ROSE RAMBLER 26.2.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 26.2.2015

Hello dear rose friends and welcome to the last days of summer – so pleasant here at Clonbinane with a magnificent season when the roses flourished without environmental factors to impose on their health – aphids were kept controlled by wrens, pardalotes and ladybirds, regular applications of the organic spray management program and regular applications of quality fertilizer along with daily watering, kept our potted roses looking beautiful but now they’re happy to welcome the cooler respite of autumn.


I’ve been busy pruning the potted roses so they look their absolute best when the bus groups come for the Art & Roses Expo and we will again attend Tesselaars Garden Expo at Silvan on 18th and 19th April.

Late summer pruning will extend the flowering period right up to the beginning of winter so it’s never too late to prune!  In order to maintain great health and vigour in the bushes, be sure to distribute a good handful of Complete Organic Fertilizer around each bush – for the large climbers, you can be even more generous so they produce sturdy water-shoots to make winter pruning much, much easier.

I will cover all aspects of general rose care, composting, watering systems and more so organise for a group of friends to come here on the weekend of 11th and 12th April.  There is still time to book your group for this event – call Diana on (03) 5787 1123 for a great day out!

Rotary will provide $10 per head subsidy towards your transport for groups of 10 or more.  The tour includes, free of charge:

  • Entry, catalogue and gallery guide at the Kilmore Art Expo – Kilmore
  • Entry and Walk & Talk in the Garden with Graham at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane
  • Guided short walks, history and entertainment at Hidden Valley – Wallan

Light lunches will be available at the Kilmore Art Expo Café … estimate approx. $10.00
Morning or afternoon tea/coffee and cake at Hidden valley Restaurant, Wallan $8.00

Q.  What does a boy monster do when a girl monster rolls her eyes at him?  A.  He picks them up and rolls them right back to her.


For a magnificent sight along the front boundary of your property, rather than a fence, plant a row of roses spaced between 75-90cms apart for an almost impenetrable hedge.  Here are just a few varieties which would suit:

Extremely prolific flowering, dense and very healthy dark green foliage,
exquisitely beautiful blooms which are suitable to vase 1.2 X 1.2 metres

Never without flowers, very healthy foliage,
stunningly bright colour for nine months 1.2 x 1.2 metres

For a larger space like along a driveway this magnificent rose
produces bracts of single blooms continually on an
extremely healthy shrub 1.5 x 1.5 metres

Because it is such an appropriate time for planting roses, for the next TWO WEEKS, all HEDGE ROSES will be available at the very special price of $22.00 each when you purchase four or more plants of the same variety.

Varieties included in this offer are:

KNOCKOUT              SILVER GHOST                  FABULOUS               CASANOVA
WINDRUSH               MAINAU FEUR                    BONICA                    SEAFOAM  

All the hedge roses can be pruned mechanically, are extremely low maintenance because of their magnificent health and vigour and will add a wonderful display of colour in your garden for eight-nine months each year!

We liked this so are sharing … ‘How deeply seated in the human heart is the liking for gardens and gardening.’  Alexander Smith  

Have a great week in your garden …
~ Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane 

Rose Rambler 19th Feb 2015

ROSE RAMBLER 19.2.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 19.2.2015 …

Hello dear rose friends as I recall that this time last year, I was head down writing my book ALL ABOUT ROSES.  I was sharing that experience whilst speaking with a lovely bunch of gardeners at the Hobson’s Bay Garden Club earlier this week – lots of them purchased a signed copy of the book after I told them how readers had told me they use the book as a constant reference … it has the organic spray management recipe in it, there are very useful tips about mulch, fertilizing and watering.

ALL ABOUT ROSES is a very handy book which covers all aspects of rose growing – buy yourself a copy and also put it on your ‘gift list’ for a gardening friend!


Don’t let up on watering the garden even though there’s been a bit of rain!  Noticed that some of our ornamental trees are stressed so we are on a mission of deep soaking, seaweed solution application and layer of mulch around every single tree in the gardens.  Phil Kenyon, our Arborist was here this week removing more native trees that have succumbed since the Black Saturday fires and he told us that a tree will grow 40% more in a year when it is adequately mulched!  Roses are no different!

It was a very worthwhile project to have a professional Arborist give an assessment of all the trees in our garden – highly recommended consultancy if you love your trees and want them to continue flourishing!



If you have a special event in your garden during the coming months, you can trim your roses so that they are flowering magnificently on THE DAY … when I say ‘trim’, I want you to take stems about 15cms (6”) long and cut just above an outward facing bud.  This forces the stem to produce a very strong shoot that will be loaded with flowers within 55 – 60 days … its magic!

After you’ve trimmed, lightly fertilize the ground around the bushes, mulch if necessary and water over the organic rose management program.  If you use seaweed solution with a bit of eco-aminogro (or other fish emulsion type liquid fertilizer) every fortnight you’ll be amazed at how rapidly the bushes will produce masses of blooms in time for your event.

I turned over a compost heap yesterday and am impressed with the humus content – corn growing nearby needed watering so the compost heap has been regularly watered too.  If you are composting your putrescible waste, frequent watering will hasten that waste turning into beautiful humus which you can then apply around the roses and veggies.

ALWAYS place mulch over the humus to retain all those precious microbes!

Here’s my joke for this week … Q. What do you call an elephant in a phone box?  A. Stuck!


This amazing rose has an incredible range of colours – dark orange/chocolate brown/blue-grey … these are all my own photos of HOT COCOA which is a continually free-flowering, tall growing bush with the most glossy, healthy foliage – very highly recommended rose!

Have a great week in your rose garden – Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 13.2.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 13.2.2015

Hello dear rose friends with a timely reminder that it’s VALENTINE’S DAY tomorrow which, like I said in a radio interview yesterday, is a time to say “I LOVE YOU”!

In all the busyness of our lives, it’s so easy to forget the one who is right there, 24/7. Go pick a rose from the garden, put it in a vase beside their bed – no words necessary, the rose will speak volumes to the one you love!

Here’s Gra’s joke for this week:
Q.  What did the boy snake say to the girl snake?  A.  Give me a hiss!

Now, because we love you fellow gardeners, our rose friends, scroll down to the bottom of this email and enjoy a few beautiful pictures of roses along the way …









While you’re romancing over this weekend, here’s a joke to break-the-ice -
Q.  Why did the sea bed feel unhappy?
A.  Well, you’d be unhappy too if you had crabs on your bottom!!!
Have a beaut week in your garden and remember to present our offer to your Club or meeting group for the weekend of 11-12 April for the Kilmore Art Expo and visit to Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane – book more than 15 people and my Rotary Club will subsidise your travel expenses.
~ See you at Clonbinane sometime soon … Diana, Graham and Mooi



Hello dear rose friends and welcome to the last month of summer – difficult to believe it’s even been summer here in Victoria with cold southerly winds leaving temperatures hovering in the mid-20’s but that will all change soon and we will probably have a spectacular autumn.  Some rain would be good … please?


I say, why buy a bunch of roses when you can buy the whole rose bush and pick bunches of beautiful blooms for at least eight months of the year?  Our assistant, Virginia compiled this poem to inspire you when selecting a rose for the love of your life …

ROSE NAMES that match every occasion. 

Here’s some inspiration from a lovestruck romantic for Valentine’s Day!

You can share this LOVE on our Facebook site Rose Sales Online. Check us out if you haven’t already.  We know you love roses so go on “like us” and enjoy being tantalised by the many beautiful roses we supply through and make your Valentine’s Day especially memorable this year.


I confess to being a connoisseur of fine things and I do LOVE jam!
The de-seeded hips ready for the pot …

… Produced these magnificent jars of ROSE HIP JAM...

… which were delivered to the Rose Farm this week by Mary who took up Diana’s offer to harvest our hips in return for a jar of jam … Diana spent over an hour in the hot sun harvesting 1.5kgs of rose hips, packed and posted them to Buchan where Mary spent three hours de-seeding the hips after she’d ‘topped and tailed them’ – definitely a labour of love because even at minimum wage, each jar of jam must cost no less than $30 but the taste is DIVINE … thanks girls for this delicious treat!

You too could harvest hips and make this delicacy – around three established bushes of the magnificent, hip-producing RUGOSA ROSES would give you enough hips for jam-making so if you purchase these roses through February, you can have them at the very special …


You’ll not only produce rose hips but you will have the most dense, free-flowering shrubs which grow to 1.5 metres tall and wide, attract bees to your garden and offer you a wonderful screen for more delicate plants.  Rugosa roses are soooo tough and healthy – if you take up my offer, I would love another jar of jam next season …

Q. How do hens dance?  A. Cheek to cheek!  Still licking my sticky fingers before I go and check my baby ‘cheekens’ and turn the water on my compost heap …  Gra

Remember that roses are very water-wise plants … no less than 10 litres per plant, per week, delivered in the one application will ensure healthy foliage and flowering – if you are watering your rose garden, be sure to apply a sprinkling of complete organic fertilizer over the soil and the flowers will have substance, great colour and last well in a vase!

Order a GIFT ROSE bush TODAY
for guaranteed delivery on Valentine’s Day ..

See you soon at Clonbinane … Diana, Graham & Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 29.1.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 29.1.2015

Hello dear rose friends … hope you enjoyed a magnificent AUSTRALIA DAY … we are all so very lucky to live in this great country where we enjoy peace and freedom; space in our gardens and the most glorious environment – let’s be happy with what we have!

The morning light has been magical for taking photos of the roses … here are a few…

– a most impressively healthy shrub which flowers continually with the brightest, most stunning yellow clusters of fragrant blooms


– almost certainly my most favourite Hybrid Tea rose … very free flowering and the most heavenly fragrance on a sturdy bush which, when continually pruned, produces an abundance of blooms for vases in our home


– should be planted as a group for a most stunning display of delightfully fragrant blooms in amazing abundance … if a mass planting of continual flowers from season start to end is your requirement, this is a beauty!


I’ve planted pumpkins, melons, corn, the tomatoes are almost fruiting and I’m loving the compost heap because it delivers all the fabulous nutrients those plants need to produce their ‘fruits’ – we’ve been harvesting apples which are suitable for Diana to produce ‘applemoes’ (Dutch for stewed apples) … yummy with ice-cream or yoghurt as dessert or any time of the day!  Peaches and nectarines we are eating straight from the trees … too deliciously messy to bring into the house!

Because of regular deep soaking, my pear and nachi trees are producing abundant fruit which will be ripe in a few weeks – it’s most important that you water the garden CONSISTENTLY … yes, it is about quantity but very much more importantly, it is about regular and consistent!

Flowers and vegetables which are conditioned to regular deep watering will be highly productive, sweet and very edible!

Q. How many grandmas does it take to change a light bulb?  A.  TWO … one to change the bulb, one to go on about how much better bulbs were in the old days!

Enjoy your garden during this most delightfully beautiful summer – I’ll be doing seminars on ‘all about roses’ soon – stay posted for the dates … Gra


Now is the time to get out and about with your camera and ‘sniffer’ to decide which roses you want to plant this coming winter … here’s a typical line up of roses during a recent consultancy for a new rose garden …

“Life can never be dull if you are prepared to think of others as they can always give you something that you will never be able to give yourself …”

Happy gardening as we plough through the last month of summer …

~ Cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi who loves the chickens at Clonbinane

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