ROSE RAMBLER 14.12.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 14.12.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends for the second last …


… since it’s even more ‘silly season’ this week than last week, let’s lighten your mood with a joke … Q. Why did the man run around his bed?  A. Because he was trying to catch up on his sleep!

With the Christmas holidays looming, we’ll all be able to catch up on some sleep and enjoy quiet time at home – hopefully, you’ll make time for moments in your garden so here are a few TIPS FOR SUMMER ROSE GARDEN MANAGEMENT –

  • Watering roses is about DEEP-SOAKING at least 20 litres (or more) per weekly watering event so that water reaches way deep down into the root zone;
  • Watering should be carried out preferably in the early morning or up until 2 pm but NEVER in the evening when foliage is likely to be wet at sunset which can incur black-spot and mildew or rust on foliage;
  • Treat your garden to an application of quality fertilizer, especially since recent rains have leached a lot of nutrients from the soil;
  • Groom your roses … continually remove spent flowers and as a general rule-of-thumb, prune 1/3 of each rose stem during summer pruning – next week I will include a video of my PRUNING DEMONSTRATION – come along to the Rose Farm at Clonbinane this SUNDAY, 17TH DECEMBER commencing at 1.00pm.
  • Hot/dry weather conditions will ‘burn off’ fungal diseases like black-spot and mildew; if your roses are plagued by diseases you should continue to apply the organic rose management spray program – use it early in the morning and NEVER if the temperature is expected to exceed 28 degrees!
  • Most insects which cause issues for roses will hopefully decline in numbers – ‘white-fly’ which have been rampant this past season may still need to be kept in check with ECO-NEEM and ECO-OIL sprays – I suggest you avoid lethal chemicals!


  • Go cow-padding with your family for a fun day out in the country air – collect bags of dried manure to take home to your garden for mulch.  Be sure and check with the property owner prior to entering private property!
  • Plant seedlings along a garden border – perhaps some veggie/herb seedlings in small pots or for a real novelty, drill holes in the sole of shoes which the kids have grown out of and plant them with pansies/petunias/lobelia or other flowers!


An email from Jo prompted me to offer this advice about the two spray units we use here –

Hello Jo … I possibly overlook suggesting this:  ALL SPRAY EQUIPMENT MUST BE THOROUGHLY CLEANED AFTER EACH USE!  We actually use TriNature floor cleaner (Optimate) and disinfectant (Sphagnum Moss) spray in the tank after each use.

This ensures the spray head and line are also thoroughly cleaned because of the oil component in the mix!     We have had a 15 litre backpack spray unit SOLO which has been very reliable for more than 15 years and parts readily available if/when the repair was necessary.

I never fill it to capacity because I couldn’t carry it and we use it predominantly for SLASHER weed killer and it is also used for BIODYNAMIC PREPARATION SPRAYING.

The unit we use in the nursery is a 50 litre SWAGMAN BATTERY POWERED SPRAY UNIT … it has served us extremely well for at least 10 years with only one new spray arm replaced due to mishandling – it’s a trolley and can be easily pulled around.

hardi Container with weedkiller

NEVER use GLYPHOSATE products (ROUNDUP) in the spray unit which you use for spraying your roses!

Q. What do you get when you cross a parrot with a pig?  A. A bird who hogs the conversation!


Which just might get you out of trouble at the very last minute and available until New Year’s Eve …


Xmas Voucher





Really?  Recently we’ve had several requests for black roses – we’ve been shown pics from Facebook of very dark, yes, almost black blooms –we think the stems might have been placed in black dye– you could try doing that.  When I experimented several years ago with dye using ICEBERG (white) roses, it didn’t occur to me to use BLACK but the colours I used were successful as you can see in the pics below.

Coloured Roses

The colours intensified the longer the roses were in the dye and I could have made a very strong solution for greater colour intensity. Back to BLACK ROSES … the darkest, most highly fragrant rose available in our nursery is PAPA MEILLAND as when it first opens, the petals are black/red and the outer petals retain that dark hue right to the end – this picture was taken by Judith in Kyneton yesterday:
Judiths Papa Meillandnursery of Papa Meilland

(Left: Judiths Papa Meilland




 Right: picture from nursery of Papa Meilland)
In praise of this magnificent rose, if you love the fragrance and darkest red combination in a rose, then grow PAPA MEILLAND!


When it all gets too busy and you’ve had enough, pick up your secateurs and close out all of everything and go and trim your roses … speak with them while they tell you about themselves – a more interesting conversation could not ever be had!

Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, 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

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Our mailing address is:

Rose Sales Online

550 Crn Spur and McDonald’s Rds

ClonbinaneVictoria 3658


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ROSE RAMBLER 7.12.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 07.12.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends after an amazing weather event here at Clonbinane where we recorded more than 160mm of rain since last Thursday.  It was ‘nice’ rain as it fell quietly and simply rained day and night!  Of course, the blooms are damaged so we’ll have a massive program of ‘summer pruning’ and in order for you to learn all about it, come for a demo this Saturday.


Bring your secateurs for a sharpen and general check and wet-weather shoes to walk into the gardens where it’s still sopping wet!  If you have a rose flower you want to be identified, bring that along too!


Since it’s the silly season, let’s start with a joke

Q. What do you call an attractive pig?  A. A good snort. 

Enjoy your Christmas ham!

CONGRATULATIONS To Gary, Steve and the team at ORGANIC CROP PROTECTANTS who distribute our organic rose management products.They recently released product SLASHER ORGANIC WEEDKILLER is a recognised winner … read the press release:We’re super excited that SLASHER ORGANIC WEEDKILLER has picked up not one but two prestigious awards!  After 10 years of research and product development, it’s incredibly rewarding to have our work recognised by these awards.

Here are the details:

Organic Product of the Year – 2017 Organic Consumer Choice Awards Organic Product of the Year (Non-Food) – 2017 Australian Organic Annual Awards for Excellence

SLASHER was one of 18 finalists in the Organic Consumer Choice Awards which are voted for by the public. Once all votes were tallied SLASHER was the standout winner. Big thanks to all that voted!!! It is particularly satisfying to see so much public support for the product given the short time it has been on the market.

 It’s a further sign that more and more people are opting for safe organic options compared to questionable chemicals. The Australian Organic Annual Awards for Excellence are run by Australia’s largest organic certifying organisation Australian Organic (formerly called the Biological Farmers of Australia – BFA).

To be shortlisted and then win is a big nod from the organic industry that SLASHER is a quality product. Weeds are one of the biggest challenges facing organic farmers and we are pleased that SLASHER is there to help

To celebrate this victory and encourage you to use SLASHER rather than harmful glyphosate weedkillers, we’ll take $5 off every 1-litre bottle until current stock is runout.  We do have 5-litre packs available for pick-up at the Rose Farm – they’ll also be reduced by $5 through December – a keen gardener would be thrilled to receive this product as a Christmas gift!


“Hi there … Firstly, my roses are doing really well – thank you … just a quick question though. They are putting up a couple of quite long shoots with flower buds on top of them – much longer than the bush itself is.  Is this OK – what should I do re “pruning” these, either now or after the flowers have come out??  I might have to stake them up I think, they are so long.”  Many thanks – Lyn

My response to Lyn … they’re watershoots carrying heads of flowers and yes, you might have to stake them in these blustering weather conditions – we lost a lot in this past week … but ah, well, good pruning today will recover them and we’ll have magnificent flowers again in January!

New watershoots

(Two lush branches on the left side are NEW WATERSHOOTS, three other branches are older watershoots and would be the first pruned out in favour of the two newer watershoots) If you see these shoots emerging in future, you might give them a trim ‘on the way upwards’ and this will stop them growing so high and the watershoot will branch out more in line with the overall bush height …

watershoots 2

You’re obviously doing everything ‘right’ by producing such healthy roses so loaded with blooms … enjoy!
I will teach you WATERSHOOT MANAGEMENT during the SUMMER PRUNING DEMONSTRATION and also show you the difference between WATERSHOOTS and SUCKERS so you’ll be able to successfully manage both in your rose garden.

Here are my top picks for a GIFT ROSE this Christmas …

Just $73.90 delivered to your door by Australia Post …

Dark desire
double delightapricot nectar

Heaven ScentAbraham Darby

(Top: Dark Desire Middle Left: Double Delight Middle Right: Apricot Nectar Bottom Left: Abraham Darby Bottom Right: Heaven Scent)
Diana and her crew of ‘ reindeers ’ will be busy gift wrapping and boxing any rose of your choice until the last posting on MONDAY, DECEMBER 18TH … order NOW and if you have to care for a rose prior to gifting on Christmas Day, just pop it in a sunny location and water it every morning – do trim spent flowers prior to gifting so it looks lovely!


After such a rain event, it is important to take any opportunity (when the weather is predicted to be below 30 degrees) to apply the organic rose management program:To 10 litre bucket of water add:

¼ cup ECO-ROSE (FUNGICIDE) dilute with a burst of water then add

¼ cup ECO-OIL (INSECTICIDE / STICKER) reduce to ½ strength in hot weather

1 scoop ECO-SEAWEED POWDER or follow directions on pack of your preferred seaweed product!

MIX THEM ALL TOGETHER AND SPRAY TO RUNOFF OR POUR OVER PLANTS MONTHLY or more frequently if pests or disease are apparent. If a rose has succumbed to disease infection or just looks poorly after massive flowering and inclement weather conditions, give it a good prune, deep-soaking water and apply organic rose management spray – within weeks it will be flowering again!

I am hearing more and more people talk about how ‘EASY’ roses are!  They’ve certainly been hammered by all sorts of weather this past six months and when I open my eyes each morning and look out over the rose garden here, I am constantly reminded of their hardiness and magnificent beauty!

See you this weekend for the first SUMMER ROSE MANAGEMENT DEMONSTRATION – there will be one more before Christmas on 17th December and I will schedule another couple through January when you can bring the kids along too …  In closing:

Q.  What kind of snacks do noses like? A. SNEEZLES

… have a great week and take time out to smell the roses – especially now during this busy time of year.

Happy Festivities from Graham, Diana and the lovely team who make and SILKIES ROSE FARM at CLONBINANE your TOTAL ROSE EXPERIENCE …

ROSE RAMBLER 30.11.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 30.11.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends and HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRAHAM from all of us who appreciate your crazy jokes and GRA’S GARBLE contributions to this weekly email!
I know for sure that without Gra’s weekly reminder to use ECO-SEAWEED*, advice on how to ‘dig and dung’, mulch and water – all the cultural information about roses which he gathers and shares so happily – none of us would grow such fabulous roses!
It’s Graham’s shout to celebrate his Birthday and celebrate this last day of spring …

Eco grow seaweed

PAY ONLY $25.00 FOR 600g PACK ECO SEAWEED – RRP $32.50 Extremely Concentrated Powder – Makes 1200 litres of solution – Add Your Own Water! Superbly Economical – Supremely effective on all plants!

Photos at Clonbinane …

Because we’re busy celebrating this special day together, here are some lovely photos of what’s going on here at CLONBINANE …
Cooper And Logan

Left: Cooper And Logan ( Grandkids) Enjoying Mud And Water Down By Sunday Creek

A Daughter’s Gift


 Right: A New Release Rose Of Such Impeccable Beauty – A Daughter’s Gift



Pierre De Ronsard

Left: What Pierre De Ronsard Looks Like Here Due To Late Frost




What Pierre De Ronsard Looks Like During A Normal Spring


 Right: What Pierre De Ronsard Looks Like During A Normal Spring / Summer Flowering

Your dogs are welcome at Silkies Rose Farm – please remember to bring their lead as we often have chooks free-ranging in the gardens …


Rio (Left) visited last weekend and Judy has promised to bring–




Pierre & Hugo



  Pierre & Hugo (left) again soon






we’ll have a photo shoot with these two handsome dudes posing with our little “Mooi”. (left)


The silly season is always a crazy busy period for us and the postie so a reminder to get your orders in early! Our last rose orders will be sent out on Monday 18th December, 2017 so remember to get your orders in before then.

xmas truck


SPECIAL CHRISTMAS VOUCHERLooking for the perfect Christmas Gift idea? Our special Christmas voucher is back!

Spoil them $100 Gift Voucher this Christmas and get a BONUS $20 on top for spending! (Total value $120.00)


The Christmas voucher can be redeemed for products on or at Silkies Rose Farm. Click here to order now.
ALL ABOUT ROSES A reminder that my book, ALL ABOUT ROSES has been reprinted – grab a copy today as a signed copy will be a PERFECT gift for the rose gardeners in your life this Christmas!

all about roses book

GIFT ROSES Know which rose you’re after? Why not send it as a gift rose! For just $73.90 we will send a gift wrapped, flowering rose of your choice*, beautifully presented with a card and your message in our custom designed box.

gift roses

We’re off now to celebrate Graham’s birthday and the last day of Spring! Breakky by the beach and a lovely drive over the Dandenong Ranges shall make a great birthday day out!
Many thanks to our hard-working Silkie Gardens & Rose Sales Online team for keeping everything operational whilst we’re out of the office (rose garden!)

ROSE RAMBLER 23.11.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 23.11.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends from the most spectacular gardens here at Clonbinane – 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 butYOU MUST BOOK AN APPOINTMENT!

Thank you!!! It’s my rose enthusiast neighbour who couldn’t seem to find the ST. PATRICK rose. Thanks for such a lightning quick response!       By the way, the roses I’ve ordered from you in the past are going gangbusters this year! I’ve been going into the garden and telling them how beautiful they look. Thank you!
I received an email of worry about delivery of a rose which was taking a little longer than normal so I responded accordingly:
“Hello, Pauline … AustPost is an amazing operation ???  One week, it takes two days to travel thousands of k’s and the next it takes ten days to get just a little way!  I cannot send you AustPost tracking number without a mobile phone number – here is the AustPost tracking number – the parcel is in Chullora so will be delivered on Monday … very tardy!     So sorry for the delay but VERY confident the rose will be lovely on arrival though, as we wet them thoroughly prior to posting … please let me know … cheers – Diana”
Thank you, Diana, I can now tell you the Rose arrived in Sydney Friday 7.30 am & was finally delivered at 10 35 am this morning. My sister in law has told me it is “alive” & beautiful. Many thanks for your services, & your confidence it would be intact on delivery. Thank you once again, Pauline

Do remember to take a quiet moment to walk in your garden and indeed ‘talk’ to your plants while you admire their beauty … they know exactly what you’re saying!
BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS … FLORILEGIUM stock a most amazing range of horticultural publications so if you’re looking for an ideal present for the garden enthusiast in your life, go shopping with Gil and his team

BOOKS MAKE THE BEST GIFTS (Especially for gardeners!)

Gil Teague at Florilegium says:  “I’m very enthusiastic about this year’s crop. There are some major Australian contributions to the literature” so I suggest you take a look and purchase a book for Christmas this year …   or   02 9571 8222

My book, ALL ABOUT ROSES has been reprinted – go to as a signed copy will be a PERFECT gift for the rose gardeners in your life this Christmas!


Hi Diana,  You would have identified this in an instant as Delbard’s RED INTUITION,  rather than SOUL SISTER

Red Intuition

Soul Sister

as ordered and labelled.  However, like the kitten or stray dog that wanders in and works its way into your affections, this rose has won me over with its beautiful shadings and fragrance. So if you are happy to forget about the mix-up, I am more than happy to let it keep its place in my garden and find another spot for SOUL SISTER, which I will order for 2018.
Some things are meant to be!  Cheers … Elaine

Q. Where do spirits go to send their mail?  A. The ghost office!

If you’re feeling BLUE, go gardening … there are lots of research papers presented which reflect the value of regular and frequent engagement with the environment – it’s quite clear that gardening is great for mental health treatment and recovery.

Over the years, I have heard customers say:  MY GARDEN IS MY DOCTOR.  If you experience moments of sadness and a sense of “I’m not important …” go visit with your roses and they’ll let you know that you are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL – they want you to trim, fertilize, mulch, perhaps spray the organic roses management program – they’ll be asking for you to turn the hose on and soak them now that the weather has turned into hot and sunny!

You are most definitely EXTREMELY IMPORTANT in your garden – get out there and enjoy the sunshine, hold the hose to water your roses – it’s like a meditation in the morning but YOU have to do it!

Plan what you’ll plant where on another adventure in your garden – it might be potting some herbs, perhaps tomatoes for harvesting this summer … the value of planning SOMETHING is enough to get you out into the sunshine and motivated about your future!

In closing, just for a giggle, here’s another joke:

 Q.  What has teeth but does not bite?  A. A zipper …

Enjoy the glory of your rose garden this spectacular spring …


Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane


ROSE RAMBLER 16.11.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 16.11.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends … phew … another busy week is done and dusted with lots of happy customers enjoying their roses this magnificent season – it was such a joy to be displaying our potted roses surrounded by glorious rose gardens at Werribee State Rose Garden this past weekend.
Tova and I loved all the moments we shared with those who came to our site – it was delightful to have our very own GARDENETTE, Chloe, sharing her gardening knowledge with customers who are interested in organic garden management.



Q. What do skeletons order at restaurants?  A. Spare ribs … yuk!

Here are a few pics of roses our customers have sent this past week … thank you to you all for sharing!We just know you’re having a most sensational flowering season – enjoy the happiness!










Haejin’s NAHEMA



Haejin’s NAHEMA



I think it’s important to repeat how you can prevent the risk of your roses incurring the most common fungal disease infection:

  • PLANT ROSES IN FULL SUN – no less than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day
  • PLANT ROSES IN WELL VENTILATED SPACE – wind will dry wet foliage
  • WATER APPROPRIATELY – never water over foliage from 3 pm onwards
  • CHECK SOIL MOISTURE – roses hate wet feet constantly but love deep-soaking
  • SELECT DISEASE-RESISTANT VARIETIES – yes, some roses are definitely healthier!

Now is a great time to research varieties of roses you want to plant in your garden – don’t just look at pretty flowers, look at the WHOLE BUSH.  Visit the State Rose Garden in your state, take pictures and notes.
When you photograph a rose, photograph the plant label so you remember the name of each rose!

Hi, Diana and Graham, Just to say thank you and how much we enjoyed our morning tour of your wonderful rose farm and rose nursery.  Everything was so healthy and glossy leaved and so much to learn as we walked with you.  Again many thanks, Whittlesea Garden Club.

ROSE RAMBLER 9.11.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 09.11.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends as another Melbourne Cup came and went – today ladies are out celebrating OAKS DAY – we donated table centres for YEA OAKS DAY where in past years our roses have raised significant funds for the Ambulance Service at Yea and district – hope the girls have a great day out!

I think they might well change the name of MELBOURNE CUP to MELBOURNE FESTIVAL OF HORSES AND ROSES – weren’t the roses spectacular in television coverage?

This weekend we’re exhibiting at VICTORIA STATE ROSE GARDEN SHOW at WERRIBEE – home also of the WERRIBEE PARK NATIONAL EQUESTRIAN CENTRE, WERRIBEE MANSION and WERRIBEE OPEN RANGE ZOO – a magnificent destination in Victoria and I urge you all to come and visit WERRIBEE this weekend – it is SPECTACULAR IN THE EXTREME


Let me start with a joke … Q. Which of the witch’s friends was good at baseball?  A. The bat
Your roses are growing rampantly now – most will be flowering so it’s important to fertilize with the best quality fertilizer you can buy – go to your local supplier and be advised by what is locally available.  If you’re driving by Clonbinane, call in and collect our COF (complete organic fertilizer) which you can liberally apply to ALL THE PLANTS IN YOUR GARDEN – except Australian Natives!
Healthy, well-fed plants usually indicate healthy foliage – sometimes things go wrong and here is what the LEAVES ON ROSES are indicating …


Really nothing you need to worry about since it is evident when roses are growing voraciously and then it seems to be less indicated … we don’t recommend propagating roses with MOSAIC VIRUS and there is no spray or cure to eradicate it!

Mosaic Virus
Mosaic Virus


A sign of old foliage on lower leaves/stress from lack of fertilizer on newer foliage / moist foliage overnight – generally can be corrected by trimming, fertilizing, deep-soaking watering to promote new foliage and flowering!  Remember that you lose hair and skin EVERY DAY … BLACK SPOT is the mechanism for a rose to lose old foliage – it is up to you to prune!

Black spot (left) and Rust (right)
Black spot (left) and Rust (right)


Is usually evident on the underside of rose foliage where there is almost no ventilation and very damp conditions prevail.  Rose plants are very debilitated by this fungus and it can spread rampantly.


Will occur where there is little or no sunshine, very little air-flow or foliage is constantly wet.  Disease can be eliminated by increasing ventilation – removing ground-covering perennials/annuals/other plants clear to 20cms from the base of roses, shifting shaded roses into a sunny location and NEVER WATERING after 3 pm so that foliage is not wet during the night!

Powdery Mildew
Powdery Mildew
I urge you to use our recommended preventative ORGANIC ROSE MANAGEMENT SPRAY PROGRAM at least monthly to reduce any incidence of disease on your rose plants …
To 10 litres of water add:

You can also add liquid fertilizer to this mix!  Vigorously shake the solution, add water to 10 litres volume and shake again.  Spray over foliage and underside where possible – avoid spraying open flowers if you can as the droplets will be evident on rose petals!


It is extremely important to offer roses conditions which reduce plant stress and ensure they flourish which avoids the need to use the ORGANIC ROSE MANAGEMENT SPRAY too frequently:

  • Water at least 20 litres per plant ONCE EVERY WEEK if there is no rain
  • Fertilize regularly – every 8-12 weeks sprinkled lightly over entire root-zone
  • Mulch garden beds to regulate soil temperature and retain moisture levels
  • Apply ECO-SEAWEED solution whenever you feel inclined!


Q. Which musical instrument do skeletons play?  A. Trom-Bone … ha, ha!


Yes, I’ve got LANGSHAN chickens with their clucky hen mothers, lots of ducklings are venturing from our swale to the neighbour’s dam and although the Magpie bub is well and truly faring for itself, we’ve got pardalotes, wrens and finches all showing off with their fledgelings.
This is a spring of unprecedented joy with an abundance of production – last Tuesday was our last minus 1 frost and we hope it’s the last for this year as we want to plant veggies where the roses were heeled-in this past winter … such an ideal location because excess water from the nursery runs directly to this area.  Hope you’re planting veggies too!
Here are a few pics of spectacular roses in the nursery NOW …

THE OPPORTUNITY ROSE is a profuse bloomer, the habit is compact and a little over knee high. The medium sized buds have attractive form, the rich variable copper shades are not prone to premature fading. It has very high resistance to blackspot when compared to neighbouring varieties and a distinct light fragrance.

THE GOLDEN CHILD magnificent Modern Shrub Rose produces masses of bright canary yellow clusters of fragrant blooms on a beautifully healthy shrub with glossy mid-green foliage and magnificent crimson new foliage – highly recommended rose!

MUNSTEAD WOOD –  David Austin Modern Shrub Rose with large dark crimson heavily petalled and very fragrant blooms continually.  Very suited to pot-planting for a patio.  Ideal as a hedge-row.

Revel in the beauty of your spring garden and we’ll see you at Werribee this weekend or soon at Clonbinane …


Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, 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 02.11.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 02.11.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as this month throughout Victoria heralds the start of our flowering season and we’re flowering magnificently here at Clonbinane.  After the most amazingly freezing cold winter our roses have bolted – glorious healthy foliage and early-flowering specimens heralding the joy of what we can expect to see in coming weeks.


I’m not a gambler but I would bet this season promises to be one of the BEST SEASONS in many years of rose growing … the flowers are HUGE and if it isn’t windy, the fragrance is HUGE too!

Q. Why do witches ride on brooms?  A. Because vacuum cleaners are too expensive!

I’m ever so glad I elected to find an organic alternative to rose management when we first started growing roses – here’s an email exchange you might enjoy after Fiona ordered the organic rose management pack at and we confirmed her order and offered advice should she need it …

“Thanks, Diana and Graham – I have over 50 roses and 2 small children, so am really hoping an organic program will work to keep the aphids at bay without being too toxic for the family.  We are on a farm with Lucerne near the house and I think between the Lucerne and the roses, the aphids think they have found heaven!  It will just be a matter of making the time to do the regular spraying”  – Peter and Fiona”

My response:

You know what Fiona … I’m in exactly the same kind of location as you with paddocks and grasses all around the rose gardens!  I was out mowing lawns tonight … I don’t think I needed to eat when I came in for dinner as I reckon I ingested so many bugs – I’m told they’re jassids/leafhoppers rather than ‘whitefly’ (which would potentially cause massive issues on rose plants in the nursery!!!).     Out in the gardens, we have a mega army of workers eating everything … our birds are amazing and I feel I would deprive them of delicious dining if I was to spray the gardens … obviously, we have to keep the potted roses ‘clean’ so we spray regularly in the nursery!

There is absolutely NOTHING TOXIC in the OCP products which we promote and have used in our rose growing for more than 28 years!  We’ve only been growing roses for 31 years and decided that if we had to use all the lethal cocktails of chemicals to grow roses then we wouldn’t grow them … that sent us on a journey of exploring the possibilities and introduced us to many wonderful people who shared our passion to work WITH MOTHER NATURE.

It’s been a joy to share our experience with many, many rose gardeners who happily grow beautiful roses who accept the fact that sometimes after a magnificent flowering, rose foliage gets black-spot and defoliation might follow.  With a quick prune, quality fertilizer and deep-soaking watering the rose will continue flowering!   I’m so glad you’re purchasing the organic rose management products we use and highly recommend – you’ll show your kids the beauty of ladybirds mating and feasting on aphids in your healthy garden!


Aphids and Ladybug
Aphids and Ladybug

More information from an email exchange:

“Dear Diana and Graham, I bought NAHEMA and RENAE from you last winter and both are looking good. NAHEMA has shot up the fence to the trellis (1 metre off the ground), and I’ve trained her two leading canes sideways along the base of the trellis. Both canes now have several big fat buds which will pop soon. I can’t wait. She has a ‘water shoot’ growing from the base right next to one of the leading canes. Do I remove it from the base, or do I let this grow up to become another leading cane?”


RENAE has sat quietly muttering to herself all winter. She now has suddenly decided that life is good, and has sent out a number of fresh new shoots. I remember you (or someone) said of climbers: ‘The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap’. RENAE is just waking up, but she’ll be a beauty by year three.

I’m hoping to come out to Clonbinane shortly to see all your roses in their glory.”

Thank you for introducing me to Nahema and Renae. I’m enjoying them both already — and that’s before they flower! Happy gardening, Stefanie



State Garden and rose show
State Garden and rose show
The STATE ROSE & GARDEN SHOW is just around the corner so a magnificent display is assured.  Don’t miss their 5th year!

11th & 12th November 2017, open 10am – 4pm Victoria State Rose Garden   Gate 2, K Road, Werribee South VIC

Visit for more information.

A joke in closing this week …

Q. Which room do ghost houses never have?  A. THE LIVING ROOM!  

Enjoy all the glory of your roses flowering now … if you need advice please email your questions to: and we promise a response within 24 hours.

Come for a drive to Clonbinane soon … cheers from MOOI who knows the value of a mulched garden!



Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 26.10.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 19.10.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as we close the door on the first glorious month of spring weather – our potted roses are starting flowering and we are gasping at their beauty; six months now of beautiful roses to look forward to … stunning pics of our garden will follow in this Rose Rambler but please do come and visit when you’re travelling up the Hume Freeway – we’re at theCLONBINANE INTERCHANGEand worth stopping for a wander through our gardens/nursery!


You could get giddy with all the busyness and ‘stuff’ going on … it’s no different here so I’m just going to present some lovely pics of what our customers have sent as the first roses in their gardens this season …

One joke before the pics …

Q. Why do kangaroo mums hate rainy weather?
A.  Because then their joeys have to play ‘inside’!


It would now be appropriate to remove all frost damaged foliage so that the roses can set about producing lush, healthy foliage for this season – yes, they might be a bit late flowering but if you nurture them with regular weekly/fortnightly seaweed solution, a good dose of quality organic fertilizer and deep soaking water if it gets hot and you don’t get rain in your area, you’ll be rewarded with lovely blooms soon.

We have lived here at Clonbinane for 18 years; our garden has never experienced such extensive frost damage –

Most plants will, however, recover and live to endure possibly greater issues with an expected very hot summer???  Whatever the weather, our plants seem to endure – next week I will talk you through effective, economical and essential water management in your garden during this flowering season.


11th and 12th November – do come along to this most magnificent event in the State Rose Garden at Werribee.  Diana will be doing a stage presentation with Jane Edmanson – more details in following Rose Rambler editions.
If you have a group of friends or belong to a Club who like to take outings to lovely places, please organise your next visit to us here at Clonbinane … see you all soon!



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

ROSE RAMBLER 19.10.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 19.10.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends as the lawn just keeps on growing and needing mowing …I guess it’s the same at your place?!

Last week inspired lots of responses as you beautiful gardeners told us which roses were the first flowering in your gardens … how amazing that the same varieties came up ‘FIRST’ in so many gardens!

DOUBLE DELIGHT was a winner here too …

After enjoying so many magnificent roses flowering all over northern Victoria from Kerang, along with the Murray River through to Echuca we’ve arrived home to a nursery bursting forth with lots and lots of colourful rose like this fragrant VICTORIA GOLD….
Thanks to Ben and Tova for holding the fort while we were away for a few days!   


LIQUID FERTILIZER … I’ve had some enquiries about how to go about making your own liquid ‘weed-tea’ fertilizer from a range of non-seeding weeds along with a combination of various manures which you can acquire either in your own garden or from a local source.
Get a hessian bag – you might find one at your local feed store; perhaps a potato grower.  If you cannot find a hessian bag you could use an old pillowcase or maybe a sheet that you can lay weeds/manure in and securely tie to suspend in water.

The container you use might be a wheelie-bin, an old garbage tin or a 44-gallon drum – whatever you can find that has a lid – yes, the brew will stink – locate it in the furthest corner of the yard!

Every couple of days, lift the lid and check the brew; plunge the suspended ‘sack’ of weeds and manure up and down to be sure nutrients from the contents are releasing into the water – add more water perhaps and seaweed powder or solution will be beneficial too!

Q.  Why didn’t the toilet paper cross the road?  A. Because it was stuck in the crack!

After around six weeks of brewing take 1-2 litres of fermented liquid, dilute it in a 9 litre watering can of water and pour over the soil in your rose garden!

This is excellent liquid fertilizer – especially if you added seaweed powder along with some kind of animal manure to the initial weed sack.  Use liberally every couple of weeks.

Because you’re never sure of the fertilizer analysis of this kind of feeding, I recommend you use a Complete Organic Fertilizer at least twice annually to be sure your plants are being fed a complete range of nutrients which ensures continually healthy foliage and masses of flowers throughout the flowering season.

Q. Why did the scarecrow win an award? A. For being outstanding in his field

Infomation Sharing …

“Dear Diana … I recently bought some potted roses from you.  We are rearranging our garden, so the roses cannot go into their permanent positions until next winter. We have made a temporary bed for the roses, but I am wondering if we would be better off just transferring them into bigger pots for this season. Would the roots be happier if they are contained rather than spreading out into their temp home and being moved next season? Kind regards, Rhona”

My response to Rhona:  Ok … you know what the major consideration is:  DO YOU HAVE TIME AND WATER TO WATER POTTED ROSES EVERY DAY???  Pots are a pain in the backside because of the commitment to watering and fertilizing!

After more than 25 years in our gardens at Kilmore, we bulldozed hundreds of roses and DID NOT LOSE ONE OF THEM in the transplant … that was in MAY, 2012

I think you know what I would recommend but you do what works for you! Cheers … Diana & Graham both agree!
Then Rhona responded:

“Wow!!  Nice image of you bulldozing 100s of roses then merrily replanting them. And in May too!!  Thanks so much for your reply and your cheerful, generous way of sharing your knowledge and experience.  Kind regards, Rhona”

Enjoy all the pleasures of your spring rose garden …

Cheers from the team here … Graham, Diana, Mooi, Tova, Ben, Leigh, the chooks and their new-born chicks, baby magpies and everything wonderful about being at CLONBINANE … see you soon …

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

ROSE RAMBLER 12.10.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 12.10.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as we enjoy the glory of spring – we’re already halfway through – rushing towards summer and we’re hedging bets between us about which rose will be the very first flowering this season:


Tova is convinced it will be THE OPPORTUNITY ROSE


Graham believes it will be TWILIGHT ZONE

So you can see, despite another minus 2 frost earlier this week, roses in 20cm pots which act like a humid-crib for their roots, on higher ground up in the Rose Nursery are ready to flower … amazing to all of us!


How exciting and how beautiful and how very lucky we are that we all love roses – I think we’re in for a stunning flowering season, the rosebuds are so pumped full of deep soaking rain … it’s raining as I write!  Sorry to our far north friends who are experiencing drought but have had some respite last week perhaps???!!!

Because of all the humidity, it is imperative that you continue the rose spray-maintenance program – people who are continuing with this program on a fortnightly basis are enjoying their roses … no black-spot, no aphids!
Please don’t wait until problems occur – to 10 litres of water mix all of the following:
  • ¼ cup Eco-Rose/Fungicide (powder should be dissolved in water first)
  • ¼ cup Eco-oil and ALWAYS ADD A SEAWEED PRODUCT – we use and recommend ECO-SEAWEED POWDER – extremely economical as you use your own water!
If the aphids have beat you to the punch and your roses are covered in them, you need to add 20ml of Eco-Neem to the above recipe for quicker, effective control.  Otherwise, all the little birds like wrens, pardalotes, finches, etc. will make a feast of aphids – of course, if you see ladybirds mating like this – leave them to do their job …
With all the massive – I MEAN MASSIVE growth on all plants, treat yourself this weekend and  go for a drive to enjoy the GREEN – it is the most relaxing colour of all of Mother Nature’s colours and although it’s a long way, you might just find yourself at CHARLTON where the Rotary Art Show is exhibited all weekend along with 6 delightful OPEN GARDENS – you’ll be hospitably welcomed in the way only Aussie Country Folk know how!

Did you know that going for a drive in your car is the most popular of all recreational activities that Australians do?  Not the footy or sports viewing on TV or going to the theatre …

Q.  How many apples grow on trees?  A. All of them!  

Q.  How many peanuts grow on trees?  A.  Peanuts grow in the ground!

You’ll trick the kids with these two!  Enjoy the giggles!!!

When something dies …

This GOLDEN DIOSMA hedge was very visible in aerial photos we had taken of our property back in 2003 and after severe frost events this past winter, it died.

I called 3CR Garden Show on Sunday morning and the expert panel suggested that the hedge had done its time and demised due to age – I took their advice and removed it – but oh, gosh, what a hole it leaves in a very prominent part of our entrance driveway.

Solution … I will plant a hedge of THE GOLDEN CHILD roses so that when my Mother visits (regularly) I can remind her that I didn’t plant the hedge for my BROTHER but … yes, for her other GOLDEN CHILD, Diana!

What fun you can have with the names of roses … cherish all the wonderfulness of your garden in this magnificent spring!
Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …