ROSE RAMBLER 18.6.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 18.6.2015

Hello dear rose friends … there is heaps of action here at the Silkies Rose Farm with lots of magnificent bare-rooted plants snuggly bedded down and sorted – still waiting on many rose varieties as you will know if your order hasn’t been processed YET!

Meantime, keep digging and dunging your new rose beds – roses love to go into prepared soil and you will be rewarded for many years with healthy, robust roses if you put a bit of effort into soil preparation NOW!


As the GIFT ROSE grows in popularity, let me give you a few suggestions for when you have an occasion in your life which offers the opportunity of telling your feelings by sending a beautifully gift wrapped rose along with a card inscribed with your own personal message and posted in a magnificently presented gift box.

The name pretty much says it all as this rose is absolutely beautiful with cerise pink, high-centred perfectly formed blooms on the longest stems and an amazing fragrance.
The bush is tall (1.5metres), robust and healthy

Q.  What is the difference between a fly and a bird? 
A.  A bird can fly, but a fly can’t bird …

The ultimate rose to present on the sad occasion of a death; this beautiful rose is sturdy enough for a ‘non-gardener’ to place in their garden and enjoy a proliferation of perfectly formed blooms with a blend of apricot/orange/red throughout the flowering season – glossy foliage compliments the stunning flowers!

Soft pink, highly fragrant and perfectly formed blooms adorn this bush in frequent proliferation throughout the season – such a robust, healthy shrub with a name so appropriate when the occasion arises!

There are way more suggestions on – go take a look but remember that there are no flowers on the roses now but they still look fabulous when beautifully gift wrapped and carded with your personal message by Diana!

Q. What do you get if you cross a tarantula with a rose?  A.  I’m not sure but I wouldn’t try smelling it!

I’ll be doing a ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATION – this SATURDAY AFTERNOON – 2.00pm see you there!  Gra


If you’re considering having a ‘serious prune’ of your rose garden this year, let me suggest you contact or phone: 0402 352 843 to book rose pruning this season … he’s ‘amazing’ on hedge pruning too!

Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 11.6.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 11.6.2015

Hello dear rose friends … let’s go straight into GRA’S GARBLE because he’s telling us what to do when planting new roses in your garden…


  • Dig a really rough hole (with a fork so you don’t slice the worms … ouch!) at least 45 x 45cm (like about the length of your boot plus a bit)
  • Place the soil into a wheelbarrow and blend at least two shovels full of well composted medium to your existing soil
  • Put a bucket of water in the hole and let it soak in – you could add seaweed solution if you want
  • Fork the base and side walls of the hole so that the newly formed roots can easily penetrate the soil
  • Make a mound of soil and spread the roots of your new rose over that mound; backfill with the soil/compost blend
  • Tamp around the main stem with your boot so that the rose is very firmly planted right up to the bud union then add another layer of light soil
  • Soak the entire area with the hose then pour a watering can of seaweed solution over the plant and surrounding soil
  • Place layer of lucerne/pea straw mulch for about a square metre over the soil around the rose
  • Prune each stem down to 20-30cms in length then stand back and admire that you have given this new rose every possible goodness to get on with flowering!

This is the crown/bud union/scion … plant right up to where you see Virginia’s finger!


  • DO NOT put fertilizer of any description in the planting hole as it might burn the newly forming roots
  • DO NOT dig a perfectly square hole – rough walls allow roots and water to easily penetrate even heavy clay soils
  • DO NOT OVERWATER – if you soaked the soil to an absolute slurry at planting then watered over with seaweed solution, the rose should not require much water until shoots start to appear and even then, check soil moisture before watering no less than 20 litres per rose, per week – at each watering – deep soaking to root zone!

Q.  What do you call a skeleton that doesn’t get out of bed?  A.  (Easy peasy) LAZY BONES!


Yes, put all your garden weeds into a hessian bag (except the creepy-crawlies like couch grass just to be on the safe side!) and dunk the bag into a wheelie bin or other 30-40 litre receptacle with a lid – place in a sunny location away from the house!  It might stink!!!  Leave the bag soaking for at least three weeks.

Put 2-3 litres of brew into a watering can then fill it with water and pour liberally over garden beds and plants at least once a month – you could add seaweed powder/solution.

Since worms are in their breeding season from May to October, they will love this liquid feed; soil microbes will be increased and residual fertilizer is made readily available to plant roots by this application.

Grab a copy of a MOON PLANTING GUIDE which will indicate when is the most effective time to remove weeds from your garden and then use the weeds to productively increase the micro-culture of your soil – your roses and veggies will grow superbly!!!

Q.  Why did the skeleton run up a tree?  A.  Because the dog wanted his bones

This Sunday morning I’ll be on 3CR radio (855 AM band Melbourne) from around 8.00 and I would be pleased to take a call from you (03) 9419 8377 or (03) 9419 0155 then come along to a pruning demo in the afternoon at 2.00pm SUNDAY 14TH JUNE at SILKIES ROSE FARM.

There will be pruning demonstrations here at the Rose Farm continually through June/July and August – stay posted for a date in every edition of this R/R – see you soon … Gra


Thank you all for purchasing our stunning quality bare-rooted roses – please prune all the roses we are sending to you … they look like this when they arrive (we’re just bragging by selling them so BIG)

We urge you to prune them to 20-30cms stems when you plant them so they look like this which is what we do when we pot them:

No secrets anymore, we’ve started pruning … I suppose on the one hand you might say:  “if we don’t start now, how do we ever get the job done with such a lot of roses to prune?” but there’s also the variables of the weather to contend with – if we prune late, the new shoots may be damaged by severe October/November frost – there might be early frosts and we could be caught out … what the heck, we’re both ‘head down, bum up’ at every opportunity – come and watch us … and select some of the most amazingly beautiful bare-rooted roses while you’re here …

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



Hello dear rose friends … welcome to all the new subscribers – hope your journey with us is fun and assists you to grow beautiful roses in your garden!

Another month flew on by … winter is here now and this is TRADITIONAL ROSE SEASON – time for the roses to rest after a heady season of fragrant flowering; time to get nicked and tucked – pruned that is – or planted in anticipation of another glorious season.

Q. Name the four seasons?   A. Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Amazing moment of awe for me when Gra and son Eric drove into the Rose Farm last week with the van and a hire trailer loaded with 4,288 roses.  All needed dipping, labelling, sorting for orders – yes, a mammoth task but this year we are soooo organised and it will all be a breeze.  PLEASE wait for the phone call or email because not ALL the roses came in this consignment – standard roses will come in LATE JUNE!

Awesome quality – brilliant roses which are loved from the moment the understock is cut and planted, budded and then nurtured with quality fertilizer, seaweed solution and watering for the past two years – any wonder we don’t hesitate offering you a 100% guarantee that our roses will give you years of pleasure once planted in your garden.


PRUNING … ah, the moments when men grizzle about the prickles, ladies gripe – “he cut them way too much”.  Girls, take up arms – good sharp Lowe secateurs and a beaut pair of protective gloves which you can purchase in our online store at and get stuck into pruning your roses – it’s the best fun you’ll have in a long time!

Allow pruning your roses as an opportunity to release your pent up emotions and frustrations – be totally purposeful and make every single snip count – as you make each cut and remove the branch, toss out one less trouble in your life.  Pruning is very cathartic when you allow it to be.

Guys, you’re hereby given permission to stand back and watch – if this works in your household as it does in ours!  Here at the Silkies Rose Farm, I have my rose gardens and Diana has hers – I’m a gentle pruner, Diana is mercenary – both ways work for the roses!

Q. What does the word ‘benign’ mean?  A. Benign is what you will be after you be eight.

I’ll do the first ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATIONS here at

Bring your pruning equipment with you for assessment and sharpening
$15.00 per person – funds donated to CLONBINANE C.F.A.

With fine weather expected this weekend, come and join us for pruning and a cuppa to toast the Queen on her birthday!  You’re welcome to call 5787 1123 to book your place – see you then – Gra

ALLABOUTROSES.COM.AU is our website where you will find all back issues of ROSE RAMBLER and a host of helpful information about growing roses; there is an extensive ‘encyclopaedia of roses’ too!  It is my intention to see this as a location for interaction between our customers and for the site to be used as a great learning tool where we can share ideas, photos of your rose garden and generally make it the destination when you want to know all about roses – take a look and start sharing please.


Rug up and get down and dirty in your garden this weekend

~ Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 28.5.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 28.5.2015

Hello dear rose friends … sometimes I do a bit of ‘googling’ and I found this brilliant article on EPSOM SALTS.  As you know, when we have something of interest worth sharing, we feel obliged to share … please do note that we HAVE NOT TRIALLED this product and hope that you will share with all subscribers how you go when you use it for your roses … I’m most interested in trialling this for weed eradication – I think it would work on a warm sunny day so let’s all give it a go and report back to R/R with results … can’t wait to hear from you …

  1. Improve seed germination … Give your garden a boost right from the start! Magnesium helps seed germination and strengthens cell walls. Incorporate one cup of salt per 100 square feet of soil or mix a tablespoon or two into soil at the bottom of each hole before dropping in seeds.
  2. Help nutrient absorption … Commercial fertilisers often add magnesium to help roots absorb nutrients so go straight to the source. Add Epsom salt to soil to improve absorption naturally.
  3. Turn yellow foliage green … Yellowing leaves are often caused by a magnesium deficiency, as magnesium is an essential component in the production of chlorophyll. Try sprinkling one-tablespoon of Epsom salt around the soil of your plants once a month. You could also mix one tablespoon of salt into three litres of water and spray directly on leaves.
  4. Prevent leaf curling… Leaf curling may also be caused by a lack of magnesium so add Epsom salt to the soil around the base of the plant or spray with the above mix of Epsom salt and water.
  5. Weed killer … This natural weed killer works a treat. Mix two cups of Epsom salt with four litres of vinegar. Add four tablespoons of liquid dishwasher and put mixture into spray bottle.
  6. Beautiful roses … It seems the secret to beautiful roses might just be Epsom salts. Not only do they help roses produce larger blossoms in greater numbers, it makes colour richer, foliage darker and stronger plants. When planting, soak roots in half a cup of Epsom salt diluted in three litres of water. Sprinkle Epsom salt in the hole prior to planting. Once per month during growing, sprinkle one tablespoon of Epsom salt per feet of plant height around the base of plant.


Following on from using Epsom Salts (Magnesium) let me tell you that there are FOUR ESSENTIAL “M’s” which need to be maintained in order for the soil to produce healthy, robust roses and they are:  MINERALS, MICROBES, MOISTURE and MULCH.

MINERALS – since most Australian soils are mineral deficient, I add rock dust at the rate of one handful per square metre to all garden beds at least twice a year.  I can prove it increases earthworm activity and definitely produces the best tasting fruit and vegetables whilst reducing fungus issues on our roses!

Q. What witches do you find in the desert?  A.  SandwiTches.

MICROBES – are essential to break down and make fertilizer available to plants.  You cannot see the microbes but they are in all healthy soil where compost and mulch are regularly applied and are a vital component for robust plant growth.

MOISTURE – during most winters we rely on rain to naturally supply the moisture necessary for our gardens to flourish however, it is imperative to be watchful!  Frost dehydrates plants so to reduce severe frost damage don’t hesitate turning the watering system on!

Q.  What do you call a witch who likes the beach but is scared of the water?  A. A chicken sandwiTch. 

MULCH – probably the most important “M” because it conserves and improves the dynamic of all the above!  Without mulch, moisture is evaporated, microbes cannot flourish and minerals will be depleted by soil erosion.  Never, ever remove mulch in winter to supposedly increase soil temperature!!!

For that matter, never, ever remove mulch FULL STOP – rather be diligent and add mulch of lucerne/pea straw/wheat straw/leaves/compost because mulch is such a vital component of healthy soil!

WHAT ARE THE VERY BEST RED ROSES you should have in your garden?

Here are a few of our favourites which are each very different but definitely sure to please if you love red roses in your garden and love to pick them for a vase:

Probably the best form of any red Hybrid Tea … stunningly healthy bush which always produces a bunch of roses which last forever in the vase.  Extremely healthy dark green foliage, lovely fragrance and unfading red red!

With a fragrance to die for, perfect form, dark, unfading red with black edges and a magnificent tall, healthy bush which produces blooms suitable for long-life in a vase, this rose meets all the criteria!

Our ‘most sold rose for 2014/15 season’ is an ‘old favourite’, probably the most ‘well-known’ RED rose and without doubt, a brilliant performer where you want a very tall, long-stemmed, highly fragrant dark red rose.

If you’re looking for the very best RED CLIMBING ROSE, you won’t ever do better than the supremely healthy, extraordinarily free flowering, most easy care DUBLIN BAY which has a light fragrance and very long-lasting blooms – awesome!


Things are ‘ramping up’ for a new rose season with our first consignment of roses being processed at the Silkies Rose Farm today so place your order online at or call me on (03) 5787 1123 – remember too, if you need advice about designing a rose garden at your place, we offer a FREE ROSE GARDEN DESIGN which can easily be done through email or bring your ideas, dimensions and some pics when you visit Clonbinane.

Our roses are 100% guaranteed to grow beautifully in your garden …
yeah, it’s a whole NEW ROSE SEASON …
cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 21.05.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 21.5.2015

ROSE RAMBLER – 21.05.2015

Hello dear rose friends … as the season for pruning roses draws near, let us give you some of the best advice to set you in good stead to make your pruning task one of pleasure both for you and your roses –

  • See the task as a pleasure rather than a chore
  • Always use sharp, clean pruning equipment
  • Wear gloves for confidence and to protect your skin
  • Prune more rather than less
  • Be the boss, have confidence – take control!

So many of our customers rave about the great secateurs we use and promote – the Lowe anvil secateurs is so beautiful to use – fits your hand like a glove, cuts through the hardest, old wood like a dream and is easy to clean and sharpen along the way …

While you’re pruning, stop every now and again to sharpen the secateurs – this little tool will fit into your pouch or pocket and a couple of firm swipes along both sides of the blade ensures the secateurs are sharp throughout the exercise.

This pruning gear is available on our website

If you have a large garden (as we do) with lots of roses to prune, you might consider treating yourself to the PELLENC battery secateurs/hedger – for more information about this equipment, please call our son ERIC SARGEANT on 0402 352 843 or 03 5429 6824 – I would NEVER be able to prune the gardens here without this amazing pruning gear!

Some of you might remember that I had an option of a diamond ring or PELLENC for our special wedding anniversary some years ago … I have never, ever, ever rued the day I chose the new pruning gear and I love every moment I spend with my PELLENC equipment – one of my most prized possessions!!!



Wheat/oats/broad beans/peas/silver beet or any plant that grows a green ‘top’ can be sown in open soil with a view to be turned into the soil for green manure.  Of course, this gardening practice was used by farmers before chemical fertilizers became so readily available so what does this plant material do when turned into the soil in spring?

  • Gives a healthy, balanced soil loaded with nutrient rich in organic matter
  • Feeds earthworms which are breeding madly now to October
  • Nourishes soil microbes – we cannot see them but they are there!
  • Retains moisture – acts like a sponge
  • Helps retain top soil

Any green manure crops can be planted around rose bushes and other plants – they’re my excuse for allowing ‘weeds’ in my rose gardens – Diana goes and weeds the garden, I go out and plant wheat!  It’s MY garden … OUR argument … oh, what fun!

Q.  Why did the cookie go to the Doctor?  A.  He was feeling really crummy!

Did you know that in around 1781 the first roses came out of China on ‘Tea Clippers’ (sailing boats) into Europe – what a boomer – these roses flowered for 9 months of the year and were the breeding stock of what we now call HYBRID TEA roses – the first registered HYBRID TEA rose is LA FRANCE which is the parent of many of the roses you love today!

Q.  What do you get if you cross a crocodile with a camera?  A.  A snap shot

Be sure to take lots of pics and most surely breathe the glorious autumn fragrance of the last roses of this flowering season – Gra


it’s been such a delight to get out and about speaking to Garden Clubs and groups who are interested in our story – if you would like us to come and speak at your Club, please contact us 03 5787 1123 for more information.

~ Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 14.5.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 14.5.2015

Hello dear rose friends … oooohhh, it’s so cold and bleak with rain showers and then lovely sunny breaks – such typical autumn weather in Victoria and our roses are shivering so hard, they’re defoliating at a rapid rate.  Do we go around and remove all that spent foliage?  No, of course not!  It would be physically impossible to do so but we also believe that even though there are mildew spores on the felled foliage, the soil, being a complex mass of fungi, deals with those spores and probably welcomes the addition of rose fungus to enhance the existing range … is it possible?  I seriously think so!

Also, as soon as the roses are pruned sometime from June-August, we commence the organic spray management program and because there is no foliage on the rose plants, the spray will cover the mulch/rose leaves/soil with fungicide and seaweed solution reducing the possibility of fungus proliferation.



Want to hide an ugly wall with a climbing rose?  Whilst visiting our friends Lynda and Chris we saw this brilliant idea in several locations in the gardens they manage so beautifully – fencing panels which might otherwise have been sent to the tip, attached to brick walls by means of a few metal hooks screwed into the brick render. Looks fantastic, offers enduring support for a climbing rose and is so DIY easy …


Q.  Did you hear about the father who drowned in a bowl of muesli?
A.  A strong current pulled him under …

These guys are dealing with possums eating the roses so Chris devised this maybe not so visually inspiring but seriously effective method of stopping the possums from chewing PIERRE DE RONSARD which was screeching out …

THANK YOU, THANK YOU and performing beautifully since the possums were stopped from running along the post – the barrier was created using a plastic rubbish tin lid!


Thanks to Chris and Lynda for sharing their magnificent gardens with us – we hope that if we ever need to go into an Aged Care Facility, it has such delightful gardens as what they have created for residents at Lynden to enjoy and be inspired by!

Q.  Why have you got a light bulb on your head?  A. I’m trying to get some bright ideas!


It’s the most rewarding fun to see your own rose seedlings emerge and I would love you to come and learn all about this and a whole lot more about roses on…

– 11am – 2pm BYO lunch

and we’ll put the billy on for a cuppa … $25.00 per attendee – we’ll donate this money to CLONBINANE CFABook NOW because I will restrict numbers for this session – call Diana, my Secretary, on 03 5787 1123 to book your place!


If you would like to donate to the Nepal Disaster, let us suggest a very ‘safe’ place to donate – the ROTARY CLUB OF SOUTHERN MITCHELL will put funds towards SHELTER BOX (a fully self-contained, Australian made survival kit) and I promise you that when you donate money to a Rotary International Project, ALL your dollars will go directly to the cause you intend so please donate now:

Southern Mitchell Rotary Club
BSB – 063 698
Account Number – 10175830

Please provide your name and “Nepal Shelter Box” when doing direct debit.

Have a beaut week in your garden … cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi



Hello dear rose friends …

‘There is no velvet as soft as a mother’s lap, no rose as lovely as her smile, no path as flowery as that imprinted with her footsteps.’  Archibald Thompson 

We will make it for some glorious rose blooms this Mother’s Day as some of the roses revel in autumn weather and do their absolute best to ensure we maintain our passion for their beauty right to the very end of what has been an amazing flowering season!


Let her come to the nursery or shop online for her own selection of our magnificent roses and to seriously indulge your Mum, let us add $10 to every voucher over $50.00 for this very special occasion to celebrate the Mother in your life …


*We will know which vouchers are Mother’s Day gifts and will add the $10 at our end!

Still no frost here as the magnificent DAHLIA in our front garden continues to flower as it has been since Christmas Day last year.  We rely on this beauty as our ‘frost detector’ because it will turn black overnight and wilt into dormancy until next season … no, please don’t ask me its name – I just know we revel in the bright red, profuse flowering glory of this plant for at least three months every year – this year it’s exceeded expectations as we move into 5 months of flowers!

You see, we do grow and enjoy lots of other plants besides roses but still think roses are far greater value than lots of other flowering plants for their continual, free-flowering habit over such a very, very long season, their amazing fragrances and spectacular, variable beauty in size, colour and shape of blooms!  Are we biased …???  Nah!  Just truthful!

Let me share this magnificent photograph of CLIMBING GOLD BUNNY which I received from Megan … as long as you fertilize and dead-head this beauty while it’s flowering, you are guaranteed a continual mass of blooms throughout the season – it will be the first to flower and almost surely, the last to flower in your garden …


While on a short break last week, Diana and I walked through a couple of public rose gardens – impressive to see that although roses are untended, they seem to flourish and I was able to ‘nick’ a few seed pods (hips) of varieties which I would like to grow seedlings from – do you know how to do this?

On topic just a short digress for a joke:   Q.  What would you get if you crossed a vampire with a teacher?  A.  Lots of blood tests.

It’s the most rewarding fun to see your own rose seedlings emerge and I would love you to come and learn all about this and a whole lot more about roses on

SATURDAY, 16TH MAY – 11am – 2pm BYO lunch
and we’ll put the billy on for a cuppa … $25.00 per attendee – we’ll donate this money to CLONBINANE CFA.  Book NOW because I will restrict numbers for this session
– call Diana, my Secretary, on 03 5787 1123 to book your place!

I know I tend to harp on it but gee, these are interesting stats from a report in UK …

“We know that there are an array of benefits for people who get outdoors and get their hands in the soil. They include being active, getting fresh air, and meeting others. What we would now like to see is more GPs signposting their patients into these outdoor growing activities as a more cost effective way of keeping people healthy.”  Sarah Williams, project manager for Growing Health.

Dr Middleton said: “Gardening, horticulture and agriculture provide a healthy form of exercise but also help people, if they are growing vegetables and fruit for instance, to understand what a healthy diet is.”

Gardening should be used increasingly to help with public health and I think doctors should be recommending this to patients. The projects give patients both physical and mental benefits as well as helping to reduce social isolation, loneliness and depression.T

It is believed that every £1 the NHS spends on outdoor schemes saves £5 in treatments”

Our Australian figures would measure the same so be sure and enjoy lots of gardening activities – no matter what the weather is and today, I went and had my flu immunisation  so this last joke is kind of relevant:

Q.  What kind of cough medicine does Dracula take?  A.  Coffin medicine

– enjoy the moments in your garden this week and see you soon at Clonbinane where the roses are still flowering and the autumn trees a delight … Gra


We wish all the Mothers a very special, enjoyable and relaxing Mother’s Day  and take time out to enjoy what pleases you most!

If you’re up early, Graham will be on the panel at 3CR talk-back radio gardening show on Sunday from 7.30 – 9.15am.  This is great Sunday morning radio at 855 on the AM dial … listen in and give him a call!!!

~ Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 30.4.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 30.4.2015

It’s a breath away from another new month and getting closer to winter when our roses will take a rest so the wonderful blooms you are still getting need to be sniffed and enjoyed all the more right now!

Walking in the nursery the other day with one of my lads and I was extolling the virtue of APRICOT NECTAR … note the different shades in this magnificent old queen of the rose garden – always flowering, delightfully fragrant, suitable for a hedge, wonderful cut flower – aaahh!

and he said to me:  “Don’t you ever get sick of them Mum?” … oh gosh, how could I … no, not ever and he didn’t question my passion because he loves them too!

The roses are just so tolerant of all weather conditions and especially the potted roses are amazing; how would you like to be stuffed into 20cm x 20cm and expected to produce such beauty?  They do, but it’s time now to see them planted in gardens so … come visit us at Clonbinane to take advantage of this very special offer …

FROM $110 TO $78 – save $32

FROM $220 TO $148 – save $72

This offer includes all bush roses, climbing roses, Austin & Delbard roses


The mid to long range forecast is for a wet winter!!!

Autumn is such a great time to plant and transplant roses (and other plants) because there is good moisture in the WARM soil which will allow establishment of strong root systems for future seasons of healthy plant growth.  To transplant an established rose:

  • Use a sharp spade and have the new site well prepared with a rough hole filled with existing soil and well-rotted manure/compost.
  • Trim the rose to a manageable size – make it easy for yourself!
  • Dig to a depth of at least 30cms and 20cms wide of the crown (bud union – where you see all the established flowering stems);
  • Get under the plant and lift it after you have cut the roots all around;
  • Take the rose to its new location on a bag or maybe in the wheelbarrow – DO NOT LET IT DRY OUT at any time during relocation!
  • Give it a really good prune before replanting – remove all old wood and trim the roots to fit the new hole;
  • Place in the new site, backfill and saturate the hole; yes, tamp the soil down around the crown firmly with your BOOT!
  • Top up with friable soil, a light layer of mulch and saturate with seaweed solution – no less than a 10 litre watering-can poured all over each transplanted rose!
  • DO NOT OVERWATER … let the plant settle in its new location and check soil moisture before watering again with seaweed solution, 10 litres per week will be more than adequate during autumn/winter.

Q.  Why don’t dogs make good dancers?  A.  Because they have two left feet!

Did you know that earthworms (the soil ‘wonder workers’) come close to the soil surface and start breeding between May and October?

Because worms feed on mulch and organic matter be sure to have at least 50mm of mulch on all garden beds – lucerne cut into 50mm lengths and pea straw are excellent mulch because they provide natural nitrogen, feed soil microbes and worms!  Rake the fallen autumn leaves onto garden beds if you don’t like to see them in the street gutter or on the lawn – the worms will love them!

Q.  What did the dog say when he sat on sandpaper?  A. “Ruff”, “ruff”


Had a lovely email from a customer about this treasure destination for rose lovers …

Hi Diana,

Just a quick note.  We have not been to the State Rose Garden for many years.  Our first visit was disappointing with hardly any of the roses named, and generally a ‘work in progress’.

Last week we visited and WOW we were impressed!  You encouraged us to go by telling us how happy the roses are in the autumn and they were.  Most were still blooming quite happily, with all the roses named, and with the beds and pathways formed, it was such a pleasure to wander around.
We are so pleased that we made the journey and will return in mid spring for another rose feast.

Hope this finds you Graham and Mooi well.

Go well armed with camera, notebook and sturdy walking shoes
– it’s a large park and so worthy of a day out!

Enjoy your rose garden this week …
cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 23.4.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 23.4.2015

What a wonderful weekend it was at Tesselaar’s Plant Expo; there’s no doubt about it, we gardeners are all quite mad because we go out in all kinds of weather!  Perfect on Saturday but we huddled closely under umbrellas and any shelter on Sunday in the cold wind and driving rain – nice to be so up close and personal with those of you who braved the elements to visit us at the Expo – THANK YOU!

As expected, the flowers withstood the elements – picked in a field where there was no water, laid in the back of the van and transported for more than one hour!!!  Their stems were re-cut prior to vasing and they immediately responded – rained on out in the open each night but everybody commented on the magnificent fragrance and stunning beauty that lured them into our site


We try and write concise messages about how to manage your roses and I suppose, sometimes we don’t quite get it totally right because we are doing it every day and it comes natural to us – here are a few emails from  the past week which I am sure you will benefit from reading:


I religiously read all of the newsletters that you send me and I have a question to ask regarding the regular spraying of the mix of Eco Rose, Eco Oil and Seaweed solution.

1 Do I need to also water it into the soil or only spray on the foliage?
2. Does it matter if I also spray my other flowers and small bushes and the small trees such as Buddleja and Lilac trees with the same mix, or should I leave out the Eco Rose and use only the Seaweed solution for the other plants.

I have lost some of the older roses recently so I am taking more care with the younger ones.  We have very poor clay soil here and even though we plant them in a good soil mix I think that after a while they suffer when their roots reach the clay.  Actually our most successful roses are the ones in pots.  Some of the standard roses have grown quite big and been in the large pots for years.

Thank you  … Jenny


Hi Jenny … thank you for your enquiry.  You spray the foliage to run-off which means residual goes to the soil anyway … after pruning in winter, you might purposely spray over the mulch to reduce fungal spores.  All plants will benefit from the spray program – especially fruit trees, lots of vegetables and most ornamentals!  Seaweed solution can be used directly on the soil at all/any times to improve plant health – it is NOT fertilizer – pour it from the watering can very liberally for all plants and extremely important for potted plants!

I don’t believe that clay is ‘poor soil’ because once the rose roots get down into the clay, they usually flourish unless they are drowning due to poor drainage – mulching clay will encourage worms to come to the surface and do the aerating (digging) for you … this takes time but is very good gardening practice!!!

Potted roses should be repotted at least every TWO years at which time you heavily prune the roots and bush/standard prior to repotting!

Hope this answers your queries … cheers – Diana

Not bragging but another email which came to my inbox after midnight warms the cockles of my heart and makes this journey all so very worthwhile:

Hi Diana

I received your magnificent book today and I am up till late reading every word and enjoying the photos.

I have grown many of these roses and have loved them all. Not surprised to read that Jardins de Bagatelle is one of your favourites :) When I was visiting Paris about five years ago I travelled to the Bagatelle gardens amongst others.

I love your book. It’s a good, sensible reference for any rose grower, beginner to experienced. I hope to get to your talk at Tessallars on Saturday.

Cheers … Michelle.


Bit knackered this week after the Tesselaar Plant Expo last weekend but I’ve got this to share:  a lot of non-living objects are actually either male or female; hope this makes you laugh like I did …

They are male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

Also a male object, because to get them to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under their butt.

These are female, because they are soft, squeezable and retain water.

Female, because they’re constantly being looked at and frequently getting hit on.

Egg timers are female because, over time, all the weight shifts to the bottom.

Male, because in the last 5000 years, they’ve hardly changed at all, and are occasionally handy to have around.

Female. Ha! You probably thought it would be male, but consider this: It easily gives a man pleasure, he’d be lost without it, and while he doesn’t always know which buttons to push, he just keeps trying.

Respecting the ANZACS, we’ll be open for business after midday till 4.30pm on Saturday and we suggest you might drive by the Wandong township to see the ‘new’ memorial garden which we have had the pleasure of planting and managing over the past 18 months … these pics are only a very small part of the whole garden – please do take a look if you’re coming up our way …

Enjoy quiet, reflective moments in your garden this very special weekend for all Australians …
cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane 

ROSE RAMBLER 16.4.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 16.4.2015

ROSE RAMBLER – 16th April 2015

Hello dear rose friends – what a sensational weekend we had with the friendly groups who came for the Art Expo & Rose Tours and enjoyed Ben’s awesome scones, Cooper’s delightful chat, Virginia’s gorgeous smile and Graham’s walk and talk in the garden … oops, where was I?  All about the place and enjoying every single moment of the magnificent weather and company … taking pics like this one…


GOD to ST. FRANCIS: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature.   What in the world is going on down there on the planet?   What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago?  I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan.  Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon.  The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds.  I expected to see a vast garden of colours by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles. 

ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass. 

GOD: Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colourful.  It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms.  It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.  

GOD:  The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS:  Apparently not, Lord.   As soon as it grows a little, they cut it – sometimes twice a week.  

GOD:  They cut it?  Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord.  Most of them rake it up and put it in bags. 

GOD: They bag it?  Why?  Is it a cash crop?  Do they sell it? 

ST. FRANCIS:  No, Sir, just the opposite.  They pay to throw it away. 

GOD: Now, let me get this straight.  They fertilize grass so it will grow.  And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?  

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.  

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat.  That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS:  You aren’t going to believe this, Lord.  When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it. 

GOD:  What nonsense.  At least they kept some of the trees.  That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.  The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer.  In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.

ST. FRANCIS:  You better sit down, Lord.  The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle.  As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away. 

GOD:  No ! ?  What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS:  After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch.  They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves. 

GOD:  And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS:  They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch. 

GOD:  Enough!  I don’t want to think about this anymore.

St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts.  What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE:  ‘Dumb and Dumber’, Lord.   It’s a story about . . . . 

GOD:  Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.


Q.  What did the pastor say when a bee entered his church?  A.  Please bee leave! 

Take time now to prepare garden beds for planting new roses this winter!  Why?  Because the roses will flourish and produce way more flowers in their lifetime if you prepare the planting holes like this NOW:

  • Dig a really rough hole 250mm x 250mm at least so that roots easily penetrate the clay wall
  • Mix a bucket full of well-rotted manure/bagged compost/leaves or combination of all blended with some organic fertilizer
  • Back-fill the hole with all the soil and compost blend – mounded up if necessary!
  • Water the area at least weekly with 10 litres of water and seaweed solution

Q.  Why was the teacher cross-eyed?  A.  Because he couldn’t control his pupils!


18th & 19th of April

The Tesselaar Gardening and Plants Expo has kindly allowed us to share their promotion with our loyal readers!

We’ll be at this event! Do come up to Silvan in the Dandenongs, east of Melbourne, where the autumn trees are spectacular and the Tesselaar Garden Expo hosts some of the most professional nurseries in Victoria … A REAL GARDENERS EVENT!

A must for all green thumbs and budding gardeners!

There is a lot to look forward to at the annual Tesselaar Gardening and Plants Expo
this weekend:

The incomparable Stephen Ryan hosts the free Experts Talks program, highlighting special guest speakers; David Glenn of Lambley Nursery, Attilla Kapitany of Australian Succulents and many more expert speakers cover a range of practical topics. See the website for the full details and timetable.

As a valued Tesselaar subscriber, we have included a “Buy 1 ticket, get your 2nd ticket free” offer. Simple present the below voucher at the gate to redeem your free ticket.

We can’t wait to welcome you to this fabulous weekend.

The Tesselaar family

9am until 4pm
18th & 19th April, 2015
357 Monbulk road, SILVAN

$16 – Adults
$13 – Concession
Available online or at the gate.

Your subscriber Voucher

Hope we see you gasping at our cut flower display up at
Tesselaars Plant Expo this coming weekend

– cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane