ROSE RAMBLER 14.9.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 14.09.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends from Clonbinane …   where morning temperatures still defy the fact that spring has sprung – every morning we are greeted by another frost.  However, all the roses are pruned now and will ‘tough it out’ if frost persists. Take a look at how severely Ben pruned KNOCKOUT hedge last Friday – I’ll let you see pics of this magnificent rose in a few weeks when it’s flowering again.

How severely Ben pruned the KNOCKOUT hedge last week!

How it looked before the pruning!



Soon we’ll be inundated with garden events as roses start to flower and we expect to have one of the busiest seasons on record here – there are bus groups booked and we are attending a few events which might interest you if they’re in your zone:

23 & 24 SEPTEMBER – 10- 4 each day


KYABRAM ROSE SHOW – FRIDAY, 13TH OCTOBER – details in following Rose Ramblers 


Diana and I are guest speakers at this event so if you would like to attend, please contact :  George at to reserve a seat at this very popular event.

We will keep you well informed of events where either of us attend – remember too that I am a regular presenter on the 3CR Garden Show – Community Radio, Melbourne, 855 on the AM BAND every Sunday 7.30-9.15am – I present with the panel EVERY SECOND SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH. 


Every year I diligently save my cents until they become a couple of hundred dollars and I buy daffodils – it’s a thrill to peruse the catalogues, chat with the growers and the greatest delight is seeing them flowering at this time of year and the cold season has been perfect with masses of daffies flowering in absolute profusion – this has to be one of the best seasons I’ve experienced in many years!

Remember DO NOT CUT OFF THE FOLIAGE of your daffodils when they’ve finished flowering – this is VERY IMPORTANT!  When the flowers are spent, you must apply fertilizer so that as the foliage dies down, it takes all the energy into the bulb where it is stored for next season.

Feeding bulbs as they start to shut-down from this spring flowering will almost surely guarantee good multiplication of the bulbs to ensure even greater numbers of flowers next season – we use the same fertilizer for bulbs as we do the roses – Complete Organic Fertilizer – be guided by the assistant at your local garden centre for the best quality fertilizer for your bulbs and roses!


Q. What gets bigger the more your take away?  A. A hole of course! 

Hope you’ve dug a few holes recently to plant more roses; maybe some seedling annuals and veggies for delicious summer salads?  Get your garden looking gorgeous for this season – I’ve got 9 more roses to ‘sneak’ into my garden – testing varieties which will be released in 2018 so I’ll give them premium treatment to ensure they grow really well and I can hopefully highly recommend them for your garden next season too!

From a blissfully happy Graham enjoying my daffodils … cheers!




Yes, it works brilliantly, it’s very economical and extremely environmentally friendly.  You, the gardener MUST contribute positive energy and accept the follies of Mother Nature – expect there might be times when a particular plant isn’t PERFECT … ask yourself :  “am I perfect, always?” and when we speak at Garden Club presentations, we often ask the audience if they would like us to come and visit their home early in the morning … gushingly, the audience is horrified at this prospect because hey, how fabulous do you look when you first step out of bed?

Give your plants the same grace and help them to look beautiful as much and as frequently as they can … here’s my advice to Xiumei recently:

“Hi Diana, Following our previous email, I hesitate to continue to purchase any other roses because I found insects/pests, like aphids and dark spots on some other roses in my garden (I bought from Bunnings previously).  Would you please give some advice how frequency to spray Eco-oil/neem? once per day or per week? I saw the menu it is spray every 1-2 weeks. But for my case, it looks not enough only one spray every 1-2 weeks.  The bare-roots rose I bought from your nursery also looks be impacted. I found one leave with yellow-dark spot on it. 

Currently, I have to give a quick check the leaves and bottom of flowers in the morning, I usually could find some aphids at the back of leaves.  That’s really upset me.  Finger crossed, wish my lovley rose plants could survive in the new home. ” Best regards,  Xiumei
My urgent response to Xiumei:  Hello … it’s very, very important that you STOP WORRYING and being concerned about every little bit of spot or yellow leaf … do you know that you lose skin and hair every day?  Leaves are the same on roses – they run out of being necessary on the plant so they go yellow with black spots and drop!  New leaves ALWAYS FOLLOW … did you know too that aphids are food for birds and other insects/visitors in your garden?  When they become out of control it usually means there’s not adequate ventilation – aphids love to be out of the wind where they can breed prolifically!

You should NEVER EVER use our organic management program more than fortnightly!

Please stop worrying and see the beauty of the flowers rather than what little pests might be there … yellow leaves are normal on spent foliage. As long as your roses are well watered and fed, they will please you!  Best wishes … DIANA
“The response which I truly love:  Brilliant, Diana! Take it in my pocket now.”
Cheers, Xiumei



Ann alerted me to the fact that at they’re asking for people to send pictures of their gardens which might be selected for the covers of local area phone books!  Be adventurous and send a picture of your garden.

I’ll send this one of our garden … PIERRE DE RONSARD (pink bloom on left) and SYMPATHIE (red blooms) with NAHEMA (pink buds on right).  All these magnificent climbers  produce beautiful flowers suitable for a vase!


Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …


ROSE RAMBLER 07.09.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends as we sing …  SPRING IS IN THE AIR, EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK AROUND … It’s soooo green and what a lovely week we’ve had to welcome spring here in Victoria where the soil is sopping wet!  The moisture augers well for our gardens to flourish this season … 


It’s a different story for our gardening friends in other regions of Australia, some are thirsty if not desperate for rain.  In NSW, things are shaping up for yet another ‘green drought’ in late winter/early spring.

We hope that most of you know that to apply heavy late-winter mulching of garden beds is imperative in anticipation of all-too-frequent dry spells.  Hot summers ensure that mulch rapidly disappears and usually needs topping up before the season ends.

This is a pic of recent pea-straw mulching here at the Rose Farm …

Sensible garden mulch applications enhanced by quality fertilizer and regular seaweed solution results in quite rapid carbonizing of the topsoil – you’ll see your soil turn quite dark brown, beautifully crumbly and growing magnificent roses!

There have been a few customers whose winter planting of bare-rooted roses hasn’t quite gone to plan – where is the fault???  If you have a newly planted rose (in any season) that doesn’t perform well, please don’t leave it in the soil to perish!

Lift it, place it in a pot or replant in a different location – there are lots of things happening in soil and most especially if there have been additives … compost and ‘new’ soil can be lethal because of decomposing which causes anaerobic conditions underground – your roses are dealing with it and you cannot see it!

Yes, we guarantee our plants 100% but we urge you to consider the situation you have planted your roses into and please, please, don’t let them die because of any of the above examples of where they might be planted!

Take action – trim them back to below where there might be visible dying stems and drench with eco-seaweed solution weekly until they recover …

Q. What do you call a fairy that doesn’t take a bath?  A.  Stinker Bell!


“Hello, Firstly I would like to congratulate you on such a wonderfully professional business. A short time ago I ordered an ORIGAMI rose which arrived in pristine condition, 

I was stunned that it was possible to order a plant online and receive it in better condition than I could purchase at my local nursing here in Qld. The plant is absolutely flourishing and beginning to produce its first buds.

The care and attention to packaging along with the rose itself and care instructions are simply impeccable. I also have enjoyed the Rose Rambler emails and look forward to receiving and reading them. Once again thank you and I look forward to ordering from you again in the future.” Sincerely, Mark.


With magnificent rose varieties named to suit all occasions which occur in our daily lives, our GIFT ROSE is an absolutely joyous way of acknowledging an occasion in your family … here is a testament to the beautiful 50TH ANNIVERSARY ROSE – GOLDEN CELEBRATION … 

Hi Diana, Just wanted to say a huge thank you for the beautiful golden celebration gift box for my in-laws.  They just sent me the attached photo through of it growing already and tell me they are planting it this weekend.

It’s my parents 50th Anniversary next year, so you’ll hear from me again to arrange another one for them.”  Kind Regards  … Roschell

Q. What happens when a cat eats a lemon?  A. It becomes a sour puss …

Enjoy your garden in these early weeks of spring – if you haven’t pruned your roses from last season because you were worried about frost, get them done NOW … we’ve been pruning here at the Rose Farm too!

Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …


ROSE RAMBLER 31.08.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends on this last day of winter – I love it when publishing the Rose Rambler coincides with an ‘event’ such as this! Tomorrow is spring and we’ll all excitedly anticipate lush, healthy foliage sprouting all over our roses, soon there will be magnificently fragrant blooms again – it all just happens!

Or does it?  Let Gra tell us what we should be doing NOW to ensure our roses are indeed spectacular this spring …


I’m a great believer in growing lots of diverse plant species in and around my rose garden – I grow lots of bulbs, mostly daffodils; silver-beet for my chooks (and my mother-in-law eats copious amounts of it which may well testify to her good health at 85 years young!), carrots, potatoes, beetroot; all sorts of seasonal veggies.  Annual and perennial herbs which we use in our cooking flourish, as do the borders of annuals like pansies, petunias and lobelia.

When planting around your roses, be adventurous and the only rule is to ensure good air-circulation is maintained so don’t let companion plants cover the base of your roses.

Companion planting is beneficial to your soil by increasing microbes in the vicinity of plant roots and microbes linked to plants via networks of beneficial fungi will increase the availability of minerals and trace elements which are required to maintain health and vitality to ALL the plants; soil structure and water-holding capacity will be increased and earthworms will abound!

Q. What does a baby bird become after it is three days old?  A. Four days old!

You can pretty much turn your back on the rose garden once you’re done – however, if you water over the entire garden with ECO-SEAWEED solution once a fortnight, you’ll set the roses up to be healthy and hardy during the forthcoming expected hot summer – they’ll enjoy heat tolerance of between 3-5 degrees – that’s significant when you consider how hot our summer sun can be!

Q. How do you catch a unique rabbit?  A.  Unique up on it!  (You sneak up on it) 


into magnificent coir fibre medium and bursting forth with a delightful display of all the various colours of their foliage.
Some glossy and light green, SOUL MATE


The stunning dark almost black red, THANK YOU


The dark greens, REMEMBER ME


Some serrated edged, some dull-matt grey/green … all really beautiful and fresh with the rose buds forming within this colourful display.




To ensure this bounty of foliage stays lush and healthy, if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to fertilize the rose bushes!  Timely also to start the organic spray maintenance program by mixing ALL these products to 10 litres of water:

 1 teaspoon Eco-seaweed powder (or whatever ratio of your preferred seaweed)
¼ cup Eco-oil (insecticide)
¼ cup Eco-rose (fungicide)
Eco – Neem (add only if you have a massive outbreak of aphids or other insects!)

All the products we use and recommend are entirely natural and organically-certified.  They are designed to assist Mother Nature when weather conditions or environmental variables occur that create an outbreak of pests/disease and can be used on your vegetables and fruit trees knowing that you can confidently harvest within hours of spraying!

NEVER SPRAY IF THE TEMPERATURE IS PREDICTED TO BE OVER 30 DEGREES!  Morning application of the spray maintenance program is preferred because the stomata (pores) of the plant are open and very receptive to nutrient uptake … if time does not permit morning application, do it after dinner … just DO IT at least once a month so that you can enjoy the glory of beautiful, healthy roses with an abundance of flowers.

Q. What goes under your feet and over your head?  A.  A skipping rope.

Enjoy all the glory of spring in your garden and step out there, revel in the sunshine – pull a few weeds while they’re small and most definitely, plant a rose NOW – you’ll enjoy beautiful flowers from late October onwards!

Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …

*Terms & Conditions apply. Promotion valid from 31st August, 2017 – 7th September 2017 11.30am. Not to be used in conjunction with other offers. Not applicable to standard roses.

ROSE RAMBLER 24.8.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 24.08.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends from still frosty mornings here in Clonbinane!  Sunny days have given us an opportunity to complete potting all of this seasons roses and we’re almost done with pruning the rose gardens – thanks to the lovely team who work alongside us:  TOVA, LEIGH and BEN.

In coming weeks, you’ll get lots of information about how best to manage watering your rose garden – we are already seeing issues with OVERWATERING ROSES – it’s definitely the quickest and easiest way to kill your roses!   Let the newly planted roses settle in before you start drenching them … you’ve just got to get it right and we’ll talk though this in coming Rose Rambler newsletters.

Please understand that we have vastly different weather conditions from South Australia to Victoria and all along the eastern seaboard through NSW and into QLD. Our advice to you when you email or phone us will be to INTUITIVELY manage each situation within YOUR rose garden … get switched on to what’s happening where you live!


Take a look at this information which comes from a company I visited at Young, NSW just last week because I am interested in their products for making our soil/potting mix more alive with humus and microbes.  I enjoy learning and sharing information from companies such as this one:

News From YLAD Living Soils
1300 811 681
Anyone who follows our work here at knows how deeply we are invested in making the public aware of the underreported dangers of both Roundup herbicide, and genetically modified food, particularly the new RNA interference technologies.

For instance, did you know that:

  • Roundup was foundtoxic in the parts-per-trillion range?
  • Roundup is contributing to thedeath of coral reefs?
  • Roundup may becausing global droughts?
  • Roundup maycause Birth Defects?
  • Roundup pollution is so prevalent that it is found in Rain Samples?
Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg

I encourage you to use an organic method of WEED CONTROL – please consider using SLASHER – NATURAL WEEDKILLER which is another fabulous product thanks to research and development by Organic Crop Protectants.  We have used SLASHER for years in the lead up to it being registered as a NATURAL WEEDICIDE and it works for us!

SLASHER is available on now!

Now that your rose garden is pruned and mulched the most important thing you can do is FERTILIZE with a quality well-balanced organic fertiliser – we use and recommend COMPLETE ORGANIC FERTILIZER which you can collect here at the Rose Farm.  Visit your local nursery and be guided by their recommendations if you cannot visit us.

Q. What do you call a really, really strong vegetable?  A. Vegemite!

You can pretty much turn your back on the rose garden once you’re done – however, if you water over the entire garden with ECO-SEAWEED solution once a fortnight, you’ll set the roses up to be healthy and hardy during the forthcoming expected hot summer – they’ll enjoy heat tolerance of between 3-5 degrees – that’s significant when you consider how hot our summer sun can be!

Q. How do you catch a unique rabbit?  A.  Unique up on it!  (You sneak up on it)  

In closing I want to share a couple of varieties of roses which really stand out for me:

Hot pink, seriously vibrant with a super strong, very sweet perfume on a bush which grows to at least 1.5 metres tall and produces lovely strong stems suitable for presentation in a vase – plant this rose in the hottest, airiest situation in your garden!

A most amazingly robust rose which produces masses of perfectly formed blooms on long, strong stems constantly … suitable in all climates …

Is one of the most prolific and beautiful David Austin roses for mass planting where yellow/buff/apricot blooms are produced on a very tidy, rounded shrub of extreme health and vigour – such a delight for the variety of colour in the blooms

Stay happy and healthy in your garden – Gra

Although the roses are potted now, we are still posting them by lifting them from the humid-crib environment of their 20cm pots of coir-fibre – the roots are established so we gently wrap them in damp newspaper, seal them in a plastic bag and they’re travelling well as Meg and others testify:

Hi All… Just to let you know my roses arrived yesterday.  As I picked them up from the post office I could hear them saying “Are we there yet?”  They are now in their positions and hopefully I can do them, you and myself justice!!
They are already looking so much better for a bit of fresh air and sunshine so here’s hoping they will enjoy life here at Yallambee.  Kind Regards – Meg

My response to Meg … Thanks so much Meg for letting me know … I feel for the roses being cramped in boxes and probably thrown hither-thither in AustPost vans once they’ve been positively dizzied by several rounds of the carousel in the mail centres they pass through!  I’m so glad I work with such tough plants which endure all we throw at them and I’m glad they’re going to be loved and nurtured in your garden!  Best wishes … Diana

Keep on ordering bare-rooted roses because they’re travelling well even though they now have good growing shoots on them.

Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …

ROSE RAMBLER 10.8.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 10.08.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends as the weather warms which might postpone more frosts and ensure us that our winter pruning is now SAFE …??? It’s a risk whichever way you go when you live in a very frosty/cold climate such as we do here at Clonbinane –were not on our own as lots of our customers who live way out western NSW, southern highlands Victoria and even parts of Queensland experience these extremely cold conditions.

Whatever the weather, we’ve got a bit of time now to be pruning so that’s what we’ve been doing this past week … of course, we are definitely still posting roses even though they’re now beautifully potted in supreme quality coir fibre potting medium – their roots will flourish in this ‘humid-crib’ environment.
Every care will be taken when they’re removed for posting … the roots will be carefully bound in damp newspaper and sealed in plastic which means they’ll actually continue growing whilst in transit!  At your end, be sure to get these beautiful roses into your garden as soon as possible and soak them with an eco-seaweed solution at planting then weekly for at least 8 weeks after planting!

Do you know you can apply eco-seaweed solution lightly over all the plants in your garden at least weekly to maintain good root development, healthy foliage and general good soil nutrition … ask your kids to do it for you … they’ll really enjoy having a special role in garden management – it’s easy for them to do, they cannot make mistakes by either over-doing or under-doing measuring the powder into a watering can.  Let them take responsibility and they’ll enjoy seeing rewards of healthy, robust plants in THEIR / YOUR garden!

PRUNING ROSES … This is how well Rosie has pruned just one of her MR. LINCOLN roses –


She’s got 199 to go; then there’s a three-sided wall garden of at least 30 plants of THE WEDDING ROSE which is just as robust.  It doesn’t end there so I urge you to visit GARNER’S WINERY just off the Hume Freeway at Longwood East during flowering season – any other time to sample their magnificent Award-winning wines of course!

If you’re thinking of a real tree-change, contact Rosie Garner as she is now reluctantly selling the winery – here are a few pics of this glorious property …

GIFT ROSE” IS WINNING HEARTS … sending a beautifully gift wrapped GIFT ROSE of your choice with a personal message inscribed on a rose card is so appreciated!  We are receiving accolades from customers all around the world who trust us to post a beautiful rose to their friends and family; we can post to all States except Tasmania and Western Australia.
Whatever the occasion, let us organise posting a magnificent rose as we did for Barbara’s family recently …

“Hi I just wanted to thank you for the celebration rose bush which my Australian relatives received today and are extremely delighted with; that in part was due to the beautiful attention to detail in the gift packaging.  Thank you once again for making my gift so special”… Mrs Barbara C

Another happy customer …“Hi Diana … Just wanted to say a big thank you!!!!  My parents received their Slim Dusty rose gift yesterday and were very happy.  Thank you for putting together a great gift option and an easy and efficient process with FANTASTIC customer services.  Greatly appreciated and may you and your business be abundantly blessed.”  Kind Regards – Tereza

Don’t forget to put your reviews of our business on WOMO – Word Of Mouth Online as it can be very helpful to new customers and people who are not sure about online ordering.  I think it’s an easy process and we appreciate you taking time to acknowledge our business!

GRA’S GARBLE … “Healthy soils have at least 5% organic matter – most Australian soils have less than 3% organic matter so your household waste can be recycled and used in your own suburban backyard by creating simple layered compost heaps using lawn clippings, all types of baled straw/lucerne, leaves, bagged animal manure and tree litter after you’ve put it through a mulcher.

In order to add household waste to such a layered compost heap, buy a BOKASHI BUCKET – or make your own (BOKASHI powder which is a compost activator is available at large nursery outlets). The BOKASHI preparation is unattractive to vermin; most birds or animals won’t eat it.

You don’t need to turn this layered compost heap but you MUST KEEP IT MOIST to ensure rapid and effective processing of the heap to humus which can then be applied around all the plants in your garden.”

Q.  How do athletes stay cool during a game?  A. They sit near the fans!

Since we’re still posting roses, here are a few of my favourite climbing roses …

BLOSSOM TIME flowers are mid-pink with darker outer petals of absolutely perfect form and suitable for use over arches, on fences or in a pillar frame like these which we sell at the nursery – pick up only!


MADAM ALFRED CARRIERE is always first to flower and will still have flowering buds after the most severe winter frosts – with a fragrance to absolutely die for, this near-thornless rose is a beauty to fill a corner of the garden – let her spill gracefully over fences, through trees – plant this beauty and forget all about management!  Glorious creamy-white flowers with a blush tint during cold weather …

DUBLIN BAY is really my most favourite red climbing rose because it’s justALWAYS FLOWERING and doesn’t require any special pruning or management … at some times of the day, I detect an absolute fragrance, other times not a hint – always lovely to pop into a vase though!  I love it!


Q.  How do rabbits travel?  A.  By hare-plane … a bit of a sick joke to finish another fabulous week in the nursery

I’ve planted some winter veggies, my early daffodils are flowering; the rest are well-foliaged and we’ll see a spectacular display throughout September and October … ah, life’s grand in the garden!

Enjoy all the moments in your garden this week…
cheers from us here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 17.8.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 17.08.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends,

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”  John Steinbeck

Indeed the cold of winter is almost over.  While you’re out pruning the roses, have a bale of straw close by and lay biscuits of straw/hay around for you to walk on.  If you stomp all over the soil, it is possible to cause compaction and a biscuit of straw/hay will alleviate that problem and give you somewhere moderately dry to kneel down on while you’re pruning the lower branches of bush roses.


… When you use quality products to maintain your roses, the rewards are immense.  Regular applications of the organic spray maintenance program will definitely delay problems like severe insect attack or outbreaks of fungal disease like black spot and powdery mildew – start the program as soon as you’ve finished pruning .   The eco-friendly products we use and recommend are very economical when used on a monthly basis whereas, if you wait for problems to arise, you’ll have to spray every 3-5 days for around four applications just to get on top of a problem.  Makes sense therefore, to start monthly applications as soon as the roses are pruned …  NOW!!! 
Q.  What do you call a deer with no eyes?  A.  No eye deer.
Say it quick enough and it sounds like ‘no idea’.
So, Q.  What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?  A.  Still, no idea.
Diana tells me that our products are ALL available for purchase in the online store:  GO SHOPPING for roses along with products which can be posted directly to your door.


add ALL OCP products to your online order and pay NO EXTRA POSTAGE COST until NEXT THURSDAY, 24TH AUGUST, 2017
Meantime, if you prefer to shop in the traditional way, pop into your local garden centre and if you cannot find the Organic Crop Protectants (OCP) eco-friendly range of products:  eco-oil, eco-rose, eco-seaweed, eco-aminogro and eco-neem, ask them to contact OCP and organise stocking these great Australian products.  Then you and like-minded gardeners in your area can confidently manage pest and disease issues using these environmentally friendly products and work with Mother Nature in your garden … Gra


… Carrie ordered roses and during the ordering process she told me she was really ‘new’ at the whole adventure of growing roses – especially scary since she lives in far north Queensland.  I sent her beautiful specimens (along with a really lovely FREEBIE) – I always post the best quality plants because I understand your dilemma at not being able to select for yourself!
Carrie sent this email which is totally awesome and makes doing what we do so very, very special:
 “Hi Diana .. I just wanted to say thank you for my order of roses. I’m new to rose growing so before I found your website I purchased roses from another nursery. Whilst they were very healthy looking, your roses were positively “jumping out of their skin” healthy. My first response on opening the box was ‘wow’. Also, the extra Cote d’Ázure was a lovely surprise and a beautiful rose, thank you.”
“My plan is to grow roses in Babinda, Far North Queensland. Everyone tells me I’m mad because it’s too wet and humid but I’m going to give it my best shot. Once your book is back in publication I’ll be purchasing a copy. I’ll need all the help I can get ☺  In the meantime I’m following your organic rose management instructions in the Australian Rosarian.  Once again, thank you.”  Regards  … Carrie
And more good stuff …
“Greetings Diana, Thank you so much – I am looking forward to getting them – I have had NAHEMA before but sadly after about 10 years it decided to curl its toes up and kark it so I cannot live without it. Have decided to replace it with my recent Birthday monies – thank you so much for stocking it. It is an amazing Rose” – Cheers Ingrid    Hello again Ingrid … how interesting to read this about NAHEMA … do you know why it ‘karked it’ ???  Was there an animal peeing in that location, was it particularly wet or dry???  Most unusual for a rose to just die after such an established time in a garden so if you can enlighten me as to what you think might have gone wrong, please let me know ???  Talk soon I hope …


“Hi again, Not really sure could have been my son’s Red Heeler but he usually relieves himself on my tyres first!!!!! We did have a terribly hot summer up here in SE Qld so that might have been the last straw for it…. I have been using a product called Black Marvel lately and all my roses are looking much healthier… So looking forward to having a new NAHEMA in my garden as it is definitely my favourite rose ever… Thanks again for your emails …” Cheers Ingrid    Oh, actually, I have received lots of information since our last visit to QLD … your roses don’t last anywhere near as long as ours down here … yours have such an incredibly LOOOOOONG flowering season and I think they wear out!  We have a good winter rest of at least three months in most cold zones and the roses enjoy that!  You know, when it boils down to it, you couldn’t have dinner and a nice wine for what this new rose has cost you … you’ll get another 10 years of glory whereas the dinner and wine are down the loo within 24 hours … gotta giggle!  Cheers .. Diana
Here’s a pic of our awesomely friendly guard dog who lets us know you’ve arrived at Silkies Rose Farm, CLONBINANE within 500 metres of the HUME FREEWAY at the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE and open every FRI SAT SUN MON


Enjoy all the moments in your garden this week… cheers from us here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane
– Cheers, Diana, Graham & Mooi


ROSE RAMBLER 04.08.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends on this Thursday in the first week of the last days of winter …
As I turned the calendar, this is what gloriousness presented itself –

I think the rose might be WEDDING DAY but it might be one of the other species roses which display a most spectacular single flowering just once every year … however, for something seriously beautiful which flowers continually through the whole season, one of our most favourite roses is SALLY HOLMES which has a breathtaking display of up to 50 blooms on a branch and makes a most wonderful display in large vases!  Happiness is having SALLY HOLMES flowering in your garden …

Time is going so fast and it’s very interesting to share some emails from customers who haven’t got a clue when to prune … neither do we …???

Hi! Diana & Graham, I usually carry out my annual winter prune on the last day of July. However I cannot remember when I still had roses and some buds still on some of my roses? Can I go ahead and prune as usual? Best regards Ron – Brisbane

Graham responded to Ron .. “Like I said in the Rose Rambler last week … the weather will keep us all talking and pondering and wondering when to do what … just do it when you can and when you feel like doing it and I’m sure it will all work out ok … cheers… Gra”

I had coffee with friends this morning at the Rose Café in Kilmore and Marilyn told me her roses are still flowering in Craigieburn so when should she prune???  I suggested we all take Graham’s advice and do it when time permits and you’re in the right mood for pruning!  Be sure and glove up because this is another email we received this past week …

Hi, Thank you, my roses they arrived this week.  I would like to warn fellow rose growers about the dangers of fungus infections from roses.  I always wear gloves however a thorn went through my glove into my index finger.  The thorn came straight out and I did not think of it anymore until the next morning, which was a Saturday, when I woke up and found my finger and thumb very swollen.

I went to the GP who put me on antibiotics and said to come back on Sunday so he could check my finger.  The swelling had not gone down so I was sent for a scan first thing on Monday morning.  I then went back to the GP who after seeing the scan sent me to emergency at the local hospital.  Within 3 hours or arriving at emergency I was in the operating theatre having my finger opened in three places and washed out.  I was in hospital for two days as the antibiotics had to be changed as there was no initial response to treatment for the fungus infection and the bacterial infection.  I responded to the new anti fungal medication.

After discharge from hospital I had to attend hand therapy for three months to get movement back into my index finger.  I now have movement in the my finger although I does not feel completely normal.  I have to continue with therapy at home.  One has to be very careful when handling roses.  I have been growing roses for 10 years and have 300 roses.  I have never had this problem before.  Apparently it is a fungus specific to roses.  Kind Regards ..Desley

Thank you Desley for sharing!  Fortunately, in more than 30 years of rose pruning, neither Graham nor I have had serious issues and we always stress the importance of protective clothing when working in your garden – we use and highly recommend the MADE IN GERMANY gloves which we have used for more than 25 years … they have greater protection over the knuckle zone and come in FOUR sizes which are suitable for MOST hands … these gloves are available online at



Gardens need many different plant species to remain healthy – microbes in the vicinity of plant roots increase the availability of minerals and trace elements required to maintain healthy vitality of all plants!

All living things – above and below the ground benefit when the plant:microbe bridge is working effectively.

Q.  What has four wheels and flies?  A.  A garbage truck!

Feeding your soil with organic fertilizer and applying layers of mulch such as pea-straw and/ or lucerne increase microbial activity, stimulates worm cultivation and thus improves soil vitality which ensures all the plants in your garden thrive.  Any mulch is better than bare soil; no mulch … definitely not recommended!

Incorporating a diverse range of plant species to your garden assists with managing plant health – amongst your roses I encourage you to grow garlic, alyssum, calendula, lots of bulbs and perennials – vegetables like silver-beet and kale – soon, you can plant tomatoes and other summer veggies – be creative and adventurous!

Q.  What’s the worst vegetable to serve on a boat?  A.  Leeks

Get your kids involved in planting veggies which they will be inspired to harvest, cook and eat – great family time together and way better and more constructive than watching TV.

Research has shown that using chemicals in your garden will inhibit biological soil activity so I urge you to consider which products you purchase when next visiting your garden supplier – yes, there is ‘quick, easy fix’ for most issues which occur within our gardens at times during every season … please take a look at the Sustainable Gardening Australia website and be sure you make INFORMED DECISIONS when it comes to which products you use in managing your garden!


We have a lovely selection of these magnificent roses – there is no more spectacular sight than a weeping rose which flowers prolifically from October through to May/June.

Provide a well-drained, open sunny location at least 2.5 x 2.5 metres around and you will enjoy years of glorious display – all these roses should be well supported with a very sturdy ring and pole kit available here at Silkies Rose Farm.


Freely produces the most amazing flushes of clusters of apricot blooms which fade to cream and literally smother the bush with flowers throughout the season on relatively thornless canes.  This highly versatile rose can be used to cover arches, adorn fences of variable height and is so easy to maintain because of the beautiful flexible canes.

Cluster of mid-pink flowers all season. Lush healthy foliage on thornless wood. Dense foliage cover.

It produces small pretty white flowers throughout a very long flowering season. It is thorny but don’t let this deter you. Highly recommended for a healthy, pretty feature weeping rose in your garden.

Summer’s evening

All our weeping rose varieties are my favourites because they’re all really spectacular – you MUST come to the Rose Farm to collect one and get the support kit too!

Remember to use seaweed solution, fish emulsion and other organic liquids like worm-wee, compost tea and other brews to increase ‘soil-life’ which is guaranteed to ensure you produce the most healthy roses, plants and veggies to guarantee YOUR HEALTH!

Enjoy all the moments in your garden this week…
cheers from us here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 27.7.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 27.07.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as the morning bird calls start to indicate a sign of spring in the air … definitely a bit early by comparison to previous years but all things considered, it’s been a rather extraordinary winter with us having recorded our coldest frost in 17 years here at Clonbinane – down to minus 8 a couple of weeks ago and an amazing number of freezing morning temperatures with gloriously sunny days and above-average daytime temperatures.  Aaaaah … the conspiracy of the weather will keep our conversations alive!

Yes, we are all ok and still here – yes, your computer email is functioning ok too – I didn’t produce a Rose Rambler last week simply because I felt it was way more important to put all my energy into packing parcels of roses!   Thank you to all of you who checked up on us!

After a consignment of roses this week, most rose orders will be completed – JOSEPH’S COAT was a real straggler and has held up a lot of orders … when it flowers in years to come, you’ll forget about how late your rose order was delivered when this magnificent rose flowers and flowers throughout each season … what a sight to behold it is and I’m so glad we offer it to you by having it budded each year …


STANDARD ROSES are most definitely a great way to grow roses as your body ages and it gets more difficult to get down on the ground to prune and manage bush rose plants!  One of the most important issues to consider when planting standard roses is permanent and durable STAKING A STANDARD ROSE

We use and highly recommend 13mm RIO ROD which easily penetrates deep into soil and will not move, will never rot and actually looks great because it’s almost invisible as it rusts and sits very snugly right against the rose stem.

Be sure and allow around 20-30cms of rod ABOVE THE CROWN which acts as support or to lightly tie new water shoots to, in extremely high-wind areas.


To secure the standard rose understock to the rio rod, use 19mm VELCRO ONE-WRAP because it doesn’t come unstuck if correctly applied!

Q. Why aren’t elephants allowed on the beach?  A. Because they can’t keep their trunks up! 
(for the kids reading this, old guys ‘trunks’ are kind of like your ‘jocks’ …)


We can all learn from this email exchange during past weeks:

“My names Amber and recently my rose garden has been devastated by Rose Rosette Disease! About 16 of our roses have contracted it. I was wondering if you had advice on how long we should wait to re-plant new roses after digging these ones out as we would like to order between 10-20 bare root roses from you guys.  Also if you could recommend something to prevent mites and other pests that would be great. We had been using eco oil and a yates spray previously, but it didn’t seem to prevent aphids and what I suspect were mites destroying our roses. Perhaps we weren’t diligent enough with spraying.  If you could get back to me at your earliest convenience that would be great! Thanks”

My initial response to Amber … I would be most interested to know who diagnosed your DISEASE?  This all sounds very dramatic and totally over and above ANYTHING that I have experienced in more than 30 years of rose growing!  Seems you’ll swing from chemical maintenance to organic with no success using either regime.

Let me help you grow beautiful roses ORGANICALLY, NATURALLY!!!  Get rid of all the chemicals as the first move.  Take a big, deep breath and relax whenever you go into the rose garden – actually, BEFORE YOU ENTER the rose garden so you go there with a quiet mind ready to experience all the pleasure rather than perhaps focus on some of the negatives which can occur from time to time in ANY GARDEN and on potentially, ANY PLANT!

I am almost 100% sure that your ROSE ROSETTE DISEASE is in fact growth appearing AFTER you’ve been spraying around the roses with one of the GLYPHOSATE PRODUCTS … perhaps RoundUp or Zero???  Had you used a weedicide product prior to noticing the weird foliage which has been diagnosed as RRD?

If you give me more information and perhaps a few pics I’ll take this further … talk soon – Diana


One pic of Amber’s affected foliage …

Amber admitted to ‘self-diagnosis’ after trawling through the Internet … I suspected this and although I know there is NO rose rosette disease in Australia, I wanted to be careful with how I responded – not wanting to offend any Rosarian who might be consulting with Amber and trying to sort her problems!

Since much email exchange, I realised Amber ordered roses from us this week …

Hello Amber … whilst I was busy packing roses today I noted that there was a parcel of roses for YOU … the roses are now in the post but I’m concerned about whether you should be planting while you seem to have so many issues with the existing roses???

My colleagues have all agreed that there is an OVERDOSE OF SPRAY on your roses … which product exactly, we’re not sure … highly likely a pre-emergent weedicide of some kind.


Thankfully, Amber has responded very positively …

“I have stopped using any chemical sprays at all & my husband knows not to use any weed killer as well now. I have purchased eco rose, eco seaweed and already have eco oil on hand so I’m going to be using the organic spray recipe on your website from now on.”

Please take extreme care when using weedicides – in fact, ANY CHEMICALS around your garden!  There are so many alternatives available – for more information please retain these two addresses: and so you have access to the most updated information about sustainable gardening and which products you can safely use in your home garden.

Q. What happens when a frog parks in a no-parking space?  A. It gets toad away.

When the winter blues happen for you, either give us a call (our phones were seriously challenged this past week when all calls went direct to ‘message bank’ … sorry!) or log into and purchase some roses just like Holly did a couple of times in these past weeks …

“Feeling a bit low just now because after the worst winter day this year (no gardening) I baked two cakes with duck eggs (famously wonderful) which came out like moon craters.  Ho hum.  See- my mind is only on gardening, not baking, and my brain thinks digging holes is the only thing worth thinking about.  I even dreamed of rose planting last night!  So it serves me right trying to bake when the heart is elsewhere, eh?  Mary Berry is safe in her day job. Looking forward to receiving my roses … thanks, Holly”

Enjoy time spent in your winter garden …
cheers from all of us at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane …

ROSE RAMBLER 13.7.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 13.07.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends after another series of freezing nights and gloriously sunny days with birds noisily indicating they’re mating and preparing nests for spring reproduction.  There’s a continual shrilling sound which we think is a tree frog but we’re not quite sure … if you’re in the nursery in coming weeks, please ask about the critter which has us perplexed and sure to be heard during your visit.

I’ve soooo enjoyed reading your stories following on from last week’s Rose Rambler article about ICEBERG!  Thank you all for sharing … yes, unfortunately, ICEBERG has the status of COMMON yet it is without doubt, THE ROSE OF THE CENTURY; it is proudly listed in the WORLD ROSE HALL OF FAME and continues to be the most popular standard rose in our industry year after year!

I guess in the olden days when people were classed according to their status, I might have been classed as a COMMONER.  However, if I had half the beauty and afforded my subjects as much incredible joy as what COMMON old ICEBERG has done, let me gladly be classed as COMMON!  A bit of fun with words I guess …?


I so miss the fragrance of roses since the FRAGRANCE OF A ROSE IS IN ITS SOUL … being deep in the winter here, there’s not a fragrant rose to behold – instead I’m busy pruning so get out and you do just the same – remember that you cannot kill a rose by pruning it … come along to a pruning demo this weekend at WHITTLESEA COURTHOUSE on SATURDAY at 10.00 am and help me and an enthusiastic group of gardeners prune the roses there.

This SUNDAY at 1.30PM be sure to come along to Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane where we’ll walk and talk and prune our way through the gardens here … bring the family and pets; don’t forget to bring your secateurs/loppers for a lesson on cleaning and sharpening.

My joke for this week:

Children were asked to write about the ocean and here are a few of their comments to give you a giggle …

Mike, aged 7:  If you are surrounded by ocean, you are an island.  If you don’t have ocean around you, you are incontinent.

James, aged 7:  My dad was a sailor and knows everything about the ocean.  What he doesn’t know is why he quit being a sailor and married my Mother.

I hope you haven’t overlooked ordering these most beautifully fragrant and robustly healthy roses to add to your rose garden collection this winter …

This is a very striking rose – one that stands out when in bloom.  The flowers are beautiful in form and the colour is amazing, yellow with orange stripes fading to a soft pink.  Tropical sunset is a great performing rose with numerous blooms throughout the season and healthy semi-glossy foliage to compliment. Grows to 1.5mts

Hybrid Tea rose which has stood the test of time. Tall, upright almost thornless stems produce clusters or single stems of highly fragrant perfectly formed blooms.

This glorious specimen with tall single stems of the most highly fragrant dark red rose will be a joy to all rose gardeners. The men will rush out to buy it because it has so very few thorns and tell us in the nursery that they just love the red roses … we know it’s all about the lack of thorns even though we also know that men prefer their garden roses to be red!


Here are my suggestions for comfortable, safe and enjoyable pruning:

  1. Clean and sharp secateurs – we use and recommend Lowe 4 which are available in our online store –
  2. Look after your back – sit on a chair if you need to – one rose at a time!
  3. Do light exercise before you start to get your muscles ready for a work-out!
  4. Wear protective clothing – most definitely a comfortable pair of gloves.
  5. Be the boss and prune each rose according to how it suits your garden!
  6. Enjoy being out in the garden knowing that every 25 minutes you spend in your garden is equivalent to a 4km walk – Yep, backed up by University research!

Enjoy all the moments of this fabulous winter weather in your garden – turn over a patch which will be ready for planting spring seedlings to feed your family the most nutrient-rich salad-greens and veggies throughout spring/summer.

See you soon at Clonbinane to collect roses or attend a pruning demo – happy gardening from the team at – Diana & Graham Sargeant


ROSE RAMBLER 06.07.2017 …

Now Hello dear rose friends as we enter the middle of winter with very cold nights – down to minus 8 here on Sunday morning and miserably small amounts of rain – just 13mm in the past few days!

I haven’t had a great deal of time to prepare this Rose Rambler so let me just take some emails with very interesting information for sharing … even Gra has been head down, bum up and hasn’t got a joke this week … you actually need to send him a couple if your kids/grandchildren are into jokes – he did have this little ditty to share …




Dear Diana.  I have received the rose today and planted in the garden. Thank you very much, it was a surprise to receive so much information concerning roses and the sea weed sachet was a pleasant surprise.  I will look forward to the rose in bloom thanks so much – Christine



Hi Diana,  I posted a message comment on your website a month or so ago, and have only just realised that you had emailed me a response. It went to my junk mail and I accidentally deleted it before I read it and now cannot retrieve it!  So my apologies for the poor communication; I will start again!

I am planning my wedding for Australia Day next year and would love potted white roses leading down the aisle. I have been given all sorts of advice on how to time their flowering, including that floribunda types would be the easiest to time the flowering.  After the wedding I plan to give some away, and keep some for myself which I intend to plant out within a few years.

Although I am an agronomist by day, I have not had much to do with roses at all! I’d would be very grateful for any advice you may be able to offer me. Are there any varieties that you would suggest? I am mainly aiming for ease of management, ability to time the flowering, and abundance and fragrance of flowers. Of course things like disease resistance and hardiness would be useful going forward, but I imagine you can’t have everything!  Also if there is a resource that answers my questions please feel free to send me in that direction instead. Thanks very much, Pamela

Hi Pamela … thank you for contacting me again… I think that to save a whole lot of bother / money / time and be guaranteed of success with this project, you need to source 30 or more ICEBERG bush roses – I can supply same for $16.50 each if you order over the phone very soon … roses are now being potted and have been increased to $19.50 online …

Why ICEBERG and not some other very fancy, highly fragrant hybrid-tea rose like say, POPE JOHN PAUL II … simply because ICEBERG is the variety which will most definitely be flowering at the time of your wedding with the least amount of stress – after the wedding, as gifts, the roses will offer immense joy in the home garden of your guests.

Yes, ICEBERG is common (Pamela actually stated that in one of her emails!!!) but so what?  It’s beautiful and will definitely give you an avenue of potted white colour down the aisle at your wedding – do what works for YOU not what others might say about this glorious rose!  Please let me know if I can assist to make this work for you … no, I cannot offer cheaper price than $16.50 per plant plus pack post … oh, $45.00 high out!  Talk soon perhaps … best wishes DIANA

Hi Diana,  Thank you so much for your detailed response. That is very helpful for me and I will certainly go with the Icebergs. Like most women planning a wedding I do however have a fairly tight budget, and even these roses are quite the extravagance. I’m not sure of the most diplomatic way to say this, but I was hoping you’d be able to offer lower costs for bulk and to be truthful they are down to around $10 with some of your competitors, which represents quite a difference in the total I’ll end up paying. I’m very sorry as I would love to purchase from you. Next time when I’m purchasing roses in smaller lots I will definitely order from you, and I hope that this is sooner rather than later. Thanks again for your help, sorry we can’t work something out this time. I’m looking forward to buying roses from you in the future.  No need to reply. Thanks, Pamela

In my usual form, I did respond to Pamela and wished her well with her wedding – you, know, it’s not always about the cost of something and no, roses purchased from Silkies Rose Farm / aren’t the CHEAPEST but by golly, they come wrapped or potted with love and they’re 100% guaranteed to grow in your garden and give years and years of pleasure – something that good NEVER COMES CHEAP!


Maggie is delightfully feminine – the superb flowers are softly ruffled with masses of petals in rich, creamy white. During the cooler months, there is a distinct border of blush pink at the edge of the petals and there is a distinct soft, fruity fragrance which adds a romantic charm to this most beautiful rose.

Modern Shrub/Floribunda rose of immense beauty, resistance to disease and ability to grow and flower in any sunny location. With flowers creamy-white, tinged apricot-pink deep in the swirled central petals, the blooms open to 15cms wide and reveal their dark stamens when opened.

A magnificent pure white rose with the most amazing fragrance!  The healthy bush produces masses of long stemmed, large blooms continually throughout the season – a very highly recommended rose!


Graham will conduct regular pruning demonstrations here at the Rose Farm throughout July – here are the dates:


We promise to get it together and video Gra doing one of his garden WALK ‘N’ TALK demos so that all you lovely interstate followers can be part of what goes on down south!!!

Meantime, best wishes to all from the team here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane