The ‘Black Boy’ rose saga


Dear Diana and Graham,

You suggested emailing you with mystery rose images, and I’m very happy to oblige. The attached mystery red was sold to me as Alister Clark’s ‘Black Boy’ [I have the label still; it originally came from Rankins]. But a serious rosarian friend who has collected almost all Alister Clarks known saw the plant alone and told me this was not Black Boy. Seeing the blooms, it was obvious even to me that indeed it is not Black Boy, which is less double and has flimsy transparent untidy petals.

My plant is acting like a climber. It is a repeat bloomer and is very fragrant. I’m sorry it’s not Black Boy, because I am told my great grandfather had that rose growing in his garden on St Georges Rd in North Fitzroy, and I wanted to have it in his honour. But the rose I DO have is extremely nice in its opulent, velvety and rich way. I’d love to know what it really is.

Suggestions so far have included ‘Countess Of Stradbroke’, another A Clark, ‘Climbing Crimson Glory’ and ‘Climbing Chrysler Imperial’. I don’t think it’s Chrysler Imperial because the red is wrong. Mine is more pinkish crimson.

So I’d be grateful if people could cast their eye over my pics and give me the benefit of their knowledge.

I hope your stall at the show was a good experience and that you are reaping benefits. Thanks for bringing along the beautiful rugosas, which I had only ever seen as wintry looking bare roots, masses of fearsome prickes on hugely robust looking leafless twiggy plants, on a farm.

Best wishes,


All the rose pictures which you can see on this site and our related sites, and are photos taken by myself, DIANA SARGEANT, Consulting Rosarian, so I can assure you that they are accurate replications of the roses as named. It is my intention to provide you with several pictures of each rose so that you can enjoy the seasonal variables that occur with most varieties of roses.

It is important that you continue to visit us here to view updates and news of events, reviews of new rose varieties and general information relative to gardening.


She’s going to be 14 years old in July this year and you MUST take time to visit her when you come to visit the Rose Farm.
We originally had two dingoes but sadly, ‘Chienne’ succumbed to an altercation with a tiger snake a few years back. Her grave is near ‘The Children’s Rose’ in the garden south of our home.
‘Bonnie’ resides in the huge run on the eastern side of the house and you may see her when you drive through the main entrance of the Rose Farm – usually sitting up on her ‘pedestal’ … the massive log where underneath she has created her den.
Unfortunately, we cannot let ‘Bonnie’ roam free in the gardens during Rose Farm open hours … the grass, for her, is definitely greener on the other side of our fence and she has very little road sense so she is confined to her pen when the farm gates are open!
We believe that ‘Bonnie’ protects our Rose Farm from kangaroos and other native animals because she leaves her scent around the Rose Farm. She wakes Graham in the night by pawing his side of the bed when she knows she needs to go out and let the ferals be aware she is here! (I got up for the kids all those years, now it’s Graham’s turn to be woken in the night and he does it so graciously for his ‘other girl’!)
If you arrive here around closing time at 4.30 you’ll probably find the gates closed because ‘Bonnie’ howls some time after 4.00 since it’s her feeding time and also time for her to be free in the gardens – toot your car horn and I’ll come and open the gate for you!

3CR Radio

On the second Sunday of every month, either Diana or Graham Sargeant, both Consulting Rosarians and the owners of Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane, are part of the panel of gardening experts on Community Radio, 3CR, Melbourne, located at 855 on the am band. The 3CR Garden Show airs every Sunday between 7.30am – 9.15am and is purported to be the very best gardening radio program because gardeners who phone on (03)9419 8377 or (03)9419 0155 are given good time to consult with the expert volunteer panel. Diana has been presenting on 3CR for thirteen years and hasn’t missed a Radiothon in all those years. Twice every year, the Community Radio conducts a Radiothon in order to raise funds to enable the station to provide alternative programs to suit all styles of cultural and ethnic groups. The Garden Show Radiothon is a time when gardeners can make a donation in return for a host of fantastic products, books and other items relative to gardening. Tune-in to 3CR from the comfort of your bed or while you’re out pruning your roses on any Sunday morning and be entertained and informed by a great range of horticultural experts who, between them, will find the solution for any of your gardening queries.

Rose Rambler 07/3/2013

Hello dear rose friends … lovely Autumn is here with us for the next three months – time to get out and seriously enjoy the beauty of gardening!  This is such a great time to plant roses since the soil is still warm, the roses have been in their pots for a few months and right now they’re ready to florish in the open ground.  Planting roses in the Autumn will mean that they’ll settle in well before Winter when you will give them a light prune and by next Spring you have yourself a magnificent established rose garden!

OUR MISSION STATEMENT … It’s timely to remind you of our Mission Statement which has been hanging in our shop for more than 15 years:

1.         Advance the enjoyment of rose gardening;
2.         Educate the public to make gardening simple and fun;
3.         Encourage people to be aware of our environment;
4.         Provide information on the latest research into horticulture and landscaping;
5.         Promote ideas to enable people to be creative in their own gardens.

We are most interested to have your comments as to whether your experience of our business is that we are meeting our commitment to the Mission Statement and to encourage a response, we are offering you 10% off any purchases (plants and products) during the month of March.  To redeem this offer, please email your testimonial and I will send you a voucher … thank you in advance!

ROSE OF THE WEEK … This stunning rose absolutely excels in the cooler weather when it retains a depth of colour, so exclusively all it’s own … “ASHRAM” has lovely dark glossy foliage and the beautiful crimson new shoots add a glorious dimension to the deep burnt-orange flowers.  Fragance is light and every rose is perfect for a vase!

WHAT TO DO IN THE GARDEN THIS WEEK …  If you haven’t fertilized your roses, now would be a perfect time to feed and because of the recent rain, you should also do the rose maintenance spray program now and again in two weeks to ensure that the rose foliage stays protected against the humidity.  Give the roses a little TLC now and you will enjoy a bountiful display of flowers right up until the Winter.

Saw this saying in my diary this week … pertinent to gardening throughout this past Summer …

If you can find a path with no obstacles,
it probably doesn’t lead anywhere!  

Enjoy the roses in your garden this week …

Cheers from Diana & Graham Sargeant at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.