Hello dear rose friends as we pack the last roses for posting to you for this Christmas … yes, TOMORROW, FRIDAY, 14TH DECEMBER will be the last opportunity to purchase roses in our online store: for Christmas gifting.

Gosh but how lots of sunshine and heat turned our garden into a magnificently special place.   If you live within driving distance, do make an effort to come and walk in our garden soon – if you want to visit with a group, please contact us :

03 5787 1123 every FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY and MONDAY … 

we are happy to host a group on days other than our designated open days but YOU MUST BOOK AN APPOINTMENT!

Q. What did the fishing pole say to the fish?   A. Catch you later!


With more drenching rain on the way today, it would be most opportune to spray your roses with the organic rose management program at any opportunity after the foliage is dry – please don’t wait until it’s very hot again!

Because the spray liquid is a dirty colour due to seaweed solution, I find myself avoiding spraying the rose flowers and it has made a significant difference – we used to go around after spraying to trim the affected rose blooms.

It is really quite easy to have a good cover of spray without spraying the flowers – if you think about it, good foliage cover is the principle aim of the program!


Q. Why are kindergarten teachers so good?  A. They can make little things count.

So, can you spray in the evening after a hot day?  Well yes, you can, however, during hot weather the plant shuts down which means that the stomata (likes pores in our skin) close to protect the hydration of the plant.  Since we are spraying the foliage and we cannot see whether the stomata is open or not, we suggest that your rose spray program be done first thing in the morning before 10.00am to ensure maximum benefit to the roses.


Apply at least monthly. To 10  litres of water add:

Mix all the products together and stir well.  You can add Eco-aminogro (fish based fertilizer or say, Charlie Carp or some other product) which will act as a foliage fertilizer.

This spray program is suitable for most plants and should DEFINITELY BE USED IN YOUR ORCHARD AND IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN!  You can spray edibles in the morning and harvest them to eat for dinner!

Isn’t it great that we have such brilliant products to assist Mother Nature in managing possible pests and disease in our gardens – leads to this beautiful quotation:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” …

Anna Frank quote from her diary written during the invasion of Holland in World War 2 and very much necessary for us to remember every day in these last days of another year – be happy and positive while the roses bloom so delightfully!



Highly awarded rose which is hugely fragrant, extremely healthy and ideal for tubs on balconies or on borders in the rose garden – a very versatile, and hugely popular rose –


When only the very best, most practical, easiest to handle and super economically priced secateurs are needed for the rose gardener you want to impress.


Spend $100 on a GIFT VOUCHER for the rose gardener in your life and we’ll add $20.00* when voucher is redeemed before July, 2019.


Meantime, we’ll talk with you next week in the Rose Rambler – take time out in all the busyness to stop and smell the roses … cheers from the team at Silkies


Please note, SILKIES ROSE FARM will close from…


Hello dear rose friends after celebrating Sinterklaas yesterday with some of my Dutch family… how privileged I feel to have connections with such lovely traditions which are still celebrated more than 60 years after my parents migrated to Australia from Holland.


Thank you to you all for your beautiful, thoughtful and kind messages to celebrate my birthday last week. Here’s a joke about my age …

When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, “I’m not sure.” “Look in your underwear, Poppy,” he advised. “Mine says I’m 6 – 8.”

I promised to give you some tips for managing your roses through summer and I guess one of the most important tasks is to dead-head the roses regularly – take secateurs and a bucket of water with you EVERY TIME you go to the rose garden.

Removing spent blooms will encourage a new flush of blooms more quickly and keep the rose bushes looking tidy – the new growth is sure to be healthy too!

Because you’re regularly dead-heading the bushes, you MUST fertilize them to be sure healthy foliage remains prolific and disease resistant – remember, more healthy foliage, more flowers! We use and recommend Complete Organic Fertilizer which is available from our Rose Farm at Clonbinane – source a quality product in your locality!

By regularly feeding the soil, you’re sure to be rewarded with continual flowering!

Mulching is imperative now that summer and hot weather is imminent! We’re using pea-straw again this year – I prefer a few peas rather than the hay/straw weeds which tend to dominate and I think might rob the soil of nutrients rather than enhance the soil!

Watering your garden is NOT difficult but it is one of the most misunderstood areas of maintaining a healthy, robust and free-flowering rose garden!

Please water DEEPLY and LESS FREQUENTLY! Once a week in most weather conditions is more than adequate – give each rose bush at least 20 litres of water delivered at the same time – that’s just two buckets of water once a week. In extremely hot weather, do this twice a week.

Check what amount of water is delivered by your drippers/shrubblers or stand at the tap with a 10 litre bucket and time how long it takes to fill the bucket … if you hand water, you’ll know how many seconds to stand and water each rose. This is SO IMPORTANT!!!

Please don’t waste our precious water but make it work to the advantage of a beautiful, free-flowering garden at your place! BE WATER-WISE! Inspired by this email you’ll now read about why I take a bucket of water out to the garden when I’m dead-heading …

Hi – I have ‘A Shropshire Lad’, a ‘Jude The Obscure’ and ‘The Alnwick Rose’  David Austin roses.  They are quite young and have not yet grown into substantial rose bushes.  I notice that if I put the flowers from these roses into a vase, the petals often fall off, the flowers don’t stand up very well and overall they don’t last long.  Will this change when these roses mature?  Some of my other bushes are lovely and strong as are the flowers that grow on them.  Would be very appreciative of your advice. Regards, Lorraine

My response: Lovely to hear from you Lorraine … In the case of your roses which you are wanting to place in a vase, DA’s are especially short-lived most of the time.  However, I’m very successful at bringing them indoors and placing in an open bowl – they do last a bit longer that way!  Of the varieties you mention, THE ALNWICK ROSE

is the most beautiful and long-lasting in a vase as a long-stemmed rose.  (Please note THE ALNWICK ROSE is SOLD OUT for this season – we grow it as a short border and it always produces lots of lovely long- stemmed bunches of roses for a vase!) The others will fall and shatter within 48 hours – even when picked at bud stage!

Most important that you take a bucket to the garden – pick the stems and dunk them immediately.  If you can, take them to the house and place in a cool, dark place – water level high up to their neck!  After a few hours of ‘drinking’ the flowers are more conditioned and ready to vase.  Of course, if you add flower preservative to the initial water and then to each vase, there is a chance the roses will last way longer indoors. Hope this is helpful …

Q:  What did the cat say when he lost all his money?  A: I’m paw!


Hybrid Tea rose with a delightful confection of colours including burnt orange, amber and beige with burnt red edges.


Modern Shrub Rose of extraordinary health and vigour as a pleasant reminder of the hero in your life!


This glorious specimen with tall single stems of the most highly fragrant dark red rose will be a joy to all rose gardeners

Yes, a gentle reminder that Christmas is looming – last roses will be posted from Clonbinane on FRIDAY, 14TH DECEMBER; posting will resume on MONDAY, 14TH JANUARY 2019.


Please note, SILKIES ROSE FARM will close from…

Enjoy the peace and quiet in your garden … until next week, best wishes from the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.


Hello dear rose friends … How lucky are we gardeners? Taking time to ‘switch-off’ from all the busyness to get down and dirty pulling a few weeds, trimming some roses for a vase and yes, mowing the lawn – ah, the smell of a fresh-cut lawn.


We’ve had a week of extreme winter weather with ample rain to water gardens however, with the rain, rose foliage might be affected by blackspot/mildew. You’ll continue to enjoy beautiful roses if you stay on top of this problem with the organic rose management spray:


    • 1 SCOOP (5g) ECO-SEAWEED – or other seaweed product

Mix the products together well and pour or spray over foliage to run-off. When spraying, you can try and avoid spraying the flowers as the products will mark the lighter coloured blooms.

During these humid conditions, it would be effective to spray every 10-14 days then as soon as we get some hot, sunny weather, it will burn fungus spores and you can continue the once-a-month regime of spray management!


Because of the rain, blooms might be affected – some end up mushy balls of mould and these MUST be removed! I don’t even like them being left to rot at the base of the rose plant as I believe they are a haven for mildew/mould spores so rake them up and get rid of them in general garbage waste.

When you’re out trimming the spent flowers – don’t be shy – cut stems at least 20 – 30 cms in length so that the re-growth is lovely and strong, carries lots of flower heads and you maintain lovely rounded bushes rather than leggy / untidy bushes.

Q:If 2’s company and 3’s a crowd, what are 4 and 5?A:9!



Brilliant brightest dark pink, long-stemmed blooms with slight fragrance are produced on a sturdy, vigorous bush of immense disease resistance – this beautiful rose will impress you by the length of time it lasts in a vase.  Just one bush will provide an immense number of long-stemmed blooms each time you want to fill a vase!


RHAPSODY IN BLUE is an extremely vigorous, high-health rose to adorn a wall, place in a pillar frame or position at the back of the rose border as a hedge – this magnificently fragrant rose with the most dark purple petals and a showy mass of yellow stamens as a foil for the brilliant glossy mid-green foliage is very highly recommended.


SOEUR EMMANUELLE produces an abundance of lilac pink, highly fragrant blooms which are massed with petals and make a beautiful display in a vase.  The high-health bush is tall and upright, the foliage dark and healthy – very highly recommended rose!


Please don’t leave your shopping until the last minute – our last roses to be posted will be FRIDAY 14TH DECEMBER but please also remember that lots of people leave home at Christmas to go camping/holidaying so why not send them your gift rose NOW so they can tuck it into their garden where it will be safe and survive with a deep-soaking watering of just 20 litres ONCE A WEEK!

You can purchase a GIFT VOUCHER at – for every $50.00 you spend, I’ll gift the recipient an extra $5.00 to spend on their next transaction.


When you call in at Silkies Rose Farm you’ll likely meet our dear friend Shelley (and foxy Nelson) who has come to give us a hand – she’s a wizard with roses and loves a chat!

Take time to smell the roses during this amazing rose season and if you get a moment, please send a HAPPY 75 TH BIRTHDAY GRAHAM which he celebrates tomorrow … thank you all for being such beautiful customers!


Hello dear rose friends as we all revel in the glory of our spring gardens – colour, fragrance and absolutely breath-taking beauty surround us!

I apologise profusely for the NO SHOW last week … it all got so very, very busy after I had a few days off for my very first Oaks Day at Flemington Racecourse as part of Melbourne Cup week … here’s what I wrote about that …

“The roses at Flemington on Oaks Day were amazing, so much so, my friend Marilyn had to keep telling me to keep my mouth closed … I was in awe and loved every moment of the occasion!  I waited till the last race to win 1st, 2nd and 3rd place bets so yes, I had a fabulous day …”

Then we presented for the weekend at State Rose & Garden Show in the State Rose Garden at Werribee – I am delighted to tell you that this magnificent rose garden was voted 5th IN THE WORLD by the World Federation of Rose Societies – every rose lover MUST visit these spectacular gardens which are predominantly maintained by a group of 120 + volunteers who meet there every Wednesday and Saturday.

If you live close and would like to become part of this friendly group of volunteers, please contact to register your interest.

Back at the Rose Farm we are now enjoying magnificent flowering potted roses … it’s spectacular now and you should jump in the car and visit soon … the garden is magnificent also and we welcome you to take a walk with us.


To say it’s been busy is an understatement so here’s a joke to have a giggle …

Q:  If horses wear shoes, what do camels wear?   A:  Desert boots.  
“Dear Graham & Diana, A couple of years ago I came out to visit Silkies Farm, and came away with a couple of roses, your book (which I had borrowed over and over from our local library) and some sound advice re a CLIMBING DEVONIENSIS covered in mildew on a southerly aspect.

At that stage, DEVONIENSIS, CLB. had only been planted by our front door about 18 months. I knew that a southerly aspect was a big ask of a TEA ROSE, and really felt I’d done the wrong thing by her when she became smothered in mildew.

You suggested that I give her a couple more years to really get her roots down, and that chances were she would then go for it if she could get high enough to catch the westerly winter afternoon sun, and if not, then to shift her to a sunnier location.

Ka-boom!  Get going she did.  With my neighbour’s front garden, we have a scrumptiously perfumed corner of our street, and it’s a delight to arrive home, bushed after a day of teaching, to be greeted by such a heavenly sight.

I remember mentioning to you that if she comes good, I’ll send you a photo!  Many thanks for a delightful visit … I’m due for another … and for your encouragement and advice.

Hope the spring season is a great one for Silkies.  Very best wishes  –  Deb”

HOW LOVELY IS THIS … “Hi Diana, Ha, it wasn’t until I went to check my rose guide book (about planting potted roses in early summer) that your name clicked…you wrote the book!!
Just letting you know that roses arrived safely and planted out well, which was very welcome because they shipped during weather up around 40 degrees. So thank you very much for the careful packing!
All the best, Andrew”
PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEA – ALL ABOUT ROSES by DIANA SARGEANT – get organised early and I’ll post a signed copy NOW … $30.00 plus p/post and available in our online store:  GET YOUR COPY NOW!

GRA’S BLUE’ rose is now back in stock and we have lovely flowering potted plants ready for planting …

A few true beauties as they start to flower in abundance here at Clonbinane … 
FIREFIGHTER – one of the most gorgeous darkest red roses with magnificent fragrance and best of all, near thornless flowering stems – highly recommended rose
TWILIGHT ZONE – spectacular darkest purple blooms with awesome fragrance on a medium sized well-rounded shrub which is suitable as a border … gorgeous rose!
ASHRAM – is one of the most perfectly formed orange roses which is beautifully matched by stunning dark green, delightfully healthy foliage – a great rose!
Q:  What’s the same size and shape as an elephant but weighs nothing?    A:  An elephant’s shadow.  

Enjoy the roses all around you …
cheers from the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.


Hello dear rose friends when right now, I’m enjoying my first ever visit to ladies Oaks Day at Flemington as part of the Melbourne Cup Racing Carnival. You can be sure I’m way more interested in visiting the rose gardens than wagering any $’s on a horse – I’ll pop a few bucks on something that perhaps has a rose name and I’ll let you know next week how I fared!


Please accept my apology for the reference to ‘indigenous’ people as I have the greatest respect for all Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.


Good afternoon, Well I think that this is their third year and this is the start of the KNOCKOUTroses blooming season until I prune them say late July. Last season they grew very tall as well as wide. They grew to nearly 2 metres. I pruned a good 1200mm plus off them this year to try and get them to a manageable height, but I think they will just do their own thing again. They were planted approx. 900mm apart and it is a thick as a box hedge.  I need not have had barbed wired installed on the top of the fence cause if anyone wanted to try and climb over they would be ripped to threads….as are my arms, even with protective clothing!

My industrial block is known as the one with the red roses. LOL.  Just around the corner from me is Landmark and their colours are Green and Gold. Well they have about fifty GOLD BUNNY roses around their shop. That also is spectacular, although they do not grow quite as thick.

I bought two ALI BABA climbing roses from you earlier, one is ok, sadly the other has passed on. I don’t think it liked the continual minus 5s, 6s and 7s. Although I am on a hill. I have also lost three roses (well established) at home. But I live down low where there is always a frost. (Yes, they did get fortnightly applications of Eco Seaweed)

The season ahead is predicted to be more harsh than normal. Well our winter was abysmal with morning after morning of severe frosts….Drought. Our season has been cruel on our poor farmers with grain yields to be predicted at 95% down on average. Most farmers have cut their crops into hay, or in cases where the crops did not reach a cuttable height, spayed with herbicide.  I do not think that city dwellers really have any concept of how dire it is for the rural communities.

At least roses will handle the harsh conditions. May not end up with their best flowers, but will generally bounce back. This is my update. Hope you are all well. Kind regards … Merryl

PIERRE DE RONSARD in Merryl’s garden in drought affected Tamora, NSW … and another great success story from Tamworth…

Hi  Gra … At the end of August I sent you photos of my two feral two-year-old MUTABILIS roses and asked for advice.  So here is a photo or two………….had to send you also my two feral two-year-old CREPUSCULE.  This is a small courtyard in a Retirement Estate in Tamworth.  Unfortunately it is hot today so the CREPUSCULE will be feeling it as it is west facing.  The MUTABILIS seem too thrive in heat.

I cut the MUTABILIS back to the fence and down quite a bit as you suggested.  It has grown at least a metre in the few weeks. You were spot on, thank you. Also for the surprise 600g ECO-SEAWEED (not 100g as per my order!) with my secateurs last week. (We’re glad you’re using ECO-SEAWEED for drought-affected garden – it will definitely make a difference … Gra) Kind regards to you all, especially that little black furry one, MOOI.
– Heather

Policeman:  Did you know that you were driving at 120kph?  Driver:  Impossible. I’ve only been in the car for five minutes!



We like to list this rose by its ‘proper’ name so if you happen to have been looking for this beauty as MUTABILIS, now you know why you might not have found it! Such a magnificent rose in ALL climates and conditions – needs good care to be established but once established … WOW!

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read
the description in the catalogue: “no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.” –   
Eleanor Roosevelt


Do come to Werribee this weekend – the State Rose Garden is spectacular and entry with ample parking is FREE! Diana’s stage presentations with Kim Syrus are at the following times:




Enjoy the roses all around you …
cheers from the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.


Hello dear rose friends as we offer a pinch and a punch for a whole new month!  Oh, and isn’t the season spectacular?  Huge rose blooms, loads of colour and gloriously healthy lush foliage … it doesn’t get any better!


Here is a series of emails which we can all learn from:  don’t forget to organise a visit to Silkies Rose Farm this Saturday for my composting demo!

Q. What do you get if you cross a monster with a dozen eggs?  
A. A very hairy omelette – YUK!

“Hi Diana, Can you please help identify this bug which is on my beautiful Gold Bunny.  I have a couple of lady birds as well.  Have used Eco spray.   Regards – Jan”

We forwarded Jan’s pic to Steve at OCP and how good is this response:

Morning Di … Good news. These are the larvae of ladybeetles! Nothing to worry about 🙂  Steve 


We thought there was a possible solution with Citronella spray, Monica in suburban Melbourne ecstatically emailed to say her CREPUSCULE climber had shoots after just one application.  Within two days, the possums decided she was trying to kid them so they ate all the new foliage!

After a to-and-fro conversation, Monica sent this pic and email:

One solution might be to invite our indigenous friends for a hunting party. It takes a few suburban back yards worth of possums to make one traditional cloak!




Dear Diana and Graham.  A few weeks ago you were discussing ideas for long lasting and financially viable rose labels. One lady had a great idea using animal ear labels. I didn’t have access to these, so attached are pictures of some metal stamps I bought for $45 (a bit of an outlay to start with).   I used these to stamp into metal flashing. (Again, if you have to buy it, that’s a bit of an outlay of something like $20-$30) but I’m set for a life-long of labelling my garden plants with no more expense – forever!   Hope this might be of some help to others.  Kathleen




Hello Graham and Diana, A couple of years ago I let you know that I was going to try Epsom salts on my LA JAGO after reading a recommendation for it in one of your newsletters, as it had very blotchy, yellowish foliage.  You said LA JAGO had yellowish leaves normally and you asked me to let you know how the Epsom salts went.  Well I think it has made a big difference. Here’s a photo I took yesterday morning.

I didn’t get around to pruning all of my roses this year, so I will probably be dealing with a bit of black spot due to how bushy they are, but I’ll give them trims over the summer if they get particularly bad, otherwise I’ll just let them do their own thing this year.

So, why did EPSOM SALTS make a difference to this rose?  Here is some information I extracted from the internet which you can also follow through with if you’re interested:

Epsom Salt Uses: GARDENING 

Fertilize your houseplants: Most plants need nutrients like magnesium and sulfur to stay in good health, and Epsom salt makes the primary nutrients in most plant foods (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) more effective. Sprinkle Epsom salt once weekly to help nourish your houseplants, flowers, and vegetables.

Keep your lawn green: Magnesium sulfate crystals, when added to the soil, provide vital nutrients that help prevent yellowing leaves and the loss of green color (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule) in plants. Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and sprinkle on your lawn to keep the grass healthy and green.

Insecticide spray: Use Epsom salts on your lawn and in your garden to safely and naturally get rid of plant pests.

Read on for more information on gardening with Epsom salt.

Hi Graham, Just had to drop you a quick line just to say thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion. I always look forward to your emails and this one was definitely a juicy one, I learnt a lot!  Thanks again – Cheers, Shae

Closing with a joke:
Q.  What do you call a monster who eats his father’s sister?  A.  An aunt-eater … 

So, please can you all rally and send Gra some new jokes for this Rose Rambler as I think he’s running out of puff!  Diana


WINNER AT THE NATIONAL ROSE TRIAL GROUND AWARDS – BRUCE BRUNDRETTwith two varieties which are yet to be named.  They will be released in 2019-2020 so keep an eye on this Australian rose breeder who grows amazingly healthy roses which are extremely free flowering and disease tolerant!

Hope you back a winner in the Melbourne Cup next Tuesday and if you’re going to Oaks Day on Thursday, look out for Diana with her friends.

Enjoy all the glory this magnificent rose season is affording us … Graham, Diana, Ben, Tova and MOOI …


Hello dear rose friends as lots of gardens are open for you to wander through and be inspired by!  This Expo at Yea coming weekend will be a great spring event …

Our garden is beautifully lush and green, daffodils are stunning and we’ll be seeing rose buds soon …

We hope you did what Laurel in QLD did last week – she forwarded the Rose Rambler to her local politicians.  Together we must and will stop multi-national companies ripping the fragment of our small family businesses apart; however, this will only happen with ACTION so we hope you shared the Rose Rambler with family, friends and politicians!  Thank you!

Here’s the climber which was missing in RR last week … SPITFIRE is a very moderate climber to around 2.5 metres which makes it actually very appropriate to plant in a large tub on a balcony perhaps!  The stamens which are laden with pollen are very attractive to bees and the rose blooms constantly from season start to end!


It’s so rewarding when customers have a happy experience with our roses.   This email from Yungaburra, QLD – the roses were in transit for EIGHT DAYS!

”Thanks to the team at Silkies … the roses are doing well. Some were a little bit wilted after their long journey (they were collected and planted on Saturday). On one PG I trimmed off a few wilted leaves, and gave all a soak for a few hours in seaweed solution before planting. All watered in and sprinkled with seaweed solution over the next couple of days. They are all looking bright and chirpy now.
Best wishes – Dinah”

You may think I harp and harp about the value of seaweed solution on roses but if all gardeners did the regime which Dinah offered her new roses, then you would also see ‘bright and chirpy’ plants every time you plant something new in your garden!

It’s simple and very economical – deep soak every new plant then water over with a sprinkling of seaweed solution – one watering can would easily cover more than 5 square metres – you don’t need to put a whole watering can of seaweed solution over each plant.


With every online order until the end of September, add 1 x 600g ECO-SEAWEED (RRP $32.50) to your cart and pay just $25.00!

Q: What’s a really happy ant?  A: Exhuber-ant.

Did you know that ants are really good to have in your garden?  They actually open up the soil which allows water penetration deep into the subsoil and we all know the importance of moisture in any garden.

Ants are in harmony (symbiotic) with earthworms and other soil microbes and when you see ants being particularly busy, you can be sure there’s rain on the way!

One more ant joke:

Q: What do ants study at university?  A: Ant-atomy.

YES, WE’RE STILL OPEN TO POSTING BARE-ROOTED ROSES … You’ve still got another two weeks to order bare-rooted roses for planting this season.  We are now removing all foliage when packing the roses as this reduces stress in transit and from all recent accounts, the roses are travelling well and settling into their new homes with ease!

Here are two very special favourites which Gra says are “to die for” …


is my all-time favourite golden yellow rose with exceptional fragrance in large, cupped flowers with masses of petals – I like to cut short stems and float them in an open bowl on the kitchen counter … a delight!

produces large blooms with velvet, deep crimson petals which exude strong old-rose fragrance.  The bush grows beautifully rounded to about one metre and I have three growing on a short hedge in my breeding garden … a true beauty!


Following on from last week, we are confident this suggestion from Kathy is sure to meet with approval – I’m definitely going to get to my local Rodwell’s and see their range of tags …

Hi Graham and Team, I was reading through your newsletter and someone had asked about name tags for roses. Being on a cattle and cropping farm we have access to the NLIS ear tags used for cattle. I use these and the marking pen that comes with it. They are great for all weather conditions and our heat and I attach with a zip tie on a lower branch – not done up tight. After a year or two they might need writing over again but they have lasted better than any other types of tagging system I have tried and can be purchased from rural stores by anyone or online. We buy off Drovers and get blank ones.

Regards  –  Kathy

Hope to see you at Clonbinane soon… Cheers from the team

Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …


Hello dear rose friends as the first week of spring ambled on by with lots more daffodils revealing their smiling selves!


I truly enjoy seeing something strikingly different in a rose garden so I’m showing you three climbing roses which I just couldn’t be without in my garden:


– is one of the first roses to flower on the arches through the nursery – it prides itself as our ‘insect indicator’ … if aphids are around, they’ll definitely be on this rose and very quickly we’ll know whether ladybirds are active.  But apart from us ‘using’ this beautiful rose, it provides a most glorious display of multi-coloured blooms continually throughout the season … the bees love it, we love it and you’re sure to love it too!


– is a true ‘brown’ colour – very unique and although some unusual-coloured roses can be considered ‘difficult-to-grow’, this rose is very robust, extremely healthy and continual flowering – it could be used as a very dense ground-covering bush of 2 x 2 metres – a very versatile rose!

SPEAKING OF BEES … every one of us has a responsibility to encourage bees into our gardens.  I urge you to plant flowers for ALL SEASONS to enable bees to support themselves and in turn pollinate our food crops!  

Q: Why did the flying angel lose his job?  A: Because he had harp failure.


We’re constantly being asked …

Dear Diana, I was wondering whether you have a permanent name badge solution? How do you tag your Roses?  Kind Regards Robyn

Permanent naming of roses has been a journey – back at Kilmore I used 45cm long white conduit sticks to which I pop-riveted 25cm lengths of venetian blind and HAND PAINTED with BLACK ENAMEL paint … they were terrific and lasted really well!  However, when the 24hour service station opened and there was a lot of night foot-traffic past the gardens, we used to have armloads of the name ‘sticks’ returned to the nursery – mostly but not only, from the swimming pool at the Motel a few doors down!  Lots were still there when we destroyed those gardens back in 2012 to move out here to Clonbinane.

Another thing that has worked is to paint the original label with MARINE LACQUER – I have a PIERRE DE RONSARD label which is still 90% as clear-looking on a plant against a hot tin shed wall facing south-west – it was painted with marine lacquer more than five years ago!

In an endeavour to get something even MORE PERMANENT, I had a guy visit who was able to print aluminium tags with a laser printer … unfortunately, it was very expensive, the print way too small and the label too short so got lost under mulch!  An expensive experiment indeed!!!

So, if you find a really great way to permanently label our roses, I do hope you share your creativity!  Cheers … GRAHAM

Q: Where do birds invest their money?  A: In the stork market!

I received this email during the week that I want to share with you all:
Dear Dick Smith Fair Go supporter,

I have never been so angry!!

Please watch my video below, where I expose foreign-owned multinationals for extorting millions of dollars from small, family businesses in Australian country towns, in the middle of a drought.

In the video, I compare this “extortion” to the protection money paid by Kings Cross hotel owners to crime gangs in the 1950s.

This is not voluntary. Our small country family businesses are forced to sign up to these foreign booking websites, otherwise they will lose up to 50% of their business and be forced into bankruptcy.

Please watch video here.
Read media release here.

Dick Smith

Enjoy your week in the garden … remember to take at least 10 minutes to pull some weeds, mow a lawn or trim some plants – those 10 minutes of exercise EVERY day will ensure you live happier for longer!


Hello dear rose friends as we come out of hibernation with just two days of what has been a very frost and wet winter.  All the rose gardens are pruned and with lots of sunny warm days recently and in the future forecast, we’ll be flowering early this year!


… My friend Jeff shared this joke:

Q: How does an Eskimo build his house?   A: Igloos it together…

This past week we have been amazed at the number of rose lovers who want to buy WINX … this is what Jacquie wrote after she ordered BLACK CAVIAR –  …

“Thank you Diana – I look forward to receiving her, she is my favourite horse and I love roses! 

Maria wrote and sent this pic …

“Black Caviar. As beautiful as she is!!!  Are they going to have a Winx rose??”


Let’s see which of the large rose growers release a rose in honour of this even more successful mare WINX – we’ll keep you posted for sure!

PESKY INSECTS…With spring in the air, your roses might become subjected to infestations of aphids just like Chen’s …

“Would you mind having a look at the photograph that I have attached here to help me work out what the bugs might be. I know that one of them is an aphid, but I do not know what the other bug is.”

Steve Falcioni who is our expert and ‘go to guy’ at Organic Crop Protectants (OCP) says:

I’ve circled the pests in different colours as follows:

Blue = aphid
Red = skin/shell of aphid discarded after moulting
Green = dead aphid (known as a ‘mummy’) that has been killed by a parasitoid wasp. The tiny wasp injects an egg into the aphid which hatches and feeds on the insides of the aphid.  The aphid swells up and then dies with a new wasp emerging to continue on the cycle.

Anything to do with insects or disease on roses will be readily controlled using our organic rose spray management program – if you start the spray program NOW, you will be working on the principle of PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!  

Sprayed at least once a month offers your roses healthy protection from pest and disease problems.  If your roses become infested, you must spray immediately then in 3-5 days and again in 7 days and possibly once more 7 days after that.

The organic management program is very effective, economical and easy to apply –

1 SCOOP ECO-SEAWEED (follow pack directions of your preferred       seaweed)

If you are time-poor, you can pour these products over plants from a watering can but we highly recommend spraying plants to run-off – remember, NEVER SPRAY WHEN TEMPERATURE IS EXPECTED TO REACH 30 DEGREES OR MORE!

It is most effective to implement this program first thing in the morning when the foliage stomata (pores) are open and your roses are very receptive to this spray.

Rather than a joke, let me share this …


When someone shares something of value with you
and you benefit from it,
you have a moral obligation to share it with others.


And will continue to post them throughout SEPTEMBER so don’t panic but get your garden bed cultivated and ready to plant some beauties like these beauties which are seriously long-lasting cut flowers:





If you’re doing a spring-clean weeding in your garden, the most beneficial days according to moon phases are from September 4th – 8th so get weeding during those days and you’ll notice the weeds are easy to pull and won’t return as readily!  IT DEFINITELY DOES WORK!
Have a beaut week in your garden …



Hello Diana,
Just to let you know that the rose I ordered on Sunday afternoon arrived safe and sound on my front around an hour ago (Wednesday morning) and how impressed I am by how promptly my order was completed, the quality of way my order was delivered and how Australia Post kept me up-to-date by both text and email with how delivery was progressing.

This was the first time I’d ordered a rose online from anyone and would certainly do so again from you; taking into account, too, that I noticed, when in GardenWorld on Monday, that your pricing was on a par with theirs for quality roses.
Best wishes, David



Hello dear rose friends as we relax a little after an immense day of planting a gorgeous rose garden down Gippsland way … I love to go for a drive and since I designed the garden and Ben and Tova were asked to assist with planting, we drove together – what a joyous day it was!


We’ve done lots and lots of parcels this past winter with 99.9% accuracy – here’s the story of one that went west …

Dear Diana,
Yesterday I received a call from the post office in Cowell S.A telling me my roses had been there for a week waiting for me to pick them up. You can imagine my surprise when the address I gave your outfit was P. O Box **** MILTON NSW 2538!  What to do? ?  Please check my order, it was placed on the 30th July and paid for by PAYPAL, I would appreciate this being resolved sooner rather than later .

Although it was my day off when I received this email early last Tuesday morning, I took action –

Hello Susan … you can be sure that I will follow this up tonight and be in touch with you tomorrow … how bizarre is this … a first for sure in more than six years of posting roses!!!  Talk soon … Diana

On Wednesday I popped two lovely roses into a box and sent them to the right address!  After a few more emails with Susan, we established this:

Hi Diana,
the roses look fine , the paper around them is still damp so no problems there.  If you haven’t sent the replacements, don’t worry about it as these look really well but thank you for the offer.
Cheers Susan

Hello again Susan .. this is a testament to the type of service we get from AUSTRALIA POST .. they are sensational 99.9% of the time!  Fancy them ringing you from the PO in Cowell, SA and then when they realised the mistake, they put an EXPRESS POST sticker on the pack and you received it very, very quickly at MILTON, NSW … I’m guessing just two days?  That’s very special and I will try and contact the people at Cowell PO to say THANK YOU.

Please, if you don’t have room for two of each of these beautiful roses now that I have already posted the replacements … pot a couple of them and save them for an opportunity when you need a GIFT ROSE … they make a truly lovely gift!

Best wishes and thank you for being kind throughout this process … sometimes, when things don’t quite go to plan, people are afforded an opportunity to be nasty … you were a pleasure during this process and that means a lot!  Thank you!  Best wishes – DIANA



Our poodle MOOI would love this joke since Tigger is one of her very favourite rattling toys:  Q:Why did Tigger go to the Bathroom?   A: Because he was looking for his friend Pooh…

Since we are still posting bare-rooted roses for a few more weeks, here are a few lovely David Austin roses which can be used as climbers …



Pure golden yellow blooms in massive profusion over a very long flowering season – strong Tea Rose fragrance – climbing upright to 2.5 metres and spectacular in an obelisk or pillar frame.


Large deep pink flowers with a mass of swirling petals which emit the most sumptuous fragrance of all the David Austin roses, this beauty will climb to 2.5 metres or display beautifully as a free-standing very large shrub.


Glorious large fragrant blooms of apricot-pink on long branching/arching canes which easily grow to 2.5 metres and when tied as espalier make a most amazing display over a long flowering season.


Exudes the most delicious fragrance from deeply cupped lemon/pink buds opening to display purest white flowers over an extended season … gorgeous!

Many more of the David Austin varieties of roses are suitable to grow as climbers – you make them do WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO … take their branching canes and tie them to a fence, grow them in a tight spot so they grow upwards to fill an obelisk or just let them flounce and branch out to fill large spaces in garden borders.
The fragrance and multitude of colours in the David Austin roses, their old-world charm and high-health plants will delight you!  If you haven’t already planted some of these roses in your garden, order them NOW as you’re sure to be as thrilled with their beauty as I am!

One last joke:

Q.  What did the clean dog say to the insect?   A.  A long time no flea.