ROSE RAMBLER 18.9.2014


ROSE RAMBLER … 18.9.2014

Hello dear rose friends … brilliant news to get you off the couch and out into the garden … since yesterday and for nearly a whole week until Tuesday, 23rd September, we have a sensational opportunity to weed the garden!

Of course that’s great news – you’ll be working in a perfect Moon Gardening Phase which means that if you weed now, the weeds will pull out of the ground easily so get your gloves on and get down and dirty in the rose garden pulling weeds and mulching as you go!  Let’s see what Gra has to tell us about all this …


Rules for weeding:

  • Get weeds out NOW before they seed
  • Weeds are not our enemy – they are just another plant growing
    out of place
  • Their place is in a compost heap for use as green manure – any weeds with creepy roots need to be binned!
  • Share the weeds with your fowls who love a small amount of green feed every day – the green tips of the weeds are loaded with chlorophyll which makes the most nutritious eggs!
  • Weeds pull easily if you weed during the right MOON PHASE …
    no, don’t laugh but rather, give it a go and right now up
    until 23rd September is ideal.

Gardening Moon Charts can be found in “Home & Garden” or ABC Garden Magazine and I would love to hear from you about your weeding success if you follow the chart.

Weed as much as you can in the next 10 days and remember to position your body so that you don’t have to jerk and strain muscles.  A kneeling pad is a great idea.  By the way, don’t have sleepless nights worrying about the weeds in your garden …

               Q.  When was King Arthur’s army too tired to fight? 
               A.  When they had lots of sleepless (k)nights.

Talked lots about lemons and how good they are for you because they provide lots of Vitamin C and alkalise your system – half a lemon squeezed into warm water every morning with a bit of apple cider vinegar will keep your body well.

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

Enjoy this glorious spring weather and be sure and pull the weeds in your garden over the next few days to ensure you have a weed-free garden for months to come … Gra


  • Remove all the plant labels on your new roses – pop them in a book and draw a plan of the garden – that way you’ll learn to identify your roses and know them when friends drop by to admire them!
  • Loosen and re-tie all the standard and climbing rose ties – the sap will be flowing which will make the stems thicken – if the ties are strangling the stems, there is a chance you will ring-bark the rose!
  • Get going with the organic spray management program – prevention is way better than cure and the organic management works particularly well on the larval stage of insects!
  • Groom the pruned roses – go around and remove some of the weaker new shoots in favour of more sturdy, buxom ones.  You’ll create more robust bushes with heaps of flowers and stronger stems!


We did a spray program on the pots in the nursery yesterday and there is a most outstanding rose up there – LIONS ROSE – such magnificently healthy foliage which will give us a plethora of beautiful creamy blooms in bunches throughout the season – a most ideal rose for hedging and also spectacular in a vase.

Get down and dirty, weed now while the opportunity is here …
enjoy the moments in your garden this week …
~ Cheers from Diana, Graham & (ferocious guard dog, NOT) Mooi


ROSE RAMBLER 11.9.2014


ROSE RAMBLER 11.9.2014

Hello dear rose friends … sorry for the late arrival of this Rose Rambler!

There’s some real WOW factor now with lots happening in our rose gardens – there are early buds with heaps of lush, healthy growth.  It’s time to do some ‘grooming’ which means going back around the rose bushes which you pruned during the past few months and trimming down to the healthiest outward-facing bud which is sure to produce an abundance of strong-stemmed blooms very soon.

My book ALL ABOUT ROSES has been selling extremely well – if you cannot find it in a bookstore near you, order it at and I’ll sign it for you too.  Here’s a snippet from an email I received …

“Hi Diana, I want to start this email by saying “someone who can write like you must have a beautiful loving soul”.  I have so many rose and garden books that I have never finished because I lost interest in them. Your book, I couldn’t put down and when I finished it I wanted to read it all over again.  You took me on a journey of love, knowledge and inspiration …..”

That was just part of the email from Julie who received one of the first copies I posted out.  Thanks to Julie, I feel more confident recommending you read the book and keep it on hand as a reference to help you grow beautiful roses.


There’s been a bit of rain about so I hope you’ve commenced the organic rose management spray program to prevent early incidence of mildew/black-spot and also, as soon as the sun shines, the critters like aphids will start making an appearance.

Get ahead of them by using preventative spray applications – you may not see any aphids but you can be sure they’re lurking!  The eco-oil is particularly effective on the larval stage of many insects which reduces the potential of those insects growing to adults and breeding rampantly.

Ladybirds can be a bit slow to get going in the early spring but with lots of warm, sunny days, they’ll soon catch up.

Q.  Why did the girl throw her toast out the window?  A.  She wanted to see the butterfly.

I was looking at old photos the other day and took a trip down memory lane with this amazing rose JEANNE LA JOIE which was part of our miniature rose collection when we first started the rose nursery 30 years ago …

JEANNE LA JOIE was magnificent at the front of our home (the cottage which later became the Rose Café) with such a glorious display of blooms right from the beginning to the very end of the season.  We used to take long branches of blooms and they would last forever in a vase.  The foliage was always healthy and because the canes were supple, we could have covered the front of the cottage with it!

This extremely versatile, beautiful miniature climbing rose is now available at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane – we have re-introduced it because it is one of those roses that should NEVER go out of production because it will grow just about anywhere, anyhow, cover anything you wish it to and perform exceedingly well in a tub or cover a difficult sloping bank or create a hedge-row along a fence … this is a rose which ticks all the boxes … and yes, it has a light fragrance to boot!  Very, very highly recommended rose!!!

Q.  Why did the toilet paper roll down the hill?  A.  To get to the bottom!

Enjoy the glorious spring weather in your garden … Gra


Your roses will start to flower soon, depending on your climate zone so do give them some organic fertilizer – read the packaging to see what it is you are applying to your soil – fertilizer with balanced N:P:K (major nutrients) and a range of trace elements is perfect and it doesn’t need to stink to be good!!!

~ Smiling … Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane




ROSE RAMBLER … 4.9.2014

Hello dear rose friends …Hello dear rose friends and welcome to spring!  The garden comes alive with blossom on all the trees, the birds are singing and because it hasn’t been used for a while, the bloody lawn mower won’t start … have a giggle rather than swear; know you’re among friends who are sharing the same joys of spring!

Inspiration for what to chat about in the Rose Rambler often comes in the form of a phone or email enquiry just like these …

Hi Dianna

I have sprayed once with the eco oil etc, and am about to do my second spray and am wondering if the mixture I used in the first application is able to be used as I had it left over, and did not want to waste it. Could you advise please.

Kind regards, Del

My response to Del is:

Definitely NOT!!!  Always use the ‘leftover’ spray on any other plant in the garden prior to washing your equipment!  Never leave an oily spray in a sprayer … guaranteed to clog all the fittings – dangerous practice for the possibility of somebody else picking up the unit and spraying left-over product which in fact, could be anything … poison maybe???
Cheers, Diana Sargeant

Here’s another one:

“I am enjoying your emails. Thank you.  I have a student help me in the garden, and he put a small bag of composted cow manure (purchased) into the holes of three new roses from you. Should I dig them up and remove the manure? Only planted about two or three weeks ago.

Help! Thank you,  Marion”

Here’s my very obvious response to the very lucky Marion:    No, most definitely NOT …?????  Compost mixed into the soil at the base of the newly planted rose is perfect soil management!!!  Let this kid loose in your garden because he sounds like he has his soul in the earth!!!  I imagine the roses are growing beautifully – are you applying seaweed solution regularly???  Please do !!!  Cheers .. Diana

To which Marion responded:

Many thanks Diana – and for the laugh! Cheers, Marion

From those above emails, it would appear that I say a lot of “NO” … I know I do in email responses but I must check with Graham whether I say it a lot and whether he gets a laugh out of it or not??

My grandchildren will tell you that I’m a “YES” Oma/Di-nana and that’s really important feedback for me!  The joy, the joy!


Loved this email from Kerry … You can complain because roses have thorns or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” – Ziggy, character in comic strip by Tom Wilson.  I’m still doing lots of rose pruning because we are in a really cold zone and I cannot stress how much more relaxed and confident you will feel when you wear a really sturdy pair of gloves whenever you’re working around the rose garden.

It’s not just about thorns either … it’s about insects and spiders which can bite when you interrupt their goings on … they don’t mean to hurt you but will definitely inflict a sting when they are disturbed and feel threatened. Q.  How do toads travel?  A.  By hopper craft

Time now also to wear boots – at least a pair of good sturdy, closed-in shoes when you’re out in the garden because a warm, sunny spring day will entice snakes out of their winter hibernation.

When I go walking around my neighbourhood in the morning, I take a walking stick with me and it is a most handy and useful object:

  • Put it in the neck of a bottle to pick it up without actually handling it then drop it in the plastic rubbish bag I always carry with me;
  • Twirl around above my head when the magpies are nesting and decide to ‘bomb’ me;
  • Slow the passing traffic ‘cause they think there’s an old invalid walking on the street (it’s a good trick!!!);
  • I feel like I’m the leader in a band – a bit like the Pied Piper – and it’s fun to swing around!

What the heck has this got to do with rose growing?  Well, it gives you a bit of an idea about my life as a rose grower and I reckon that if you take a page out of my book and have a walk each morning, with or without a walking stick, you’ll feel much happier about life – I highly recommend it!!!

Enjoy the early spring glory of your garden … Gra


this magnificent rose is winning awards around the world – on the show bench and in trial gardens – and cannot be more highly recommended for planting in your rose garden … FORGET ME NOT

“Hi Graham and Diana,  With all the mulching, pruning, digging and planting of my new roses I forget to send you these photos of ‘Forget Me Not’. They were taken on the last day of May this year.  I know I am preaching to the choir, but seriously this is a very beautiful rose.  All the best,  Athanasi.”

Not a black-spot to be seen, no leggy branches – just a perfectly rounded shrub with lush, healthy foliage and a most amazing constant flush of beautiful Hybrid Tea shaped buds which unfurl with a stunning, swirling mass of highly fragrant petals – a flower which lasts well when picked for a vase.  This rose has got it all and is very, very highly recommended.


Yes, the book is now available in the online store at or please, call at the Rose Farm and I will be more than pleased to sign a copy for you … early indications are that this book is very popular and you should be able to acquire a copy at your local bookstore now.

Published by New Holland, retail price:  $29.95 + $15.00 pack and post anywhere in Australia if you would like me to personally sign and send you a copy.

The book release has been an exciting time, the finalising of winter rose orders a relief, glorious sunny spring weather blissful.  As they say in the classics:  “wouldn’t be dead for quids” …

~ Cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi at CLONBINANE