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