Hello dear rose friends and thank you so much for your supportive emails regarding what we all might do to assist our gardening friends in this drought-stricken country!


Yes, it’s warming up around the country but we are confident of posting bare-rooted roses – as long as when you receive them, you soak them from anything for an hour to more than 24 hours in ECO SEAWEED – a sachet is provided in every parcel of roses!

Once planted and deep-soaked, don’t over-water the roses! Weather conditions vary so it’s very difficult for us to tell you how frequently to water your rose garden … please, please be WATER-WISE and mindful of responsible water use in your garden!


… start this story with a smile: Q: How did the witch know it was exactly 12 o’clock midday? A: She used her witch watch. (wrist watch perhaps? Editor)

I guess most of you have pruned you roses by this time – we’ve still got some garden areas to prune – as soon as all the roses are pruned I will fertilize the entire garden with our COMPLETE ORGANIC FERTILIZER – COF – and I recommend you source a really high-quality organic fertilizer which is available in your area.

Why organic fertilizer?

  1. Plants take in organic fertilizer when they need it
  2. Earth worms will break down the fertilizer helping to balance the soil eco system

You should never place fertilizer in the planting hole when planting a new rose – always fertilize established plants – around six weeks after planting.

Fertilizing roses is essential because they are so productive with their growth and flowering over such an extended period – once established, fertilize the soil around your roses with a quality ORGANIC FERTILIZER every 8 – 12 weeks – in between times, liberally apply seaweed solution over the plants at least monthly – more frequently if you have time!

Q: What do you call a cheerful flea? A: A Hop-timist.

Here are a few of my very best recommendations for climbing roses to use to screen an ugly fence which will also inhibit intruders into your property due to their aggressive thorns!

One of the loveliest rambling roses you could ever plant …

This rose is so adaptable – would suit scrambling over the ground as a large ground-covering clump, glorious as a weeping rose and definitely would inhibit anything coming through or over a fence at your place …

For an amazingly glorious display throughout the season, this prickly rose will afford immense security when scrambling over your front fence!


Both Ben and I will be attending this workshop on 1st September – If you’re at all interested in knowing more about the soil in your garden, do book for this seminar – we’ll see you there.

There’s a build-up of excitement with spring in the air … do put this important event in your diary – a visit to the Yea Garden Expo will afford you a great day out in the country.

Enjoy the last days of winter and don’t be hassled if you haven’t pruned yet … we’re still busy pruning here …




Hello dear rose friends, as the rain tumbles down on us here at Clonbinane and our gardens are sopping wet which makes us want to share even more diligently with our northern neighbours who are bone dry and in a most dreadful drought. We urge you to kindly contribute whatever you can …

This plea came from my Rotary Club today:

“In Australia, farmers are the lifeblood of our country and they are in crisis. Record breaking heat and lack of rain means farmers are struggling to feed sheep and cattle, and keep crops alive. Families on the land are suffering and they need our help. Channel 9 and Rotary Australia have partnered with the National Farmers’ Federation, launching an appeal to big business and everyday Australians, so we can provide some emergency relief. 100% of donations goes to the farmers and is tax deductible via Rotary and RAWCS. Every dollar counts.”

The link for the donation page for the project is:

The RAWCS website home page has the link also:


If that doesn’t work, please don’t give up but direct your donation to this destination: and know that every single dollar you contribute to a Rotary project will go DIRECTLY where you want your donation to go!

Please let me indulge by sharing this email exchange just this week:

Hello Val … thank you for your order. What a lovely selection of roses I’ll be posting to you tomorrow! Enjoy these beauties in your garden … best wishes.

Thanks Diana- I can’t wait for them to flower- I just pray for some rain… We live on a farm with no food and handfeeding 300 alpacas. Might have to use our house water to keep the roses alive. Val

This is the story of our gutsy Aussie farmers – our mates who are the backbone of our magnificent country – get behind them NOW in their deep time of need and open your purse so they might receive a free load of feed or a tanker of water for their animals.

How delightful that Val purchased rose plants for her garden during this time of amazing hardship – when I first ventured into horticulture in early ‘80’s one of my mentors (who is a rose cut-flower grower) told me that during the Depression, cut flower sales sky-rocketed because people wanted something beautiful in their homes – flowers gave them joy and a sense of hope for a brighter future!

Let’s hope our donations and roses bring joy and a sense of hope to our gardening friends who are also farmers during this dreadful drought!


Here’s a thought: What’s the use of consulting a doctor about a cold when he gives you a heart attack with the bill?

Stay healthy in these remaining days of winter by rugging-up and getting down and dirty in your garden by pulling weeds – they’re small weeds now but will turn into BIG WEEDS as the sun shines warmly.

Turn all those little weeds into compost or weed-tea by placing them in a receptacle (perhaps a 44 gall drum or an old garbage bin – whatever you can find really), pour water over them to the brim of the container and pop a lid on … DON’T PLACE THIS CLOSE TO THE HOUSE as it will, despite having a lid, emit the most amazing stench!

Stir the brew once a week if you’re brave; add a bit of eco-seaweed powder too. After about 8 weeks of fermentation dilute one part to ten and pour over the entire garden as a totally organic fertilizer / tonic for your garden. Start the brew again!

Q: What sort of lollies do koalas eat? A: Chewing gum.


Precious water from your bath, basin, shower, washing machine and kitchen sink can be invaluable to water your garden.

The best results will be obtained where sullage waste water is derived from house fixtures where all soaps and detergents are plant or herbal based – we use and highly recommend products – all Australian-made!

Flexible pipe can be connected to waste pipes and shifted around garden beds, placed in locations to water valuable trees and with minor management of shifting every couple of days, especially on washing day when there will be potentially more waste run-off.

Here’s our run-off pipe – sometimes extended with more flexible pipe …


“Hi, I am wondering if you are able to assist me. Would you have roses in the name of: Carol, Tony / Anthony, I know you didn’t have Marianne – but anything close maybe even Anne? Many Thanks – Karen”

Our usual response: Not able to assist in ANY way with that lot of names … SORRY! Perhaps if you’re able to give us a clue as to why you need roses in those names we might be able to offer some lovely alternatives ???

There are such beauties like:




Or there’s: HEAVEN SCENT, BEST FRIEND, SOUL MATE/SISTER, MOTHER’S LOVE, FATHER’S LOVE, GRANDMA’S ROSE … these are all quality roses which are sure to please the recipient for many years in their garden! Other roses might have the ‘right’ name but they’re just not ok for an average garden … when we say that, here’s an example.

You can get a rose called WEDDING DAY which is a beast for thorns, flowers once in each season and you need an axe to prune it! A stunning rose in the right location!


However, if you get the right advice and purchase THE WEDDING ROSE … the gift is an immensely pretty rose which flowers and flowers, has an amazing fragrance and is simply delightful as a GIFT ROSE on the occasion of a wedding.


If we can assist with your selection for posting the most beautiful and appropriate GIFT ROSE, don’t hesitate calling (03) 5787 1123 during our business hours of FRI, SAT, SUN, MON or emailing us at … Cheers

Here’s a picture of a GIFT ROSE ready for posting … did you even notice there are no flowers on this lovely rose beautifully gift-wrapped? Probably not, because recipients of the GIFT ROSE are telling us how significant the rose is; it will flower eventually and that will hold a whole new meaning! Nice!!!


See you at Clonbinane soon … cheers from the team!


Hello dear rose friends as we notice when the sun peaks through, it’s quite warm; perhaps a sign that the freezing cold days of winter are almost behind us?


We are at the ‘disappointment’ stage … a few rose varieties which were planned to arrive this winter just won’t come this season! There have been a few miscalculations with budding which means we just don’t have adequate numbers of a few varieties. When budding roses, there is a short ‘window of opportunity’ to harvest budwood and then bud roses during November to January.

If there’s a glitch in budding, it’s a whole other season before a particular rose variety is available – some just didn’t make it this past season. Luckily, there’s usually a substitute which is potentially better than the variety you selected! However, we highly recommend ‘patience is a virtue’ when waiting for a rose variety which is ‘special’ and very important for whatever reason made you select it in the first place!

During the next TWO WEEKS we will contact EVERY CUSTOMER who has an outstanding order at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane or to advise the status of your existing order.



Roses travel extremely well – some varieties will have been professionally pruned because we are now getting on with potting the roses to give them a head-start for spring flowering; they are planted into a 20cm black plastic pot filled with our supreme quality coir-fibre potting medium and are both root and stem pruned prior to potting so they’re in perfect condition for planting when established in the pots.

From this ….

to this …

Another two huge consignments arrived on Tuesday – all the roses need to be graded, labelled, sorted and tucked into the moist, friable soil we call the ‘heel-in-bed’. From there we hope to be able to contact you and advise that your order is ready for collection – if the roses are being posted, you’ll receive Auspost tracking notification!

Q: What’s the best way to catch a rabbit? A: Hide in the bushes and make a noise like lettuce.


We’ve sent lots of roses to Carrie in Far North Queensland and she’s stayed committed and experimented … have a look at her lovely roses which were only posted this winter …

Carrie’s bagged roses

Here’s Carrie’s inspirational email …

Hey Graham … Thought I would send a pic of my new roses to show you how they’re doing, and I’m really happy! Two blooms already.

I did things a bit different this year. I decided to pot them in 25 litre grow bags so I can easily repot them next year into a 32 litre plastic pot.

I used Rocky Point’s Eco Potting Mix. I chose this one because it doesn’t have any heavy duty fertiliser in it, so it seemed quite gentle for bare root roses. They got a seaweed soak when I potted them and I’ve also been giving them a weekly soak with Charlie Carp. Also, I used organic sugar cane mulch.

Next year, or sooner if they need it, I’m going to repot them with Rocky Point’s Coco Pro Potting Mix. I’ve been doing lots of research on potting mixes and I reckon this is probably one of the best. I repotted a couple of last year’s roses that looked like they were on their last legs but they really bounced back with this mix.

So, all is good. I’m still battling insects but I’m using a home made mix of chilli and garlic which seems to be working…fingers crossed. Have a great day. Regards …Carrie

If you live in a rental property and want to grow roses, those 25 litre grow bags look like a fabulous way to create a ‘portable’ or ‘mobile’ garden! Thanks for sharing Carrie!

Q: What did the skunk say when the wind changed direction? A: Ahhh, it’s all coming back to me now.


Some rose gardeners think the striped roses are horrid and it took us a while to get used to them too however, here are a couple of the very best which you cannot help but fall in love with!




Don’t panic if you haven’t pruned your roses yet … the longer you wait, the more time you give them to show you EXACTLY WHERE TO PRUNE … go gently and enjoy the experience! Take a look at the new roses you planted this winter – give them a prune too now that they’re shooting new leaves – prune down to the strongest looking growths!




Hello dear rose friends as we flip another page of the calendar over to reveal a whole new month. If you’re anything like us, there will be dates highlighted in August – another busy month ahead!

We’ve hardly pruned a single rose in the gardens because it’s been just so busy in the nursery but we’ll get there. If the weather is fine and you haven’t done your pruning yet, come on up to the Rose Farm this Saturday


Customers who afford themselves the time to come to one of these experiences with Graham always follow through with a lovely email of appreciation so do come on Saturday.


to say it’s been busy is an understatement and I’m always fascinated about where our beautiful roses go when I read the labels on the parcels whilst loading them into my van ready to deliver to our local Auspost depots at Kilmore and Wandong.

Most importantly during this busy time, I’m the delivery guy! Arriving before 7.00am at Wandong in the dark on very cold mornings and later in the day to Kilmore Post Office, I am very pleased to tell you that Auspost do a grand job of getting our roses to destination in the quickest possible time with very few glitches.


(simply buy 4 roses, and we’ll add an additional rose to your shipment!)





You could plant five of these beauties in a row to make a fabulous hedge of roses to pick for vases throughout the coming season … all highly recommended roses for growing in all Australian gardens!

Only one joke this week – from very naughty ANNE P …

It was entertainment night at the Senior Citizens’ Centre. After the community sing-along led by Alice at the piano, it was time for the star of the show – Claude the Hypnotist! Claude explained that he was going to put the whole audience into a trance. “Yes, each and every one of you and all at the same time,” said Claude.

The excited chatter dropped to silence as Claude carefully withdrew, from his waistcoat pocket, a beautiful antique gold pocket watch and chain.

“I want you to keep your eyes on this watch” said Claude, holding the watch high for all to see. “It’s a very special and valuable watch that has been in my family for six generations,” said Claude.

He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting, “Watch the watch — Watch the watch —- Watch the watch”.

The audience became mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth. The lights were twinkling as they were reflected from its gleaming surfaces. A hundred and fifty pairs of eyes followed the movements of
the gently swaying watch. They were hypnotized. And then, suddenly, the chain broke!!!

The beautiful watch fell to the stage and burst apart on impact. “SHIT,” said Claude.

It took them three days to clean the Senior Citizens Centre and Claude was never invited there again.

I hope you’re laughing until your sides split and the tears are running … exactly what Diana and I did when we read this! Nice that we’re all going in the same direction and keeping each other aware of the pitfalls of aging in a most enjoyable way … get out in the garden and bend your body every which way to keep mobile!


Hello dear rose friends … no time for too much rambling this week since we’re finally up to our eyeballs packing rose orders so that we hopefully meet our deadline of having empty-order-folders by the end of August.

Another two huge consignments arrived on Tuesday – all the roses need to be graded, labelled, sorted and tucked into the moist, friable soil we call the ‘heel-in-bed’. From there we hope to be able to contact you and advise that your order is ready for collection – if the roses are being posted, you’ll receive Auspost tracking notification!


Always time for a joke:

Q: What’s the difference between an oak tree and a tight shoe? A: One makes acorns, the other makes corns ache!


  1. Blend ANYTHING you add to the planting hole with existing soil
  2. NEVER add any product which is decomposing/smelly/steaming to planting hole
  3. ALWAYS pour seaweed solution into planting hole and after planting
  4. After planting TRIM the new roses by at least 1/3 – be brave!
  5. DON’T OVERWATER – more roses succumb due to wet soil than dry soil!
  6. Fertilize roses with top-quality organic fertilizer when foliage appears

Enjoy planting new bare-rooted roses in your garden this winter … there are still more than SIX WEEKS until we start posting POTTED ROSES … plenty of time to dig over a new garden bed to plant these beauties which I highly recommend:

MR. LINCOLN – still our most highly prized top-selling rose of all time in all climates!

DAYBREAKER – seriously fabulous and most healthy and prolific rose!

MEMOIRE – the most weather-tolerant, perfectly formed white rose of all times!

If you’re about this weekend and want to learn about rose pruning do call up to the Rose Farm on SATURDAY … 1.30pm for WALK AND TALK PRUNING DEMO with me – see you there, Graham.

P.S. One more joke: Q: Why is a ladies (or gents) belt like a garbage truck? A: Because it goes around and around and gathers the waist (waste).

UUMMM??? Get out in the garden pruning and planting roses so that you reduce the waist-line and keep fit and happy!!!


We endeavour to have most orders completed by the end of August. Meantime, if you are anxious at all about your order, please know that we have it all in hand and are posting as quickly as we can!

We had a massive victory with Australia Post last week – due to the volume of parcels we are posting they have allowed us to post over-sized packs with STANDARD ROSES so we will be able to post standard roses to you throughout the year!

Please email if you have concerns about your order or need advice regarding planting a new garden – our service is FREE and we welcome the challenge of assisting you to create the rose garden of your dreams …

See you soon at Clonbinane perhaps … the team at SILKIES ROSE FARM …


Hello dear rose friends as we freeeeeeeze here at Clonbinane with days on end of minus degrees – this swale has NEVER frozen over so is a very good indication of how cold it’s been …


it’s going to be a busy weekend with pruning demo at WHITTLESEA COURT HOUSE on SATURDAY starting at 10.30 am then I’ll be at Melbourne Showgrounds on Sunday before I venture to the City for the Rally to SAVE THE ABC. If you’re out and about, you might see me along with Ben at these locations.

Meantime, because we’re so flat out here at the Rose Farm in one of the busiest winter seasons we’ve experienced in years, I’ll post these couple of jokes to remind you that we make time in every day to have a giggle and keep the fun in our day! We know you love these jokes as much as we do …

Q: What animal drops from the clouds? A: A reindeer!

Just in case it happens to you, let me tell you what one of the kids said to me recently:

“Poppy, can I tell you a dirty joke?” I was cautious but before I could respond, my grandson said: “THE MAN FELL IN THE MUD” … phew, that let me off the hook as we laughed and did a ‘high five’! Turn this trick joke on one of your kids and enjoy the response!

Here are a few pics of roses we’re pleased to be releasing this season …





Please know that there is a HUGE consignment of roses coming to the nursery today and all those roses need to be graded and tagged, collated for orders, then pitted into the heel-in beds so they’re roots are kept moist during the entire process whilst here in our care at the Rose Farm.

There has been a bit of a delay with some varieties of roses this season … those stragglers have held up quite a few orders but we seriously hope to have most orders wrapped up and posted early – mid this coming week.

Please note that it is still WINTER and we promised to send your roses during winter – the roses will be fine to be posted way, way into August/September so don’t panic and remember to keep the LOVE in planting roses this winter!

If you are at all concerned because you are going away, please don’t hesitate to email Diana at to advise your plans so that your roses can be posted accordingly. Otherwise, please know we are going flat-chat as fast as MOTHER NATURE is allowing us to!

Enjoy the ‘new rose-planting experience’ … if you need advice or assistance with any rose management please contact us during our normal business hours: FRIDAY – SATURDAY – SUNDAY – MONDAY 9.00am till 4.00pm

Please understand that if you call 03 5787 1123 during those hours and you experience our recorded message, it’s only because WE ARE ON ANOTHER CALL … we are ALWAYS OPEN on the days we promise to be here!

Hope you’re gloved-up and rugged-up, out there with a sharp secateurs enjoying pruning your roses! Cheers from us here at Clonbinane …


Hello dear rose friends as we’re well into winter and within a week or so, will finally have the STANDARD ROSES available for sorting/labelling and despatch – pretty much on time as promised!

There are still quite a few varieties of roses being dug and graded during this time – believe me, everybody is doing their absolute best to get beautiful quality roses processed and ready for posting and planting in your garden this winter!

Q: Why was Cinderella thrown off the netball team? A: Because she kept running away from the ball!


There’s lots happening this week …


From 7.30-9.15am I’ll be on the panel for 3CR GARDEN SHOW which you can find on the am dial of your radio at 855 (close to 774 which is ABC).


WHERE: The Grandview Hotel (upstairs), 429 Heidelberg Road, and STREAMED LIVE ONLINE

ABOUT: Diana and Graham will discuss with us their organic rose businesses. They will give their best tips for getting the most out of your roses, including pruning techniques and feeding, as well as some of the new varieties available and how they can be designed into your gardens.
They will remind us why roses are one of the most widely grown ornamental plants in the world, and how they can be successfully grown organically.

PRESENTERS BACKGROUND: Diana and Graham are the owners of Sikies Rose Farm and Rose Sales Online, a production nursery and retail business specialising in the organic management of roses. They have spent more than 30 years showing people how to grow roses successfully, without the use of harsh chemicals.

This event is free for GGP members – venue and live-stream (Live Stream link will be emailed to GGP members separately, no need to book)

Non GGP member pricing: $20 and hort students $10 (code STU, student ID required) Visitors book HERE for venue or live-stream

For $85 p.a. join SGA’s Green Gardening Professionals
For more information and to join click here

SGA Green Gardening Professionals are gardeners, horticulturists, landscapers, food gardeners, educators, trainers and nursery people interested in learning and catching up with people working in the same world as themselves.

Want to know anything else: Office (03) 8850 3050 or email:


How cathartic it is to get down and dirty around the roses whilst pruning! Pruning is really one of the most pleasurable jobs – yep, it will stretch every limb in your body but the joy of standing back and seeing a beautifully pruned rose makes the hardship worthwhile! If you don’t enjoy pruning, consider this option:

This pruning season, if you think your roses would benefit from a PROFESSIONAL PRUNE then please contact our team who will travel if/when necessary. They’ll be pruning with the finest battery-operated equipment from PELLENC which means you’ll get a truly professional prune done in your garden this winter.

Please, don’t call us at the Rose Nursery to book pruning but rather, call direct:

TOVA @ SHE LANDSCAPES: 0481 455 499 or BEN SARGEANT: 0468 822 373

to book them for professional pruning anytime NOW and enjoy the rewards of these two young people pruning your roses and if you want, fertilized too, ready for spring!

Q: What did the hat say to the scarf? A: You hang around and I’ll go ahead!


I so appreciate it when you come along to my Rose Pruning Demos and other special events – earlier I indicated that I would be holding a PRUNING DEMO on Sunday, 15th July but I now have to cancel this as I feel very committed to attending a Rally at Melbourne Town Hall to SAVE THE ABC …

Overwhelming public demand.

Due to overwhelming public demand we have changed the venue for our protest. Existing tickets (for Deakin Edge) will still be valid for Melbourne Town Hall.

WHEN: SUNDAY 15 JULY 2.00 – 4.30pm – (arrive by 1.45)
WHERE: Melbourne Town Hall, cnr Swanston & Collins St, MELBOURNE

Book (seats, $10) at

Earlier on that Sunday, 15th July, I will call in at the ALL POULTRY SHOW at Melbourne Show Grounds and then attend this rally to SAVE THE ABC! ALL Australians should support this most important campaign which enables free speech and an opportunity for information to be dispersed with honesty, integrity and all that we, here in Australia stand for! See you there perhaps?


It’s very important you read this so that when you contact us for advice, you’re not wasting precious time with details that can be provided IN THE FIRST CONTACT rather than a lot of toing and froing of email conversation!

My chats with David:

Hi …I have an arbour 2.4 metres high an opening of 2 metres and 1 metre deep so the total length is 6.8 metres.

I want to put a rose either side to climb to centre of top so 3.4 ish metres. Could you please give me some suggestions? Regards David

Hi David … always happy to work on designing a rose garden with the motto, DO IT ONCE, DO IT RIGHT! If you give me just a few details about how YOU see the finished result, I can definitely assist … you need to tell me which roses you like … shape, colour, fragrance, etc. then I can recommend the best variety. Please also offer me what the aspects are … plenty of sun I suspect??? Cheers

Hi …Thanks for your reply, actually the aspect may be an issue this is on the south side of house, in summer it gets sun most of the day but in autumn and winter only in the afternoon, preference on rose would be of a red, fragrant, medium size blooms something in the looks of MISTER LINCOLN. Like I said not sure if aspect will work especially for the one on the left of pic. Would be ok once higher on arbour but I’m really not sure – Regards David

Exactly why I ask the right questions in the first instance. Yep, it’ll work but only if you ESTABLISH the roses really well during this coming spring/summer … how did I know, also, that you were going to ask for something like MR LINCOLN, CLB ??????? It’s a ‘boy thing’!!!

If you really, really want that rose on that arbour, you can do it – it will take some TAMING but if you BE THE BOSS, it will be magnificent I think – just don’t let it have its head and do its own thing but keep it tied to the brilliant frame you’ve created and chop, chop, chop to make it look really full of lush healthy foliage which in turn will create magnificent lots of blooms in the zone where you are working/playing rather than setting flowers way, way up in the air where you cannot enjoy them! MR. LINCOLN, CLB. is a very ROBUST rose and needs to be kept in check.

If you decide that’s all too hard, as most of the HYBRID TEA CLIMBING ROSES can be, then consider a different colour and I’ll work on selecting a different variety of rose which will be easier to manage over such a lovely structure.

Hope this is helpful … Diana

After a few more emails and discussion, David ordered 2 X NAHEMA and it will be stunning over the area which is in fact, an entertainment area, frequently visited by family and friends so sure to be enjoyed in that location.

Remember that you can call in at the Rose Farm or email me photos and dimensions of your garden, a wish-list of the types and perhaps colours of roses you would love to grow and I will assist you to create the rose garden of your dreams.

Meantime, stay warm and hope you have a chance to listen to 3CR next Sunday morning at 855 on the am band in Melbourne and view the SGA Presentation this coming Tuesday evening via live stream.

Cheers from the busy team who are up to our eyeballs
in magnificent bare-rooted roses here at Clonbinane …


There you go, the first month of winter already behind us along with the equinox … things are on the up and up!

IT’S OFFICIAL and we’re pleased to share that our youngest son, Benjamin is now employed as a permanent staff member here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane. He will be working alongside us as part of improving our service both here at the Rose Farm and behind the scenes with the technology side of, etc.

Many of you will know and remember Ben as Chef at the Rose Café when our nursery was in Kilmore; he’s a warm and sincere personality and he’s been working around roses since he was a little fella so he knows and loves them well!

Here’s the cover pic of SMALL FARMS magazine June edition with Graham, Diana, Ben and Mooi their smiling best …


After a minus 3 frost last Saturday, I didn’t really expect a great turn-out for the Pruning Demonstration – surprise, surprise the bold and brave came to the Rose Farm and we all enjoyed the event.

The next pruning demo is this SATURDAY – 30TH JUNE, commencing at 10.30am – wear your winter-woolies and bring secateurs and lots of questions about rose gardening and you’ll enjoy the event!

Q: Did you hear about the unlucky sailor? A: First he was ship-wrecked and then he was rescued … by the Titanic!

ROSE PRUNING AT WHITTLESEA COURTHOUSE will be held on 14th JULY at 10.30am


This is a very frequently asked question about roses – here’s a recent email exchange which might clarify this issue for you …

“Hi Diana and Graham. Just wanted to thank you for trudging around in the rain for all the beautiful roses last weekend. They are all planted in their new homes where I hope they will shine and be happy. I was meaning to ask you if there is any truth in tale that you shouldn’t plant a rose where one has been previously? I’m hoping to move a couple over the next few months when they are dormant. If I do, it will mean that I’ll be replacing another rose in that spot. What is your opinion of that plan? Thanks for your advice and truly gorgeous roses.” Jennifer

“Hi Jen … it was a pleasure as it always is … did you notice more people coming in immediately after you? It was a surprisingly busy day – you were the trendsetter though!

There is truth in that ‘tale’ … most particularly when a rose has been in a certain location for many, many years – however, since your garden is so young, I would think that if you take a few decent shovels full of soil out of the hole along with the rose and replace that soil with a 30lt bag of compost/animal manure or blend of other soil and compost from other areas of your garden, the new roses will flourish in their new home! This is one of those ‘rose gardener moments’ when you put the head and the heart in sync and do whatever you think is appropriate to the occasion.

Thank you for purchasing your new roses again this season … best wishes and happy gardening when they flower for years going forward!” Diana


When we were asked to assist with design and delivery of roses for the Wandong Memorial Garden after the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires which severely impacted our local area, we decided to include these three amazingly healthy and prolific roses in large numbers –




All are still flowering after a considerable number of frosts in our region – they’ve toughed-it-out during long periods of extreme heat and being in a public garden, they are dependent on their own resources to continue flowering – our local Shire and members of the Wandong Community Group manage watering / weeding / pruning and so many local residents now use the park very frequently because it is so attractive!

Now is the time to purchase these grand roses – all just $16.50 each plus pack/post!!!

Stay warm and cosy as winter sets in … hope to see you at the Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane real soon … cheers from the team


Hello to all our dear rose friends at this busy time! In this picture you can get the gist of what we’ve been up to …

Yes, thousands of roses snugly bedded in the heel-in beds but before they get to that point, they’ve been graded (highest quality going to orders!) then they’re tagged with their pictorial labels, trimmed if there are damaged roots/branches and finally placed in the sawdust/manure bed which has been waiting for them to arrive.

The heel bed is easy to access so make a point of coming to visit the Rose Farm in coming weeks to select your own bare-rooted roses – if you need a hand with garden design, bring dimensions of garden beds; photos are always handy!

To ensure your garden has YOUR PERSONAL STAMP on it, help us out by bringing pictures of the types of roses you like, ideas about colours you want and any other issues you feel are relative so that together we can work to create the rose garden of your dreams!



Phew, what a busy time it is – I surely know its winter! This past weekend, a massive dumping of rain (62.5 mls), the past few mornings we’ve had a blanket of white frost to minus 3 degrees and it’s my job to courier parcels of roses to our local Post Offices. Exactly why I keep the humour in my day by sourcing these jokes which you all seem to enjoy …

Q: Why couldn’t the toilet paper roll down the hill? A: Because he got stuck in a crack!

It’s so rewarding when we receive phone calls and emails thanking us for the lovely quality roses which are being posted … to be sure your roses perform beautifully once they’re planted in your garden, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Unpack the roses and either place them in a trough of water with eco-seaweed which is supplied or plant them immediately into soil or potting medium;
  2. Trim all branches by say, one-third;
  3. Soak the roses liberally with water to eliminate air-pockets in soil then water over the entire plant with eco-seaweed;

During the entire process of handling bare-rooted roses, the roots MUST NEVER BE DRY!

Treat yourself and come to the Rose Farm at Clonbinane this SATURDAY, 23RD JUNE for a ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATION and walk in the gardens with me.

Bring your secateurs so we can sharpen them – wear boots because it’s wet underfoot!

Q: Why don’t Eskimos get married? A: Because they have cold feet!


THREE MAGNIFICENT ROSES to consider planting in your garden this winter …

A COUNTRY WOMAN – we re-introduced this beauty because it really deserves to be widely distributed in honour of our wonderful COUNTRY WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION – a gorgeous long-stemmed pure red rose which isn’t overly thorny and makes a great vase specimen!

SUGAR MOON – seriously magnificent fragrance on purest white, perfectly formed blooms and a stately well-rounded shrub of high health.

BUTTERFLY KISSES – in support of VARIETY the Children’s Charity; this pretty, pale pink beauty flowers in profusion on a healthy floribunda shrub and has a delightful citrus fragrance … a lovely rose for the front of a rose border or perhaps in a tub!

We have been very diligent in selecting NEW RELEASE ROSES for 2018 – there are sooooo many new release roses and we have your interests at heart so we’ve tried to select the very best – some we’ve been privileged to plant and trial in our gardens here at Clonbinane so we know how they perform – others we have seen in the growers fields during this past flowering season.

I will show you more in coming weeks … in closing, let us show this lovely message which was shared at where you can see all past editions of this Rose Rambler along with a plethora of other information about roses …

“Dear All .. My husband and I bought a wonderful English Rose PRETTY JESSICA in bud, at Taverham Nursery Norfolk UK after smelling one bush which was already in bloom. I was captivated by its glorious fragrance, absolutely gorgeous !

I had to have it, and so we bought one, and my husband re-potted it outside in a large pot, on our patio path- facing south behind the conservatory. The buds have increased in size and number and I am looking forward greatly to seeing the blooms emerge in their fabulous glory. This has to be the best smelling rose on the planet !”

Well, PRETTY JESSICA is in fact a David Austin (English) rose of immense beauty – yes, it’s also very highly fragrant. It’s truly satisfying that we sell such glorious roses for us all to enjoy in our gardens all around the world! Happy gardening and talk to you again next week …

The team at Silkies Rose Farm / – CLONBINANE, VIC.


Hello dear rose friends where we are working in glorious winter sunshine after severely frosty mornings and some rain this week … exactly as we would expect the weather to be at this time of year!


Enjoy inspiring presentations: JANE EDMANSON, STEPHEN RYAN, ATTILA KAPITANY and be there to visit a large number of niche vendors with unusual plants and allied products.

The event is all UNDER COVER with FREE PARKING so ideal for visiting with predicted inclement weather this coming weekend – public transport is close by and you will be supporting the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria with your presence! Do come and visit us!!!


We’ve had a most thrilling bit of publicity these past few weeks with a story in the WEEKLY TIMES a couple of weeks ago followed by a magnificent presentation in SMALL FARMS MAGAZINE (includes TOWN & COUNTRY FARMER) June edition.

Our darlin’ toy poodle MOOI looks gorgeous in all the photos as does our son Ben and quite frankly, both Diana and I look great too so you MUST get a copy of this magazine – we’ve enjoyed all the other stories featured in this brilliant edition of SMALL FARMS MAGAZINE!

Q: What do you get when you cross a fridge with a radio? A: Cool music. – this joke will be very apparent to our assistant TOVA who likes the radio on while she’s working – we’ve agreed to one day her music, one day ours – happy medium in our work place!!!

I had a phone call the other day: “should I start the organic rose maintenance spray program NOW?” … and my response was: “DEFINITELY, YES! – if you start the program IMMEDIATELY AFTER PRUNING you will eliminate the need to do ‘catch-up’ if/when your roses incur disease/pest issues in spring.

Get ahead of the insects and definitely protect new rose foliage from spring weather conditions which prevail to perhaps incur black spot/mildew!

We recently posted a rose to Ian which was rather roughly handled by Auspost but he’s managed to recover the rose and as any of you who receive roses know, we always pop a copy of our ‘Rosarian’ catalogue into your parcel. Here’s Ian’s email:

“I was leafing through the copy of AUSTRALIAN ROSARIAN, that you put in with my order and I discovered “Shirley’s Rose”. Normally I am not a great fan of white roses, but note that this one is highly fragrant, and my resistance just melted away ’cos my wife’s name is Shirley. So I thought: “I must have that for her”.

For me, I cannot understand why anybody would purchase a rose that is not fragrant, but I am a weird gardener and only like plants that – have a pretty flower, have a nice perfume, or you can eat. Shirley’s Rose will fulfil two of those criteria – guess at a push it could fulfil all three, but probably will not try to eat it 🙂

I don’t have a hole or a place in the garden to really suit this rose, but guess it will survive in that pot that it will come in for a while and I can just pot it on as it grows. This one must definitely be female 🙂 Kind regards, Ian.”

We know that both Ian and his wife Shirley will enjoy SHIRLEY’S ROSE in their garden and suggested that if they ever have another space to fill, two other magnificent roses which were bred by our very own AUSTRALIAN ROSE BREEDER, BRUCE BRUNDRETT who was formerly owner of BRUNDRETT’S ROSES at Narre Warren here in Victoria are available:

THE OPPORTUNITY ROSE will be the very first rose to flower at the beginning of the flowering season in any State – it will also very likely be the last to flower and produce a most stunning display of blooms continually throughout the season – top rose!

MY YELLOW – New Release this year and absolutely amazing for those who want to plant a yellow rose … this rose is so incredibly healthy and very free flowering

Q: What do you call a book that’s about the brain? A: A mind reader.


Hi Diana, just a quick question if I may. I have a shady(ish) spot in the front garden that I’d like to grow something. It gets sun in summer for half a day (but not full sun where I’m planting the other roses you’re sending) and a little sun in winter. There’s a frangipani in the same planting bed but not much else. I’ve been reading that the DANSE DE FEU climbing rose can be grown in shade but not sure if that’s really true!

Any ideas for a shade loving rose that can cover a semi shady corner? There’s a low wall it can grow up. Thanks Lisa

MY RESPONSE: Honestly Lisa … if ANY rose doesn’t get at least 5 hours of sunlight per day while it IS ESTABLISHING it will not give you the joy I would expect … if you were planting the rose in open ground, no frangipani, no other shade trees, etc. then you plant ALL THE PLANTS TOGETHER … it MIGHT work for a rose of exceptional quality – very high-health and extremely prolific since the shady location might cause foliage to incur powdery mildew / black spot but it might also reduce the flowering capacity!

However, to plant a rose in an existing shady location, it probably won’t flourish. The rose you mentioned: DANSE DE FEU is one I have never grown but do remember the name from when we first started in roses 35 years ago.

A magnificent red CLIMBING/PILLAR rose which just might pull this off is DUBLIN BAY if you want to venture! Hope this works and you enjoy planting your new roses this week … best wishes

We’ve done it so many times but it is a great rose so let’s do it again!

Hope you enjoy all the moments in your rose garden this week and perhaps we’ll see you at GARDENER’S DAY OUT, 2018 this weekend or perhaps you’ll pop up to the Rose Farm at Clonbinane .. Graham and Diana