ROSE RAMBLER 26.11.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 26.11.2015

Yes, in just a month from today, Santa will have come and be on his merry way home – hope we can help make your Christmas gift a living, lasting and beautiful present for your loved one this year!

Since it’s so close to Christmas we’re taking orders NOW for GIFT ROSES to be posted – please note that NO ROSES WILL BE POSTED AFTER THURSDAY, 17TH DECEMBER, 2015 *
(*only Melbourne Metro can be posted on Monday, 21st December)

Here are some beaut gift ideas – EVERY gift will be beautifully GIFT-WRAPPED for FREE and price includes pack and post:

  • ALL ABOUT ROSES – my book, personally signed with your message if you would like me to inscribe your own words – $44.95
  • ORGANIC ROSE MANAGEMENT PACK – for a person where there’s no space for a new rose but is interested in caring for the roses they have!  Pack includes:  100g ECO SEAWEED, 500g ECO-ROSE and 500ml ECO-OIL and ‘how-to’ information – $76.50 and we’ll put ECO-AMINOGRO (foliage fertilizer) in FREE saving $18.50!
  • There are a host of magnificent roses which would make an ideal gift – maybe these pics will inspire you … $69.90 as a completely beautiful GIFT ROSE
The glorious large pale yellow/cream blooms with a hint of pink at the edge are delightfully fragrant and produce a stunning continual display of blooms.

Dare you to send this to your parents if you have siblings!!!  This magnificent Modern Shrub Rose produces masses of bright canary yellow clusters of fragrant blooms on a beautifully healthy shrub with glossy mid-green foliage and magnificent crimson new foliage – highly recommended rose!

if you cannot be with your family this Christmas, send them this beautiful rose which has a name to suit your message!  CLOSE TO YOU produces long, strong stems of pale lemon perfectly formed large Hybrid Tea blooms continually throughout the season.  There is a wonderful fruity/spice fragrance and dark green glossy foliage.


Maybe this would be a great idea if you have a difficult situation in your garden …

Hi Diana,  We have a very big suburban garden.  Here are the PEACE roses you sent me in your beautiful gift boxes last December after Mum died.  This hedge needs trimming!  The first photo shows the self-watering pots; they are complete with mulch made from Mum’s sympathy cards.  I think the birds have been pinching the shredded cards for their nests.  Better than chucking them in the recycling.  Monica

My response:  That’s such a super idea to hide the pots like that – gives the impression that the roses are in fact, in the ground!  Also, gets you out in the garden daily to water the pots!!!  Good stuff all ’round!  Thanks for sharing … enjoy the flowers!  Cheers, Diana

Hi Diana,  the previous owners established the box hedges but nothing much else would establish under the trees.  The pots only need watering once or twice a week as the reservoir keeps them moist.  They are really quite water efficient.  I water them from the top and any run off goes into the reservoir for use between watering.  The plants are healthier and use less water than those I have in the ground.  I’m thrilled with them.  Monica


Helping roses get through summer … to a 10 litre bucket/watering can:

  • Add ¼ cup of Eco-rose (Eco-fungicide) to protect foliage from black-spot/mildew by altering the pH of the foliage – clever science!
  • In the same mix, add ¼ cup of Eco-oil (Eco-insecticide) which not only makes the products ‘stick’ to the foliage but also deals with pesky insects which can attack roses and other plants in your garden – use on veggies and safely harvest after spraying.
  • Add seaweed solution – follow directions on pack of product you use – we use Eco-seaweed which is 1 teaspoon of powder to 10 litres – very economical!

We recommend you apply the above products IN THE MORNING and NEVER when the temperature is expected to reach 30 degrees!

Q.  What does Santa say in a race?  A.  Ready, set, HO! 

During summer, continue to fertilize the soil with quality organic fertilizer – we use and recommend C.O.F. – Complete Organic Fertilizer with high quantity of humates which enrich the soil and assist in moisture retention!

Q.  What do you get if you cross Santa Claus with a duck?  A.  A Christmas quacker! 

If you have any particular issues with your roses, don’t hesitate to send through photos so that in consultation with Diana, I can answer your queries.  We enjoy receiving pics of your rose gardens too!!

Take it easy in the lead-up to Christmas – give yourself a break with time to ‘smell the roses’ … Cheers from us here at Clonbinane – Diana, Graham & Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 19.11.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 19.11.2015

Hello dear rose friends.  Well, it’s sure been a very busy time and we welcome all the new subscribers to our newsletter!

It’s lovely that we have no more planned events away from the Rose Farm and can now revel in the glory of our own garden!  Do come and share it with us when you have a spare day in the busy lead-up to Christmas – rose plants are a very beautiful gift so make your present shopping easy and special by gifting a living, flowering rose this Christmas!

My book, ALL ABOUT ROSES would make a lovely gift for a novice rose gardener or offer insight to organic rose management for all rose gardeners!  If you would like to post it as a gift, let me offer to beautifully Christmas-wrap a signed copy for you!


The COMPOSTING SEMINAR was great – we’ll do another one in 2016 because I realise how much gardeners want to be involved in waste-management and doing ‘their bit for the environment’ in their own backyards!

Q.  What kind of undies do reporters wear?  A.  News briefs


When roses finish flowering on a stem, prune them back along the stem/branch by at least 20cms/8” and if you cut just above an outward facing bud, you’re sure to promote another strong, healthy growth which will produce many more blooms.

Now that it’s getting really warm/hot, you can guarantee that there will be flowers within 40-45 days from the time you pruned – some varieties might produce new flowering stems earlier but 40-45 days is the bench-mark if you’re planning an event or want flowers for a particular occasion.

It is imperative to retain as many leaves on the rose bushes throughout this hot summer so that the rose plant circulates moisture and nutrients to sustain continual flowering!  Leaves on roses keep the plant cool and maintain photosynthesis.

Continual applications of seaweed solution all over the leaves, adding products like Eco-aminogro (fertiliser) will toughen your plants up and assist the plants to produce more flowers despite the hot conditions.  Seaweed solution toughens the cell wall of foliage and thus offers plants between 3-5 degrees of greater heat tolerance – very important!!!

Q.  How do you make a tissue dance?  A.  Put a little boogie in it

There are so many glorious roses in the nursery now … this very old variety is so over-looked and yet so easy-care, amazingly free-flowering, healthy, suited to almost any location in the garden … one of our favourites that we are pleased to grow and highly recommend … APRICOT NECTAR


Have a beaut week in your garden … remember to water your roses in the morning rather than in the evening – enjoy this most magnificent rose flowering season …

Graham, Diana & Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 12.11.2015


Hello dear rose friends … We’re gearing up for the State Rose and Garden Show at Werribee this weekend – so hope you make it ‘high priority’ to come for a visit – the Victorian State Rose Gardens are a sight to behold; a hidden treasure so very close to home for lots of us and a MUST SEE!


Thank you so much for your newsletters they are not only helpful hints but a good read also;

Q1:  My question to you is l have a weeping rose (crepuscule) do l have to behead the dead flowers on it or do they just fall off

Q2:  l bought 2 climbing roses from you,(jeanne la joie)  neither of them are flowering, yes l have fertilized, mulched, watered well and good drainage , all of my other roses in the area are doing very good, what could l be doing wrong?  

Many Thanks … Bernadette

My response which is relative to those who grow and love climbing roses:

Thank you Bernadette … you can trim finished flowers from ALL roses and they will re-grow and re-flower more quickly!

About JEANNE LA JOIE… is she growing lovely strong canes?  Sometimes, climbing roses will set all their energy into GROWTH in the first year of planting rather than flowering … if they flower along the way it can be at the expense of massive growth canes!  My JEANNE LA JOIE here produced lovely growth canes last season with very few flowers – this year she’s going to flower and flower – also, there are wonderful NEW water shoots happening too … that’s what climbing roses do!!!  Patience is a virtue with them but they ALL reward in the long term and then you be THE BOSS about how much growth you want where the rose is planted.

You’re doing absolutely NOTHING wrong!  Hope this is helpful … cheers – Diana

Whilst in Adelaide recently, we had the pleasure of visiting Melanie & Kelvin (President, World Federation of Rose Societies) Trimper’s garden – this is Melanie’s photo of 6 x JEANNE LA JOIE plants espaliered on 6 metres of wall  – breathtaking!!!


Q.  When is a car not a car?  A.  When it turns into a parking lot!


You might only have a tidy garden space but still want to grow roses … grow CLIMBING ROSES on walls, in tubs and up posts!  These are two of my favourite climbing roses:

A great healthy rose, crimson red with a white eye it flowers freely in clusters throughout the season and you will see it from kilometers away – if you stop dead-heading in late autumn, this rose has the most amazing hips of any rose!
It makes a lovely vase specimen and attracts the bees …

bright red fragrant blooms continually throughout nine months of flowering season.  Blooms are produced from low down on the canes which reach a height up to 3 metres and fan out beautifully against a wall/fence – one of the best!


Good afternoon.  I notice you mentioned something about thrips in your latest newsletter.  I was taught to get a WHITE piece of material and tie it stretched out between two bean poles, close to the affected roses.  I used to use torn up white bedsheets. The material needs to be about the size of a pillowcase and stretched out.  Thrips are attracted to white.  Don’t know why.  They will often leave the rose and jump onto the material.   Then you can either roll it up and put in a snaplock bag and put in freezer to kill them or dunk in a bucket for a while.  Meanwhile replace the material.  You need to do this several times a day until the population diminishes.

My gran taught me this as she noticed that every time she hung out her white sheets when we had a hot humid spring, they got covered in thrips!  So she devised this method of attracting them when her flower and veg were under attack!  This has often lessened the damage to my roses.  Try it!

Diana’s response:  I’m an ‘old timer’ Mum … I used to LOVE hanging nappies out on the washing line and would get peeved when the northerly winds brought in thrips – took me a while to work out what went ‘wrong’ with my beautiful white wash!!!  Never thought to suggest to rose gardeners that they should span white cloth to attract thrips to the white cloth rather than the roses … thanks for sharing!  Cheers – Diana

Q.  What do you call an insect on the moon?  A.  A luna-tick


Take a look at the plant label which reads:

– a pale pink-cream climbing rose…

oh, oh, it’s producing CRIMSON ROSES which are DR. HUEY UNDERSTOCK which may, if left to grow, take over the whole rose – NEVER prune this growth at ground level!!!  Here’s what you MUST DO if you see understock growing on any roses in your garden – quoted from my book, ALL ABOUT ROSES (always handy to have a copy of my book when things don’t quite go as you anticipate!) …

“Put your garden gloves on.  Once you’ve revealed the source of the understock branch, grab hold of it and yank it really hard and fast – I liken it to when the kids had a loose tooth and I would ask them if I could take a look and wobble it maybe.  Quick yank, tooth gone and kid wondering what the heck happened but excited about the tooth fairy coming that night. When you’ve yanked the sucker away from the understock it is very important to check if there is a nice rounded end on what you pulled away.  If you can see an ‘eye’ which could be compared to a corn on your toe then you have been successful in removing the sucker.”

The story goes on in further detail but you MUST remove those suckers as soon as you see them or they will in fact grow very rapidly and potentially take-over and the budded rose variety will lose vigour and die!

Enjoy all the glory of your rose garden in this magnificent season … see you at one of our events or come and take a walk with us in the garden here at Clonbinane any Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday when we are sure to be here … Diana, Graham and Mooi 

ROSE RAMBLER 5.11.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 5.11.2015

Hello dear rose friends – hope you backed a winner in the Melbourne Cup and enjoyed the magnificent roses shown at every single angle the cameras were throughout the coverage!

We are both at OAKS DAY events today – Graham at Seymour entertaining the ladies who are raising funds for LIONS CLUB and CANCER COUNCIL so his roses will be wrapped in cream/pink (no, he won’t be dressed in a skirt with a fascinator – he has no hair to keep one in place!!!).  I’m over at Yea where table decorations are wrapped in red/blue as funds raised will go to support their local AMBULANCE.


Q.  Where do tadpoles change into frogs?  A.  In the croak-room! 

Here’s a pic of the frogs which LOVE my ‘weed tea’ … I would make the tea just to enjoy seeing frogs when I open the lid to use the tea … beautiful critters which we should all encourage in our gardens …


Every single person I meet is saying how sensational the roses are – BEST YEAR EVER they say but you know what?  They say it every single year because roses are SIMPLY SCENTSATIONAL at this time of year and we should all take time out, quiet, slowly, revel, enjoy and inhale their magnificent fragrance.

A magnificent shrub rose which produces masses of highly fragrant roses
on a superbly healthy rounded shrub


Two most highly fragrant, easy-care roses which are guaranteed to delight you!


Here’s Sallie’s picture asking what?

Hi Sallie .. this is NOT a disease … this is SOMETHING eating the underside of the leaf … I think on one of the leaves I can see where the little caterpillar is tucked in … you go take a closer look – maybe with a torch tonight and you’ll find the little critter!  Suggest you might use ECO-OIL to hinder the breeding of whatever insect it is you have … might also be earwigs!  Beer in little shallow bowls will do the trick on them – do you get our Rose Rambler Newsletter?  Subscribe and lots of answers to queries are there or is a good source of information … cheers, Diana

After checking the roses, here’s Sallie’s response:

Thanks Diana, you are dead right!  The teensiest green caterpillars and aphids.  I missed them completely. I will start getting the newsletter. 
Kind Regards, Sallie

So glad I’m right … definitely not dead!  Aphids will never do this type of damage to leaves as they are on the flower buds … ladybirds and other insects will take care of aphids!

There have been a lot of phone calls and inquiries about what is damaging the outer petals – making them all brown, looking yukky and then the buds not opening … it’s THRIP and there is very little any of us can do to avoid their onslaught!  We suggest removing all affected buds as quickly as possible so that the rose can invest energy into new blooms for Christmas time!  Please don’t spray harsh chemicals around – it won’t help but will reduce predator insects who abound in an ecologically friendly garden.

Make your place a safe haven for all the beautiful insects/birds/frogs – as well as YOU / YOURS / OTHER HUMANS!!!


This Saturday Graham is conducting COMPOSTING SEMINAR here at the Rose Farm and up at the Clonbinane Community Hall – it’s not too late to book for this FREE event organised in conjunction with Mitchell Shire Councilcall 5787 1123 NOW!

On Sunday morning you should tune your radio to 3CR GARDEN SHOW where Graham will be on the talk-back panel – do give him a call – find 3CR at 855 on the am dial (close to 774 ABC) … the BEST GARDENING RADIO TALK-BACK!

There are the open gardens at Yea, the Victorian Rose Society Rose Show at Mount Waverley (see details in previous Rose Ramblers); all the while, I’ll be here at the Rose Farm to assist you when you drop in!

Happy rose gardening from us at CLONBINANE … Diana, Graham & Mooi 


ROSE RAMBLER 29.10.2015

Hello dear rose friends as we are about to board our flight back to Melbourne after a most exciting visit to Adelaide!  We were invited guests to….

The National Rose Trial Garden Annual
Awards Presentation Dinner

because Graham’s very own rose ‘GRA’S BLUE’
was awarded a BRONZE MEDAL


We have experienced the most amazing few days – Graham was overwhelmed and near speechless (believe me, that’s a VERY rare experience!!!).  I feel so proud that his dedication, commitment and love of roses has produced such a stunning Award Winning Beauty and he has been recognised for his passion!

To witness his delight when receiving each Award was sensational  – we stand here with Kelvin Trimper, President, World Federation of Rose Societies for Graham’s award presentation:

The bronze medal and certificate for MOST FRAGRANT ROSE IN TRIAL!

We spent hours trawling through the International Rose Trial Garden of Australia in the Adelaide Botanical Gardens and are excited to report that there are some absolutely magnificent roses being trialed there; if they perform well in the very hot Adelaide conditions, without any pampering – no chemical spray (good!!!), just regular fertilizer regime, water and mulch as you would grow them in your own garden, they will be released in the next few years and we have lots of great roses to look forward to!

We met with our growers, peers in our industry and have had a most relaxing, totally enjoyable time in Adelaide.  Our own roses will be at their absolute BEST from this weekend onwards so you MUST put a visit to SILKIES ROSE FARM, CLONBINANE on your list of ‘things to do’ …


Q.  Why can’t a ladybird ever hide?  A.  Because it is always spotted! 

You’ll be thinking about which horse might be worth backing in the Melbourne Cup but I would highly recommend visiting FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE just to be up close and personal with the magnificent rose gardens there!  If you get a chance, treat yourself to a spectacular day at the races during these weeks of horse racing and I hope you back a winner!

Q.  Why couldn’t the pony talk?  A.  ‘cause he was a little horse.

Grasses are the essence of Nature! Researchers in Sydney found endorphins given off by lawn mowing keep us feeling good about ourselves!  Aaah, the smell of a freshly cut lawn – you know the smell and feeling – no research necessary because we already know how good it feels and looks!!!

There’s more to it though – grasses are essential because, when they break-down in pastures and gardens, their dry matter and minerals wash into waterways and then into the ocean which then turns into a food source for fish.  Our Oceans are the richest source of nutrients on our planet!  Hence, the seaweed solution we use on our plants, which comes from the Ocean, is vital for balanced plant nutrition and remember, regular applications of seaweed solution will afford your roses up to 5 degrees heat tolerance so liberally pour over the foliage of roses at least monthly to ensure bushes retain lots of healthy foliage!!!

ROSE FLOWERS IN THE HOUSE – there is no greater pleasure than cutting a bucket full of rose blooms to fill vases in your home!  Here are some rules which you MUST stick to which will ensure longevity of the roses you cut for a vase:

  • Cut the roses early in the day (when possible) so they are well hydrated and cool;
  • Take a bucket of cool, clean water to the garden with you;
  • Trim the stems as long as possible and dunk them immediately into the bucket;
  • Leave the bucket in the coolest room of your home for a few hours;
  • Use only very clean vases to which you can add flower-preservative, if you prefer;
  • Remove all the leaves which are below vase water level;
  • Freshen water every couple of days – trim stems each time.

Diana devoted a chapter in her book ALL ABOUT ROSES to CUTTING ROSES FOR A VASE – there is an extensive lot of special hints and tips which are useful if you love to have vases of roses in your home during the flowering season … enjoy the beauty of your garden, inside too!

Here is a pic of GRA’S BLUE which was picked on Sunday, conditioned as per above instructions, wrapped in wet tissue and sealed in a plastic bag, placed in luggage for our Monday flight to Adelaide, put back in clean water on arrival at our motel in Adelaide, presented for display on Tuesday night for the Awards Ceremony.

GOLDEN CELEBRATION is one of the first roses flowering in our display gardens ..
aaah, what a sight and fragrance sensation …

and MAURICE UTRILLO … the most stunning and healthy,
robust striped DELBARD ROSE begged to be shared with you …

Also don’t forget to tune in to
ABC RADIO 774 at 10.30am (AEST)
this coming Sunday 1st November

Diana will be in the studio on Sunday morning doing a radio segment so don’t miss out!

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