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

ROSE RAMBLER 25.11.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 25.11.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends as we fast approach Christmas Eve with only four weeks to go … here’s a novel way to spend your Saturday 3rd December evening and do all your Christmas shopping at one place!  If you can make it, I think this will be a lovely event nestled in the VALLEY OF A THOUSAND HILLS at Strath Creek.

This is such a beautiful part of Victoria and just up the road so we’ll be there with our roses all beautifully gift-wrapped …

We had a beaut weekend at the State Rose and Garden Show where the State Rose Gardens looked sensational!  There is no doubt that climbing roses can be an integral part of rose garden design and they’re magnificent at Werribee State Rose Garden – entry to the park is free, there’s lots of car parking close to the gardens – take a picnic and have a lovely family day out surrounded by beautiful rose gardens!


Roses up the pole or pillar roses look spectacular growing up 2-3 metres high and around 500cms wide – they’re easy to care for and train.  Here are a couple of my favourite varieties …

A strong, deep, vibrant red with single flowers about 8 petals on each flower and a boss of golden yellow stamens.  The rose is seldom without flowers and stands out like a beacon in the garden.  It’s a tough rose and could also make a lovely hedge 2-3 metres in height.  The foliage is very clean, deep green and extremely healthy – a very highly recommended rose.

A vigorous, lightly wooded plant that will easily cover 2.5-3 metres.  Lightly scented clusters of copper yellow flowers and deep green, shiny, disease resistant foliage.  Prune in a conventional way or hedge to form a blanket of growth and flowers over the entire growing surface.  CREPUSCULE is so versatile and also makes an excellent weeping specimen.  Trim constantly and you will have flowers continually throughout the season – a truly brilliant rose!

Flowers are two-toned creamy white centres with pale pink brushed edges on 40 plus petals in each lovely flower!  The leaves are large and glossy.  This is a truly stunning rose and makes an impact in full bloom – one of our best-selling roses!

Q.  What do you call a wood pecker without a beak?  A.  A head banger!


Whilst flowering or just after a good flush, refresh the plants with a boost of fertilizer, trim the rose stems back around 12cms and your roses will continue to retain healthy foliage which in turn means you’ll have lots of flowers continually too!

Use an organic fertilizer like cow manure, Sudden Impact for Roses or Better Grow organic rose food.  If you come to visit us here at Clonbinane, take a 25kg bag of Complete Organic Fertilizer (COF) as it is great to use on ALL plants in your garden (except Natives of course).

Also apply seaweed solution over the leaves to maintain healthy foliage, boost flowering and make the plant a lot tougher – seaweed will give you 30% more flowers so use it at least once a month.

Q.  What do you get when you walk under a cow?  A.  A pat on the head.

Enjoy the flowers – keep trimming and get the watering system organised … Gra


After 10 years of development, SLASHER is now registered and will be more readily available – we know this product works and are so pleased that it is Registered Organic for use in organic farms and gardens!

Key points for SLASHER Weedkiller

  • Kills weeds, moss and algae
  • Can be used anywhere in the garden and around the house
  • Active ingredient made from GM-free plant oils
  • Rapid action, desiccating plants on contact
  • Doesn’t require heat or sunlight to work
  • Non-selective
  • No lasting spray residues (100% biodegradable within a few days)
  • Glyphosate free

Have a beaut week in your garden – keep emailing your queries about growing roses as we are compiling a FAQ’s folder which will be available soon at where past issues of this Rose Rambler are stored for you to access easily.

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

ROSE RAMBLER 17.11.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 17.11.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends as we gear up to show-off our beautifully healthy, flowering potted roses at the FREE Wyndham City Event STATE ROSE AND GARDEN SHOW this Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th from 10am – 4pm … BE THERE!

Diana will be speaking at 3.00pm SATURDAY, 19TH … see you there!

We finally had to have lovely sunny days and I’m so pleased that this weekend promises to be beautiful weather for our outdoor event.

Q.  How do you stop a giant from smelling?  A. Cut off his nose!

We’ve had a really busy week so we won’t be giving you a lot of info in this Rose Rambler but I want to show you our ‘new’ compost heap.  I had to create this to ‘house’ the wheat straw weeds we had pulled from all the garden beds over past weeks – it would have been such a waste to put them on a bonfire.

This compost heap is approximately 3 metres around, created using 18 straw bales and with adequate watering, Graham says we’ll be able to remove well-rotted compost in about 8 weeks … nice!  I really like the look of this – very organised and tidy on our roundabout driveway.

Here is an updated photo of how the pea straw continued to grow – Tova used a brush-cutter to trim some of it but it just keeps growing – I guess one day soon I’ll be down on hands and knees pulling it up!

On the other hand, here’s neat and tidy mulch application – lucerne biscuits along the border of the garden with newspaper underneath (to slow down creeping weeds) and pulled apart and fluffed-up lucerne in the garden around the roses … ideal mulching!

Here are some random pics of roses which are flowering in pots around the nursery … come and see them at Werribee this weekend or call in for a visit at Clonbinane where Graham and Tova will be – the gardens are delightful here now!

It has frilly/scalloped petals and a gorgeous salmon-pink colour to match. Add to that, a delightful strong fragrance and this rose is sure to attract attention!
Deep warm apricot high-centred buds which open to fully reveal the eye-catching bronze which finishes a coppery pink, generous clusters and lovely spicy scent.

Honey Perfume does have a lovely honey and spice fragrance which is a bonus when you pick a truss for the vase – lovely near-thornless stems too!

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.

One of the most popular climbing roses which produces masses of creamy-white to pale pink blooms deepening to carmine at the edges in cooler weather.

A worthy climbing rose to plant because it is such a spectacular performer with flowers from the earliest Spring until well into the Winter.

Enjoy the last two weeks of spring 2016 and if you need advice about any issues with your roses, please email me: which is sometimes better than trying to get us on very busy phone lines … truly sorry for the frustration but I can only answer one phone at a time!

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

ROSE RAMBLER 10.11.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 10.11.2016 …

Whoo, whoo, we’re finally flowering in most areas of the gardens and definitely the potted roses are looking stunning!  It’s been extremely cold with frosts very late – just last weekend, we were pruning frost-damaged foliage on our roses – they’ll recover but will probably only flower for Christmas this year!

Budburst Festival is on in the Macedon Ranges this weekend – of particular note we recommend you call at PARKSIDE WINERY at 308 Parks Road, Lancefield for the official opening of their Cellar Door for budburst weekend (

At Parkside Winery ( you’ll be treated to taste magnificent wines of our region served in the historical barn which our son Eric has enjoyed restoring during this past cold, wet winter – every bluestone laid with love as only Eric would … a mammoth task he said and so rewarding to be part of the history!   You MUST take a look … mention to Darryl that the timber cobble floor would look much better finished in blackwood and he’ll know exactly who sent you … enjoy!


There was a bit of a glitch in last week’s Rose Rambler – my rose in the trial gardens is this beauty which we propose to call JUST LOVELY…

Pictures in last week’s R/R are the rose which I hope is released in 2017 because it was so delightful and I fell in love with it!  Sorry for the confusion and thank you to those who responded with such enthusiasm.


We get stories from rose lovers wanting to retain a special rose just like Susan’s and NOW is the time to take action – read on …

Dear Silkie Gardens Rose Farm,

Earlier this year we purchased two of your beautiful roses from roses on line, they were FALLING IN LOVE and THE CHILDREN’S ROSE and they’re growing wonderfully in the garden. It’s surprising how much they’ve grown in such a short time and we’ve even had a couple of roses.

I wanted speak to you about the other roses your two have come to live with. They belonged to my grandfather and I transplanted them about 3 years ago from his garden to mine before we had to sell the family home. I know that goes against the gardening rules as the nurseries all told me in Sydney that roses can’t be moved but I moved these successfully. I only lost one rose following the move with 7 of them now living in my garden and doing very well about 3 years on. These roses are quite old and one my mother tells me is over 100 years old and it has now lived in 3 gardens, as my grandfather moved it in the 1970’s from my great grandmother’s place to his.

My question is how do I grow more of these original roses? I’ve tried cutting, growing from seeds, I’ve watched lots of videos online and tried a range of different cutting liquids recommended by the nurseries. Can you please give me any suggestions on how to grow more so as other members of the family can have a little part of history growing at their place. Many thanks for any suggestions …Susan

My response:  Hello Susan … it always staggers me that nursery personnel suggest it is impossible to shift / re-locate old roses!  Of course, there can and might be fatalities but one should always TRY no matter what the weather or season!  As long as the gardener puts their head and heart into the task, it will generally be successful!

Seems you have been successful in the relocation – AWESOME!  Now you wish to propagate and share plants of those precious old roses so you need to send me some canes that we can have ‘contract budded’ this budding season from Nov-Jan … please don’t wait but send wood sooner rather than later!!!

Here’s a pic of what you need to send me …

This wood is around pencil-thick and there was a flower or bunch of flowers at the end of the cane which are now finished.

This part you’re going to send me is really the length of cane which you would normally cut back and throw away!

Here is a pic of what the bud eyes look like when they’re cut from the cane and ready to be budded …

Most important that you send the freshest canes wrapped in damp (not sopping wet!!!) newspaper, sealed in plastic and placed in a post pack via EXPRESS POST to


We, in turn, can check the wood prior to forwarding for budding … best wishes … DIANA

It is important for ALL to note that any CONTRACT BUDDING requires no less than 5 plants per variety to be budded so you will have to purchase those 5 plants the following winter.  Contract Budded Roses cost $32.50 per plant and will be available no earlier than late July/August; bare-rooted plants will be supplied with a hand-written identification tag.

We will not take responsibility for failure of any variety to bud successfully – you will only be charged for plants supplied in winter.

Please don’t race out into your garden and take budwood from all the ‘old’ roses in your garden as lots of old roses are still in production and we are EXCLUSIVELY offering this service to customers who wish to retain rose varieties in perpetuity – varieties which are almost certainly not in production today and which are as significant as those in Susan’s story above.



Our roses, when we experience them with ALL our senses, can make our soul sing!

  • SIGHT – be drawn to your favourite colours and love them all together;
  • SOUND – be with the sounds of nature, close your eyes and hear frogs, birds, the breeze;
  • TASTE – run your tongue around your mouth and swallow right then – so sensitive;
  • SMELL – aah, take note of all the fragrances as they can literally take your breath away;
  • TOUCH – feel the texture of rose petals, so soft – wiggle your toes, feel the ground or ‘Mother Earth’.

Experiencing all our senses to connect with the beauty of nature, keeps us vibrantly healthy and alive.  Q.  Why did the lizard cross the road?  A. To see his flat mate!  

Slugs and snails are very predominant in our gardens due to unprecedented rains so I urge you to protect your plants by using an Australian product called ERADICATE which is safe to use around your pets and birds!

Obviously use any snail bait wisely – do not place pellets in heaps but broadcast approximately 70 pellets per square metre so they break down readily as soil/plant nutrient and are not easily accessible or attractive to your pets or birds.

Q. Why did the orange stop in the middle of the road?  A. Because it ran out of juice!  


You will not EVER find a more spectacularly robust, healthy, free-flowering, fragrant and simply stunning orange/pink rose which is totally suitable for mass planting or hedging … honour our CFA volunteers and pay the $8.50 royalty to enjoy this beauty in your garden …

One of the first to flower with exquisite fragrance … stunning blooms with a mass of petals on a supremely healthy shrub …

Darkest black red, most gorgeous waved petal form, longest-lasting flower on the bush … what more could one ask for?  Fragrance perhaps?  It missed out there but ticks every other box for a ‘must-have’ rose!

If you are ever looking for back-issues of this Rose Rambler, you could spend days trawling through where you’ll find no less than four years of publications along with an encyclopaedia of roses which I plan to update in coming months.

Be sure to put in your favourites so that when you need a quietly relaxing place to visit with roses this lovely website is right there – ask questions, get information and see lovely rose photos.

Be sure to take time to smell the roses as we head into hectic times leading up to Christmas; jump in the car on a weekend soon and wander amongst the roses in our garden; have a chat with Graham and let him show you the compost heaps, mulching methods, watering systems – bring the kids because they just love being here to have a run with Mooi …

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


Don’t forget….
19th & 20th November
Diana will be speaking at 3.00pm SATURDAY, 19TH … see you there!

ROSE RAMBLER 3.11.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 03.11.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends … so, did you back the Melbourne Cup winner?  Weren’t the roses spectacular despite the abysmally cold, wet, wintery weather that Terry Freeman and his team had to contend with to get them so beautiful … ah, Melbourne, no wonder it wins as the ‘most liveable city’!


Congratulations to the rose breeders of the world who have been rewarded after two years of assessment at the Australian Rose Trial Grounds in Adelaide … this year, DARK DESIRE won MOST HIGHLY FRAGRANT ROSE – such a magnificent rose which you would love in your garden … Pop it on your ‘wish-list’ for 2017.

The rose which Diana has entered in the Rose Trials looked stunning and is performing very well as it enters its second year of assessment … should we name it JUST LOVELY?

and the rose which Diana loved most – this rose might be released 2017 ???

What do you think?

Please, if you have an opportunity when visiting Adelaide, pop into the Botanical Gardens where the Australian Rose Trial Grounds are situated and you’ll be delighted by the roses in the gardens there.

Q.  What dog keeps the best time?  A. A watch dog – of course!  Easy one.

It is so important during this amazingly strange weather to be diligent, observe what weather patterns permit application of the organic rose management program to ensure your roses retain healthy foliage which in turn will promote lots of beautiful blooms throughout the coming flowering season!

Fertilize NOW – then again in six weeks because heavy rain will have leached nutrients from the soil.


There is a huge difference between a WATER SHOOT and UNDERSTOCK … easy to see in this pic of a suckering standard rose.

Here’s what you should do to remove understock suckers … extracted from Diana’s book, ALL ABOUT ROSES …

“ …. get down on your hands and knees at the base of the plant, scrape back some soil near the sucker and see where it’s growing from.  Usually it will be attached to the understock and might be way down deep or could be quite obvious close to the surface.

Put your garden gloves on … once you’ve revealed the source of the understock branch, grab hold of it and yank it really hard and fast – I liken it to when the kids had a loose tooth and I would ask them if I could take a look and wobble it maybe.  Quick yank, tooth gone and kid wondering what the heck happened but excited about the tooth fairy coming that night.

When you’ve yanked the sucker away from the understock it is very important to check if there is a nice rounded end on what you pulled away.  If you can see and ‘eye’ which could be compared to a corn on your toe, then you have been successful in removing the sucker.

If not, get a sharp knife and remove the ‘’eye’ by cutting inwards and upwards under the eye and inwards and downwards from above the eye.”

NEVER, EVER cut suckers at ground level – as we all know, roses love to be pruned so cutting suckers encourages them to grow even more – they must be removed!

Q. Where do baby monsters go when their parents are at work?  A. The day scare centre!


Hiya Diana, My roses arrived on Friday, in the ground Saturday and looking a million dollars today, Tuesday! Very hard to grow roses in a sub-tropical area but I have been for 30 years and with persistence I have success!  Thank you for your great service, take care!

Warm regards, Chris

Enjoy the glory of your spring garden … cheers from us all at Clonbinane …
P.S.  Hope you’ve reserved the dates:
19th & 20th November
Diana will be speaking at 3.00pm SATURDAY, 19TH … see you there!

ROSE RAMBLER 27.10.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 27.10.2016 .. Hello dear rose friends as Gra and I are spending a week away from the Rose Farm but Tova is very capably manning the fort and will be here when you call in.

WWW.ROSESALESONLINE.COM.AU orders will continue to be posted this week so order with confidence!

I’m copying sections of the Rose Rambler from this week in past years to give you a trip down memory lane …

REWIND BACK TO… 31.10.2013

Hello dear rose friends… Already passed the middle days of Spring and things starting to ‘hot up’ … a taste of the fast advancing Summer and oh, the joy of the roses blooming and the magnificent fragrance makes all the dipping and dunging so worthwhile!  No time to rest on your laurels though … plenty to do in the rose garden now.



Ever noticed all the perfumes we could buy – there are dozens.  The perfume in roses is natural and the best time to smell a rose is when the sun is shining on the open flower.  What ENERGY attracting the bees to create the beginning of another rose – the seeds!  The rose fragrance also gives us lucky humans a lift.  Try smelling some coffee first, then smell the rose;  what a delight for our spirit … it takes us to a higher place.

By the way, what did Cinderella say when her photos didn’t show up?
“Some day my ‘prints’ will come.”

  • POTTING ROSES: Potted roses can still be planted or re-potted from now on and throughout the flowering season.  If potting, always use a good quality, certified potting mix with added nutrients and water saving granules.  Mulch the top of the pots with compost about 50mm thick and then place milled lucerne or some straw over the compost.  Place the pot on a tray filled with stones and water daily, use Natrakelp or Eco-cweed at least fortnightly.
  • ROSE GARDENERS GLOVES:  How good are your garden gloves?  It is so important to use good quality, washable gloves that have material on the back that breathes but also protects your knuckles while moving around the thorny roses as you prune!  Buy two pair so that you can change and wash them regularly – great Christmas present for the avid rose gardener and the one’s we stock here at the Rose Farm come in four different sizes – we’ve used them for years and highly recommend them!!
  • MULCH IS CRITICAL:  It is important to mulch the rose garden NOW to save moisture from Winter/Spring rains – plants are 96% water!  Use Lucerne, straw, leaves and soaked newspaper at the edges of the garden beds will keep weeds away and be home to good soil critters and worms.  Place the mulch on damp soil or water before and after mulching.

HELP THE ENVIRONMENT… MULCH THE SOIL!  I’m told that 40% of grass is carbon so lawn clippings in light layers must be useful as a mulch too!
Enjoy the beautiful perfume of the roses while you wonder about the answer to this … what has a thumb and four fingers but is not alive … I’ll tell you next week ….

~ Graham.



Last week I was kneeling down while mulching the garden and got bitten – probably one of those big ants, maybe a spider …?  Gentle reminder to me and I wish to pass on to you all that the burning welt on my leg lasted for over a week and I will now use one of the kneeling frames.

No I won’t, I’m not old enough to justify using a kneeling frame for it’s intended purpose ie. assist me in getting up from a kneeling position .. giggle .. so I’ll just use a piece of cardboard or layer of newspaper.  I WILL NOT kneel and crawl around the garden unprotected and I urge you all to take care of the same insects lurking in your rose garden!

Enjoy the Melbourne Cup – a real celebration of roses
– Diana & Graham at Clonbinane



REWIND BACK TO… 30.10.2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REWIND BACK TO… 29.10.2015



Q.  Why can’t a ladybird ever hide?  A.  Because it is always spotted! 

You’ll be thinking about which horse might be worth backing in the Melbourne Cup but I would highly recommend visiting FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE just to be up close and personal with the magnificent rose gardens there!  If you get a chance, treat yourself to a spectacular day at the races during these weeks of horse racing and I hope you back a winner!

Q.  Why couldn’t the pony talk?  A.  ‘cause he was a little horse.

Grasses are the essence of Nature! Researchers in Sydney found endorphins given off by lawn mowing keep us feeling good about ourselves!  Aaah, the smell of a freshly cut lawn – you know the smell and feeling – no research necessary because we already know how good it feels and looks!!!

There’s more to it though – grasses are essential because, when they break-down in pastures and gardens, their dry matter and minerals wash into waterways and then into the ocean which then turns into a food source for fish.  Our Oceans are the richest source of nutrients on our planet!  Hence, the seaweed solution we use on our plants, which comes from the Ocean, is vital for balanced plant nutrition and remember, regular applications of seaweed solution will afford your roses up to 5 degrees heat tolerance so liberally pour over the foliage of roses at least monthly to ensure bushes retain lots of healthy foliage!!!

ROSE FLOWERS IN THE HOUSE – there is no greater pleasure than cutting a bucket full of rose blooms to fill vases in your home!  Here are some rules which you MUST stick to which will ensure longevity of the roses you cut for a vase:

  • Cut the roses early in the day (when possible) so they are well hydrated and cool;
  • Take a bucket of cool, clean water to the garden with you;
  • Trim the stems as long as possible and dunk them immediately into the bucket;
  • Leave the bucket in the coolest room of your home for a few hours;
  • Use only very clean vases to which you can add flower-preservative, if you prefer;
  • Remove all the leaves which are below vase water level;
  • Freshen water every couple of days – trim stems each time.

Diana devoted a chapter in her book ALL ABOUT ROSES to CUTTING ROSES FOR A VASE – there is an extensive lot of special hints and tips which are useful if you love to have vases of roses in your home during the flowering season … enjoy the beauty of your garden, inside too!


If you’re venturing up this way on the second weekend in November, please take a slightly longer drive to visit these magnificent gardens which are about one hour further north than Clonbinane … it will be seriously worth driving the extra kilometres.

Hope you back a winner in the Melbourne Cup and enjoy the long weekend with festivities and most especially, roses …

cheers from us all at Clonbinane …


ROSE RAMBLER 20.10.2016

RAMBLER 20.10.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends as we all enjoy long-awaited moments of smelling the fragrance of our roses at the start of what will be an amazing rose season!

Yes, of course we are still posting roses – they’re a little more expensive now because they’ve been in pots for a while; we’ve sprayed, fed, watered, trimmed and given them lots of loving which guarantees they’ll travel well and be a pleasure in your garden!

To post roses now is easy – I remove them from the pot, dust off any loose potting mix, wrap the roots in damp newspaper, seal in a plastic bag and they travel as though they’re still in their pots!  The roses actually continue to grow whilst in transit … as FORGET ME NOT did for 34 days before it found its way back to us recently …

The rose was posted as a bare-rooted plant in mid-August and the roots were still damp in their original package after 34 days so I immediately potted it, watered with eco-seaweed and placed it in a sunny location so the branches could photosynthesise – within two days there was a noticeable change

Now the rose is in perfect condition after just 3 weeks


Dear Diana, The extra rose arrived safely and is now in the garden. Yes, I did need four!  Thank you for sending such healthy plants.  I am amazed at how well they travel. Now looking forward to the first blooms!  Kind regards, Pamela

The GIFT ROSE is different because it is posted in a specifically designed, elegantly printed box which locks a gift-wrapped, potted rose (flowering now through to June, 2017) together with your personal message written in a gift card; including postage, this costs $73.90 – lovely Christmas gift idea!


The race is on for the first roses to flower here at Clonbinane …

Has stunningly healthy foliage that clothes long, strong stems which produce unusually shaped blooms of cream with a dark pink/red edge – most unusual and interesting rose!

It’s easy to overlook some of the ‘old’ varieties which we’ve sold for the past 30 years and assume every gardener knows this glorious rose!  Deliciously fragrant, waved petals on huge flowers … highly recommended rose!

Is definitely the Queen of our garden as she flounces against the spruce she respectfully shares space with and will produce abundant masses of blooms until late June next year!  Awesome rose!


These are roses where labels have blown away, faded or inadvertently been removed so we don’t know who they are … that is until they’re flowering!  See if you can beat us to it … buy them, plant them in your garden and wait for a surprise … daily we go to this group of roses to see if we can retrieve a ‘stunner’, pop it’s label on and it will be sold at recommended retail price!

Some days we forget to go there – you get in first and we’ll gladly identify the rose for you!


Q. What goes up a downpipe down but won’t go up a downpipe up?  A. an umbrella (thanks for this reader contribution – it had me stumped too!)

If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you get a good cover of mulch on the garden NOW if for no other reason than to offer protection for the worms which have been breeding since May and they are the army of workers who will aerate the soil, fertilize it with their castings whilst improving the overall structure and condition of your soil!

Diana was distressed when her recently applied pea straw mulch started to grow.

but I assured her this rather new garden bed will benefit in the extreme because of the nitrogen fixing which is guaranteed to occur due to the peas growing deep roots – being the ‘tidy freak’ she is, she is going to try and encourage my Langshan fowls over to that garden to eat the peas.  (She’ll be like the Pied Piper – throw morsels of bread in a trail to the garden bed???  Not sure she’ll be successful but will keep you posted!)

I, on the other hand, would like to see a good cover of ‘green manure’ and perhaps wait to see if/when the peas flower how decorative this might be before they simply dry up and cover the ground with another layer of pea straw!

Q.  What does MOTHER GIANT say to her children at the dinner table?  A.  Don’t talk with someone in your mouth!

Enjoy your rose garden this week … Diana, Graham, Tova & Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 13.10.2016

RAMBLER 13.10.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends as we welcome warmer, dryer conditions with lots of roses blooming early …






Q.  What comes down but never goes up?  A.  Rain … which is now easing but left us with a sodden garden which the roses are enjoying now they’re setting flowers ready for a bumper season for sure!


Monica sent this tip – “to be sure a new rose will flourish in a less than full sun spot in the garden, plant it WITH THE POT – that way, if you see the rose stressing, you’re easily able to lift it out and take it to a sunnier location.”

Monica’s roses in quite shaded location in large self-wateringa pots … magnificent!

And this is a good idea too:  Two standard JUST JOEY roses either side of the front porch in large tubs – one side gets full-sun all the time but the other side only gets morning sun so my clever customer gets hubby to load them onto a trolley and swap them around every couple of weeks!  She’s been doing this since July; both roses are flourishing and growing evenly!

Normally, when a customer tells us that there is less than 5 hours of direct sun on the location where they’re planting a new rose, we won’t sell them a rose!  Yes, a rose might ‘cope’ in that location but wouldn’t you rather it ‘flourish’ and be magnificent?  Always trim overhanging tree branches or plant roses in the most open, sunny location of your garden!


  • A variety of rose which normally grows 1.2 metres tall can grow much higher in some gardens, simply because it is pruned lightly.  However, there is no way of keeping a tall growing variety short.  If you were to continually cut back a climbing rose, it might NEVER FLOWER – important that you select the right rose for your situation!



  • Fragrant blooms don’t exude their fragrance the whole day.  It can happen that you smell no scent at eight in the morning, then by midday the fragrance of the same bloom is overpowering.
  • After smelling less than three highly fragrant roses, you will lose your sense of smell – carry a tea-bag or some coffee beans in your pocket when visiting a rose garden this season – they’ll clear the olfactory glands and give you a far greater sense of smell as you sniff your way around the roses!

Q.  What has twenty eyes, four tongues and smells?  A.  Two pair of jogging shoes!  Yuk!


There’s really no more beautiful a sight than a flowering climbing rose and here are a few of my most favourites:

If this rose never flowered, I would love it for the lush, light green, very healthy foliage – however, it flowers and flowers with the most HUGELY MAGNIFICENT blooms which I love to bring to the house for a vase … gorgeous climbing rose …

Almost never without massive clusters of candy pink flowers which smother the rambling but very manageable rose for most of the season.  The foliage is lush bright green and healthy with a burr at the back – the wood is thornless – an amazing and rewarding climbing rose in all climates …

What a magical sight this rose is – whether sprawling and clambering over a stump or contained within an obelisk, espaliered on a frame, JEANNE LA JOIE is indeed a JOYFUL rose which can be grown in large tubs too …


The photographs on our websites and in my book were mostly taken on my mobile phone camera.  I photograph the blooms when they are at their most beautiful opening or fully open stage.

Climate and seasonal conditions, overcast or sunny weather most certainly can influence aspects of photo reproduction, so it will happen that a rose looks slightly different when it flowers in your garden.

I was particularly pleased to receive an email from a NZ rose lover this week:

Dear Diana, I have just returned to NZ from staying with family in Brisbane, while there I purchased your very well edited book ”All About Roses” A guide to growing and loving Roses. I did enjoy reading it on the plane!!!  An excellent book for learners and ”we who have been growing roses for longer than we care to admit….” The coloured photos are so true to colour!! Congratulations as not all coloured photos are so true and clear…

I actually purchased your book for our Rose Society in Timaru but like it so much I have decided to add it too my collection..  Your Cultural information is excellent , Well Done.  I look forward to hearing from you at some time amidst your busy rose growing season.

Thanking you and again congratulations on the presentation  and information on growing our beautiful Rose that so many of us enjoy and love.  Sincerely ..  Daphne

I am truly pleased that with all the photos we present on our websites, we have never been and can never be accused of misleading anyone because the pictures are our own!  This is one of my most favourite photos … TROPICAL SUNSET which is always so pretty anyway, grows on a most robust bush and produces the most stunningly perfect blooms …

Not long now and we’ll be taking photos of our roses this season …
enjoy this week in your garden!

From Silkies Rose Farm, Graham, Diana, Mooi and Tova


ROSE RAMBLER 6.10.2016

RAMBLER 06.10.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends … welcome to October which is the month when we’ll start to see lots of roses blooming here at Clonbinane … oooh, so, so exciting!

Because of their warmer climate, the gardens at CHARLTON will be in full flower for their open garden weekend … take a drive and support this magnificent community of country folk who have experienced hard times in recent years!  WE LOVE CHARLTON AND KNOW YOU WILL TOO!!!




We gardeners are being challenged by unprecedented, record-breaking rain – conditions which our plants are unfamiliar with so they’re lush and loaded with nutrients, possibly sitting in sodden soil too.  Be wary and lift any newly planted roses into pots as they will be unable to produce new roots while sitting in sopping soil!  If you are seeing new shoots and the roses seem happy, LEAVE THEM – only lift them if they appear to be stressed!

It’s important not to go ‘overboard’ and create built-up garden beds during this unusually wet time – the rain will dissipate and you’ll soon have the hose watering your garden!

The higher the garden bed, the more quickly the roots dry out thus more water will be required to sustain plants in a normal summer – these rainy conditions definitely won’t last forever!  Frogs are enjoying the wet so, … Q.  What kind of shoes do frogs wear?  A. Open toad shoes – naturally!

I’ve given my gumboots a great workout this winter/spring … it will be nice to hang them up when the ground dries out a little …

Aphids are having a party

And mildew

Or blackspot

Might be evident on the roses but because of our organic / biodynamic garden management program, we have lots of beneficial insects and birds who are our army of helpers keeping insects in balanced numbers!  It is VITALLY IMPORTANT to the health of your garden that you see aphids, spiders, critters of all kinds because they are evidence of an environmentally healthy garden which is a food paradise for them all in turn!

Q.  What is the most faithful insect?  A.  A flea – once they find someone, they like to stick to them!

Weekly applications of the organic management spray program is keeping leaves reasonably healthy but the roses will love it when we get a few days of hot sun which is guaranteed to ‘burn off’ mildew spores – four hours over 27 degrees will do the trick!

RICH GARDEN SOIL will guarantee intense colour in your roses – to enrich your soil, apply natural manures – sheep and cow manure are ideal and best sourced in bags at your local garden centre.  (Fresh manure should be heaped for about 6 weeks prior to applying to garden beds.)

When you apply seaweed over the entire plant and soil at least monthly, the seaweed activates microbes in the manures making them readily available to the plants!


NOTE:  If using horse manure add this to compost FIRST to reduce the possible impact of worming chemicals which have been used on the animals as it will definitely reduce worm numbers in your soil if applied fresh with active chemical in the manure!

Poultry manures can be very acidic so are also best left in a heap mixed with old leaves and wilted weeds for 6-8 weeks prior to application to garden beds.


I urge you to put at least one of these magnificent plants next to a climbing rose in your garden – they are sensational together and will give you such enormous pleasure!  Hybrid Clematis flower at the same time as your roses – they’re tough, tough plants as long as they are deeply planted to keep their roots cool and they enjoy exactly the same cultural management as roses – we have a beautiful selection of varieties at the Rose Farm NOW!

Please call me on 03 5787 1123 if you would like one posted – they are not available in the online store at as I would prefer to speak with you!


This has been the longest season due to extremely wet/cool conditions – take advantage and place your order during the next 10 days – the roses are well packaged, endure transit well and will flower beautifully in your garden this season … 100% guaranteed!

From 25th October to 1st November there will be ONLY GIFT ROSES POSTED as Graham and I will sneak a bit of time out to attend the National Rose Trial Gardens Awards in Adelaide – we’ll print results in Rose Rambler 3/11/2016 so you can get your orders in for winter 2017 for the Medal Winners.  I’ll take lots of pictures of the Rose Trial Gardens too … enjoy the early rose blooms …

Diana, Graham, (guard-dog) Mooi and (assistant) Tova at Clonbinane


ROSE RAMBLER 29.9.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 29.9.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends as we say goodbye to the first month of spring and hello (maybe???) to warm sunny days … finally!  It’s raining again as I write and our rose bushes are growing rampantly – everything is lush and green; it’s so beautiful everywhere you look.

Please, don’t be complacent – it is so unseasonably damp and our roses will need to be protected against fungal disease and potentially rampant insect attack since the foliage is so compromised by the incredible amount of rain – when a window of opportunity presents, get out and apply the organic management program:

To 10 litres of water add:

  • ¼ cup Eco-rose (fungicide)
  • ¼ cup Eco-oil and
  • 1 tsp Eco-seaweed or follow directions on the pack of your preferred seaweed product!

Mix the products well and spray foliage to run-off … if you can, spray under the foliage too!

Nutrients which have been applied to our soil over past years is now being made available because of the wet conditions – all plants are enjoying incredibly rampant growth – notice the red tips of eucalyptus trees?

It’s party time as the roots of plants are able to forge their way into mineral rich clay where soaking rain has drenched deep down, filled underground streams and ensured moist garden beds for this coming season and potentially beyond …?



We may have some challenging times in our rose gardens around Australia because of significantly variable weather events – let’s share a few emails which might offer assistance to ensure your roses remain healthy and flower beautifully in coming months …

Good morning, this seasons roses from you are all firing well and looking fantastic! Even the ones that were held up by Aust Post already have buds!  A question if I may?

It can sometimes be difficult to Eco spray early in the morning using the program you suggest because we get plenty of days over 30 degrees or if you are lucky enough to get the spraying done, it rains late in the day or we get a storm washing the spray off.  Would you see any problem in spraying late in the day when the roses don’t have any direct sunlight and the heat is abating?  Thanks – Brett

I cannot share an email response because Brett and I spoke later that day and the conversation went a little bit like this …  “Although we don’t necessarily promote spraying in the evening, there are definitely situations where evening spraying is better than not spraying at all!  There’s a good reason why we recommend morning spraying.

Did you know your body is actually taller in the morning and shrinks during the day?  Roses are rather the same … their stomata (pores if you like) are open and receptive early in the day and they start to close down – especially during extreme temperatures – when, late in the evening, the stomata is closed and the plant ‘shuts down’ for the night.

Hence, morning spraying is highly recommended but spray in the evening if/when it suits.


Q. Do you know why my little brother is built upside down? 
A. Because his nose runs and his feet smell.  


There’s been lots of weeding happening in our gardens and probably yours too so you’ll obviously be mulching your garden beds as we are here and Natalie emailed this query which we forwarded to Organic Crop Protectants for clarification:

I hope you are all going well.  Craig and I have been busy through the winter mulching all our garden beds and between this weekend and last this fungus has popped up all throughout the garden.  

It was a wood chip mulch from our local garden supplier.  I haven’t gone around any roses so I am glad about that!

  1. Do you know what it is?
  2. Is it poisonous?
  3. How do I get rid of it?

We have very damp gardens due to epic rainfall.  Do you have any suggestions?  Thanks so much.  Natalie  

The response from OCP:  “Don’t know the name of the fungus growing through the mulch but I wouldn’t be at all worried about it. They’ve just dumped a whole load of carbon on their ground (the mulch) and its common to get a surge of fungal growth appear not long after. The fungus is just feeding on the carbon and won’t harm any plants. Usually the fruiting bodies will fade away and you won’t notice it again.

Steve Falcioni, General Manager, eco-organic garden range”

Whilst weeding rose garden beds, be sure and trim perennials or completely remove plants which have ‘done their time’ like these …

To ensure good ventilation around rose bushes – especially during such damp/humid conditions!

Q.  Why don’t deer have uncles?  A.  Because they only have antlers …


We talk about this every season around now – by learning this technique of easy pruning, you will definitely encourage more even flowering throughout spring/summer – check out our colleague, Ludwig in South Africa as he demonstrates this pruning technique on Youtube:

We are looking forward to blooming roses soon – we can hardly wait to smell the fragrances once again … Diana & Graham at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane