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


ROSE RAMBLER … 2.7.2015 …

Hello dear rose friends … not just a new month but already the second half of the year and the winter solstice behind us so we move onto longer days – how time zooms on by!



Some roses offer the amazing quality of flowering right into winter and here are a few I have noticed in the gardens here – they flowered despite frosty mornings and their fragrance was intense too –

Possibly one of my favourite lilac-blue roses for perfect Hybrid Tea form, lovely open-shaped healthy foliaged bush which produces bunches of highly fragrant flowers which are long-lasting in a vase …

dark, rich red, intensely fragrant, perfectly formed blooms on very long, thornless stems (one for the blokes who detest thorns!).  The very tall bush is healthy but will love being positioned in the hottest part of your garden …

I just LOVE this climbing rose because it continues to produce masses of highly fragrant soft-pink blooms on long thornless stems relentlessly!  It has unique curled foliage which is nothing to worry about and deserves planting as a free-standing shrub or climber shown here with KARDINAL (a perfect red rose with awesome qualities) and our rock cyclamen – what a glorious photo to share …

a healthy beast in the extreme – awesomely free-flowering bush which produces masses of creamy-yellow, perfectly formed blooms and is reliable for a bunch of lightly fragrant blooms for the vase throughout the season – Highly recommended rose!

Q.  What do you call a snail on a ship?  A.  A snailor!  Speaking of snails … use a pet-safe snail bait throughout winter to try and slow their breeding for less issues with their destructive force in spring!

Q.  What kind of dog likes baths?  A shampoodle!  Here’s a pic of our lovely MOOI who is always keen to greet you when you visit – there’s absolutely no bite in her bark, just a demand for a cuddle … here she’s showing you how she helps me round up the LANGSHAN BANTAM chooks who are bigger than her …

Please call up to the Rose Farm and if you need a personal rose demo, I’m happy to walk with you in the gardens when I am here … bring your secateurs with you and I’ll show you how to maintain/sharpen them too … see you soon at Clonbinane – Gra

BENALLA GARDEN CLUB – TUESDAY, JULY 7TH – 7.00PM – CONTACT: for more information
3CR RADIO – Graham will be on the panel this month – 7.30 – 9.15am SUNDAY, 12TH JULY on 855 AM BAND radio – always interesting SUNDAY MORNING gardening talk-back radio
ROSE SOCIETY OF VICTORIA – Monthly meeting at St. James Anglican Church, Cnr. Burke Road and High Street, Glen Iris – 8.00 PM – CONTACT:

There are more presentations later in July and I will advise those dates next week. Meantime, hope you’re enjoying getting out in the garden while the weather is so inviting to share time with the kids through these school holidays …

Cheers from Graham, Diana and Mooi at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane