ROSE RAMBLER 04.08.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends on this Thursday in the first week of the last days of winter …
As I turned the calendar, this is what gloriousness presented itself –

I think the rose might be WEDDING DAY but it might be one of the other species roses which display a most spectacular single flowering just once every year … however, for something seriously beautiful which flowers continually through the whole season, one of our most favourite roses is SALLY HOLMES which has a breathtaking display of up to 50 blooms on a branch and makes a most wonderful display in large vases!  Happiness is having SALLY HOLMES flowering in your garden …

Time is going so fast and it’s very interesting to share some emails from customers who haven’t got a clue when to prune … neither do we …???

Hi! Diana & Graham, I usually carry out my annual winter prune on the last day of July. However I cannot remember when I still had roses and some buds still on some of my roses? Can I go ahead and prune as usual? Best regards Ron – Brisbane

Graham responded to Ron .. “Like I said in the Rose Rambler last week … the weather will keep us all talking and pondering and wondering when to do what … just do it when you can and when you feel like doing it and I’m sure it will all work out ok … cheers… Gra”

I had coffee with friends this morning at the Rose Café in Kilmore and Marilyn told me her roses are still flowering in Craigieburn so when should she prune???  I suggested we all take Graham’s advice and do it when time permits and you’re in the right mood for pruning!  Be sure and glove up because this is another email we received this past week …

Hi, Thank you, my roses they arrived this week.  I would like to warn fellow rose growers about the dangers of fungus infections from roses.  I always wear gloves however a thorn went through my glove into my index finger.  The thorn came straight out and I did not think of it anymore until the next morning, which was a Saturday, when I woke up and found my finger and thumb very swollen.

I went to the GP who put me on antibiotics and said to come back on Sunday so he could check my finger.  The swelling had not gone down so I was sent for a scan first thing on Monday morning.  I then went back to the GP who after seeing the scan sent me to emergency at the local hospital.  Within 3 hours or arriving at emergency I was in the operating theatre having my finger opened in three places and washed out.  I was in hospital for two days as the antibiotics had to be changed as there was no initial response to treatment for the fungus infection and the bacterial infection.  I responded to the new anti fungal medication.

After discharge from hospital I had to attend hand therapy for three months to get movement back into my index finger.  I now have movement in the my finger although I does not feel completely normal.  I have to continue with therapy at home.  One has to be very careful when handling roses.  I have been growing roses for 10 years and have 300 roses.  I have never had this problem before.  Apparently it is a fungus specific to roses.  Kind Regards ..Desley

Thank you Desley for sharing!  Fortunately, in more than 30 years of rose pruning, neither Graham nor I have had serious issues and we always stress the importance of protective clothing when working in your garden – we use and highly recommend the MADE IN GERMANY gloves which we have used for more than 25 years … they have greater protection over the knuckle zone and come in FOUR sizes which are suitable for MOST hands … these gloves are available online at



Gardens need many different plant species to remain healthy – microbes in the vicinity of plant roots increase the availability of minerals and trace elements required to maintain healthy vitality of all plants!

All living things – above and below the ground benefit when the plant:microbe bridge is working effectively.

Q.  What has four wheels and flies?  A.  A garbage truck!

Feeding your soil with organic fertilizer and applying layers of mulch such as pea-straw and/ or lucerne increase microbial activity, stimulates worm cultivation and thus improves soil vitality which ensures all the plants in your garden thrive.  Any mulch is better than bare soil; no mulch … definitely not recommended!

Incorporating a diverse range of plant species to your garden assists with managing plant health – amongst your roses I encourage you to grow garlic, alyssum, calendula, lots of bulbs and perennials – vegetables like silver-beet and kale – soon, you can plant tomatoes and other summer veggies – be creative and adventurous!

Q.  What’s the worst vegetable to serve on a boat?  A.  Leeks

Get your kids involved in planting veggies which they will be inspired to harvest, cook and eat – great family time together and way better and more constructive than watching TV.

Research has shown that using chemicals in your garden will inhibit biological soil activity so I urge you to consider which products you purchase when next visiting your garden supplier – yes, there is ‘quick, easy fix’ for most issues which occur within our gardens at times during every season … please take a look at the Sustainable Gardening Australia website and be sure you make INFORMED DECISIONS when it comes to which products you use in managing your garden!


We have a lovely selection of these magnificent roses – there is no more spectacular sight than a weeping rose which flowers prolifically from October through to May/June.

Provide a well-drained, open sunny location at least 2.5 x 2.5 metres around and you will enjoy years of glorious display – all these roses should be well supported with a very sturdy ring and pole kit available here at Silkies Rose Farm.


Freely produces the most amazing flushes of clusters of apricot blooms which fade to cream and literally smother the bush with flowers throughout the season on relatively thornless canes.  This highly versatile rose can be used to cover arches, adorn fences of variable height and is so easy to maintain because of the beautiful flexible canes.

Cluster of mid-pink flowers all season. Lush healthy foliage on thornless wood. Dense foliage cover.

It produces small pretty white flowers throughout a very long flowering season. It is thorny but don’t let this deter you. Highly recommended for a healthy, pretty feature weeping rose in your garden.

Summer’s evening

All our weeping rose varieties are my favourites because they’re all really spectacular – you MUST come to the Rose Farm to collect one and get the support kit too!

Remember to use seaweed solution, fish emulsion and other organic liquids like worm-wee, compost tea and other brews to increase ‘soil-life’ which is guaranteed to ensure you produce the most healthy roses, plants and veggies to guarantee YOUR HEALTH!

Enjoy all the moments in your garden this week…
cheers from us here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 27.7.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 27.07.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as the morning bird calls start to indicate a sign of spring in the air … definitely a bit early by comparison to previous years but all things considered, it’s been a rather extraordinary winter with us having recorded our coldest frost in 17 years here at Clonbinane – down to minus 8 a couple of weeks ago and an amazing number of freezing morning temperatures with gloriously sunny days and above-average daytime temperatures.  Aaaaah … the conspiracy of the weather will keep our conversations alive!

Yes, we are all ok and still here – yes, your computer email is functioning ok too – I didn’t produce a Rose Rambler last week simply because I felt it was way more important to put all my energy into packing parcels of roses!   Thank you to all of you who checked up on us!

After a consignment of roses this week, most rose orders will be completed – JOSEPH’S COAT was a real straggler and has held up a lot of orders … when it flowers in years to come, you’ll forget about how late your rose order was delivered when this magnificent rose flowers and flowers throughout each season … what a sight to behold it is and I’m so glad we offer it to you by having it budded each year …


STANDARD ROSES are most definitely a great way to grow roses as your body ages and it gets more difficult to get down on the ground to prune and manage bush rose plants!  One of the most important issues to consider when planting standard roses is permanent and durable STAKING A STANDARD ROSE

We use and highly recommend 13mm RIO ROD which easily penetrates deep into soil and will not move, will never rot and actually looks great because it’s almost invisible as it rusts and sits very snugly right against the rose stem.

Be sure and allow around 20-30cms of rod ABOVE THE CROWN which acts as support or to lightly tie new water shoots to, in extremely high-wind areas.


To secure the standard rose understock to the rio rod, use 19mm VELCRO ONE-WRAP because it doesn’t come unstuck if correctly applied!

Q. Why aren’t elephants allowed on the beach?  A. Because they can’t keep their trunks up! 
(for the kids reading this, old guys ‘trunks’ are kind of like your ‘jocks’ …)


We can all learn from this email exchange during past weeks:

“My names Amber and recently my rose garden has been devastated by Rose Rosette Disease! About 16 of our roses have contracted it. I was wondering if you had advice on how long we should wait to re-plant new roses after digging these ones out as we would like to order between 10-20 bare root roses from you guys.  Also if you could recommend something to prevent mites and other pests that would be great. We had been using eco oil and a yates spray previously, but it didn’t seem to prevent aphids and what I suspect were mites destroying our roses. Perhaps we weren’t diligent enough with spraying.  If you could get back to me at your earliest convenience that would be great! Thanks”

My initial response to Amber … I would be most interested to know who diagnosed your DISEASE?  This all sounds very dramatic and totally over and above ANYTHING that I have experienced in more than 30 years of rose growing!  Seems you’ll swing from chemical maintenance to organic with no success using either regime.

Let me help you grow beautiful roses ORGANICALLY, NATURALLY!!!  Get rid of all the chemicals as the first move.  Take a big, deep breath and relax whenever you go into the rose garden – actually, BEFORE YOU ENTER the rose garden so you go there with a quiet mind ready to experience all the pleasure rather than perhaps focus on some of the negatives which can occur from time to time in ANY GARDEN and on potentially, ANY PLANT!

I am almost 100% sure that your ROSE ROSETTE DISEASE is in fact growth appearing AFTER you’ve been spraying around the roses with one of the GLYPHOSATE PRODUCTS … perhaps RoundUp or Zero???  Had you used a weedicide product prior to noticing the weird foliage which has been diagnosed as RRD?

If you give me more information and perhaps a few pics I’ll take this further … talk soon – Diana


One pic of Amber’s affected foliage …

Amber admitted to ‘self-diagnosis’ after trawling through the Internet … I suspected this and although I know there is NO rose rosette disease in Australia, I wanted to be careful with how I responded – not wanting to offend any Rosarian who might be consulting with Amber and trying to sort her problems!

Since much email exchange, I realised Amber ordered roses from us this week …

Hello Amber … whilst I was busy packing roses today I noted that there was a parcel of roses for YOU … the roses are now in the post but I’m concerned about whether you should be planting while you seem to have so many issues with the existing roses???

My colleagues have all agreed that there is an OVERDOSE OF SPRAY on your roses … which product exactly, we’re not sure … highly likely a pre-emergent weedicide of some kind.


Thankfully, Amber has responded very positively …

“I have stopped using any chemical sprays at all & my husband knows not to use any weed killer as well now. I have purchased eco rose, eco seaweed and already have eco oil on hand so I’m going to be using the organic spray recipe on your website from now on.”

Please take extreme care when using weedicides – in fact, ANY CHEMICALS around your garden!  There are so many alternatives available – for more information please retain these two addresses: and so you have access to the most updated information about sustainable gardening and which products you can safely use in your home garden.

Q. What happens when a frog parks in a no-parking space?  A. It gets toad away.

When the winter blues happen for you, either give us a call (our phones were seriously challenged this past week when all calls went direct to ‘message bank’ … sorry!) or log into and purchase some roses just like Holly did a couple of times in these past weeks …

“Feeling a bit low just now because after the worst winter day this year (no gardening) I baked two cakes with duck eggs (famously wonderful) which came out like moon craters.  Ho hum.  See- my mind is only on gardening, not baking, and my brain thinks digging holes is the only thing worth thinking about.  I even dreamed of rose planting last night!  So it serves me right trying to bake when the heart is elsewhere, eh?  Mary Berry is safe in her day job. Looking forward to receiving my roses … thanks, Holly”

Enjoy time spent in your winter garden …
cheers from all of us at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane …

ROSE RAMBLER 13.7.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 13.07.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends after another series of freezing nights and gloriously sunny days with birds noisily indicating they’re mating and preparing nests for spring reproduction.  There’s a continual shrilling sound which we think is a tree frog but we’re not quite sure … if you’re in the nursery in coming weeks, please ask about the critter which has us perplexed and sure to be heard during your visit.

I’ve soooo enjoyed reading your stories following on from last week’s Rose Rambler article about ICEBERG!  Thank you all for sharing … yes, unfortunately, ICEBERG has the status of COMMON yet it is without doubt, THE ROSE OF THE CENTURY; it is proudly listed in the WORLD ROSE HALL OF FAME and continues to be the most popular standard rose in our industry year after year!

I guess in the olden days when people were classed according to their status, I might have been classed as a COMMONER.  However, if I had half the beauty and afforded my subjects as much incredible joy as what COMMON old ICEBERG has done, let me gladly be classed as COMMON!  A bit of fun with words I guess …?


I so miss the fragrance of roses since the FRAGRANCE OF A ROSE IS IN ITS SOUL … being deep in the winter here, there’s not a fragrant rose to behold – instead I’m busy pruning so get out and you do just the same – remember that you cannot kill a rose by pruning it … come along to a pruning demo this weekend at WHITTLESEA COURTHOUSE on SATURDAY at 10.00 am and help me and an enthusiastic group of gardeners prune the roses there.

This SUNDAY at 1.30PM be sure to come along to Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane where we’ll walk and talk and prune our way through the gardens here … bring the family and pets; don’t forget to bring your secateurs/loppers for a lesson on cleaning and sharpening.

My joke for this week:

Children were asked to write about the ocean and here are a few of their comments to give you a giggle …

Mike, aged 7:  If you are surrounded by ocean, you are an island.  If you don’t have ocean around you, you are incontinent.

James, aged 7:  My dad was a sailor and knows everything about the ocean.  What he doesn’t know is why he quit being a sailor and married my Mother.

I hope you haven’t overlooked ordering these most beautifully fragrant and robustly healthy roses to add to your rose garden collection this winter …

This is a very striking rose – one that stands out when in bloom.  The flowers are beautiful in form and the colour is amazing, yellow with orange stripes fading to a soft pink.  Tropical sunset is a great performing rose with numerous blooms throughout the season and healthy semi-glossy foliage to compliment. Grows to 1.5mts

Hybrid Tea rose which has stood the test of time. Tall, upright almost thornless stems produce clusters or single stems of highly fragrant perfectly formed blooms.

This glorious specimen with tall single stems of the most highly fragrant dark red rose will be a joy to all rose gardeners. The men will rush out to buy it because it has so very few thorns and tell us in the nursery that they just love the red roses … we know it’s all about the lack of thorns even though we also know that men prefer their garden roses to be red!


Here are my suggestions for comfortable, safe and enjoyable pruning:

  1. Clean and sharp secateurs – we use and recommend Lowe 4 which are available in our online store –
  2. Look after your back – sit on a chair if you need to – one rose at a time!
  3. Do light exercise before you start to get your muscles ready for a work-out!
  4. Wear protective clothing – most definitely a comfortable pair of gloves.
  5. Be the boss and prune each rose according to how it suits your garden!
  6. Enjoy being out in the garden knowing that every 25 minutes you spend in your garden is equivalent to a 4km walk – Yep, backed up by University research!

Enjoy all the moments of this fabulous winter weather in your garden – turn over a patch which will be ready for planting spring seedlings to feed your family the most nutrient-rich salad-greens and veggies throughout spring/summer.

See you soon at Clonbinane to collect roses or attend a pruning demo – happy gardening from the team at – Diana & Graham Sargeant


ROSE RAMBLER 06.07.2017 …

Now Hello dear rose friends as we enter the middle of winter with very cold nights – down to minus 8 here on Sunday morning and miserably small amounts of rain – just 13mm in the past few days!

I haven’t had a great deal of time to prepare this Rose Rambler so let me just take some emails with very interesting information for sharing … even Gra has been head down, bum up and hasn’t got a joke this week … you actually need to send him a couple if your kids/grandchildren are into jokes – he did have this little ditty to share …




Dear Diana.  I have received the rose today and planted in the garden. Thank you very much, it was a surprise to receive so much information concerning roses and the sea weed sachet was a pleasant surprise.  I will look forward to the rose in bloom thanks so much – Christine



Hi Diana,  I posted a message comment on your website a month or so ago, and have only just realised that you had emailed me a response. It went to my junk mail and I accidentally deleted it before I read it and now cannot retrieve it!  So my apologies for the poor communication; I will start again!

I am planning my wedding for Australia Day next year and would love potted white roses leading down the aisle. I have been given all sorts of advice on how to time their flowering, including that floribunda types would be the easiest to time the flowering.  After the wedding I plan to give some away, and keep some for myself which I intend to plant out within a few years.

Although I am an agronomist by day, I have not had much to do with roses at all! I’d would be very grateful for any advice you may be able to offer me. Are there any varieties that you would suggest? I am mainly aiming for ease of management, ability to time the flowering, and abundance and fragrance of flowers. Of course things like disease resistance and hardiness would be useful going forward, but I imagine you can’t have everything!  Also if there is a resource that answers my questions please feel free to send me in that direction instead. Thanks very much, Pamela

Hi Pamela … thank you for contacting me again… I think that to save a whole lot of bother / money / time and be guaranteed of success with this project, you need to source 30 or more ICEBERG bush roses – I can supply same for $16.50 each if you order over the phone very soon … roses are now being potted and have been increased to $19.50 online …

Why ICEBERG and not some other very fancy, highly fragrant hybrid-tea rose like say, POPE JOHN PAUL II … simply because ICEBERG is the variety which will most definitely be flowering at the time of your wedding with the least amount of stress – after the wedding, as gifts, the roses will offer immense joy in the home garden of your guests.

Yes, ICEBERG is common (Pamela actually stated that in one of her emails!!!) but so what?  It’s beautiful and will definitely give you an avenue of potted white colour down the aisle at your wedding – do what works for YOU not what others might say about this glorious rose!  Please let me know if I can assist to make this work for you … no, I cannot offer cheaper price than $16.50 per plant plus pack post … oh, $45.00 high out!  Talk soon perhaps … best wishes DIANA

Hi Diana,  Thank you so much for your detailed response. That is very helpful for me and I will certainly go with the Icebergs. Like most women planning a wedding I do however have a fairly tight budget, and even these roses are quite the extravagance. I’m not sure of the most diplomatic way to say this, but I was hoping you’d be able to offer lower costs for bulk and to be truthful they are down to around $10 with some of your competitors, which represents quite a difference in the total I’ll end up paying. I’m very sorry as I would love to purchase from you. Next time when I’m purchasing roses in smaller lots I will definitely order from you, and I hope that this is sooner rather than later. Thanks again for your help, sorry we can’t work something out this time. I’m looking forward to buying roses from you in the future.  No need to reply. Thanks, Pamela

In my usual form, I did respond to Pamela and wished her well with her wedding – you, know, it’s not always about the cost of something and no, roses purchased from Silkies Rose Farm / aren’t the CHEAPEST but by golly, they come wrapped or potted with love and they’re 100% guaranteed to grow in your garden and give years and years of pleasure – something that good NEVER COMES CHEAP!


Maggie is delightfully feminine – the superb flowers are softly ruffled with masses of petals in rich, creamy white. During the cooler months, there is a distinct border of blush pink at the edge of the petals and there is a distinct soft, fruity fragrance which adds a romantic charm to this most beautiful rose.

Modern Shrub/Floribunda rose of immense beauty, resistance to disease and ability to grow and flower in any sunny location. With flowers creamy-white, tinged apricot-pink deep in the swirled central petals, the blooms open to 15cms wide and reveal their dark stamens when opened.

A magnificent pure white rose with the most amazing fragrance!  The healthy bush produces masses of long stemmed, large blooms continually throughout the season – a very highly recommended rose!


Graham will conduct regular pruning demonstrations here at the Rose Farm throughout July – here are the dates:


We promise to get it together and video Gra doing one of his garden WALK ‘N’ TALK demos so that all you lovely interstate followers can be part of what goes on down south!!!

Meantime, best wishes to all from the team here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 29.6.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 29.06.2017 …

Now on the ‘upside’ of longer days already – it seems unbelievable that we have passed the winter solstice and our days from here onwards will lengthen and hasten the herald of spring flowering for our roses.  Phew, have we been busy while all this celestial ‘stuff’ has been happening …

PLEASE DO NOT CALL ME AT THE NURSERY ABOUT YOUR ROSE ORDER … we now have almost every rose available for posting – the last consignment only came into the nursery yesterday and now needs to be graded (obviously the BEST for pre-orders!) then sorted, tagged and pitted into heel-in beds then packed and posted.

We can only post around 50 cartons each day because we have a small Country Post Office managing our parcels so you can expect your roses to be delivered very soon – if you have a mobile phone contact on your order, we will send you AustPost tracking number so you know when to expect your roses.

If you are going away and wish to delay posting, please contact us IMMEDIATELY to ensure your roses are not wandering around the postal system waiting for you to come home!


Come on up to Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane if you’re unsure of how to prune your roses this winter – there will be formal pruning demonstrations on:

– both days commencing at 1.30pm

When we’re out in the garden together, I don’t just talk and demonstrate rose pruning, we’ll check out the compost heaps, prune some fruit trees and discuss all manner of gardening issues including how to avoid and correct this …

Soil compaction: the silent and sinister destroyer of healthy soil and plants

Imagine wearing tight clothing and not being able to breathe properly to perform regular tasks in your life.  Imagine if you were drawing breath with no one taking notice that you were slowly suffocating.  This is the condition of many agricultural and anthropogenic soils in which plants try to grow.  The lack of air space and waterholding capacity is the primary reason for substandard plant performance and eventual crop failure.

If you have time, we can chat over a cuppa before/after the demonstration … see you this weekend!

Q. What trees like a warm beverage?  A. Tea-trees


In the rose fields at Coldstream, Victoria, along a row of THE CHILDREN’S ROSE, there appeared a stem of creamy white flowers with all the characteristics and traits of the pale pink roses in the row … Mother Nature doing ‘her thing’ had produced a ‘sport’.

This ‘freak of Nature’ is a glorious rose which now bears the name:  THE WEDDING ROSE and is now available for rose lovers to enjoy.  So appropriately named because of the bridal-cream colour and magnificent fragrance, this robust beauty will be a treasure in every bride’s garden!

Here’s a little ‘twist’ of romance which now makes this beautiful rose extra special … I received a phone call enquiry about THE WEDDING ROSE … in my usual form, I postulated about how lovely the rose is, how appropriate it would be for a wedding gift and Vicki then placed an online order for the rose to be sent as a GIFT ROSE with this message:

“Life is ironic when it takes a spiky thorn to produce a beautiful rose.  Best wishes for your future together.  Vicki and Anne-Maree”

I responded to Vicki that I would post the rose according to her instructions but was curious about the message and I’m not afraid to ask a question when something sparks my curiosity so Vicki responded …

Many thanks Diana. I did ring and inquire. You’re probably too busy to read this but the story behind the message is: a friend has been looking for a wife for a long time, he got a badly infected finger from a rose thorn and his discharge nurse from hospital is the one he is going to marry. Roses work in mysterious ways.  Looking forward to receiving and giving the rose, Vicki

Here is a follow-up email…

Hi Diana .. The wedding was beautiful.  Thanks for getting The Wedding Rose to me on time. It’s now planted at Pepperina Gallery, Nobby which is a small town on the Darling Downs. Regards – Vicki

Now we have to wait until they have their first child and they order THE CHILDREN’S ROSE!

Our GIFT ROSE is an ideal way of commemorating special events in your life and I make EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM extra special so that YOUR GIFT is eternally memorable!

Q. Why do birds fly south for the winter?  A. ‘Cause it’s too far to walk …


Here’s a tip for those of you who dream of having a magnificent hedge of roses … Neil ordered 11 x MRS. B.R. CANT (tea rose ideal for mass planting) and when I acknowledged his order, I mentioned how glorious it would be.  He responded:

“ … you have already envisaged the mass planting of the rose garden bed as have I, and you will always be able to remember your contribution. I am thinking about a 2 metre by 2 metre spacing, what would your thoughts be?  Kind regards Neil”
Hi Neil … yes, the plants will eventually meet at this spacing – have you got lots of time on your side???  Giggling and trying to be delicate and not ask your age!!!

I would prefer to recommend that you do 1.2-1.5 metre spacing.  However, if you do 2 mt spacing, as the plants flower, take cuttings from stems where flowers have been and poke them into the soil to create new plants to thicken the border.  Another way is to take a flexible cane and layer it – literally bend it over, secure with an old horse-shoe or piece of wire and cover with soil to create a new plant.

I have two magnificent plants which are the first roses I planted here in 2000 and are the only two old-fashioned roses which survived Black Saturday, 2009 just because they were tucked in on the house side of a magnificent spruce which my lads watered and saved!  Each plant is easily 3.5 x 3.5 after 17 years of trimming, never, ever pruning!!!  Diana

Hope to see you here at the Rose Farm soon … whether it’s for a demo or to collect your roses this winter … do come along and meet with us here during our open hours:


Stay warm and comfortable when indoors but do get out into the fresh, cool winter weather to prune your roses – the winter garden has its own special beauty for you to enjoy …

Cheers from us here at Clonbinane

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