ROSE RAMBLER 24.5.2018


Hello dear rose friends as we welcome the new season’s roses which are being sorted, labelled and very importantly, kept moist AT ALL TIMES during this processing!
You’ll be hearing from us soon if you have ordered bare-rooted roses –  please be patient and wait for us to contact you as some varieties are still in the ground … remember too, standard roses will ALWAYS BE DUG LATER … it will be July before we call you to advise posting or collection of orders which contain STANDARD ROSES!


Its time to be planting bare-rooted winter roses.  GIVE ROSES A BOOST TO START THEIR NEW LIFE in your garden by following these planting tips:

  • Dig a hole at least 50cms x 50cms and at least that deep so that the graft is just above the existing soil level;
  • Blend 30% of quality compost with the existing soil;
  • Scientific research has shown that mycorrhiza (good soil bugs) can be obtained from mulch/soil material around other plants in your garden so add a bucket full of this to the planting hole;
  • ALWAYS soak the newly planted rose with at least two buckets (20 litres) of water;
  • Add seaweed solution to the final bucket of water and continue seaweed applications at least every two weeks.

Q.  How can you tell a Martian would be a good gardener? A. They all have green thumbs. 

AWESOME CLIMBING ROSES … here are a few highly recommend ones which would nicely cover a stark fence and require very little in the way of support …


Q.  Which bird can never be trusted?   A. A lyre-bird. 

May the last days of autumn afford you the joy of stunning fragrant roses and amazing colour from the trees around you!  We’re revelling in the last blooms and the most gloriously colourful garden we’ve ever experienced here at Clonbinane!

Talk to you next week… meantime, enjoy the autumn colours all around you… Graham, Diana and the crew at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane… 
Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane



Hello dear rose friends as we return home from a very special reunion at Mt Tamborine, QLD with Graham’s mates from his days in the Rover Scouts – a catch-up with many memories and laughs!


I hope all you Mums had a beautiful day last Sunday when your family celebrated your specialness!

Q.  What kind of sharks NEVER eat women? A. Man-eating sharks 

Diana likes to throw me an impossible task sometimes; this is one of them:  If I was only allowed to buy three roses this winter, which would I choose?

After much deliberation and writing down more than twelve varieties in a very short time, I ended up with these three:

UNCONVENTIONAL LADY – is one of the most exciting new climbing roses because not only does it flower very, very continually but it holds a lot of healthy foliage throughout winter – a really important aspect of covering an area which would enjoy winter foliage!  A very highly recommended rose!!!
MUNSTEAD WOOD Because I just LOVE this glorious rose which grows on a short hedge-row in my garden … it stops me EVERY time I walk past because I have to take a sniff and its flowering all the time!  My favourite David Austin Rose without a doubt!
KARDINAL I just have to have the most perfectly formed red rose in my garden so that I can pick bunches of long-stemmed blooms to fill vases for the kitchen bench throughout the flowering season and KARDINAL is so PERFECT!  It’s so long-lasting and if you get it at the right moment, yes, it does indeed have a fragrance too!

Be sure and write down your lists of preferred roses, make ‘wish lists’ and do your research so that when you plant, you hopefully get the planting right FIRST TIME.  It doesn’t always quite go to plan – read on:
Hi Diana, I was given ‘Perfume Passion’ two years ago. 

The label said it grew to 1.5 metres. After a year in the ground it just took off!  I’ve never seen such vigorous growth (apart from maybe ‘Best Friend’). 

Even with a good winter prune I’m finding it’s growing closer to 1.8 metres which is a bit too tall for its current position.
I can always move it but what I’m wondering is, how is the height of a rose determined? Regards – Jon


Sometimes, the height is determined by the fact that it just LOVES it at your place.  Seems that’s the case in this instance – see, I would say to another customer, yep, 1.2 – 1.5 for BEST FRIEND but I know for a fact that there are locations where the rose is growing to the eaves of the house and beyond, simply because it loves the position its planted in and, it was a quality rose from the start!

If your PERFUME PASSION is too large for the current location (it is flowering well I imagine?  ie. It’s not understock?) I recommend you move it to a place where it can do its thing!  Cheers – Graham


Send your plans, wish-lists and specifications to us at and we’ll be more than pleased to assist with organising your new or refurbished rose garden from design to soil preparation, rose selection and planting information.

There’s lots of information at but you’re welcome to call us on 03 5787 1123 any Fri Sat Sun or Mon 9.00am – 4.00pm if you would like to have a chat about anything to do with roses in your garden.

Talk to you next week… meantime, enjoy the autumn colours all around you… Graham, Diana and the crew at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane… 
Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 10th MAY, 2018 …

ROSE RAMBLER 10th MAY, 2018 … 

Hello dear rose friends.  And … drumroll … the WINNER IS: LISA MUNNS from LAVINGTON IN NSW

Sincere thanks to you all for your AMAZING support of this competition by emailing your answer and details accordingly … most of you got it right!  Steph takes the prize for the most creative response:


A. FINDING HALF A WORM IN YOUR APPLE! Why?  — because: (1) you have ingested some unexpected extra protein; and (2) you’ve lost the opportunity to put the apple and a lovely wriggling lively worm in your compost where the apple will break down, the worm will thrive and create lovely compost to PUT ON YOUR ROSES! 🙂  Kind regards …Stefanie 

Along with this beautifully creative contribution from Sonia’s little girl:  “Finding half a worm or a family of baby spiders, earwigs or a human eyeball … ewhh – yuk”

We were overwhelmed by the incredible number of email responses and we’re so pleased to be able to continue presenting this weekly Rose Rambler for your learning and gardening pleasure knowing so many of you actually continue to read it!

The reason we did such a low-key Rose Rambler last week was that I had had a rather serious car accident on MY dirt road into Kilmore and wrote-off Graham’s vehicle!  I am 100% OK and a walking – talking miracle really!  There was a lot to organise and the accident was a signal for me to slow down and take time out to ‘smell the roses’!
Graham and I will be taking time out in these next few weeks before the busy bare-rooted season starts.   Ben and Tova are more than capable of holding the fort so continue to place your winter orders for bare-rooted roses!


Here are a few highly recommended varieties which you MUST consider:


ALI BABA – is one of the most exciting new climbing roses because not only does it flower very, very continually but it holds a lot of healthy foliage throughout winter – a really important aspect of covering an area which would enjoy winter foliage! A very highly recommended rose!!!

DREAM CHASER – was one of the outstanding roses in the field this past summer – it’s got everything you want in a rose … highly fragrant, very easy care, extremely high-health and a lovely rounded shrub which just ‘fits in’ … you MUST have this beauty in your garden!

MY YELLOW – is absolutely stunning and again, extremely high-health, fragrant and it just doesn’t seem to EVER BE WITHOUT FLOWERS … we’ve been trialling this beauty in our gardens here at Clonbinane and it is EVERYTHING we never expected to enjoy in a yellow rose – an Australian-bred beauty by Bruce Brundrett and if you love YELLOW roses, then this is the rose you MUST grow – a real beauty!

If you don’t like online ordering then call us at the Rose Farm every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday when we are open – otherwise, order at you can see a plethora of beautiful photos of the roses available for ordering NOW.


Since you obviously all love a good joke, here’s my contribution for this week:

Q. What do you get if you cross a worm with a baby goat?  A. A dirty kid!  

Many of you will still have beautiful blooms for weeks to come in your rose garden so be sure to apply the organic management spray program regularly as it will retain healthy foliage for longer as the nights get cooler/damper – to 10 litres of water add:

  • 1/4 cup ECO-ROSE / FUNGICIDE (these products are one and the SAME!!!  Eco-Rose has a red coloured label and Eco-Fungicide has an aqua coloured label)
  • 1 small scoop ECO-SEAWEED (the 600g pack is still on special because we forgot to change the price several weeks ago – you’ll make 120 x 9 litre watering cans of seaweed solution from each 600g pack!  Real value at full price of $32.50 but currently just $25.00
  • 1/4 cup ECO-OIL – although it is an insecticide, ECO-OIL also acts as a ‘sticker’ so it’s a very important component in the organic rose management spray.

Thoroughly mix all the products into a spray unit or watering can and cover rose foliage fortnightly during this cool/damp weather to keep foliage healthy right up to winter when all rose leaves will start to show signs of black-spot and yellowing.

Remember that this decline in healthy rose foliage is a NATURAL MECHANISM for roses to LOSE their FOLIAGE and go into winter dormancy.  When they’ve completely defoliated it will be time to prune – more on that topic later.

Here’s an email exchange with Jodie in Queensland:  “Hi Gra … my roses are all flowering and looking great – the only challenge I have is black spot.  I have started to spray them with the special eco powder for black spot that I purchased from you, but I suppose it will take a number of more sprays before it starts to work?”

My response:  The organic spray management program works very efficiently, effectively and economically when applied regularly and in line with prevalent weather conditions … so rather than wait for damp weather to affect rose foliage by staying damp overnight and increasing the possibility of black spot or mildew affecting the leaves, SPRAY BEFORE such weather is expected – if and when possible!

Just another thought … do you have the ECO OIL as well???  Always add that to the spray because it also acts as a ‘sticker’ … makes the fungicide and seaweed solution ‘stick’ to the foliage because it is oil based!  If you don’t have ECO OIL you should at least add a dash of detergent – the soap will make the spray solution stick to the rose foliage … 

Since I started with a joke, I’ll end with one also:

Q. Why did the singer climb a ladder?  A. To reach the high notes!   … cheers


Thank you for continuing to send emails commending the quality of our roses, our helpful assistance with all manner of rose issues and your general approval of how we conduct our business.

In order to voice your opinion more widely, can you please submit your testimonial on here, so that potential customers will confidently allow us at Silkies Rose Farm and to encourage them the pleasure of growing beautiful roses in their gardens!

Be sure to ‘smell the roses’ while they are still flowering in your garden and a very HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the wonderful Mum’s / Grandmother’s and Women in general who make this country a loving place for all of us!

Graham, Diana, Mooi and the crew of helpers:  Ben, Tova and Leigh.



Hello dear rose friends after a most amazing experience at the inaugural Upper North Shore Rose Show at Galston last weekend – thank you so much to my hosts Celia and Ian for a truly wonderful weekend in Sydney!  The Rose Show was amazing with their onsite Café well stocked with scones baked by … yep, Diana up at the crack of dawn with a smile

Naturally, when I leave the Rose Farm, others have to step up and manage the nursery so thank goodness, Cooper was happy to assist his Dad, Ben and Poppy, Gra …




Let’s start with a joke…

Q.  Why can’t you borrow money from a leprechaun?  A.  Because he’s always a little short!

We enjoy your email enquiries as they inspire us to share our knowledge through this Rose Rambler – this week we’ll cover some interesting facets of growing roses in pots …


Hi Rosemary … you would do well to re-pot the roses any time NOW … if there are any in really large pots, remove soil around the border (sides) of the pot, cut roots out as well and place fresh soil in the space, water in with seaweed solution and the roses will literally jump out of their pots!  They’ll flower super well this season.  Hope this is helpful … cheers


If you’re going to completely re-pot, why not just use the same pots?  You’ll bare-root the roses, trim the roots and the tops and then plant them back into the same pots I would think???  However, if you want to get larger pots, you might increase the size by at least 20cms I guess ???


Ofcourse you CAN grow a weeper in a pot but I would only recommend such a situation if you were using the weeper to cover say, a pergola / veranda / or some other structure that the understock cane of the weeper can be well supported by such a structure.  Remember, a weeping rose could easily grow a ‘head’ which is up to 2 metres diameter so unless you have a pot which is 2 metres in diameter, the head will require substantial support!


Hi Kim … Pots work well provided you water them adequately … since you’ve been so successful, I guess there might be just a bit of an issue with those two varieties?  If a rose doesn’t perform, take a look OUTSIDE THE SQUARE … is it the rose at the end of the row – on the high side (it might be dry or maybe getting more shade than it likes), perhaps the lowest point (is it too wet or not getting adequate air circulation)?


When roses are being kept in pots I suggest you use QUALITY POTTING MIX and don’t muck with it by adding bits and pieces … always pour ECO-SEAWEED over the entire plant at least once a fortnight and feed regularly once the rose has foliage.  The bigger the pot, the bigger the plant!  For roses especially, more roots and foliage, MORE FLOWERS!


An email from Judy makes me think we glibly offer you this recommendation … “apply ECO-SEAWEED to encourage health, vigour and continual flowering …” 

My response Hi Judy .. I would think that your entire rose garden would be ‘seaweeded’ with oooh, 5 watering cans???  It’s a sprinkling over the roses and yes, as the bushes grow it might be exhausting with watering cans but then load up a spray unit … there are lots of small garden units available so you can get 25 – 50litres of spray distributed very economically .. worth investing in a unit similar to what we use at the Rose Farm! 

Q.  What did one candle say to the other candle?  A.  Are you going out tonight?



This weekend we are exhibiting at this magnificent destination so do come along and see and smell our awesome display of field-grown roses – lots of new-release varieties – over 40 vases of fragrant roses will be displayed!

There is a SPECIAL OFFER during the EXPO ONLY – order any 5 BARE-ROOTED ROSES for this winter and receive one rose FREE*


(*select one of our highly recommended roses as your FREE ROSE)

Graham will be doing a presentation on stage at 10.30am on SATURDAY MORNING.



 If you can organise a group of 8 or more, you will enjoy the following

FREE entry to Art Expo
FREE catalogue and guided walk through Art Expo
FREE entry to one of Kilmore’s finest gardens
FREE walk ‘n’ talk around Silkies Rose Farm and gardens

Here are a few pics of roses in the gardens and pots this past week …

(Top Left: MAGGIE Top Right: JEANNE LA JOIE  Bottom Left: HONEY DIJON Bottom Right:  APRICOT NECTAR)
Hope we catch up with you at one of these destinations this weekend – cheers from Graham, Diana, Mooi, Tova, Ben and Leigh – this weekend we’ve got our friend Marilyn helping us as well!



Hello dear rose friends in the peak of one of the most magnificent seasons for roses and gardens generally!  Our gardens and the potted roses look sensational so do make an effort to attend



I received this email after an article presented in Rose Rambler last week:

“Hi Diana, I bought a fragrant dark red climbing rose from you called DON JUAN.  It is probably in too exposed a position to have grown to its best potential, but it is slowly filling a wire obelisk I gave it for support.  I didn’t realise it was a climber when I bought it and I would have chosen a different location if I had noticed it was a climber on the tag before I planted it, but I didn’t want to move it once it was in.  It is on the end of a row of red roses.

Eventually, I hope it is a spectacular pillar.  The scent is gorgeous.  Just thought I would remind you of it since you didn’t mention it as an alternative to MR LINCOLN, CLB.  Kind Regards,  Sarah”

MY RESPONSE:  “Hi Sarah … how lovely to read this email … you know, DON JUAN is still one of Graham’s most favourite CLIMBING RED roses and I’m almost 100% sure that he sent budwoodso that we will have DON JUAN plants later this winter … confirming:  WE WILL HAVE 20 plants available in July this year and you MUST CALL THE NURSERY on 03 5787  1123 if you wish to order!

Yes, it is a climber … sometimes, when a rose is ONLY grown as a climber, we name the rose exactly as is … for example, DON JUAN – RENAE – CREPUSCULE – ALTISSIMO – lots more climbing roses which are ONLY CLIMBING ROSES!  When a rose such as BLUE MOON orICEBERG (and lots of others) have a CLIMBING derivative (called a ‘sport’ usually) then we refer to the rose by its name and add the word CLIMBING on the plant tag.

Sorry for the confusion and I’m so glad you are pleased with DON JUAN in your garden!  Best wishes and Happy Easter … DIANA”


Since we’re talking about climbing roses, let me show you a few more amazing climbing roses which give EVERYTHING you want in a rose garden:

BLOSSOMTIME:  what a gorgeous spice and apple fragrance!  Perfectly formed mid-pink inner petals with dark pink shades outside make this such a particularly pretty specimen rose suitable for a vase and definitely a strikingly healthy specimen to scramble over a 2 x 2 metre lattice or fence … highly recommended climbing rose!

Pause for a joke:  Q. Why did the man run around his bed?  A. Because he was trying to catch up on his sleep!

DUBLIN BAY:  is one of the very BEST pillar-box-red climbing roses … always in flower, always healthy and neatly fits in a fan shape against even the most hot location; a brilliant climbing/pillar rose which, for me, exudes a subtle but distinct rose fragrance.
ALOHA:  such a unique colour and flower shape – I cannot get over how truly lovely this rose is and it is destined to be planted in a very prominent location in our gardens this autumn – I simply love this rose and highly recommend it for a climber in your garden!

Have a great week in your autumn rose garden … keep trimming and grooming spent flowers to encourage more growth and flowers right up into winter … close with a joke:

Q.  Can a kangaroo jump higher than the Empire State Building?  A. Of course! The Empire State Building can’t jump!!!

Remember, children and grandchildren are watching you when you garden – that’s how they learn about Mother Nature so take them into the garden with you!

If you’re in Sydney this weekend, pop into the Galston Community Centre on Sunday, 8th April and visit with me, Diana at the Upper North Shore Rose Show – I would LOVE to see lots of our customers and friends at this inaugural rose show.

Enjoy all the moments in your garden during this awesome season – Diana & Graham



Hello dear rose friends as we now enter a very busy time here at the Rose Farm and away at different events …


UNSH Rose Regional shared Rose Sales Online’s post: “Diana Sargeant from Rose Sales Online is flying up from Victoria to be with UNSH on Sunday 8th April 2018 11am -5.30 pm Galston Community Centre, 37 Arcadia Rd, Galston. Meet Diana, have a chat, see the beautiful Rose Display. Her book “All About Roses” will be for sale, she will autograph it. Enjoy the teas and other stalls.”

Then, I also hope you’ve booked to come to Art & Roses or Tesselaar’s Plant Expo on either Saturday or Sunday of the following weekend!

Please call me on 03 5787 1123 for more information about the above events.


Firstly, thanks for your messages when the rose I bred, GRA’S BLUE, was awarded:  Rose of the Month, March, 2018, an initiative of AusRose Promotions. Now, GRA’S BLUE is also in the running for AUSTRALIAN BRED ROSE OF THE YEAR, 2018 and we’ll let you know when you can vote accordingly.


It is said that mulching is the first essential for any Australian garden.  Mulch provides food for worms (who will start breeding soon) and also provides organic matter for a well-balanced and vital soil.

Mulch prevents run-off of top soil thus reducing erosion.  We use all types of mulch on our gardens –

LUCERNE – acts as food for worms, provides green manure and encourages soil microbes to proliferate as it leaches nutrients into the soil;

PEA STRAW – good open mulch to allow moisture penetration and natural nitrogen for plant leaf growth;

WHEAT/OAT STRAW – supplies silica nutrient for stem growth and is very easy to apply.  (Editor – Diana: this straw also grows the most amazing weeds you ever did see which Gra calls GREEN MANURE and which I call A MESS.)

EUCY MULCH – we use thick layers of this product on garden borders and paths rather than around our roses.

To retain warmth and moisture in your soil right up until winter, it is important to top-up the mulch NOW to provide ideal conditions for worms to breed – remember, they’re the army of workers you want in your garden as they aerate and fertilize the soil naturally!


Yes, they can be and it is especially important to get advice when selecting the right variety for your location and you are welcome to send pictures and dimensions via email: so that we can give you the best advice for successful climbing rose growing.  If you nominate the colour and any other specific requirements, we’ll suggest the variety to best suit your garden.

Here’s an email from Alison:  “I’m a bit disappointed in Mr Lincoln (climber) who has barely flowered but has put out huge long canes that I don’t know what to do with. I’m guessing the care advice will  be the same as your last reply but how do I manage these canes? The wire for them runs under the fascia on the verandah.”

MY RESPONSE:  I don’t like MR. LINCOLN CLIMBING for that reason … great arching canes which carry the most ferocious thorns!  There isn’t a red climbing rose with just a few thorns so there’s a HUGE gap in the rose market for a highly fragrant dark red CLIMBING rose!  I’ll ask Graham to do breeding with … NAHEMA X FIREFIGHTER which might result in a less thorny, highly fragrant, dark red climbing rose …  Ha Ha! 


Meantime, I think GUINEA (not as highly fragrant) or PAPA MEILLAND, CLB. are more gentle dark red, climbing roses.   MR. LINCOLN, CLB. needs to be strapped to a wall or fence – definitely NOT near where there is human traffic!
For a situation where you have wires under the fascia of the verandah, I would more highly recommend RENAECREPUSCULEPINKIE or others which are more well-foliaged and way less thorny!
HOT CHOCOLATE or HOT COCOA … What better way to avoid weight increase this Easter … buy either one of these beauties which are flowering now …


Have a HAPPY EASTER with family and friends … see you real soon here at the Rose Farm in Clonbinane or at one of our events …

Diana, Graham and Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 22.3.2018


ROSE RAMBLER: 22nd March 2018

Hello dear rose friends and a HUGE THANK YOU for placing orders for winter in the first few days of our online store opening for bare-rooted orders; a special thank you to those who found a few ‘glitches’ and emailed to let us and our IT team know what was happening!

If you have concerns or issues with ordering roses for this winter, please don’t hesitate to email: and remember, you can still order POTTED ROSES to be posted anytime NOW.  Here’s a picture of SOUL MATE which was posted last week as a GIFT ROSE 

The roses look sensational and are flowering beautifully so if you prefer to plant your roses in autumn while the soil is still warm and conditions prevail to ensure the roses settle well, you’ll give them a light winter prune and have magnificent established plants flowering in Spring this year.

We always recommend:  DO NOT COMPROMISE!  If a certain variety isn’t available NOW, don’t buy just any rose because you adamantly wish to plant NOW!  Please wait until the varieties you’ve researched and pined for are available in winter … it’s not that long before you’ll be planting – just 8 – 12 weeks away, depending on variety!

Worth waiting for, I assure you!


When an order comes in, I ALWAYS respond immediately even thought the computer generates an automated response!

Here’s typical dialogue with our customers:

Hello Lyndell … thank you for your order.  What a beaut selection of varieties!!!  I’ll contact you prior to posting the roses so you know to expect them … meantime, get digging and dunging!  CheersLyndell responded:  Ha ha  ….  every intension of digging and dunging.   What do you recommend?   Cow, sheep, horse?   We are making a whole new rose bed so glad we have a few months to get it all ready to plant – can’t wait.

So I responded:   EVERY LITTLE BIT OF ANY KIND because you’ve got lots of time to have it all rot down into a PERFECT blend for roses!  Be sure to water over the entire garden bed with seaweed solution every say, week or two and keep the entire area nice and moist so the worms come up and do all the back-breaking work of aerating the soil!!!  They’re the army you want onside but you have to make it irresistible enough for worms to come and work for YOU!  Enjoy the preparation because I just know you will DEFINITELY enjoy the rewards of magnificent roses for many years – especially since you’re doing all this beaut preparation!!!  Cheers … Diana


With the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show on this week, I hope you stop in and take a look at the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria hanging basket competition – Silkies Rose Farm are represented with a magnificent basket of PURPLE RAIN

and do stop in and say hello to Steve and the crew at Organic Crop Protectants stand B23 – they have great show specials on all the organic rose-management products so you can pick up a bargain!

Q.  What do you call a flying policeman?  A. A heli-copper.

Hi Diana and Graham  – You didn’t mention what time of day the “Eco-Organic Management Program” should be applied – in the morning at watering time (seems sensible but maybe not advised because of the oil) or in the evening?  Please let us know! Thanks and Regards – Sue 

MY RESPONSE … Sorry … sometimes I forget that there are ‘new subscribers’ every day and I should repeat myself constantly – most especially on this VERY IMPORTANT aspect of rose management – yes preferred in the morning when the stomata (pores) is open and NEVER when temperatures expected to exceed 28-30 degrees.  If it suits you best to do the program in the evening because of work commitments, it’s better than not doing it but you do run a risk of having damp foliage overnight!  Hope this is helpful … cheers  … GRAHAM 

Q.  Did you hear about the two antennas that got married?  A. The wedding ceremony wasn’t too good, but the reception was great!  


It is the fragrance of the rose that above all, has been responsible for its enduring popularity throughout the Ages.

Rose scent, which is carried largely in the petals (though sometimes in the stamens) of the flower, is emitted into the air most strongly when the growth of the flower and the atmospheric conditions are perfectly aligned.

Often, on warm days, it’s a good idea to smell a rose then come back to it an hour or so later to give that ‘double-whammy’ effect.  Rose perfume goes straight to your brain!

Customers in the nursery yesterday … she said:  “He can never smell a rose when I know it has an amazing fragrance” … he said:  “She cannot smell any of the roses which I like”.  Very challenging so I picked up the jar of instant coffee and asked him to take a sniff of the coffee and then stick his nose into the rose which she thought was so lovely.

You won’t believe me I guess but he turned around, AMAZED that YES, he could indeed smell the most beautiful fragrance.  Obviously, to reinforce and prove my point, I asked her to take a whiff of the instant coffee then smell the rose which HE thought had magnificent perfume … You’re right, she was stunned that she could smell exactly what he could!!!

YOU MUST CLEAR THE OLFACTORY GLAND CONSTANTLY WHEN TESTING FOR FRAGRANCE and coffee beans/grounds or a tea bag are handy accompaniments when next visiting a rose garden to experience the true fragrance of roses!

It is my experience that people remember the perfume of a particular rose from 30 to 40 years ago – such is the power of our senses and for a truly sensational experience of rose fragrance, stick your nose into

All the above roses are available for planting in your garden NOW …

We might bump into you wandering down the aisles at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show … enjoy Melbourne and wherever you are during this magnificent autumn!

ROSE RAMBLER 16.3.2018

ROSE RAMBLER: 16th March 2018

Hello, dear rose friends … IT’S TIME TO GET ORGANISED FOR WINTER ROSE ORDERING … We invite you to peruse our online store which is now open for winter / bare-rooted rose ordering at 

If you want to order a rose which is not listed in our online store, please contact us at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane by phone:  (03) 5787 1123 or 0418 337 765.  We guarantee to return your email enquiry within 24 hours: and will do our absolute best to source ANY rose which might be available in Australia this winter!

It’s important to note that you can purchase JUST ONE ROSE from Silkies … there is no minimum purchase restriction!!!


Since I’m the ‘big boss’ in this business, let me offer this very special AUTUMN PROMOTION … naturally, it would be MY ROSE … GRA’S BLUE that I am offering UNTIL MARCH 31ST – BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE.

GRA’S BLUE was awarded BRONZE and MOST FRAGRANT ROSE in the National Rose Trial Grounds at Adelaide Royal Botanic Gardens in 2015 – you should definitely buy one – now you have an opportunity to have TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!

This offer is available until MARCH 31ST or UNTIL SOLD OUT of current stock.

Q.  What do you get when you cross a centipede with a parrot?  A.  A walkie-talkie.


Yes, it’s time now to get your garden sorted for coming winter and if there’s a rose you absolutely MUST relocate, DO IT ANY TIME NOW … there are special considerations which apply to most old-fashioned roses
Hi Graham, I would like some advice on transplanting some roses.  I have three Mutabilis (R. Chinensis ‘Mutabilis’) bushes I want to move. They are each approximately 1m x 1m.  I have read more than once that Mutabilis resents hard pruning and have only everdead headed the 10 or so roses I have with good success.  My concern is how far back can I prune the roses for transplant. Obviously they are cut back by you when you dig them up and send them to me bare rooted, but I am still a bit spooked about killing them in the process!  I have never had a problem transferring other types of roses but would like some words of wisdom from you about Mutabilis in particular. Thank you for your help.

Kind Regards,  Sue

MY RESPONSE … At 1 x 1 metre I don’t think they’ve been in the ground for a long time so cut them to a MANAGEABLE size for transplanting … I don’t think you need to chop them back to bare-rooted size .. just what makes it easy for you … deep, deep soak them back into new location then seaweed three times a week for first three to four weeks … they’ll flourish.  You can do it any time now … cheers

I employ the HEAD AND HEART principle when transplanting roses!  Your intuitive powers (head) linked with care and concern for the rose (heart) connect; and if you take your time, rose transplanting can be conducted at ANY TIME of the year.

ECO-SEAWEED applications as recommended above:  three times a week for the first three to four weeks will, in most cases, ensure the rose gets over transplanting shock and goes on to be a thriving specimen in its new location.

I am applying ECO-SEAWEED every couple of days to newly potted cutting-grown roses and it’s been amazing to see the rapid development of these ‘baby’ roses!

As soon as I see lush new growth I will apply light applications of fertilizer pellets every couple of weeks until May when the plants will start to shut down due to our very cold weather here at Clonbinane.


Because of cooler nights where damp conditions and dew prevail, I urge you to protect your roses by implementing this program every fortnight but most definitely, at least monthly:
To 10 litres of water add:

  •    ¼ cup ECO ROSE (FUNGICIDE)
  •     Small scoop ECO-SEAWEED (or other seaweed product)

MIX THOROUGHLY and pour over roses or spray foliage to run-off – avoid spraying flowers as yes, the spray will mark rose petals.  You can add liquid FERTILIZER to this spray – it’s very important to fertilize your roses NOW in autumn.


Best laugh at yourself!  Forget exercise, love and money – the key to happiness could be learning to laugh at yourself.  Psychologists and researchers studying different styles of humour and personality tests found that those who make self-deprecating jokes had better mental health and were more sociable – my best mate Bazza is a testament to this theory!
We now enjoy laughing as we challenge each other to who will live longest!

Q.  What do you find in an empty nose?  A.  FINGERPRINTS … oooh, yukky boys joke!


It’s been some years since we offered these varieties:

Which has the most amazingly pretty waved-petal formation as the perfect Hybrid Tea bud opens and there is a lovely fruity fragrance also …


Was bred by Eric Welsh who offered us an amazing opportunity more than 30 years ago to introduce his TRACEY WICKHAM rose here in Victoria – this transitioned into the creation of SILKIE GARDENS ROSE NURSERY which 25 years later became SILKIES ROSE FARM at CLONBINANE and and now we are so very pleased to re-release one of Eric’s most beautiful miniature roses which is a prized possession with rose exhibitors … a truly magnificent miniature rose …


Is a lovely rose planted with other GUILLOT roses in our garden – the fragrance, the form, the beauty … entirely awesome …AVAILABLE BARE-ROOTED WINTER 2018

Is very special and very highly recommended for perfection and magnificent beauty on a strong, upright, healthy bush …



If you live around Sydney, you might plan a visit to the UPPER NORTH SHORE & HILLS REGION ROSE SHOW where I will be to sign copies of my book ALL ABOUT ROSES and hope to meet many customers who planted our roses in their gardens … if you have a special query such as a rose to id or an issue with any rose, bring specimens along and I will have a chat with you

Meantime, enjoy autumn in your rose garden …Diana, Graham and the crew at Clonbinane!

Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
Open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday – 9am – 4pm
Phone 03 5787 1123


ROSE RAMBLER 8.03.2018 …


Hello, dear rose friends … it’s been such glorious weather here which gives us brilliant opportunity to spend more time in the garden – I’ve been planting roses which I held over from last winter!!!  Tova was bursting with enthusiasm to have a ‘planting day’ to savour watering those potted roses which begged to be planted in my garden!  Graham’s turn next week!!!

Autumn is an ideal time for planting and since it’s another long weekend with a public holiday on Monday in most States, take the kids to your local garden centre to get punnets of veggies and flower seedlings – get down and dirty in the garden together which makes caring for your garden a whole family responsibility and pleasure!

PANSY BORDER PLANTED 5TH MARCH 2018, which will give enormous pleasure throughout the whole year – see this pic of how pretty the garden bed is when roses start flowering in October too …


… it’s autumn so here are some tips on HOW TO FERTILIZE YOUR ROSE GARDEN …  Fertilizing your roses in autumn is a very important task and your plants will reward you immensely when they are fed with high-quality products to ensure they flower right up into winter.

We are so lucky now that science has produced easy-to-use fertilizers with a complete package of nutrients so that we don’t have to purchase a little bag of this and another bag of that.  Just buy a quality ALL PURPOSE FERTILIZER and spread it over the entire root zone of the plants.  Remember, a rose which is growing in well fertilized, the humus-rich soil will naturally be far more able to resist any pest and disease problems!

We’ve only got one small space to put nutrients into our bodies – yes, our mouth.   The clever mechanism of our body distributes all the goodness from that food throughout our entire system.

Plants are similar in that they spread feeder roots below their entire growth canopy so if you only throw the fertilizer at the ‘neck’ of the plant, that fertilizer isn’t being distributed evenly for the plant to be able to utilise it.  Take some time to lightly distribute the fertilizer around the entire root-zone/growth canopy of your roses.  Fertilize every eight weeks and enjoy the rewards – greater quantity of bigger blooms on sturdy, healthy bushes.

To get up to 30% more flowers on your roses, water ECO-SEAWEED solution over the rose bushes at least twice a month – you can add the ‘protectors’ – ECO-ROSE/FUNGICIDE to prevent fungus and ECO-OIL to prevent insect attack or act as a ‘sticker’.  Your roses will be superbly protected, energised and flower prolifically through this magnificent autumn.

The profusion of flowers on MOLINEUX is not an accident but good management and we consider MOLINEUX one of the BEST yellow roses we stock!



Research has shown that gardening for 30 to 45 minutes per day is the equivalent exercise to walking 3kms for 40 minutes or cycling 8kms in 30 minutes.
That’s not just out walking and smelling the roses!  However, just out walking and smelling the roses will add years and years of goodness to your life and change your mood, every time.

A recent ‘green space’ report has shown that 91% of people believe that parks and gardens have a positive effect on our quality of life, contributing more to our wellbeing than our jobs, our sex-life, money or religion.  Is it natural to want to be with Mother Nature?  The plants and flowers, of course, are essential to meet the needs of all our senses and roses are great because they flower for up to eight months of the year.

Q.  What do you get when you cross a computer programmer with an athlete?  A.  A floppy discus thrower!

NEXT WEEK will be open for ORDERING BARE-ROOTED ROSES for delivery this winter.  Of the 2018 NEW RELEASE ROSES which are so magnificent – here is one we’ve been watching closely which we urge you to store in your wish-list …

PER-FYOOM PERFUME is a most amazingly healthy and free-flowering variety with an interesting petal formation but most especially, a perfume to die for!  Yes, this is going to be our PREMIER ROSE FOR 2018 SEASON … I can’t wait for you all to grow this beauty and be as enamoured as we are!


I’m busy loading pictures and descriptions so the website is ready to go live next week … meantime, you can always call me Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 03 5787 1123 or email to discuss your order.

Enjoy this long weekend with family and friends … we’ll be open as usual so perhaps come for a visit to Clonbinane …

ROSE RAMBLER 1.03.2018 …

ROSE RAMBLER 01.03.2018 …

Hello, dear rose friends and welcome to autumn … phew, we got there after some truly amazing summer weather, our roses will now be at their most spectacular best throughout this most magnificent season!

We just LOVE autumn in our garden because of the spectacular ornamental trees – stunningly pretty for many weeks and we’ll let you know when they are at their best so that you can plan a visit during that time.


This joke was contributed by Judith …

Q.  Why did the butterfly flutter by? A.  Because it had helped the dragonfly drain the flagon dry.


1.    IS IT FRAGRANT?  Seriously necessary reason to plant a rose in the garden!
2.    IS IT HEALTHY?  A strong, vigorous rose will give pleasure for many years!
3.    IS IT LONG-LASTING IN A VASE?  Taking roses into your home is wonderful!
4.    IS THE LOCATION IN MY GARDEN OK?  Minimum 6 hours of sun is all it needs!

Since autumn is a great season for GARDENING, here are just FOUR ROSES which I highly recommend for PLANTING NOW … the nursery is abundant with beautiful potted roses; you can continue to order potted roses online at and have them delivered to your door – if you plant now, during autumn, you’ll have the most amazing, fully established roses flowering this coming spring!

MR. LINCOLN is such a strong grower and has the most amazing fragrance of all the red roses – it’s a reliable rose in all climates, it produces masses of perfectly formed, long-stemmed blooms in abundance all season – our MOST POPULAR RED ROSE for years!
POPE JOHN PAUL II has awesome fragrance … like to die for PERFUME!  Magnificently sweet, fruity perfume that you wish you could bottle!  The purest white blooms are perfectly formed and make an ideal rose to cut for a vase to place indoors – just one bloom will give you incredible fragrance throughout your home.
TROPICAL SUNSET is one of the most beautiful striped roses you could EVER WISH TO PLANT IN YOUR GARDEN! It is such an immensely robust bush which freely produces masses of perfectly formed blooms with glorious slashes of apricot/creamy-yellow – a vase of this beautiful rose on your kitchen bench will ease any stress and awe you!
DOUBLE DELIGHT has been around FOREVER and prevails as one of the most highly fragrant and delightful (pardon the pun) roses you should grow in your garden as it produces lovely long-stemmed blooms of cream, tinged carmine at the edge of each petal … a seriously beautiful rose which has been a NO. 1 most popular rose forever!
I could go on and on with recommending roses which you should plant in your garden to guarantee pleasure and fragrance – stay posted to my ‘GARBLING’ and I’ll tell you which roses to place on your bare-rooted rose order this winter!!!

Q.  What did one eye say to the other eye?  A. Between you and me, something SMELLS!


because I know that you will harvest and enjoy more than 30% more blooms, fruits and vegetables if you apply ECO-SEAWEED at least ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS, I am offering every 600g pack at a SPECIAL AUTUMN PRICE OF $25.00 – normal rrp $32.50 so stock up now and use this fabulous product on your garden as frequently as I do!

Whether you order online at or come to the Rose Farm to purchase ECO-SEAWEED during March, you will receive a FREE PASS to the value of $50 to ‘KABLOOM’ Festival of Flowers from March 30 until the weekend when we present our own spectacular rose flowers during PLANT EXPO weekend Sat. 14th and Sun. 15th April.  Lock in the dates as I will be speaking on Saturday, 14th!

The results of using ECO-SEAWEED on all the plants in your garden will amaze you! Enjoy all the glory of autumn … Gra

DIANA’S BOOK – ALL ABOUT ROSES … globally recognised …

“Hi, My name is David and I live in the San Francisco bay area. I recently started reading All About Roses and decided to look up your website. I really love Diana’s story and this email is in hopes of asking for advice from her.

I recently realized my passion for roses and it’s my dream now to have a rose garden + farm. Other than the aesthetics, fragrance, and symbolism of roses, I’m passionate about growing them locally and contribute to the environment and economy. A little about me: I’m 41 and have been working in Silicon Valley as a UI designer. So, the world of roses (and farming) is brand new to me. But I started volunteering at a rose garden 2 months ago and have been doing research on roses, farming, soils, etc.

I’d like to ask Diana: What’s the best way for me to start and learn? What else should I think about before I venture further into roses as a business? My gut instinct says “Go work at a rose farm and learn on the job”, but at the same time, I could invest some time in education, some kind of certification, attend a farm school, etc. and make myself more valuable before working for a farm.

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for sharing your knowledge about roses in your book.  Cheers,  David”

MY RESPONSE:  Hello David … I’m not sure whether I wrote it in the book, think I did … “I used to take rose catalogues and journals to read in bed!!!  I closed my eyes for years and years, dreaming of roses and knowing their names and being a part of who they are!”
You don’t need certification, you don’t need to attend school … you need a burning passion and love for the ROSE … the rest all comes naturally.  I also love animals and humans … I have a good, friendly attitude about life generally … I’m positive even when the weather is 48 degrees C and my roses are cooking, I can love them and know they’ll pull through and be beautiful in their own time!
You are welcome to email me – go to the local rose farm and get clues … I’ve had staff work with me in the past 32 years – one of them set up her own business but only lasted a few years … it takes stamina and passion of the ultimate … do it and love it and you will be eternally happy sharing your love of roses and caring for the environment. Talk soon perhaps … best wishes and thank you for telling me how much you enjoyed my book!  The world NEEDS more passionate gardeners!!!  Cheers … DIANA


We are almost ready to open bare-rooted roses in our online store where you can open a WISH LIST and start to select all the lovely new release roses for 2018 along with our regular list of more than 300 varieties which we confidently recommend you grow in your garden.

Remember, “Patience is a virtue”!

You’re welcome to call us at the Rose Farm any Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to open an order for your bare-rooted roses which will be posted/available for pick-up from late May …

Meantime, enjoy the glory of your garden during the cooler months of autumn … best wishes from us all at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane … Graham and Diana