ROSE RAMBLER 22.6.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 22.06.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends with a very warm welcome to recent subscribers who have ordered online, attended a presentation or visited the Rose Farm recently.  We hope you gain valuable information from our weekly email and we invite you to contribute and use this document as an opportunity to share information and enrich the lives of your fellow gardeners.

If you wish to view previous ROSE RAMBLER newsletters, they’re all available at where you will find very historical information about our rose growing ventures.

We are always happy to pass on information from SUSTAINABLE GARDENING AUSTRALIA and this is a very important announcement, worthy of YOUR contribution – PLEASE, PLEASE do YOUR bit, have YOUR say and pass this very valuable information on to the generation whom, despite their busyness, NEED to KNOW about this because it will be them and their children whose lives will be seriously impacted if we ignore this …

SGA App Newsletter

SGA is excited to have just launched a crowd funding campaign on (campaign ends on 24th July 2017) to help fund the development and maintenance of a research-based web-app that indicates the safety for people and their environment of 1000+ garden products for pest, weed & disease control or to improve soil fertility.

This App will help home and professional gardeners make informed choices on how to reduce the use of chemicals that may have negative effects on human health and environmental impacts.

As a not-for-profit organisation, relying mainly on volunteers and donations, and with the assistance of Burnley College, University of Melbourne, SGA has developed a unique database which scores chemicals against 11 criteria indicating human and environmental impacts of each product.

For ease of use and to assist people make informed decisions, each product will be rated from 1 to 6 stars and show levels of safety for humans, bees and other insects, fish and birds, persistence in soils and likelihood of polluting waterways. In addition, it will suggest chemical-free alternatives to gardening problems.

SGA would appreciate your assistance in this campaign by sharing this initiative with your professional and personal networks and passing on to environmental and gardening groups within your community. Links to various communication channels are provided below to assist you in spreading the word:


This organisation doesn’t postulate about environmental issues; SGA is a very committed and dedicated group of people who offer us ALL an opportunity to be connected with OUR environment so, in order to show our support for SGA, we invite our enthusiastic Rose Rambler subscribers to donate at least $10.00 to the ‘crowdfunding campaign’.

We will commit 10% of ALL SALES IN THIS COMING WEEK to this immensely worthwhile campaign and know that our $’s will go 100% to where we donated them!

Q.  What do you call a cold dog sitting on a bunny?  A. A chilli dog on a bun!


In 1972 at Cants of Colchester Rose Nursery in the United Kingdom, (est. 1765 – no, not a misprint!) the magnificent JUST JOEY rose was released having been named for the wife of the Managing Director of the Company, Joey Pawsey.

JUST JOEY’s parents are FRAGRANT CLOUD (highly fragrant hybrid tea of deep orange/dark pink blend and DR. A.J. VERHAGE (buttery gold, highly fragrant with swirling petals).  JUST JOEY bears beautiful traits from both parents – most especially, high fragrance!

JUST JOEY has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit 1993 and in 1994 was introduced to the World Rose Hall of Fame.  When introduced to Australian rose lovers in the late 1970’s JUST JOEY was considered a breakthrough with its size of flower and distinctly unique colour!

This lovely rose is one of the first Hybrid Tea roses we planted in our gardens at Kilmore where our nursery was first registered in 1986 and we have seen plants of this magnificent rose in gardens wherever we have travelled around the world – it will continue to reward and delight any rose lover for years to come!

It’s such a delight to both of us when we receive an order for this season’s roses with a footnote like this one …

NB : Do you know that the roses I got from you last year , plus the tips I receive in the “Rose Rambler” Email, had all my roses old & new blooming like never before this year. I was able to give my neighbour Roses for her husbands grave, also my step son for his mums , as well as my friend & also myself for my wife’s grave. The bunches were all healthy & that large they would have cost a fortune at a florist. People who walk by ask how I get them to grow like they do, & I just pass on your firms name & a recommendation.  Thanks again  Mervyn

There is still a bit of a delay with some of the new-release roses … a few varieties are caught in the later digging cycle, along with standards and weeping roses which are usually only available during July … we are posting and processing orders as soon as the roses are ready – please be patient as there is plenty of time to plant bare-rooted roses well into July and August or beyond!

Another joke for this week:  Q: There were three men in a boat – it capsized but only two fellows got their hair wet!  Why?  A.  The third man was bald … like me!

Today is the first day after the shortest day – there is a weeding cycle until tomorrow and a new Moon on Saturday … it’s ALL HAPPENING … !!!

Enjoy pruning your roses if you are inclined to prune early and make planting your new roses a truly joyous occasion with your hands deep in the soil!  Cheers from the team here at Clonbinane where we are busy doing lots of packing/potting/trimming …

Diana, Graham and Mooi rugged up!


ROSE RAMBLER 15.06.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends from a very chilly Clonbinane where we’ve had frequent frosts with overnight temperatures registering minus … yes, up to minus 5 degrees followed by gloriously sunny days!

A few weeks ago I posted rose cuttings to a young lad, Andy, in Singapore – he desperately wants to grow MUNSTEAD WOOD but due to climatic conditions, thought roses grown on their own roots would be healthier and easier to grow … here is a series of emails and pics about the experience … the rose cuttings were wrapped in damp newspaper, sealed in plastic and took around 10 days to arrive in Singapore – I was delighted to see the photos Andy sent:

Andy:  Okay. Yes, all of them grew callus, hopefully they will be alright. When they first arrived, I quickly place them into a bucket of water to re-hydrate them, hope this is okay. Also, I have never seen such thorny or rather ‘hairy’ kind of rose. This is way too much thorns than I expected, hahaha.

Diana:  I did see the callous in the last pic where you asked if this was the start of the roots forming … YES DEFINITELY IT IS and I seriously hope you didn’t let these dry out in any way!  They did in transit exactly what I expected … formed callous so they will set root very quickly if you have treated them right – put them straight into the media, watered in with seaweed solution and left them in a sunny but protected location – they will require very light watering so keep the media slightly damp but not sopping wet.

I hope this is a success for you … please keep me posted on your cuttings as they grow.  Best wishes …

It would be a real thrill to see pictures of Andy’s roses as struck cuttings and then hopefully, as flowering plants in his Singapore garden.  I will keep you posted as this develops.


I know I harp on and on about the ‘magic’ of seaweed solution and here is exact testament to why …

Dear Graham, I had to let you know how wonderful my two roses are now that I have taken your advice.  At the Sunbury Garden Club I mentioned my despair with my two favourite roses looking very unhealthy and our local nursery had recommended pulling them out.  I drenched them twice a week for 6 weeks, as recommended by you and I now have so many beautiful yellow roses coming out!!!  The roses look so healthy and happy.  Thank you so much.   Warmest regards,   Lorna

The thing is, with lots of products which I use and recommend, you cannot see INSTANT RESULTS but if you persist, just as I have with spraying biodynamic preparations around our property here at Clonbinane over the last 17 years, the proof is in the soil … I can dig a hole anywhere within this boundary and successfully grow any plant I want to grow that suits our climatic conditions.  I use seaweed solution liberally!

There are worms breeding prolifically because wherever I dig with a fork, I raise soil filled with worms.  Note:  use a fork when turning the soil so you don’t cut the worms as severely as when you use a shovel!!!

Q.  What is the best thing to put into your pizza?  A.   Your teeth … ha, ha, got ya!

It’s such a pleasure to see our heel-in beds filled with such magnificent quality bare-rooted roses.

Soon enough, those beautiful 40cm canes and thick mass of roots will be cut so the plants will fit into their 20cm pots along with our yummy coir fibre potting mix ready to establish roots which in turn produce masses of new canes for flowering in October.

PRUNE YOUR NEWLY PLANTED BARE-ROOTED ROSES BY AT LEAST ONE THIRD – yes, go on, be brave and do it – leave just one with long canes exactly as it was when you received it and you will see that the bushes you trimmed are more robust, healthy-looking and nicely rounded shrubs compared to the leggy rose which you didn’t prune!

In the nursery, we wait until customers have paid for their roses then ask if they would like them pruned ready for planting … most customers jump at the opportunity to have a professional prune for their new roses.

It’s hilarious to see our customers gasp as we cut at least 1/3 of the branches!  No, there’s not a 1/3 discount on those pruned roses – if anything, we should add a 1/3 ‘pruning surcharge’ …!

Q.  Why did the hen go halfway across the road?  A.  She wanted to lay it on the line!


EVEN AFTER EXTREME COLD AND FROST this past weekend, I delighted my colleagues at Radio 3CR Melbourne Radio Talk-back Garden Show with a vase of NAHEMA and KNOCKOUT … two sensational roses worthy of planting in your garden!

Do treat yourself to THE BEST garden talk-back radio by tuning into 3CR Melbourne at 855 on the AM Band every Sunday morning from 7.30 – 9.15 am.

Diana will be on air 25th June for the 3CR Community Radiothon – the courtyard in Collingwood is stacked to the cudgels with horticultural products – every penny you donate converts to product or books, magazine subscriptions and a whole lot more!

Become part of the 3CR COMMUNITY GARDEN SHOW audience and know that whatever your gardening issue, it will be resolved by an expert panel of dedicated horticulturalists.

In closing, this message means so much …

Dear Diana and Graham … Well done for winning the 2017 Word of Mouth Award, well deserved.  Cheryl Schembri and Sunbury Garden Club

From a Garden Club who’s members remember when Graham would visit with our sons, Eric and Ben to help him – the boys remember too and they’re 37 and 34 now!  Thanks Sunbury Garden Club!

Enjoy planting and pruning in your winter garden…
Graham, Diana, Mooi and the team!


ROSE RAMBLER 09.06.2017 …  A day later than normal … sorry!  Enjoy this and also this Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend …

Hello dear rose friends … thank you to all of you who have taken YOUR precious time to give our business a review in WOMO … Word Of Mouth Online – we pay for this service because we believe it’s worth advertising YOUR opinion of the experience you have with us!

We have always asked for positive and negative experience feedback and there is no doubt there have been a couple of truly ordinary (mostly) delivery experiences which are listed in the reviews.
We’re pleased with this achievement and it’s particularly pleasing when new customers call to say they’ve read the reviews and are contacting us because YOU recommended us!


Over the past year, more than 90% of reviews for Silkies Rose Farm
have had a 4-5 star rating. Less than 5% of businesses qualify for the Service Award,
so our achievement is worth celebrating!


Please know that when I post roses to you, every parcel is special and I remember most of what is posted because I am ‘chief rose wrapper’ while Tova is ‘chief parcel packer’ on the days when she assists me.

It’s an incredibly lovely experience to receive an email like this one …

“Morning Diana.  I just wanted to send you a quick update… Aunty Val bought a special pot to plant her very special SHIRLEY’S ROSE.

It sits proudly on her front veranda where she can easily get to it (and see it from her comfy lounge chair)…It is very happy and healthy (and thankfully, so is Aunty Val).

I hope business is booming – you do such a wonderful job!  Take good care.  Martine”

Martine purchased SHIRLEY’S ROSE as a GIFT ROSE for her 86 year old Aunty Val to remember her sister, Martine’s Mother, Shirley who had died some years back and sent it with this message on a card:

A rose is a rose is a rose … Except for this one – Shirley’s Rose.
Always in our thoughts … Forever in our hearts.
For you Aunty Val, with much love … Tracey, Jonaelle and Martine

Any wonder that this gorgeous rose is so appreciated!

What a special opportunity our business has by offering such loving GIFT ROSES to be posted around Australia in celebration of all types of events which naturally occur in families … we post to all states except WA and TAS because we refuse to apply the chemicals required to pass quarantine in those States.

EVERY ROSE can be purchased as a GIFT ROSE … it’s a bit like, if the name suits the occasion, there’s a rose suitably named for that occasion so don’t be limited by your imagination when selecting your next GIFT ROSE!



This is my own experience with growing roses from cuttings up on the Great Divide here in Victoria –

  • Use coir fibre medium because it retains moisture
  • The seed-raising mix coir block must be soaked using clean water – the coir is manufactured from coconut fibre and is sterile to reduce issues with fungus which might cause cuttings to rot
  • Take cutting stems from rose branches where flowers have finished as this wood is hard/semi-hard
  • Use sharp / clean secateurs to cut stems around 100mm long and no less than pencil thick of clean stems with plump growth eyes
  • Use a stick to make holes in the coir which has been damped-down into seedling trays or perhaps polystyrene boxes with drain holes – whatever works for you!
  • Water over the cuttings with seaweed solution – soak them to remove all air pockets and then …
  • DON’T WATER AGAIN UNTIL YOU SEE GREEN SHOOTS APPEARING!  (There would have to be winter/early spring heat wave to need watering – it is most important to note that most cuttings fail due to OVER-WATERING !!!
  • Lightly sprinkle the cuttings which are now shooting ONCE A WEEK with seaweed solution and start to apply liquid fertilizer with seaweed from around September onwards.
  • Repot the rooted cuttings in October and watch them grow!

Growing roses from cuttings is a real pleasure and you must follow your ‘gardener’s intuition’ during the growing process – every season has different climatic conditions and every State has huge variables in when rose cuttings should be started and how they’re cultivated – if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!


Q.  Why wasn’t the teddy bear hungry?  A. Because he was stuffed!  

Please read this article for a greater understanding of how and why it is imperative for you to care for the soil in your garden … which I received from Sustainable Gardening Australia – a valuable resource for gardeners who want great information!

How’s this bit of information?  Leaving mushrooms out in the sunshine for an hour during winter will boost their Vitamin D content FOUR-FOLD.  This means that 100g of sundrenched mushrooms will provide an adults daily requirement of Vitamin D!

Q. What do you call a sheep with no legs?  A. A cloud.


Keeping you all informed about how things are going in the nursery – yes, some orders are being posted – others are still waiting for varieties to be dug and especially orders which include standards and weeping roses, these will be delayed until very late June/early July.

We don’t recommend you substitute your selected variety unless that particular variety is a ‘struggler’ – you know, one of those roses which is ok in premium conditions but otherwise, a rather ordinary performer.

Please take our recommendation for example … you want JULIA’S ROSE … we’ve delisted it in favour of SOUL SISTER which is awesomely healthy and very free flowering but almost identical in colour and bloom shape …


Julia’s Rose
Soul Sister

We’ve delisted PAT AUSTIN in favour of this delightfully pretty
David Austin Rose which is so healthy and very, very free-flowering …

Is way, way superior to ANGEL FACE –
we stock both but would way prefer to sell THANK YOU …

Here at the Rose Farm it’s head-down-bum-up while we get all this new seasons roses labelled, sorted and ready to post or pack and load into your vehicle.

Remember, I’ll be at Castlemaine next week for an exciting seminar at Buda and there will be another rose pruning demo here at Clonbinane on Sunday, 18th June

Cheers from us all warmly dressed for winter … Diana, Graham, Tova, Ben and Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 25.5.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 25.05.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as the days get shorter and we’re seeing the last of our beautiful roses for this rose season … aaaw, how we will miss the fragrant beauty on the kitchen island bench but oh, how I will enjoy having a clear space for the next few months – as the garden changes, so does the interior of our snugly home!

In glorious sunshine we’ve been madly labeling all the roses which we collected last week and lots of orders are being processed for posting/collection – don’t despair if we haven’t called or emailed you about your order – this first consignment of nearly 5,000 roses is only the beginning of a HUGE season!

It is sooooo important that you practice PATIENCE at this time … if your order contains the very new 2017 release roses or standard roses, there will be a delay in dispatch as these varieties are allowed to have a bit of cool weather to ‘harden up’ before they are dug!

We are committed to processing your order as soon as it becomes available for posting or collection and WE WILL CALL OR SMS TEXT YOU AS SOON AS THE ROSES ARE READY!!!

Here are a couple of my absolute favourite roses which, if you want to create a hedge or simply wish to fill spaces around the garden with the most free-flowering, easy-care, delightfully awesome roses, these are the ones I highly recommend:

Modern Shrub/Floribunda rose of immense beauty,
resistance to disease and ability to grow
and flower in any sunny location.

Modern Shrub rose named for our very own
Maggie Tabberer who is the patron of the Melanoma Foundation
who receive the royalty payments from sales of this rose in Australia.

Beautifully fragrant Hybrid Tea rose produces masses of
perfectly shaped blooms with the clearest pale pink centres
fading to almost white at the edge of the petals.

Of course, there are lots of others in all colours and categories – why not email me your specifications and together we’ll create the garden of your dreams!


Let’s start this week with a bit of a puzzle …

Q.  What travels around the world but stays in the corner?  A.  A stamp!

Diana will be speaking at the following destination … suggest you book a place for this event which is really just around the corner now and sure to be a brilliant day out at a most pleasant location –

Garden Seminar

Thursday 15th June 2017
Garden Room, Buda Historic Home & Garden
42 Hunter Street, Castlemaine
10.30am for 11.00am start – 3.00pm

Hot buffet-style lunch – BYO drink –
Cost: $15 members   $25 non-members
RSVP Thursday, June 9

Organizer:  Tom Comerford –  –  5470 6230

Format – 2 sessions
a.m. Speaker Diana Sargeant – Consulting Rosarian
p.m. Garden Symposium with Jill Hildebrand,
Garden Curator Buda Historic Home & Garden

Gill Miller, Curator Castlemaine Botanic Gardens and Diana Sargeant, Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

Please register your attendance with TOM COMERFORD at Castlemaine on 5470 6230.

Q. Why did the monkey put a piece of steak on his head?  A. He thought he was a griller.


Let’s kick off traditional ‘rose pruning season’ with some demonstrations in June … come along to one of our FREE DEMONSTRATIONS and I’ll show you what to do …


Please know that you really should let the roses go into a natural dormancy, allow them to lose their leaves and then just as they start shooting new seasons leaves, do the pruning!  That way, they’ll indicate exactly where to prune – makes pruning a real cinch and makes you look like an expert!

Talk to you again next week … from us at beautiful CLONBINANE …
Diana, Graham, Mooi & Tova

ROSE RAMBLER 18.5.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 18.05.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as the cold weather starts to kick in with winter just around the corner now; the lovely sunny afternoons are such a delight with the autumn tree colours enhanced by sun – it’s a beautiful, beautiful time of year in our garden!

Not much time to squander enjoying the view though … we are head-down-bum-up heeling in this seasons bare-rooted roses … 5,000 of which arrived this morning!

We sure hope you have your rose order organised for this year – there seems to be a reinvented interest in roses and yes, we think it’s because they are more and more easy-care, free-flowering and there’s a huge amount of fragrance in the newly released roses!

Place your order during the next 5 days and enjoy selecting one of our FREE ROSES as a special treat for all orders over $100.


Today we removed the outer layer of hay bales from the compost heap which was started on November 16th, 2016 because we wanted to use those straw bales (filled with breeding worms) to create a new compost heap over a load of steaming, fresh horse stable manure and bags of oak leaves from a Melbourne property which were delivered here this past weekend.

Rotten little opportunists we are – absolutely! and most especially when it comes to gathering such glorious products to create more compost which enhances our gardens!

You might think “it’s all right for them, they’ve got lots of space” … but hang on, just a very small amount of space would be required in your back yard where you can compost all the ‘stuff’ you need to put some goodness back into your garden … I hope this information triggers action at your place:

Alarming Facts - we can all help to reduce – Approximately 50% of the rubbish Australians put in the everyday mixed-waste ‘garbage bin’ could be put to better use in the garden as compost and mulch or could be returned to agricultural land to improve soil quality. Based on 25 Council audits conducted by EC Sustainable in 2011, around 33% of the rubbish is food organics (including peelings) and about 10% is garden vegetation.

Alarmingly, such a huge amount of organically-active material buried ‘anaerobically’ (without air) in landfills causes over 3% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions annually through the production of methane gas (which has 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide).

Please click on the link to read more:

Q.  Why did the jelly-bean go to school?  A. Because it wanted to be a smartie!

It was such joy to make a ball of humus exactly 6 months to the date after Diana created the hay-bale-compost-heap when she became frustrated at the amount of weeds I had caused by putting oat straw on garden beds last winter … we turned a negative situation into a huge positive for our gardens.


This new compost heap has very different composition with a similar concept from its creation – lovely customers in Melbourne load their garbage bin with leaves every week and since they enjoy raking them, we suggested they might like to bag them and bring them here on their next visit – 19 bags of leaves over a load of stable manure from our neighbours!  I’m in heaven … whistle, whistle!  In 6 months, I’ll show you another series of photos and truly, very little input for an immensely pleasing reward!



Q.  Why were the baby strawberries upset?  A.  Because their parents were in a jam.


Many roses should NEVER be budded onto a standard understock/stem because of their upright shape and despite me constantly telling our customers to ‘be the boss and make the rose grow as you wish it to grow’, I encourage you to be careful when selecting standard roses for your garden!

Here are a few of my most favourite standard roses because they are so beautifully shaped when grown on a 90cm standard understock/stem …

Hybrid Tea Rose with a very strong growth habit
and free-flowering throughout the season.

Hybrid Tea rose which produces masses of vase-quality blooms continually throughout the flowering season on lush, healthy, dark green foliage

Healthy and produces and abundent supply of the most perfectly shaped rose blooms which last well in the vase – looks stunning when planted as a Standard Rose.

Is one of my most highly recommended roses for fragrance, health, vigour, stunning foliage, exquisite fruity fragrance from a Hybrid Tea shaped bud which opens to a cupped mass of swirling petals in shades of mauve/warm pink

Is a Hybrid Tea rose with unusual green buds which, depending on the weather, turn golden yellow in the summer or retain a chartreuse green in cooler weather.

Our standard roses will become available at the end of June/early July – remember, always buy quality and consider durable stakes like 13-16mm rio-rod and use reliable ties – we use and highly recommend VELCRO ONE-WRAP 19mm.

If you need assistance creating the rose garden of your dreams design, let me give you a hand – send as many pics, dimensions, ideas and your own wishes so together we can make it work … my motto:  DO IT ONCE, DO IT WELL …

Talk to you again next week … from us at beautiful CLONBINANE …
Diana, Graham, Mooi & Tova

Can you spot our supervisor Mooi in our newly resurfaced nursery?!

ROSE RAMBLER 11.5.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 11.05.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as the frosty mornings take their toll on our beautiful roses for this season – a few will be glorious this weekend for Mother’s Day gifting – the most spectacular rose right now is PERFUME PASSION.

You know, there are times when the name of a rose is very, very important – I understand that because I do the GIFT ROSE which is, quite sincerely, mostly about the NAME OF THE ROSE … however, when appropriate, I will select a more gloriously beautifully flowering rose or a more robust, healthy specimen to pop into the GIFT ROSE pack!

Why?  Well, it’s all about the MEANING of the GIFT ROSE – you don’t want a shaggy, half-decent rose being delivered and let’s be honest here, sometimes in their flowering cycle, most roses go through a pretty shaggy time when they’re definitely NOT suitable for gifting.

MOTHER’S LOVE which is so appropriate for Mother’s Day this weekend has NEVER been at her absolute best by late April/early May so think outside the square and afford your Mum the most spectacular rose available at the time!

It might be AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL or SUMMER ROMANCE or LA VIE EN ROSE which are all new varieties we have carefully selected to add to our list for this season.

A gorgeous modern shrub rose which produces masses of blooms in clusters – best described as lemon in colour, very deeply-cupped cool yellow in the centre with very pale lemon/white outer petals which open flat as the blooms age.

A supremely healthy modern shrub rose which produces fully quartered, old-fashioned style blooms which have a captivating spicy fragrance continually throughout the season.

A beautiful addition to the Delbard series – it’s healthy, produces masses of fragrant blooms which are suited to a vase and all this, produced on a sturdy upright bush with extremely healthy foliage … very highly recommended for 2017 planting in your garden.


It’s winter which means it’s footy season so let’s see if you can get this joke:

Q. Why are football grounds odd? A. Because you can sit in the stands but can’t stand in the sits!


There’s little need to continue spraying the roses now as they are ready to go into winter dormancy which means their foliage will spoil with yellow leaves and black spot.
This means there is no more photosynthesis; the rose ceases flowering or producing new foliage so the foliage will drop and the rose bush will be ready for winter pruning.

Dear Diana, I have heard that you must pick up all fallen rose leaves.  Being elderly and with bad knees I find that I am unable to do this.   Will this be detrimental in the long term or will your rose programme help to keep the roses in tip top condition.  Your advice will be much appreciated.  Many thanks … Margaret

Diana’s response: Whoever wrote such rubbish could never be a ‘real’ gardener!  Can you imagine how I would ever be able to maintain a rose nursery where petals and leaves are falling EVERY DAY in masses?  I would be on my hands and knees all day picking up petals – I would rather be out amid the roses sniffing and enjoying them and I encourage you to do the same!!!

Yes, if you are using our organic management spray program use it immediately AFTER PRUNING and spray over the mulch on the ground as well just because you can!  Hope this relieves you of the stress thinking you were doing it all wrong!!!  Best wishes … Diana

I will remind you as we head into winter rose management that once the roses have had a bit of dormancy, they’re hardened for winter pruning and the organic rose management program will be implemented again.

Meantime, please don’t give up on regular seaweed solution applications.  Remember, as the nights get frosty, your roses and other plants will enjoy between 3-5 degrees of greater frost tolerance if their cells are filled with seaweed solution protection!!!
I urge you to conduct trials in your own garden … pour seaweed solution over a few plants, leave others without and see for yourself what the difference is … these trials are not ‘overnight’ visually apparent but your whole garden will appear more robust and healthy when you implement regular fertilizer and maintenance programs!

When ordering your roses NOW FOR WINTER PLANTING, afford your plants a really great start with ECO-SEAWEED – this 600g pack of powdered seaweed with just a small scoop per 10 litre watering can will make more than 500 watering cans of solution … all that for just $32.50 – be sure and add it to your winter rose order!

Q.  What lights up a football stadium?  A.  A football match!


… to all our beautiful rose gardening Mothers, Grandmothers, Nonnas, Omas and Great-Grandmothers … “Grandmere” which my beautiful Mother has the joy of hearing 17 of her great grandchildren call her!!!  

If you’re awake nice and early on Sunday tune into 3CR GARDENING SHOW at 855 on the AM band quite close to 774 ABC Melbourne.  Graham will join a great panel of professional gardeners who offer their Sunday morning for your listening pleasure and learning …

7.30AM – 9.15AM at 855 on the RADIO AM BAND
Cheers from Graham, Diana, Mooi and Tova at
Open Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday 9am – 4pm
PHONE:  03 5787 1123


ROSE RAMBLER 04.05.2017 …

Hello  dear rose friends and welcome to the month of May when we start to see the last of our magnificent rose blooms until spring!  I will indulge you with lots of beautiful pictures to incite you to purchase some of the beauties which are newly available this season …

Ooooh, gosh but was it gorgeous in the vase at Tesselaar’s Expo recently and it will be a delight in your garden as a lovely healthy rounded shrub which is bound to produce masses to flowering stems throughout the season … I’ll be sure to plant at least one in my new garden …

Luscious palest pink heavily petalled and deeply cupped, highly fragrant blooms are the outstanding glory of this magnificent new rose …

Salmon pink blooms with masses of petals which reflex to flat open blooms on an extremely healthy shrub rose – the flowers were glorious after a very humid five days in a vase which is another reason to grow this beauty in your garden …


I love it when I get this kind of testimonial for the beautiful rose I created from seed which then received awards including a GOLD MEDAL as the most highly fragrant rose at the Australian Rose Trial Grounds.

“Graham gave me a small rose bud after his pruning demonstration on Sunday at Tesselaars Plant Expo. When I unpacked the car later that evening I found a very sad, shrivelled bud amongst other plants I’d purchased.  As my husband boiled the kettle for tea I recalled the section in Diana’s book that talked about reviving roses in hot water.  This is the result…. GRA’S BLUE in all its splendour.  So thanks for the very useful tip….it works!!!”  Madalyn, Mount Evelyn.

Q.  What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?  A.  A carrot.


The most successful and rewarding rose gardens are those where the soil was well prepared prior to planting and autumn is the ideal season to prepare your new garden beds for winter planting of bare-rooted roses.

Remove the grass/weeds to a depth of say, 50mm – 100mm. This ‘turf’ can be laid in another area to create a lawn or place it on the compost heap where it will break down and provide compost for another garden bed once the weeds are ‘cooked’.

Do not dig the cleared area because it is back-breaking work and there is no need for you to do it.  There is an army of workers waiting underground for you to proceed to the next step of creating this new rose bed and they will happily do all the necessary digging and aerating which is essential to create a well-drained site suitable for bare-rooted roses.

Apply gypsum and liquid seaweed over the area then pile on any combination of animal manures or whatever composted material available.  Take some litter from under a range of shrubs and trees in other areas of your garden and spread them over the compost.  This will supply mycorrhiza (fungi) from your own garden environment and is an integral component in the soil life when preparing a new garden bed.  Lightly mulch with lucerne or pea straw and water weekly if there is no rain.

Sprinkle rock dust and liquid sea minerals to ensure a balanced range of earth and sea minerals are incorporated into the soil.

Liquid seaweed applied weekly will act as a soil conditioner as well as feed the worms, your army of workers, without whom your garden will not flourish at all.  They will rapidly come to the surface and begin aerating the soil for you.  As they chew their way through all the manure, straw, leaf litter and goodness you’ve been adding to the site, they will generously add their castings to the soil.  If the pile of manure you have applied rots down to become humus and the bed needs to be raised, keep adding more manure and straw layers up to four weeks prior to planting.

When you are ready to plant the roses, the only area to dig will be at the planting hole.   By doing this, you reduce weed activation because you are not disturbing the soil structure of the entire garden bed.


It’s time now to put your winter order together … it’s easy to procrastinate but we would like to ensure that you get EXACTLY WHICH ROSES YOU WANT and some varieties are already close to selling out!

WE OFFER A 100% GUARANTEE ON OUR ROSES … Yes, we do offer this guarantee but it can be tricky when things don’t quite go as planned like in this case with Gayle

Hi… last year I ordered a bare rooted rose from you my order no. #2857.  I planted the rose…like I do all my roses properly…it is very weak and sick looking lost all its leaves and is now looking very sorry for itself.. Do you have any ideas what I can do..I would love to save it.  I planted it in memory of my deceased 18 year old cat Duchess.  Any help would be appreciated – Gayle

Perhaps if you send some pics I might be able to assist you?  I’m thinking you might have planted DUCHESSE DE BRABANT which is a magnificently strong Tea Rose of immense beauty.

Please do let me know … Diana

(Several weeks passed and I got a photo which I cannot locate but the rose looked great.)  The next email was:

Hello Gayle … oooh, I can see lots and lots of new growth/foliage on this plant … perhaps it has been sulking for a while but it’s definitely ok in the location where it is planted so LEAVE IT ALONE!  Give it regular seaweed solution – weekly perhaps because of the intense heat stress it might be incurring and it will be beautiful in no time!  Hope this is helpful and keep me posted please … best wishes

Hi Diana….thanks for the advice…yes it is looking a lot better, thanks again –  Gayle.

Early this week, I received this email from Gayle:

Hi Diana…thought I would give you an update on my DUCHESSE rose….the rose is healthy…I realise it was being nibbled at by rabbits!!  Have a wire protection on it now. and learn!

Yes, we offer a 100% guarantee on all our roses, a replacement rose is offered where necessary but not before thoroughly exploring EVERY possible reason for why a particular rose isn’t flourishing and we urge you to do the same!

Q.  What kind of pets do teachers at beauty school like?  A.  Hares!

Have a great week in your autumn garden – get out the winter woollies because winter is just around the corner now.  Enjoy sniffing the last rose blooms …

Cheers from Graham, Diana, Mooi and Tova at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 27.4.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 27.04.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends – phew, what a month this has been and thank you to ALL OF YOU who supported the events which we have been involved with, thank you for coming to the Rose Farm and thank you absolutely for ordering your winter roses/bare-rooted roses online during this past month that the online store at has been open for winter ordering.

In coming weeks I will be uploading all the wonderful photos I’ve taken this past season – do take a look and please, if you see a photo which you don’t think does our website justice because it’s wrongly loaded, please can you shoot me an email.  I will happily add a free rose to your winter order as thank you for being my ‘online scout’ but you have to let me know … thank you so much!


Here are a few of the beauties we showcased at Tesselaar’s Garden Expo this past weekend – gosh, was it spectacular!

A healthy shrub which produces pure white blooms
displaying a swirling mass of petals on long, strong stems ideal for a vase.

Distinctly unusual rose with strongly angular red and white
petals which give the bloom a ‘square’ appearance,
similar to a paper folded flower – hence the name Origami.
Highly disease resistant and well clothed in mid green foliage,
plant singly, as a hedge or in a pot. Light rose perfume.
A Gold Award winning rose – Australian National Rose Trial Grounds.

This David Austin New Release Rose for 2017
had people stopping to check whether the flowers
were real when we presented this magnificent rose at the
Tesselaar Plant Expo in April, 2017 …
what a rose and it just got better as it aged in the vase!


There’s all sorts of talk about how small business makes this country ‘tick’ – so easy to talk and talk and talk!  Please, Australians, buy as local as you possibly can!!!  We select products for our household shopping with diligent care – the one we like MUST preferably be ‘MADE IN AUSTRALIA’ or we’ll find an alternative product of similar or better quality to pop into our shopping trolley!

YES, the Aussie product will obviously be more expensive … H-E-L-L-O … we are SO WELL PAID that all the products we make and distribute here in Australia are always going to be more expensive than what is imported where cheap labour is used to produce our overwhelming need for more!

All worth a thought as our beautiful roses have been taken in luggage to India, Thailand and UK in past weeks.  It’s a small world and becoming smaller.

Q. What do snakes write at the bottom of their letters?  A. Love and hisses …

Hope you haven’t had issues with them in your garden recently – just a few sightings here this past summer and we’re now confident again with colder weather that they’re gone off to hibernate!

… Bhagavad Gita


Here’s an email chat with Jodie in QLD who has received three consignments of roses, eco-products and Diana’s book, ALL ABOUT ROSES in recent months …

Hi Jodie … ok, so you have roses in the shade???  It’s a tricky one and you’ll have to manage it … can you trim the plants/trees which are causing shade?  If it’s the house – ha, ha, you cannot shift it!

You’ll have to be very diligent with a spray program … please follow directions in my book ALL ABOUT ROSES when you get it in the post this week … put all the Eco-products into the one sprayer – spray them all over the foliage at least monthly (try and avoid the flowers because it does spoil them!!!) … NEVER SPRAY OVER 30 degrees and hot sun conditions!  Get up early and get it on before 9.00am … put half-strength ECO-OIL in really warm conditions!!!  

Think about it too … does NEPTUNE need a bit of fertilizer – it’s been flowering like a ripper … yes?  All the roses will be adapting to your climate, soil conditions and quite frankly, it’s a heck of a journey from here to you, being planted in a whole new environment and perhaps a bit of stress (ie, indicated by back spot on foliage) would be NORMAL???

Remember too Jodie … it’s that time of year when the roses are ready to have a break – there one means of losing foliage to become hardened up for winter pruning is to be riddled with black spot so the foliage cannot photosynthesise, it drops, the plant becomes bare, you prune it, it rests for winter and the next minute, it’s sprouting foliage again and then very soon after, it’s flowering!

It’s a cycle with a whole of lot of ‘stuff’ in between – most awesomely, beautiful flowers pretty consistently for around 7-9 months depending on the climate where you live … All very, very special … enjoy!


Throughout the ages, humans have sought to capture the tantalizing, elusive perfume of the rose … here are some categories of scent …

  • Aromatics such as aniseed and lavender
  • Citrus
  • Flora such as rose, jasmine or lilac
  • Fruit such as raspberry, pear or peach
  • Greenery from herbs
  • Spices like cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Wood and balsam – vanilla, heliotrope at the base.

On still, warm, sunny days, fragrance from roses is at optimum and strongest for even the most ‘hard of smelling nose’!  Blooms picked when the outer petals have fully reflected will exude fragrance for days at evenly warm room temperature – so when you pick a rose that you think is hardly worth popping in a vase, do it as you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the change in fragrance when vased in a warm environment!

Q.  What do you call a rabbit who tells jokes?  A.  A funny bunny!

GOOD TIP … to test for fragrance don’t just take a quick ‘sniff’ but rather hold a semi-open rose bloom in the palm of your hands, perhaps pick it and pop it in your pocket or place it under your cap for a short time and you will soon know whether it is or isn’t fragrant FOR YOU!  Remember, we ALL have a different capacity in our sense of SMELL!

I hope you’re digging and dunging the garden ready for planting bare-rooted roses this winter … next week I’ll give you some really good hints for what to add to the soil but if you’re out and about at a garden centre this week, take home a few bags of quality manure / compost / fertilizer … remember, it’s still autumn and the most wonderful season to sort your garden for this coming winter!

Enjoy the awesomeness of your autumn garden … take a drive out our way to experience the beauty of autumn colour in the ornamental trees … we’re basking in a whole other glory here at Clonbinane!

Cheers from Graham, Diana, Mooi and our lovely assistant, Tova

“Stay cosy!”

ROSE RAMBLER 20.4.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 20.04.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as we pack the iLoad with buckets of cut rose blooms, boxes of vases, potted roses and head off to the Tesselaar Gardening and Plants Expo – which is EXACTLY what it is!

A gathering of some of the finest specialist horticulturalists who meet at this magnificent destination to show our wares and offer our discerning gardening friends an opportunity to come along and meet us all at one place – the pulsing heart of horticulture at Silvan in Victoria.  Yes, some customers have flown to Melbourne for this event!

If you require information about attending this weekend, please call us 03 5787 1123.


I have an opportunity to once again speak at the…

Tesselaar Gardening and Plant Expo

Bring along your questions!  Never, ever, not ask a question because you think you ‘should know the answer’!!!  I feel privileged and honoured to be invited to share my years of horticultural experience at these events.

For all our customers, always, if you have a query, please land it in an email or bring pictures and all your questions to us here at the Rose Farm.  Our belief is – if you don’t ask the question, the answer is NO … just bring on the questions when you have them!

ALSO! Don’t miss out on this 2 for 1 offer for tickets to the expo. Simply print the below coupon and bring it along to Tesselaars with you this weekend!

Q.  What happened to the dog who swallowed a watch?  A.  He got ticks!

Ever tried weeding in garden beds and you pull at the base of the weed but it just won’t come out roots and all?  Other times, you can hand weed such deep-rooted weeds like ‘dock’ and it almost falls out of the ground!  Well, from 21st April till 26th April INCLUSIVE will be a most successful time for weeding this month – please test this for yourself and we would love to hear your feedback!

You can source the MOON PLANTING GUIDE in Better Homes and Gardens monthly magazine so that you know when to plant, when to weed and when to take a rest from gardening!  Great idea!!!

Q.  What position does a monster play on a soccer team?  A. You’re right … GHOULIE!

This past week we experienced another “TYPICAL SCENARIO OF A POTENTIAL ISSUE WITH A ROSE IN YOUR GARDEN” … It starts rather impersonally and we eventually end up as best friends with Diana and I trying to solve a problem together with our customer …

Dear Roses online, I bought several roses from you last year most are performing very well but I have two that I cannot get to flower.  They have been fertilized and watered just the same as the others. I have tried to give them a prune and nothing seems to be working.  The two roses are Brother Cadfael and Eglantyne both David Austin roses.  Your help would be appreciated.  I can send some photos if it would help.  Thankyou.  Jayne

A photo is always helpful.  However, my thought is that the roses are not getting enough sun?????  Sometimes, when a rose isn’t performing, I will recommend digging it up and holding in a pot for some time, re-working the soil then replanting.  What do you think?

Hi Diana, I have included some photos hopefully you might see something that I cannot.  They all have full sun so no worries there.  If you can`t see anything I will remove the plant from the garden and try it in a pot.  Thanks Jayne

Jayne:  Everything seems in order … are you perhaps cutting/pruning roses which want to grow taller than others … they’re both rather tall in their habit and if you keep trimming, then you’ll deplete flowering potential …???  The foliage is healthy and in both cases, I can see they’re true to variety – BROTHER CADFAEL has that lovely new dark red foliage so is easily identifiable.  Since they’re in full sun, I don’t know other than they’re robust plants and you are potentially cutting off the flowers in order to keep the plants short … ???

Hi Diana , many thanks for your help I will leave them alone for a while and see what happens.  If they don`t flower thru the autumn I will have to put something in it`s place.  Another excuse to buy some more??  Many thanks Jayne.

Jayne:  We would prefer to resolve the issue happening in that location … there HAS TO BE SOMETHING WRONG … not wrong perhaps but definitely not 100% ok … if we can be of further assistance, please let us know  … best wishes

Hi Diana and Graham, I think that I may have solved my problem with my roses – I was digging the top of the soil to loosen it up the other day and I seem to have a lot of curl grubs.  I don`t know if they eat the roots of roses but I do seem to have a lot in there.  I would of thought that the other roses would be suffering as well.  My husband has sprayed with confidor so I am hoping that will get rid of them, fingers crossed that it is the problem.  Regards Jayne

Jayne:  Well there you go … a little bit of fossicking and you’ve probably solved the problem … would the grubs be eating the roots of the roses you ask?  We don’t know but them being there is obviously an issue … keep regular applications of seaweed solution (weekly perhaps) to those roses and please do let me know how it all goes.
Appreciate you following through and telling us about this …
Best wishes, Diana & Graham

So you see, good communication generally gets to the bottom of an issue … 10 days of backwards and forwards emailing, a few photos and Jayne will probably have those two roses flowering this autumn.

Believe me, roses are tough as indicated by our very long-time customer Wendy who popped in today and we took a walk in the garden together – she revelled in the fact that we had lots of roses flowering – hers have been dormant through a very long, hot spell in northern Victoria when she didn’t water her gardens!

A few weeks ago she turned on the tap and thoroughly soaked all her rose gardens and then we’ve had this lovely rain so she is totally excited about autumn flowering.


No matter how cold or wet, customers are invited to sniff the fragrance … aaaaah, it is amazing and very worthy of its GOLD MEDAL AWARD for MOST FRAGRANT ROSE at the AUSTRALIAN ROSE TRIALS, 2015 …

Is rich apricot now and will flower right up until the coldest winter weather shuts it down for a rewarding spell as this thornless beauty has flowered and flowered absolutely continually from October onwards …

You cannot deny a rose which has won more than 25 international awards and sold more than 90 million plants world-wide – it will flower freely until the frost tells it to take a rest!

Enjoy all the glorious moments of your autumn garden and remember, if you have a query about something in your garden, let us help you get it sorted!

We hope to see you at Tesselaar’s Garden Expo this weekend – for our interstate gardening friends, we hope you continue to enjoy your autumn roses and remember, the online store is now open for ordering bare-rooted roses!

Graham and I still hope to get across to see the 2017 new release roses flowering at Penola so that we can give you our opinion of their growing habit and fragrance – it’s so very important to us that you read our personal experience of the new release roses …

Happy gardening and best wishes …
Graham & Diana at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane