flowers
  • Improved root, shoot and leaf growth – remember, more leaves, more flowers!!!
  • Reduced transplant shock – plant ANYTIME OF THE YEAR but do it with ECO SEAWEED!
  • Increased ability of plants to cope with drought and frost conditions – 3-5 degrees greater tolerance on plants lucky enough to be treated with ECO SEAWEED!
  • Boosted resistance of all plants to pest and disease
  • Extended vase-life of roses as cut flowers and fruit and veggies from your kitchen garden will last days longer in the fridge!

Here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, we guarantee our rose plants will flourish in your garden if customers use ECO SEAWEED SOLUTION at least once a month!

Every rose posted from Silkies Rose Farm has a sample of ECO-SEAWEED to ensure when you plant your new rose/s, protection against transplant shock is right there!

Q. How do you know Humpty Dumpty was eccentric?  A. He was completely off the wall.
MY ROSE OF THE WEEK …  there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING that beats the fragrance of one of my most favourite roses: PAPA MEILLAND … awesome colour, lovely structured bush and the fragrance … aaaaahhh

LOCK IN A DATE … we will again be on display with vases of roses at TESSELAAR’S GARDENING AND PLANT EXPO on the weekend of APRIL 22-23, 2017 so when you come to the nursery in coming weeks, remember to collect a FREE DOUBLE PASS valued at $36.00

This is a PREMIER EVENT that SILKIES ROSE FARM supports – lots of interstate gardeners make Melbourne their destination for this particular weekend in the Dandenong Ranges where we will have more than 50 vases of roses on display for you to sniff and sort your way through which roses to plant in your garden this season … an event not to be missed!

Hope you’re enjoying some respite from extremely hot weather … talk to you again next week … Diana, Graham, Mooi and our assistant, Tova here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, CLONBINANE.

ROSE RAMBLER 17.2.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 17.02.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends … hope you enjoyed Valentine’s Day and were gifted a rose from the love in your life!  We were busier in the nursery than in past years – lots of flowering, potted roses were delivered as GIFT ROSES and rightly so!


First a joke:  Q. How do chickens get strong?  A. Egg-cersize  and a picture of my chickens who are growing madly while they rip and tear around the pen –

They’re incredible time-wasters because they are such entertaining viewing!  Do make time to visit with them when you visit in coming weeks.

Since we only have less than two weeks of summer, start gearing up to complete the following tasks to ensure prolific flowering roses throughout autumn and well into winter.

  1. Fertilize all rose bushes – we prefer you use organic fertilizer like our pelletised Complete Organic Fertilizer with balanced N:P:K and trace elements – it doesn’t smell since it’s well processed and loaded with humates; if you cannot purchase our fertilizer, go to your local garden centre and ask for their highly recommended organic product and follow the application rates – usually one handful per square metre!
  2. If you haven’t been pruning throughout summer flowering, now would be ideal timing to remove approximately one-third of growth whilst retaining good foliage cover just in case we get more hot weather!  Continue dead-heading through autumn for continual bloom right up into winter.
  3. Treat the roses to an application of the organic rose management spray:
    To 10 litres of water add:

    • 1 TEASPOON ECO SEAWEED POWDER (or use your choice of seaweed product – powder seaweed is extremely economical because you’re not buying water!

      (Just $32.50 for 600g which makes 6,000 litres of solution – all products available in our online store:
    • MIX ALL THE PRODUCTS TOGETHER in a bucket and spray over roses until run-off to retain healthy foliage.
  4. Mulch again if needed – keeping a good thick layer of mulch over the garden will retain warm soil temperature throughout autumn and into winter so rose foliage will be maintained … remember:  MORE HEALTHY FOLIAGE, MORE FLOWERS!
  5. When you can’t figure out what else to do, it’s time for a nap!  Sssshhhhhh!
Q. What do you get when you cross a fly, a car, and a dog?  A. A flying carpet

At the close of summer, it’s appropriate to show you several roses which were outstanding performers during this past season …

No matter where this rose grows, it is a grand flowerer on a sturdy, extremely healthy foliaged bush – when you drive past a country-town CFA and see a brilliant orange flowering rose you can bet it’s this beauty!  Very highly recommended rose …

It might seem I’m bragging but so many customers who grow my lovely, award-winning beauty extol it’s virtues of extreme fragrance on a healthy, very free-flowering low maintenance shrub which is perfect as a border and in a large tub …

This rose is WOW … perfectly shaped HT blooms on long stems, extremely healthy busy to 1.5 metres tall, awesome fragrance – a truly magnificent Gold Medal Winner in the National Rose Trial Grounds … every Aussie should grow one and we’ll have plenty available this winter …


We still think it’s too early to select and pay for roses NOW so we have decided to open our on-line store for winter roses at the end of MARCH, 2017 … if you are impatient to place a winter order, you are welcome to call me on 03 5787 1123 every FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY & MONDAY between 9am and 4pm.  Rest assured, we have a HUGE SELECTION OF WINTER ROSES ordered so you won’t miss out!

Meantime, continue ordering potted roses at so that you can autumn-plant flowering roses whilst planting your winter-flowering bulbs in the same bed and enjoy INSTANT GARDENING pleasure!

Autumn is truly the most spectacular planting season as the roses settle well before light winter pruning and are beautifully well-established plants for spring flowering this year!

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


ROSE RAMBLER 09.02.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends and Happy Birthday to our son Benjamin!  As I flipped over the calendar, this saying appeared …

SUCCESS … we need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, understanding that failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success …
- Arianna Huffington

Relocating our Rose Nursery to Clonbinane has been very successful – it works for us and we hope it works for you too!  We are open for business …

9.00am – 4.00pm
Phone: 03 5787 1123  (leave a message and I will respond)

Q. Why did the fly never land on the computer?  A. He was afraid of the world wide web.


We are renowned for our prompt email response!  We find portable phones most frustrating as we have frequent ‘power-out’ here at Clonbinane and we can only answer one incoming call at a time!!!  I do NOT always have a mobile phone in my pocket – as it is, I carry two pouches – one with portable phone, one with secateurs and they drag my trousers down!  Add a mobile phone to my baggage and you’ll see me walking around with no trousers …!  No, it won’t happen!!!

Added to the above, I put a battery on my back and shears in my hand … this is how I work on pruning now so that we have a most spectacular display of roses down in the ‘tram-stop’ garden for this autumn … ‘KNOCKOUT’ being pruned …

EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER who grows this rose (and others like it) absolutely rave about the spectacular flowering and easy management of these varieties of roses … you ALL MUST GROW at least one KNOCKOUT ROSE or one of the following varieties to recognise their magnificent beauty…


(What a beauty for Valentine’s Day!!!)

(Available in Winter 2017)


Q.  What do you call 100 spiders on a tyre?  A. A spinning wheel! 

We have noticed an extreme number of spider webs in our garden and even along freeways in the barriers – fascinating!  There are three big fat garden orbs who have taken up residence on our front verandah – very entertaining when they appear in the evening ready to capture their prey.

Make your garden a space where you maintain an ecological balance by minimizing use of harsh chemical pesticide sprays; all the spiders and insects together with birds and other animals who rely on this balance for their survival, will flourish and allow you and your children the privilege of viewing nature “LIVE” … not through a TV screen but right there in your own yard!

Please encourage the little people around you to be enthralled by rather than fear spiders and insects, birds and other animals!


I picked these blooms for a vase on the island bench in our kitchen to prove that there is a distinct difference between my two most favourite white roses … oh, if only I could send the fragrance in this email … both magnificent roses in their own right – POPE JOHN PAUL II has the stronger fragrance, MEMOIRE is the most weather-tolerant of all the white roses we stock … BOTH AVAILABLE AS BUSH AND STANDARD IN WINTER 2017


If you want roses posted, best you call us NOW and we’ll EXPRESS POST a rose plant so it arrives on time …
03 5787 1123 … enjoy the romance!

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


ROSE RAMBLER 02.02.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends… In the style we’ve come to expect, January raced by and it’s already February when we celebrate the romance in our lives with VALENTINE’S DAY … this year, to be right in the spirit of it, I want to share this magnificent rose which Graham keeps picking and picking for vases on the kitchen bench … I must go and check how many plants of this glorious rose he has secretly planted in HIS garden!

DARK DESIRE has the most incredibly blended fragrance of sweet and spice, it’s fruity with hints of myrrh and the bloom has perfect form which opens nicely and lasts well in a vase.  It is a most romantic rose on a healthy, well-rounded shrub which is suitable for planting in a large tub on a sunny balcony … bring some romance into your garden this Valentine’s Day and gift DARK DESIRE to the love of your life …

GIFT ROSE – a 20cm potted, flowering rose; includes a pretty rose card with your personal handwritten message, delightful colour-matched gift wrapping, instructions for planting and ongoing maintenance, sample of seaweed solution and postage in a sturdy gift box $73.90 – for more information go to

Of course, you can select any available rose in our range at so be sure to gift a potted, flowering rose this Valentine’s Day and enjoy flowers from your own garden for years to come!



It’s that time of year when we start to promote the ART & ROSES TOURS working in conjunction with Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell and Kilmore Art Society this year promises to host one of the most spectacular weekends …

If you have a group who are interested in attending this event, please let me know as soon as possible so that I can arrange ANYTHING you might need (including weekend accommodation) to make your visit to our region a memorable occasion!

The garden at Curry Road, Kilmore which is opening as part of the weekend, is one of Kilmore’s finest and most plant diverse gardens; opened many times under the loving ownership of Leon & Mary.  New owners have put their personality into the garden and it is simply extraordinary!
Both past and current owners will be on hand during the open weekend … what an opportunity this is to visit Kilmore’s most beautiful garden!



Q.  What’s blue and has big ears?  A.  No, not GRA’S BLUE ROSE … it’s an elephant at the North Pole!

Did you join a rose society or your local garden club yet?  Without doubt, you’ll learn lots and enjoy meeting with like-minded gardeners.  If you are even remotely interested in BREEDING ROSES, please join the Rose Society of NSW and register for the special interest group about breeding … our dear friend Laurel who lives in QLD emailed us after reading the Rose Rambler last week …

“Yes, the new Forum for breeders is great. Richard has been very generous with his advice and I think we are in for a wonderful new resource. He did put a lot of info in the Rose Annuals as well. At present besides my 2 wonders, I have a red and a new orange from Apache and Dublin Bay as well as 15 new plants as yet to flower.”

When you join a Rose Society you will receive the ROSE ANNUAL which is a fabulous resource aside from the monthly newsletters!  Don’t procrastinate any longer … do it now!

Q.  What did the earwig say as it fell down the stairs?  A. Ear we go !

I recently hatched 30 Langshan chickens in the incubator … now on show when you visit the Rose Farm and here they are with grandson, Logan and Mooi …

Be sure to keep trimming the roses as we proceed through the last month of summer – the more you trim now, the more beautiful your roses will flower as temperatures become cooler for autumn.

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

AUSTRALIA DAY … 26.1.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 26.01.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 26.01.2017 …

Hello HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY 2017 TO ALL OUR DEAR ROSE FRIENDS … today of all days we should stop and quietly reflect on how very, very lucky we are to live in this enormously great land where, amongst many other privileges, we have the freedom to grow and tend a garden!

I could postulate about mostly kind weather for gardening, space, peace, availability of plants, money to purchase plants … I won’t go on and on but ask you to just know that we are simply very, very lucky and while you munch on that barbequed meat in a garden today, take a moment to say ‘THANKS … SO GLAD I’M AN AUSSIE’.


Q. What animal can jump higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge?  A. All animals, because bridges can’t jump!  I’m on a mission researching BIO-CHAR for increasing microbial activity in soil and potentially using it to increase the healthy vigour of our potted roses by adding it to our coir-fibre potting mix this winter.

Exciting research is being conducted in Australia and BIO-CHAR products are available out of Tasmania … I will keep you posted as I learn more and my experiments reveal the kind of growth and hardiness anticipated.

Whatever mediums we can add to increase microbial activity in our very mineral depleted ‘old’ soil here in Australia is worth it over the long-term and even home gardeners can have an impact in this endeavour!  Keep mulching and composting – return your waste to improve the soil in your yard!!!

Here’s a shot of our compost heap –
22 bales of straw were used to create it and it’s breaking down rapidly
… you could make a smaller one to fit your yard!

Oak trees and fire … having experienced Black Saturday ’09 bushfire through our property here at Clonbinane I think it’s timely to once again remind you of the fire-resistance of oak trees – their leaves have an oil/liquid exudate which resists burning.

Our local CFA Captain is an Entomologist at Vic Gov Research Station and he told me that in extremely hot weather, insects exude a sticky liquid which resists burning too.

We and our neighbours have very large oak trees which survived the intense flames – the leaves were burned but within 6 weeks of the fire, fresh new leaves were evident on all oak and other ornamental deciduous and fruit trees.

ALL EUCALYPTUS and other NATIVE TREES were completely burned along with their undergrowth.  Consider planting oak trees if you have an opportunity to plant a tree somewhere soon – glorious leaf-litter in autumn is extremely valuable for making microbial compost/mulch and as these trees grow, they will afford so much pleasure to future generations!

Q. Why do kangaroo mums hate bad weather?  A. Their joeys have to play inside!


For true garden sharing, go along to your local garden club – don’t be afraid that they’re going to rope you into being on Committee as soon as you walk in the door!  (A good reason why lots of people resist joining their local groups – sad because you miss so many great opportunities and information sharing by NOT participating!)

Recently, I joined the Rose Society of NSW because they offer SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP with membership and I nominated ROSE BREEDING to receive information and participate with fellow Australian rose breeders by sharing Richard Walsh’s “Rose Breeders Forum – Vol 1, No. 1” which started with this article and had me in raptures throughout:

You Need an Aim I am sure you have heard the many sayings associated with having an aim. “If you don’t have an aim, you just might reach it.”  Or, “better to aim at 110% and achieve 80 than aim at 60% and reach it.”

I started with aims and have modified them several times as they are achieved or become unachievable. My first aims were:

  1. To raise a rose from seed;
  2. To raise a rose from seed pollinated by myself;
  3. To raise a rose from one of my seedlings;
  4. To raise a commercially viable rose.

I made my first crosses in 1980 and they all failed to take, BUT I saved some open pollinated hips from Charleston and achieved the first aim….”

This first edition of Rose Breeders Forum was captivating and so very, very interesting that Graham asked me to print it entirely – as you know, Graham has already bred an award-winning rose

and he wished he had had access to such information earlier in his breeding endeavours!  To acquire this and future copies, we recommend you join ROSE SOCIETY OF NSW ( for $30.00 annual fee – contact details:

Kristin Dawson, Secretary
The Rose Society of NSW Inc.
PO BOX 637, DAPTO, NSW 2530

Email: or

Meantime, enjoy whatever moments you can share with your roses during this flowering season – picking flowers, summer pruning, weeding and mulching or deep-soak watering with the hose on a still morning with a cuppa in hand … aah, what bliss …

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

ROSE RAMBLER 12.1.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 12.01.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 12.01.2017 …

Happy New Year to you, our dear Rose Friends!  Welcome to a new year of sharing our passion for growing beautiful roses using the most environmentally sustainable methods so that our gardens are a healthy haven for us all!

We hope you’ve enjoyed a lovely time with your family and friends – the weather was perfect for revelling in our Great Australian Outdoors.  We’ve had a lovely rest and are still enjoying more relaxed moments – it’s so beautiful pottering and trimming in the garden during cool evenings – now I’m up in technology isolated Victorian High Country at Cobungra with my lads.  Graham and I promise to forward lots of rose gardening information in weeks to come.

Meantime, keep enjoying the holidays … a quickie joke from Gra …
Q.  How would you fire Santa?  A.  Give him the sack …
and just one more ‘cause I got these out of the bon-bons on Christmas Eve …

Q.  Did you hear about the leopard who had a bath every day?  A.  He was spotless!
Hope you didn’t buy the same pack of bon-bons … 


PH. 03 57871123 will continue POSTING potted/flowering roses and will open for bare-rooted online sales in MARCH – meantime, you are more than welcome to call us at the Rose Farm and place a ‘phone order’ for roses to be delivered during winter.  You will pay a deposit when ordering then finalise payment when the roses are ready to be posted from late May to August.

If you see a particular rose which you would like to order for winter, store it in your wishlist on the website! Here are some pics of roses which have been stand-out beauties in the recent hot weather and would be worthy of adding to your wishlist …

Floribunda rose which sported out to a Climbing rose –
warm yellow, full petalled blooms in abundance over the whole flowering season.

One of the most rewarding roses to grow in almost any location in the garden – it’s a fantastic rose in tubs too! This versatile rose is so stunningly bright and vivacious with orange blooms and a yellow reverse. The shrub is so healthy and so very free-flowering – it produces great hips too! One of the most carefree roses … very highly recommended!

MULTI-AWARD WINNING modern patio/miniature rose of incredible beauty, fragrance and proven disease-resistance. GRA’S BLUE is hailed by the growers and all those who see it as a true ‘little beauty’.

– yes, it was sold out for a while but we have magnificent plants
available NOW. Positive approach …
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
Mahatma Ghandi

Until next next week, cheers from Graham, Diana, Tova & Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 22.12.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 22.12.2016 …

Yes, dear rose friends, it’s Christmas and we want to end this year of ramblings with you by sending our love and best wishes to you and yours; may 2017 be a lovely year with good health and happiness and may your garden thrive and offer you a special place to uplift your spirit, energise your soul and be your health guardian!

We’ll be open at Silkies Rose Farm from 6th January with normal trading times:  FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY and MONDAY from 9.00am till 4.00pm – any other times by appointment.

Thank you most sincerely for your continued support of our business and thank you to our magnificent IT team (FIONA and WENCY at who compile our ramblings into the lovely document you receive each week!

Graham and I are truly grateful that we are able to share our passion for gardening with you and most especially thankful that we all love roses!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR – Diana, Graham, Tova & Mooi


ROSE RAMBLER 15.12.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 15.12.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the most precious people in our lives, my darling Mother, Miep / Nan / Grandmere, who is 84 years young today!

I (Diana) am one of her four children who produced 11 grandchildren, there are 18 great-grandchildren and more on the way …

All this from a beautiful woman who courageously boarded a ship in Holland back in 1953 to be with my Dad who came some months earlier to find work and sadly died in a car accident way back in 1973 … he missed so much but I missed him more! 


Seriously time to get the tap turned on because as soon as we get hot northerly winds you can be sure the soil is drying out and the plants are thirsty!

It’s absolutely essential to have a thick layer of mulch over the soil – mulch is fundamental in Australian gardens to prevent hydrophobic conditions where moisture simply WILL NOT penetrate for lack of humus and microbes.

An irrigation system that’s simple and low-maintenance is dripper hose attached to a battery operated timer at the tap – readily available from your local hardware.

It is imperative that however you decide to water your roses, you DEEP SOAK THEM AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK with say, 20 litres of water per rose.  Roses which receive 40 litres at each watering will retain lush, healthy foliage and produce lots more flowers.

Q.  What do witches like to read at bedtime?  A. Ghoul Deluxe and the three Scares.

LUDWIG TASCHNER has several rose farms in South Africa and I read this in his recent newsletter – “… one statement that always makes me smile is:  “But, they all get the same treatment, so why is this rose not doing as well as the others?”

My standard reply is: “We always try to treat all our children the same way and why do they not all develop in the same way?”

For sure – every rose variety has its own personality and one needs to be a rose whisperer to understand this.  It can often be something small, that needs to be rectified and the rose recovers in no time.”

You are welcome to send photos of any issues you have with your roses to:  – we also love to receive beautiful pics of the roses you grow or identify an unnamed rose if possible.


MONDAY, 19TH DECEMBER will be the last posting however, if you are planning on sending a GIFT ROSE for somebody, I would be most grateful to have your rose in the post today or tomorrow – Monday is the absolute deadline!  Here are a few suggestions – these plants look sensational in the nursery NOW:

Modern Shrub Rose of extraordinary health and vigour
as a pleasant reminder of the hero in your life!

Floribunda/Modern Shrub rose with splashes of pale creamy salmon-pink with flecks of darker salmon-pink, constantly in flower.

A wonderful floribunda rose which produces clusters of perfectly formed Hybrid Tea shaped blooms. There is a very unique fragrance, a true favourite and highly recommended rose!

Delbard Couture Collection Shrub Rose which produces one of the most durable flowers of any rose we have ever stocked – it lasts and lasts on the bush.

One of the MOST stunning roses to place against a post, in a pillar frame or create a hedge-row of continual blooming, fragrant, vase-quality roses


We will be open on Christmas Eve, Saturday, 24th until 2.00pm
then closing until Friday, 6th January.


See you soon in Clonbinane – Diana, Graham, Tova & Mooi


ROSE RAMBLER 8.12.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 08.12.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends as it’s all going very fast but never fast enough to stop and read something really special – thank you Noel for forwarding this beautiful letter which I am so pleased to share with our Rose Rambler friends … read on

We don’t know who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office who understands LOVE
Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away, my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if she could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to Heaven, God would recognize her.

I told her that I thought that we could, so she dictated these words:

Dear God, Will you please take care of my dog?  Abbey died yesterday and is with you in heaven.  I miss her very much.

I ‘m happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her.  She likes to swim and play with balls.  I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.  I really miss her.  Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven.  We put our return address on it.  Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.

That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed “To Meredith” in an unfamiliar hand.  Meredith opened it.  Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called,   ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith, Abbey arrived safely in heaven.  Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore.  Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.

Abbey loved being your dog.  Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in so I’m sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me.  What a wonderful mother you have.  I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I’m easy to find.  I am wherever there is love. God

In a normal Rose Rambler week we think there’s something to share but I urge you to share this pre-Christmas Rose Rambler with a few friends – perhaps a friend who’s had a tough time or lost their pet recently!


The orders for roses as Christmas gifts are streaming in  and I think we all know that Australia Post is going to be pressed to get parcels to destination on time so please, take my advice and get your Christmas gift roses ordered sooner rather than later!  For every $100 you spend on a gift voucher, we’re giving you $20 … this would be a great gift for someone who’s just moved to a new house perhaps?

Gift them as soon as they’re delivered to you or opt for posting direct to the recipient – I am selecting specimens which are sure to be flowering around Christmas/New Year and I think if you’re like me, you would rather have a perfect rose gifted early than a damaged rose delivered in perfect time!

If you MUST take care of a potted rose prior to gifting at Christmas, place it in a very sunny location where there’s lots of ventilation.  WATER THE POT EVERY MORNING – we post a sample of ECO SEAWEED POWDER with every parcel – use immediately and then weekly until the rose is gifted.

Hello Diana … Thank you very much indeed for sending the roses to my daughter in Adelaide. They are planted and doing well. They gave them plenty of water and seaweed solution, so are looking better now I believe. Freya’s pet parrot, Taco, was very interested in the roses when they arrived! Kind regards ..Marg
My response … Thanks Margaret, I guess we all look a little ragged after a long journey … you’re right though, a nice drink and soaking with seaweed solution and being able to stretch out and see the light soon makes them look great!  Thank you for sending this pic … Happy Christmas!


As a poignant reminder of my birthday and that I’m getting that little bit older, I had two of our grandsons, Logan and Cooper help me build a veggie bed in the now disused rose heel-in bed.  The boys are sure to remember this event – the most enduring memory I have of my Granddad is planting onions with him when I was around the same age as these two lads.

Q. If teeth wore shoes, what sort would they be?  A.  Gumboots.

Give yourself and your kids/grandkids a truly memorable gift this Christmas – plant something!  A tree perhaps; maybe some veggies that you can harvest together later this summer or, of course, a rose which they can learn to plant, prune, fertilize, water and enjoy taking flowers into the house for Mum to enjoy on the kitchen bench!

These roses look exceptional in the nursery right now and would make perfect gifts

Q.  Why did the girl sleep with a ruler?  A. She wanted to see how long she slept!

Two more Rose Ramblers before we close on Saturday, December 24th for a couple of weeks of Christmas Holiday … see you at Clonbinane where you’ll get the most beautiful living Christmas gifts for 2016 …

Cheers from Diana, Graham, Tova & Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 1.12.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 01.12.2016 …

Hello Hello dear rose friends … on this first day of Summer, who would have thought December 2016 would come around so quickly?  We’re surrounded by beautiful rose blooms in gardens around Australia – took us here in cold Clonbinane a little while to catch up with the rest of you but oh my, waiting is worthwhile for such glorious beauty and fragrance!

Here’s a pic of an unusual bee / fly which Tova and I saw sitting on my car the other day … take note of unusual things happening in your garden – enjoy all the differences, notice the bugs, listen to the birds, maybe hear frogs?  Be sure to tune-in to quiet moments at one with nature in the busy lead-up to Christmas!


Now is an ideal time to check each dripper/shrubbler in the irrigation system – this is sooooo important!  Once you’ve checked everything is clean and functional, place a layer of compost around the drip-line at the base of each rose, cover it with pea straw or lucerne mulch then water over with seaweed solution.  Repeat this process in around 8 weeks.

Q.  What is grey, big and beautiful?  A. Cinderelephant!

Walking around the nursery yesterday, these varieties begged me to tell you about them:

Is a David Austin rose which produces large blooms filled with ruffled petals which exude fresh tea fragrance and lemon as the bloom ages.  The bush is full in structure and extremely healthy.

Is my ‘happy-smiling-rose’ which is always in flower on a pillar entering our property – deep crimson with white random stripes and a delightful fruity fragrance.

Has a most intense fragrance – perfect for such a deep crimson rose which has few thorns on the flowering stems making it an ideal cut flower – one customer told me she has 40 plants in her garden!  That must be serious WOW …

Enjoy your flowers in vases throughout the house – when cutting flowers for indoors, follow these simple instructions – extract from ALL ABOUT ROSES by Diana.

“Rose blooms picked from healthy, well-watered plants should remain fresh in the vase for many days providing you take a bucket of water out to the garden with you so that the blooms are dunked within moments of being picked.

When you cut a rose stem from the bush, air is immediately sucked into the stem and it’s this trapped air in the leaves and stems of the flowers which causes them to wilt, even after they are placed in water.  This can be rectified by conditioning the flowers to enjoy their lasting qualities in a vase.
Once you’ve picked the flowers, fill the bucket to the brim and place it in a cool dark place for a few hours to stop evaporation.  A household refrigerator temperature is too cold to store a bucket of cut rose blooms so the coolest place in the house is usually the bathroom or laundry.

When you are ready to start arranging the flowers, add a sachet of Chrysal (flower preservative) to each two litres of water in the vase.  At this point, the leaves should feel firm when you remove the lowest ones from the stems before placing them in the vase.  There is no need to rush with arranging because you have conditioned the flowers and their stems will be filled with water rather than air.

If the roses are wilted, as may happen despite immediate dunking in water, you can restore them by using 3 tablespoons of sugar dissolved in hot water.  Hot water contains less air than cold water.  When you submerge the rose stem into hot water, it is absorbed all the way up the stem, driving out the air bubbles which caused it to wilt.  Sugar also acts as food for the cut flowers.”

I’ll put more information in next week about cut flowers!

If you come to Clonbinane this Saturday 3rd December remember that we will be leaving here right on 4.00pm to drive down the Valley of a Thousand Hills to Strath Creek for the Twilight Market so we might perhaps see you there between 5-9pm – share a snag with us while we all enjoy an opportunity to do ‘unusual’ Christmas shopping and great country town hospitality in the park at Strath Creek!

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