Hello dear rose friends – welcome to spring! Today is the actual birth date of my first-born son, Eric – he’s now a strapping 35 year old lad who, most delightfully, is a true plantsman, one of Mother Nature’s own gentlemen – Happy Birthday Eric with our wish to you and yours for many happy years of gardening and good health!


I like this:



Maintain them in all stages of life and enjoy healthy life.

Soil is the engine of human existence” was conclusively decided at a recent conference at Texas A&M University – since soil provides most of what is needed to keep the human body healthy!  Humanity relies on the ongoing provision of eco-system’s goods and services and this can only be achieved with a soil resource that is utilised according to its capability and managed properly to maintain its condition!

Do we ever, as home gardeners, consider our soil in such a special way?  How can this be regarded in a practical sense when we are working in our gardens?  What can we do?  Here are my suggestions:

  • Make compost
  • Always keep mulch on open soil
  • When feeding plants use only organic materials/fertilizers
  • Respect earthworms – only walk on layers of mulch in garden beds – dig with a fork
  • Grow some of your own vegetables and fruit
  • Grow lots of flowers to make your soul sing
  • Use liquid teas / seaweed on compost to encourage micro-life
  • Apply stone-dust to put essential minerals back into the soil

And of course, as a rose grower, I would say you will grow the most magnificent roses if you apply all of the above methods in your rose garden!  A simple thought:  because roses are SO productive, they love to be cared for and then they’ll flower for 8-10 months each year!

Q.  What type of suit does a duck wear?  A.  A duxedo – of course!  And then one for every gals ‘blond moment’ … Q.  Why did the lady put lipstick on her head?  A.  Because she wanted to make up her mind.  Have a great week in your garden … Gra

YES, WE ARE STILL POSTING ROSES … Although cut back and potted, I gently lift the roses from the pot, put some of the coir-fibre potting mix around the roots which are then wrapped in damp newspaper and tightly sealed in a plastic bag.  The roses transit extremely well and we recommend you get them into the soil as soon as they arrive and this email might be helpful when your roses arrive as they do now:

Good morning Diana,  CREPUSCULE arrived safely yesterday and we put her in the garden.  I have a question.  She had many small laterals all over and these had clumps of very small shoots already in leaf — also very small leaves.  Should I trim those back and if so, by how much?  Thanks again, Gabrielle

My response:  No, no … please don’t remove them … we have sold soooo many CREPUSCULE that we are now down to the very cut back specimens … they’re ideally cut back for potting like that because as you now see, they’re producing masses of WATERSHOOTS – these are the new branches which will carry heaps of flowers and you’ll have a very sturdy plant because of all those new branches!!!  Seaweed solution over the entire plant and foliage once a week for the first 6 weeks and then fertilize … you watch how beautifully it grows!!!  Cheers


I posted a rose last week and after it was beyond retrieval with Australia Post and I realised I had sent the wrong rose, this tete-a-tete of emails followed:

Hi Diana
I haven’t received any call from you but I wanted to let you know that I have received the rose – thank you. Unfortunately, as you say, it is “Blue for You”. I would definitely prefer the Beyond Blue rose since I believed that the sale of it would contribute to the organisation to support depression in memory of our friend’s son?

Do you want me to return the “Blue for You” rose? To your farm? Should I water it again before sending it? Regards Judith

This is BEYOND BLUE rose, the proceeds of royalty payments go to BEYOND BLUE FOUNDATION which supports mental health:
Hello Judith … I took the initiative to post another rose rather than call you – please find a lovely spot in your garden for BLUE FOR YOU which is an outstanding rose … you should have BEYOND BLUE early next week – once again, my absolutely sincere apologies for this mix up!  Cheers Diana

Thank you Diana.  I shall think of you when BLUE FOR YOU flowers! Kind Regards Judith

Judith … Thanks for being so kind – the (faceless) internet affords people an opportunity to be nasty if something goes wrong and I always worry when I make a mistake – thankfully, not often!!!  Your lovely message here is ‘phew’ … you will truly love BLUE FOR YOU as I featured it in a wide-spread in my book so it is obviously one of my favourites!!!  Enjoy and take care of you at this time of grieving with/for your friends – my life has been touched by suicide too so I understand your pain!  Cheers – Diana

This is BLUE FOR YOU … a wonderful shrub rose with lovely fragrance and a magnificent display of blue flowers with silver reverse – stunning rose!

Enjoy the moments of early spring in your garden – weed today and part of Friday – don’t do any planting or gardening this Saturday but then remove weeds until next Thursday, 10th September – remember to mulch the garden immediately after weeding!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the Dad gardeners!  Have a beaut day of breakfast in bed then go weeding the garden with the kids … enjoy all the moments of being DAD!

Cheers from Graham, Diana and Mooi at Clonbinane … 

ROSE RAMBLER 27.8.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 27.8.2015

Hello dear rose friends … only one week to go to the end of winter and you might ask, as we do, where on earth has time gone?  Even our little grandchildren say how fast the time goes – when I was a kid, time during school holidays for example, seemed to drag on and on – not so anymore! Here is a lovely email I feel compelled to share:

“I just wanted to thank-you for the amazing guidance offered by your book during pruning season. By using your book, I was able to successfully prune over 50 roses with confidence It was a great feeling to be able to complete the task knowing not only that it was being done correctly but that it was being done in a way that would greatly enhance the health and productivity of the rose come Spring and Summer. I followed the pruning by feeding the roses with the special concoction suggested in the book and it gives me great pleasure to know that my roses are 100% organically managed. Every time I am home, I take a walk around the rose garden to enjoy the first signs of new growth – I just can’t wait until the first bloom! What I must also mention is that the vast majority of my roses are from Silkies Rose Farm and it would be an understatement to say that these roses are by far the best performers – they are strong, healthy plants with exceptional vigour. I feel so lucky to have your farm so close to home (well, yes, it’s a 45-minute drive, but its always worth it), to have been able to establish a lovely relationship with you, Graham and Mooi, and to be able to support a wonderful local business. A very, very big thank-you from a very happy young rosarian from Macedon.

After four years of building up the garden, I thought I’d send through the list of what I now have just for the sake of celebrating with you what a wonderful collection you’ve helped me to create with excellent advice and recommendations.

But, there’s always space for more and so I’m wondering if you have any of the following this season… If so, I’ll drop in this weekend! I’m so excited to plant more!!!  As always, thank-you so much and I hope you’re well.”

- Nicky, Macedon VIC

We have received so many compliments about how my book, ALL ABOUT ROSES is such a helpful tool in all aspects of rose management – a customer called the other day asking for the organic rose management program – she had lent her book to a friend and wanted to spray but without ALL ABOUT ROSES, she needed to call me for the rose management spray program recipe:  order your copy now at it would be a wonderful FATHER’S DAY GIFT for the garden-happy Dad in your life – a personally signed copy can be posted direct to your Dad!


To make compost work and be effective, use regular applications of seaweed solution because it feeds the compost microbes and makes it active to feed plants.  Now is the time to be very diligent with weekly/fortnightly applications of seaweed solution because the roses are producing their new growth and flower buds for this flowering season – the 70+ minerals will provide natural growth hormones, feed earthworms who will continually aerate the soil within your garden and give you up to 30% more beautiful, long-lasting flowers when the roses start flowering soon.

We continue to use and recommend NATRAKELP (organic seaweed solution) and OCP’s powdered ECO-SEAWEED – both extremely high quality seaweed products.

Q.  What did Mr. Flea say to Mrs. Flea?  A.  I love you aw-flea!

Here is my highly recommended rose of the week:
produces the most amazing profusion of perfectly formed, long-stemmed roses continually throughout the flowering season – there is a light, fruity fragrance but probably more importantly from such a vibrantly coloured rose, the bush is robust, upright and extremely healthy – such a reliable rose for stunning vases of flowers.

Have a great week in your garden as spring kicks in – just one more:

Q. Why is it better to be a grasshopper than a cricket?  A.  Because grasshoppers can play cricket but crickets can’t play grasshopper – next, we’ll be hearing of the Aussie Grasshoppers … Gra

REMEMBER to lock this weekend into your calendar – we’ll be there!
Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane … 


ROSE RAMBLER 20.8.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 20.8.2015

Hello dear rose friends – less than TWO WEEKS to spring and despite having one of the “coldest winters on record in 70 years”, the roses are pushing leaves and before we know it, they’ll be flowering.

Some of you might not even have ventured to prune the roses yet … that’s ok, when you leave pruning till late in the season, the roses will indicate exactly where they would like to be pruned – find the plumpest, outward facing bud – snip – job done … remember to snip a trouble away each time you cut!

Here’s an email conversation which might be useful to you all –

Hi Diana and Graham, In your last newsletter you talked about putting compost around the base of the rose, but not to till the soil.  I usually remove the old leaf litter and sugar cane mulch and replace with fresh. Should I in fact not be removing old mulch?  Should I put new compost over the existing mulch and then top up with new mulch?
And should we be feeding the roses yet?  If you would clarify, that would be great.  Thanks, Jo

Our response:  We NEVER recommend removing mulch because there is always a plethora of microbial/insect/just plain natural ‘stuff’ going on in the soil under mulch – spray the organic rose management program over the plants/soil, distribute fertilizer over entire garden area, put compost around the plants (if you have it) then mulch over the whole lot.

As we prune roses we naturally remove ‘litter’ closest to the bud union … this makes it easy to get in with the secateurs to remove oldest branches right down to the crown but we would NEVER fork/till soil around the roses unless we felt there was soil compaction – exactly why we suggest you use a layer of cardboard/biscuit of straw around the rose garden to step on while you’re pruning!  Really important function whilst pruning a winter garden – most especially if the soil is damp!!!

Hope this answers all your questions – importantly, listen to what your INTUITION tells you to do in your garden … enjoy the moments … cheers Diana and Graham


All the bare-rooted roses are potted now so I did our organic rose management spray program this week:  to 10 litres of water add:

¼ cup eco-rose fungicide
¼ cup eco-oil insecticide
Seaweed solution (as per pack instructions of the product used)

I added ECO-AMINOGRO which is a fish/amino acid-based foliage fertilizer which will stimulate strong, healthy foliage and transfer into good root development on the newly potted roses!

Q.  What monkey looks like a flower?  A.  A chimp-pansy … hope you’ve planted lots of annuals for delightful early spring flowering in your rose garden!

We always get lots of request for ‘problem solvers’ when it comes to rabbits, possums, wallabies and native birds in the rose garden – unfortunately, there is NO ABSOLUTE SOLUTION to any of the predators.

However, we do recommend constant vigilance, creative barriers and understanding of the creatures we live with who share our garden space!

Q.  What do you get if you cross a rabbit with a flea?  A.  Bugs Bunny … that’s me and my jokes for this week … Gra


Yes, of course we can still post you roses – they’re (mostly) trimmed back to within an inch of their lives and shooting madly but because we are careful in the bundling, add some coir-fibre potting mix within the damp newspaper and then wrap firmly in plastic, the roses are travelling really well – here’s a testimony:

Thank you so much for your wonderful nursery, rose delivery service, and your wonderful book which I am reading at the moment… but most especially for your wonderful self!!!  And Graham is pretty wonderful too… V

And another one:  Dear Diana, Just a note to thank you. The roses arrived quickly after order last week. They looked in beautiful condition and are happily planted. Will see how they go and hopefully we can order more of the same after Sydney summer. Sincerely, Anne

We will continue to post bare-rooted roses through September so if you’re still preparing garden beds but not quite sorted, don’t panic and yes, the rose bushes will bloom abundantly from November onwards as long as you diligently apply seaweed solution at planting and then at least monthly thereafter!

IN CLOSING … when you need to send a memorial gift, REMEMBER ME is such a beautiful, healthy, reliable rose to send to the most ‘non-gardening’ person and way, way better than a bunch of flowers because they will plant this gorgeous rose and have memories of perfectly shaped blooms, continually throughout the flowering season … this is such a grand rose which makes a statement:

beautifully gift wrapped, ready to post now from

REMEMBER ME produces flowers like this continually … can be ordered as a bush rose for your garden at just because you want a lovely bright orange/copper rose in your garden …

Enjoy the last weeks of winter … head down, bum up and pruning as we are … cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane 

ROSE RAMBLER 13.8.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 13.8.2015

Hello dear rose friends as the weather makes a slight shift from extreme cold … it’s only in single degrees upwards but moving in the right direction to encourage rose foliage and subsequent buds to flowers … aaah, the waiting is in some ways rather delightful!

NO, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE … to order roses for planting in your garden and I stress that the most important thing is to ensure garden beds are well prepared prior to planting!  If you have to purchase roses which have been potted and so pay a little bit more, consider that rather than planting into unprepared garden beds!

Last summer, I sent beautiful standards up to Mike in Queensland – in some ways we were both racing – he desperate to have his garden looking lovely for the local Autumn open garden competition, me, very eager to sell roses to a young, enthusiastic guy to be sure he won a prize for his new garden … it was a dismal failure which we both learned from!

Mike had dug holes out on his nature strip, the roses were held up in transit due to Christmas tardiness with Australia Post and although some of the roses survived the torture, Mike didn’t win a prize in the garden competition!  Thankfully, taking my advice, he prepared a garden bed these past months and planted a row of quality bare-rooted standard roses in late July.

Today Mike called me – over the moon, excited and totally enthusiastic about the performance of the standard roses I posted to him this winter … they’re leafing up beautifully and will be flowering within six weeks – total turn-around because he followed our advice and prepared a whole bed rather than just a hole in the grass verge!

Remember, is open for posting roses ALL YEAR and there is no need to rush planting roses in winter!  Prepare the rose beds with lots of compost and manure, seaweed solution every couple of weeks – feed the worms so they aerate the soil and leave their castings – the reward will be strong, sturdy, free-flowering roses for many years of pleasure!


Q.  How do baby hens dance?  A.  Chick to chick! 

I would like to repeat the 5 most essential requirements for growing beautiful roses:

  1. Roses must have at least five hours of direct sun daily;
  2. Avoid planting too close to established trees – trees will take all the water;
  3. Plant with copious amounts of compost – never raw manure or fertilizer;
  4. Never let rose roots dry out – soak with seaweed solution before planting, at planting and fortnightly after planting;
  5. Roses are very adaptable to many soil situations – clay sub-soil is great for roses as it hold nutrients and moisture.

It’s almost FATHER’S DAY so consider sending your Dad this special rose:

FATHER’S LOVE is a most special rose because it’s red, it’s fragrant, it’s lovely in a vase and it’s a very healthy bush – what more could your Dad wish for?  Order online at or gift your Dad a gift voucher from and let him procrastinate for the next six months while he considers which roses he would love to grow in his garden – it’s what men do!
IN CLOSING … Q.  What do you give a bird that is sick?  A. Tweetment.

Enjoy all the moments in your garden this week and hope to see you in Clonbinane soon …

Graham, Diana and Mooi at Clonbinane



Hello dear rose friends; how delightful is it to watch the roses pushing all their new growth and gearing up for spring which is just around the corner – it all happens sooooooo fast! 

Gearing up for spring can we suggest that because of very favourable moon cycles, from this Saturday through to next week is an ideal time for weeding the garden.  To test this theory, go out NOW and pull a weed – there will be resistance despite damp conditions, however, pull weeds in the same location on Saturday and you will find they literally fall out of the ground.

This is not madness – for generations farmers have cultivated and nurtured the land using these theories and if we were all really environmentally aware gardeners, so should we!


This cold weather inspires me to sit by the fire, read and do lots of research for sharing information with you, our Rose Rambler subscribers – there’s a lot of talk about impending drought – because roses are such DROUGHT TOUGH PLANTS, they are a great investment in your garden as they will live for years and years in the most extreme weather conditions!

Q.  What did one flea say to the other?  A. Should we walk or take the dog?

To grow strong, tough rose bushes, place compost around the base of the plants – don’t till the soil or disturb the roots then water over with seaweed solution to encourage soil microbes and worms to breed; mulch the compost with lucerne/pea straw – you’ll grow the strongest, most free-flowering roses which will endure whatever weather Mother Nature intends for this flowering season!

A friend suggested this handy tip the other day but since I don’t take any medications, I didn’t get it – maybe you do:  “Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night!”

Here’s a copy of an interview which was conducted for our local newspaper:

A PRICKLY SUBJECT … An interview with Diana Sargeant @ Silkies Rose Farm, Cnr. Spur and McDonalds Rd, Clonbinane – (by Cathy Soulsby and produced in ‘CLONBINANE COUNTRY’)

Q. At what age did you discover your passion for roses?
A. I met Graham Sargeant, an avid gardener, when I was 25.  Graham began his rose ‘journey’ growing miniature roses, and won the Miniature Rose Championship at the World Rose Convention, Sydney in 1996. From then on I was ‘hooked ‘, so to speak!

Q. How long have you lived in Mitchell Shire?
A. Since I was 9 years old.

Q. What is unique about your ‘ Rose ary’ ?
A. It is a truly sustainable business. No chemicals have been used here for 25 years.  All products sold on the premises are earth friendly, including the Tri Nature range of household/personal care products which we have sold for the last 10 years.  These are bio- degradable and grey water safe.
We offer a design consultancy service, are available to speak to groups, and do pruning and rose care demonstrations at the property.  The Rose Rambler newsletter goes out weekly to 3,000 email addresses.  We think Graham’s jokes are the drawcard, but their source is a closely guarded secret!
I have a radio spot in Melbourne on the 2nd Sunday of every month, on 3CR, 855 AM band, from 7.30 – 9.15 am.

Q. You published your book on organic rose management, ‘All About Roses’ last year. How is it selling?
A. Really well, it has received great reviews, and I have sold into the thousands.

Q. How many helpers do you employ?
A. Besides Graham and myself, we employ 2 casuals.

Q. Can it be a’ thorn in your side’ working with your partner?
A. No, not at all, we both have our jobs to do and work really well together. Over the years, all our children have worked in the business, as well as extended family members.

Q. What are the joys/pitfalls of a home based business?
A. No pitfalls, by reducing our opening hours, we now have a manageable lifestyle business, and literally have time to ‘smell the roses’!

Q. How does the year unfold?
A. Busy, busy, busy!  Winter sees dormant roses being posted all around Australia, but they are also posted year-round for the rest of the season.  From November onwards is flowering time, and we have bus groups visiting. We also attend 3 of the main flower shows in Melbourne and surrounds – October, at Melbourne Showgrounds, November at Werribee, State Rose Garden and April, Tesselaars at Silvan.

Q. Where does the name ‘Silkies Rose Farm” originate?
A. From our love of raising Silkie fowls – now Graham breeds Langshan fowls but we would not consider changing the name of the rose nursery .. giggle! (here is a pic of Graham’s prized cock birds looking at themselves in a mirror on the shed wall – handsome fellows indeed!)

Q. And lastly, do you always view the world through ‘rose coloured glasses’?
A. Absolutely!  We live in the best country in the world, and Clonbinane is our slice of heaven!!   Cheers!

ROSE IDENTIFICATION … we can easily identify a rose when you send photos similar to what Dan sent through this week … he had no idea of the name of the rose from which he had taken a cutting but said that it was a small pink flower with a fragrance, added these photos – without a single photo of the flower, it was very easy to identify the name of this most glorious rose – CECILE BRUNNER which is now out of stock until next season!

Hope you enjoy all the pleasures of winter gardening … cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 30.7.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 30.7.2015

ROSE RAMBLER … 30.7.2015 …

Hello dear rose friends … end of another month and well into winter now – welcome to all the recent subscribers! Some of you have been phoning and telling us about the beautiful roses you’re picking … gawd, it’s been weeks since we’ve seen a rose blooming here at Clonbinane so we envy you the climate which affords such a long rose-flowering season and love it that our roses give you such enormous pleasure!!!   

Standard roses finally arrived here last week and we were able to process most of the orders – sincere apologies for the delay in your standard rose orders.  Mother Nature determined late digging due to the very mild summer – roses grow beautifully in hot weather which is why roses are so ‘drought tolerant’ … DO NOT OVERWATER ROSES!!!

It’s been months since we’ve irrigated garden beds here because regular ‘God’s wee’ (rain) of anywhere between 5-8 mm of rain weekly means the gardens are beautifully moist.  Don’t be complacent though, if you don’t get any rain but warm, sunny days, consider giving the newly planted roses at least 10 litres of water per plant per week as they are now establishing new roots and growth – careful consideration of their watering needs at this time will ensure your roses will settle well and flourish into prolific spring growth after winter pruning!


THE IMPORTANCE OF CALCIUM FOR ROSES … Calcium is a macro nutrient that performs many critical functions including cell-wall production, nutrient transportation, flower and seed production and overall plant strength.
Calcium deficiency is common in sandy soils, areas of high rainfall and gardens that get watered regularly – mulch can also cause calcium deficiency.

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: “Does this taste funny to you?”

Roses perform best in soil with a pH range of 5 – 6.5 however, regular use of artificial fertilizers can increase acidification which negatively impacts plant growth.  A soil test kit is handy to have – or you might pop down to your local garden centre and request they perform a pH test of your soil sample.

LIQUID SOIL IMPROVERS … Traditionally, calcium has been applied in a powder form as dolomite lime.  Powders are very slow to activate in the soil, are bulky and messy.

OCP … Organic Crop Protectants have produced a highly effective, economical eco-flo dolomite in a 2litre hose-on pack which covers 800 sq. metres and any time NOW is perfect for application – the start of the growing season!  Eco-flo dolomite has seaweed added which is an obvious advantage to soil microbes and general soil/plant health.

The OCP range of products should be available at your local garden centre!

Two cows are standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, “I was artificially inseminated this morning? “I don’t believe you,” says Dolly. “It’s true, no bull!” exclaims Daisy. 

SPECIAL OFFER FOR PRUNING ROSES … Without doubt, high-quality, sharp secateurs make the job easier on your hands and body but they’ll also guarantee a clean cut which will significantly reduce the incidence of die-back on rose stems.

Since we’re right in the middle of pruning season, we’d like to offer FREE-POST from now till the end of August on our quality LOWE secateurs ($59.50) and handy sharpener ($12.50) which we guarantee will make light work and your rose pruning will be a pleasurable experience for years to come!

If ordering online at just select PICK UP FROM SILKIES ROSE FARM as the postage option and I will know to post your secateurs and sharpener for free!  You can also call me FRIDAY – MONDAY on 03 5787 1123 and I will process your order!

Treat yourself and have a beaut week in your winter garden!  Hope to see you soon at Clonbinane  … Gra, Diana & Mooi


Let me share some advice about growing roses in a cold climate – we frequently incur severe frost here at Clonbinane and I’ll share this recent email inquiry which might assist you if you live in a cold area:

Hello Diana, I’m in the process of looking for some climbing or rambling roses to cover an arbour I have in my back yard.  It is rather large, measuring 8m long x 1.5m wide x 2m high running north south (if that make sense). 
I live just outside Ballarat so the weather is rather freezing in the winter and very hot and dry in the summer – I know, everyone says it isn’t hot in Ballarat ever, but that’s not quite true.  The last 4 summers have just about killed off every plant in my garden that’s not drought or heat tolerant so I’m almost starting from scratch again.  It’s heartbreaking really but that’s life as most gardeners know.
Anyway, back to the roses.  I have had very little experience with roses before so I’m looking for something that will be tough (against me and survivability), fragrant, vigorous, tall to cover the arbour and colourful.  Not a lot to ask but I hope you can help me with some recommendations please.  I’m not sure if they’re suitable or not, but I love the Pierre de Ronsard (pink/white), the Jasmina, Crown Princess Margareta and Claire Austin (white) but I don’t know if they would grow large enough to cover the arbour together.  Any suggestions would be appreciated please.
Many thanks for your help”
My response:

Hello Deb … thank you for your enquiry … first question?  Do you rely on tank water for your garden?  Do you mulch your garden well?  Do you use seaweed solution ever? 
Your climate is no different to ours here but we do have town water and irrigate the garden as necessary, we mulch heavily with pea straw and use seaweed solution and fertilizer/compost to enrich our soil!
I cannot believe that you could be so disillusioned by losing plants continually.  Roses are very tough and I can recommend some beauties which will cover your arch but they MUST have all of the above to survive!!!  A rose should have at least 20 litres of water per plant, delivered at the same time each week during hot weather … not a splash of water delivered every day over the whole week – no, once a week a deep soak and they will survive and flower beautifully!
The roses I recommend you plant on the arbour are:  LAMARQUE, ALBERTINE, PINKIE, CLB., SYMPATHIE, PIERRE DE RONSARD, CREPUSCULE, MME. ALFRED CARRIERE, to name but a few!  I would recommend at least three plants each side and diligent management of watering, mulch, seaweed YEAR ROUND and you will have a magnificent display … let’s talk more .. cheers

ROSE RAMBLER 23.7.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 23.7.2015

Hello dear rose friends … Graham found this lovely quote to share:


Which leads me to share this beautiful email after I sent a GIFT ROSE last week …

Hi Diana – GOLDEN CELEBRATION rose arrived on time and our friend loved it. She was so excited when a large box was delivered, then opening it to find your beautifully wrapped rose, was even more thrilling. Her husband of 50 years has promised to dig a new rose garden as a home for GOLDEN.
All in all it was a great choice on our part to choose a rose as a gift and to choose your company to purchase it from and you, especially, as you have been so helpful and artistic.  Thanks Eileen

Here is a pic of GOLDEN CELEBRATION where it flowers blissfully all season climbing at the side of our little ‘summer house’ … such a joyful rose with glorious fragrance, huge blooms with masses of golden petals throughout the flowering season …
And another email which makes my heart sing …

Hi Diana. Erin was thrilled with the SOUL SISTER Rose. Carla and I haven’t been able to catch up with her yet. We realise it probably looks like a collection of sticks but she has repeatedly messaged us saying how lovely it is. Thank you for however you presented it – Erin was blown away. We will recommend you where we can. Sincerely … Judith.

Such a wonderful, uniquely coloured rose of perfect form with a hint of sweet citrus fragrance … the bush is medium height, very healthy and can be relied upon for a long-lasting bunch of flowers perfect for a vase – lovely rose with a beautiful name!

Remember to go to when you need inspiration to find a perfectly named rose as a way of expressing your thoughts by gifting a beautiful rose plant which will offer the recipient a lasting memory of your love and care in their time of need!

Any rose bush listed at can also be ordered as a GIFT ROSE when you follow the instructions.


(He places his ‘garble’ on a coloured sheet of paper beside my desk weekly and this one has a note at the side which says:  from YOUNG GRA … what is he thinking?  Possibly trying to convince himself that age 72 affords him holidays in the sun … my thought:  Not yet, sunshine, but definitely when this busy rose season is over and meantime, we’ll both keep on dreaming!)

Q.  Why are sausages so bad mannered?  A. They spit in the frypan

Never throw away your old shoes/boots – drill holes in the sole, fill them with potting mix and grow some lovely seedlings like alyssum, calendula, pansies or parsley – all these plants attract beneficial insects which will draw them away from the roses at flowering time.

For the fun of it, paint the shoes/boots and get your kids/grandkids involved in this wonderful outdoor project – beaut fun!

Q.  What did the green grape say to the purple grape?  A.  “breeeeeathe you idiot”

IN CLOSING … enjoy all the moments of your winter garden … it’s a time for pruning and shaping your garden for the glory of another rose flowering season – get down and dirty in your garden while the weather is cool …

cheers from Graham, Diana & Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 16.7.2015

ROSE RAMBLER … 16.7.2015 …

Hello dear rose friends … hardly a day this winter without sun shining through the clouds for at least part of the day has been ideal weather for potting the beautiful quality roses which we have in our nursery this season … until, of course, this past weekend!  BRRRR … lovely rain, sleet, hail – bring on the rain!

As the roses are potted, we always trim the roots so they’re not curled around but sit nicely on a mound of mix at the base and to the side of the pot then top up with our superb coir-fibre potting mix to which slow-release fertilizer is added to sustain the rapid growth of roots and leaves in their first months in a pot.  The newly potted roses are deep-soaked immediately after potting and require maybe weekly/fortnightly watering at the most!!!

DO NOT OVERWATER NEWLY PLANTED ROSE BUSHES!  This is so very, very important as roses are far more able to sustain quality flowering with MINIMAL water – they are very tough, resilient to periods of drought and very WATER-WISE plants so the worst thing you can do to any rose, whether newly planted or well-established, is over-watering!


This past week I’ve been busy keeping up with Diana’s rose potting by ensuring mineral rock-dust is lightly tossed over the potted roses then regular applications of seaweed solution is poured over them to offer the new growth between 3-5 degrees of protection from frosty conditions!

When all the roses are potted we commence our monthly organic rose management spray program in order to maintain healthy, robust foliage.

The program is:  to 10 litres of water add:

  • ¼ cup Eco-rose (fungicide)
  • ¼ cup Eco-oil (insecticide and ‘sticker/spreader’
  • seaweed solution (follow pack directions of the product you use)

This spray program will ensure that aphids will be controlled at the larval stage and thus interrupt their ferocious breeding habits while the ladybirds are still slumbering and waiting for warm spring days.

Your garden is ALIVE when there are all types of insects and birds flitting around – it is IMPERATIVE that every rose garden should have some aphids and other insects.

The Eco-rose – yes, sprayed on bare sticks – will fall onto the soil surface where it will have impact on fungus spores – don’t bother with smelly Lime Sulphur – spray with Eco-rose/fungicide to protect your roses against black spot and powdery mildew!

Q.  What is the definition of a caterpillar?  A. A worm in a fur coat … I would rather have a worm than a caterpillar in my garden and in this weather, I would rather a fur coat than no coat – hope you’re rugged up in this cool blustery gust of winter!  Gra


Lots of emails from customers who have received their roses in the post – I have to say, I admire you all for venturing to purchase roses ‘on-line’ and I so hope that you are pleased with the quality I select – always THE BEST for you because I understand the risk you take!  Please take this advice as I’ve sent to Claire:

“I encourage you to remove at least half of the stems … yes, half!!!  I’m not kidding – if I could send them that way and not have people shocked by the short stems, I would have done it before they left here … we want our customers to think they’ve got value for money by sending the long-stemmed roses to them … please, please – go out tomorrow and cut them down to at least half and if you trust me, take away two thirds … put those sticks in the ground and you may grow some ‘cutting grown’ roses …fun!
Thanks Claire and please keep me posted if you need more advice … cheers … Diana”

from Claire:

I won’t be able to garden tomorrow (work) but I’ll try and mentally get to grips with cutting away those little buds of new growth along with the stems in the meantime. It seems so wrong!  Very best wishes, maybe one day I’ll be sending you photos of lovely blooms. Claire

My response: “I’m giggling… this really is funny … when people come to the nursery, I wait for them to pay for their roses then ask if they would like me to winter prune them … they gasp and some even get cheeky and ask for half their money back because now they’ve only got half what they paid for!  If I was courageous, I would cut all the roses before I send them but I would be inundated with complaints … can’t have that!!! 

What happens when you prune those long canes back about half?  Beautiful water shoots develop from the crown and you end up with a very sturdy bush with masses of flowers … get your head around it today while you work and do it when you next visit the roses!  Enjoy the experience and most especially, enjoy the results!  Cheers … Diana Sargeant

In the coming weeks as more of you order roses, the roses will come to you as cut-back, winter roses – take it as a compliment!  Your new roses have been root pruned and professionally winter pruned so they’re 100% guaranteed to grow exceptionally well in your garden.

Get into pruning your roses NOW… all the bushes and standards will appreciate being pruned with only 30cms of stem remaining – climbers love to be tied back to a frame and pruned according to what size you wish – old-fashioned roses just like to be trimmed by about one-third to one-half of the bush.

Remember that no matter what you do to the roses, apart from over-watering, they will forgive you and bloom again this spring!

Plant some sunshine yellow in your garden – here are a few of our highly recommended varieties … not necessarily in order of preference but all ‘must have’ roses!

A very popular lime-yellow floribunda rose which produces clusters of gloriously fragrant blooms continually.  Glossy, dark green foliage compliments this robust bush which grows to around 1.2 metres tall – stunning rose which has been around forever!

Modern shrub rose of immensely high-health and free-flowering habit.  A medium height shrub 1.2 x 1.2, delightful planted as a group and the flowers are beautiful in the vase – stunning rose!

Indeed a beauty of creamy golden yellow glory with magnificently healthy foliage, abundance of flowers and lovely healthy shrub

Is a beautiful David Austin rose which lends itself to planting as a hedge-row or border for a massive display of continual bloom on a shrub 1.2 x 1.2 – delightful rose which changes colour throughout the season … lovely!

An old, old-time favourite which continues to delight with an amazingly free-flowering profusion – one of the first and most definitely the last rose to flower in gardens everywhere …!

is one of the most endurable cut flower roses which enjoys a very hot, sunny position in your garden – perfect form, long stems of green buds which open to clotted creamy yellow – supreme rose in a warm climate ..

Enjoy contemplating which of these wonderfully sunny roses you would wish to order for planting in your garden this week … all orders through which include one of the above highly recommended roses will receive a ‘FREE’ GOLDEN YELLOW ROSE with our compliments until next Rose Rambler on 23.7.2015.

You can suggest which FREE rose you would like in the COMMENTS section but otherwise, leave it to me and I will send you one of our BEST …

Cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane


ROSE RAMBLER … 9.7.2015 …

Hello dear rose friends … while many of you might be enjoying the winter school holidays, venturing further afield to warmer climates in the Northern Hemisphere or rugged up on the couch, be sure that we rose growers are head-down-bum-up and busy!

Standard roses and later budded yearlings will be dug and sorted, labelled and processed during the next two weeks.  It’s still winter so there is no need to be concerned about planting bare-rooted roses and if your garden bed hasn’t been prepared for planting, you have at least another 8 weeks to get sorted!



I have been planting some of the new release roses and I’m excited by how many worms are actively breeding in the upper layers of soil under the mulch and around the weeds which I’m pulling and feeding to my Langshan chooks who seriously think it is Christmas in July – they’re loving the weeds … leads me to this joke:

Q.  How can you tell which end of a worm is which?  A.  Tickle it in the middle and see which end laughs!

I recommend you use a garden fork when digging in the garden – much less risk of slicing through the worms – also gives you the opportunity of forking drainage holes into the side walls and base of a planting hole which will ensure the ability of roots to penetrate deep into nutrient rich sub-soil.

Just last weekend I pruned these magnificent roses:

A vigorous, healthy bush which produces glorious long-stemmed blooms suitable for a vase

One of the most durable rose blooms on the bush – we grow it as a hedge-rose along the entrance drive into the Rose Farm and it is stunning with a massive proliferation of the darkest red clusters of blooms continually

The longest stemmed rose of most perfect form – I grow it on a standard and can always pick a bunch for a vase inside

Call in during our open times and I’ll happily take you for a personal walk in the garden and pruning demonstration – bring your secateurs with you so that I can show you how to sharpen and clean your pruning equipment … remember, pruning is FUN … Gra

STANDARD ROSES – When you’re out pruning the standard roses, be sure to check the stakes and ties – this a most important task and should be maintained frequently in order to grow beautifully straight stems.

We use and recommend 20mm RIO ROD as the standard stake with VELCRO ONE-WRAP as the tie material – don’t even bother planting standard roses unless you budget for sturdy steel stakes and endurable ties!

Have a beaut week in your garden … Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane