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


… My friend Jeff shared this joke:

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

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

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

Maria wrote and sent this pic …

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rather than a joke, let me share this …


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


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





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



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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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


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


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


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

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

One last joke:

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




Hello dear rose friends and thank you so much for your supportive emails regarding what we all might do to assist our gardening friends in this drought-stricken country!


Yes, it’s warming up around the country but we are confident of posting bare-rooted roses – as long as when you receive them, you soak them from anything for an hour to more than 24 hours in ECO SEAWEED – a sachet is provided in every parcel of roses!

Once planted and deep-soaked, don’t over-water the roses! Weather conditions vary so it’s very difficult for us to tell you how frequently to water your rose garden … please, please be WATER-WISE and mindful of responsible water use in your garden!


… start this story with a smile: Q: How did the witch know it was exactly 12 o’clock midday? A: She used her witch watch. (wrist watch perhaps? Editor)

I guess most of you have pruned you roses by this time – we’ve still got some garden areas to prune – as soon as all the roses are pruned I will fertilize the entire garden with our COMPLETE ORGANIC FERTILIZER – COF – and I recommend you source a really high-quality organic fertilizer which is available in your area.

Why organic fertilizer?

  1. Plants take in organic fertilizer when they need it
  2. Earth worms will break down the fertilizer helping to balance the soil eco system

You should never place fertilizer in the planting hole when planting a new rose – always fertilize established plants – around six weeks after planting.

Fertilizing roses is essential because they are so productive with their growth and flowering over such an extended period – once established, fertilize the soil around your roses with a quality ORGANIC FERTILIZER every 8 – 12 weeks – in between times, liberally apply seaweed solution over the plants at least monthly – more frequently if you have time!

Q: What do you call a cheerful flea? A: A Hop-timist.

Here are a few of my very best recommendations for climbing roses to use to screen an ugly fence which will also inhibit intruders into your property due to their aggressive thorns!

One of the loveliest rambling roses you could ever plant …

This rose is so adaptable – would suit scrambling over the ground as a large ground-covering clump, glorious as a weeping rose and definitely would inhibit anything coming through or over a fence at your place …

For an amazingly glorious display throughout the season, this prickly rose will afford immense security when scrambling over your front fence!


Both Ben and I will be attending this workshop on 1st September – If you’re at all interested in knowing more about the soil in your garden, do book for this seminar – we’ll see you there.

There’s a build-up of excitement with spring in the air … do put this important event in your diary – a visit to the Yea Garden Expo will afford you a great day out in the country.

Enjoy the last days of winter and don’t be hassled if you haven’t pruned yet … we’re still busy pruning here …




Hello dear rose friends, as the rain tumbles down on us here at Clonbinane and our gardens are sopping wet which makes us want to share even more diligently with our northern neighbours who are bone dry and in a most dreadful drought. We urge you to kindly contribute whatever you can …

This plea came from my Rotary Club today:

“In Australia, farmers are the lifeblood of our country and they are in crisis. Record breaking heat and lack of rain means farmers are struggling to feed sheep and cattle, and keep crops alive. Families on the land are suffering and they need our help. Channel 9 and Rotary Australia have partnered with the National Farmers’ Federation, launching an appeal to big business and everyday Australians, so we can provide some emergency relief. 100% of donations goes to the farmers and is tax deductible via Rotary and RAWCS. Every dollar counts.”

The link for the donation page for the project is:

The RAWCS website home page has the link also:


If that doesn’t work, please don’t give up but direct your donation to this destination: and know that every single dollar you contribute to a Rotary project will go DIRECTLY where you want your donation to go!

Please let me indulge by sharing this email exchange just this week:

Hello Val … thank you for your order. What a lovely selection of roses I’ll be posting to you tomorrow! Enjoy these beauties in your garden … best wishes.

Thanks Diana- I can’t wait for them to flower- I just pray for some rain… We live on a farm with no food and handfeeding 300 alpacas. Might have to use our house water to keep the roses alive. Val

This is the story of our gutsy Aussie farmers – our mates who are the backbone of our magnificent country – get behind them NOW in their deep time of need and open your purse so they might receive a free load of feed or a tanker of water for their animals.

How delightful that Val purchased rose plants for her garden during this time of amazing hardship – when I first ventured into horticulture in early ‘80’s one of my mentors (who is a rose cut-flower grower) told me that during the Depression, cut flower sales sky-rocketed because people wanted something beautiful in their homes – flowers gave them joy and a sense of hope for a brighter future!

Let’s hope our donations and roses bring joy and a sense of hope to our gardening friends who are also farmers during this dreadful drought!


Here’s a thought: What’s the use of consulting a doctor about a cold when he gives you a heart attack with the bill?

Stay healthy in these remaining days of winter by rugging-up and getting down and dirty in your garden by pulling weeds – they’re small weeds now but will turn into BIG WEEDS as the sun shines warmly.

Turn all those little weeds into compost or weed-tea by placing them in a receptacle (perhaps a 44 gall drum or an old garbage bin – whatever you can find really), pour water over them to the brim of the container and pop a lid on … DON’T PLACE THIS CLOSE TO THE HOUSE as it will, despite having a lid, emit the most amazing stench!

Stir the brew once a week if you’re brave; add a bit of eco-seaweed powder too. After about 8 weeks of fermentation dilute one part to ten and pour over the entire garden as a totally organic fertilizer / tonic for your garden. Start the brew again!

Q: What sort of lollies do koalas eat? A: Chewing gum.


Precious water from your bath, basin, shower, washing machine and kitchen sink can be invaluable to water your garden.

The best results will be obtained where sullage waste water is derived from house fixtures where all soaps and detergents are plant or herbal based – we use and highly recommend products – all Australian-made!

Flexible pipe can be connected to waste pipes and shifted around garden beds, placed in locations to water valuable trees and with minor management of shifting every couple of days, especially on washing day when there will be potentially more waste run-off.

Here’s our run-off pipe – sometimes extended with more flexible pipe …


“Hi, I am wondering if you are able to assist me. Would you have roses in the name of: Carol, Tony / Anthony, I know you didn’t have Marianne – but anything close maybe even Anne? Many Thanks – Karen”

Our usual response: Not able to assist in ANY way with that lot of names … SORRY! Perhaps if you’re able to give us a clue as to why you need roses in those names we might be able to offer some lovely alternatives ???

There are such beauties like:




Or there’s: HEAVEN SCENT, BEST FRIEND, SOUL MATE/SISTER, MOTHER’S LOVE, FATHER’S LOVE, GRANDMA’S ROSE … these are all quality roses which are sure to please the recipient for many years in their garden! Other roses might have the ‘right’ name but they’re just not ok for an average garden … when we say that, here’s an example.

You can get a rose called WEDDING DAY which is a beast for thorns, flowers once in each season and you need an axe to prune it! A stunning rose in the right location!


However, if you get the right advice and purchase THE WEDDING ROSE … the gift is an immensely pretty rose which flowers and flowers, has an amazing fragrance and is simply delightful as a GIFT ROSE on the occasion of a wedding.


If we can assist with your selection for posting the most beautiful and appropriate GIFT ROSE, don’t hesitate calling (03) 5787 1123 during our business hours of FRI, SAT, SUN, MON or emailing us at … Cheers

Here’s a picture of a GIFT ROSE ready for posting … did you even notice there are no flowers on this lovely rose beautifully gift-wrapped? Probably not, because recipients of the GIFT ROSE are telling us how significant the rose is; it will flower eventually and that will hold a whole new meaning! Nice!!!


See you at Clonbinane soon … cheers from the team!


Hello dear rose friends as we notice when the sun peaks through, it’s quite warm; perhaps a sign that the freezing cold days of winter are almost behind us?


We are at the ‘disappointment’ stage … a few rose varieties which were planned to arrive this winter just won’t come this season! There have been a few miscalculations with budding which means we just don’t have adequate numbers of a few varieties. When budding roses, there is a short ‘window of opportunity’ to harvest budwood and then bud roses during November to January.

If there’s a glitch in budding, it’s a whole other season before a particular rose variety is available – some just didn’t make it this past season. Luckily, there’s usually a substitute which is potentially better than the variety you selected! However, we highly recommend ‘patience is a virtue’ when waiting for a rose variety which is ‘special’ and very important for whatever reason made you select it in the first place!

During the next TWO WEEKS we will contact EVERY CUSTOMER who has an outstanding order at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane or to advise the status of your existing order.



Roses travel extremely well – some varieties will have been professionally pruned because we are now getting on with potting the roses to give them a head-start for spring flowering; they are planted into a 20cm black plastic pot filled with our supreme quality coir-fibre potting medium and are both root and stem pruned prior to potting so they’re in perfect condition for planting when established in the pots.

From this ….

to this …

Another two huge consignments arrived on Tuesday – all the roses need to be graded, labelled, sorted and tucked into the moist, friable soil we call the ‘heel-in-bed’. From there we hope to be able to contact you and advise that your order is ready for collection – if the roses are being posted, you’ll receive Auspost tracking notification!

Q: What’s the best way to catch a rabbit? A: Hide in the bushes and make a noise like lettuce.


We’ve sent lots of roses to Carrie in Far North Queensland and she’s stayed committed and experimented … have a look at her lovely roses which were only posted this winter …

Carrie’s bagged roses

Here’s Carrie’s inspirational email …

Hey Graham … Thought I would send a pic of my new roses to show you how they’re doing, and I’m really happy! Two blooms already.

I did things a bit different this year. I decided to pot them in 25 litre grow bags so I can easily repot them next year into a 32 litre plastic pot.

I used Rocky Point’s Eco Potting Mix. I chose this one because it doesn’t have any heavy duty fertiliser in it, so it seemed quite gentle for bare root roses. They got a seaweed soak when I potted them and I’ve also been giving them a weekly soak with Charlie Carp. Also, I used organic sugar cane mulch.

Next year, or sooner if they need it, I’m going to repot them with Rocky Point’s Coco Pro Potting Mix. I’ve been doing lots of research on potting mixes and I reckon this is probably one of the best. I repotted a couple of last year’s roses that looked like they were on their last legs but they really bounced back with this mix.

So, all is good. I’m still battling insects but I’m using a home made mix of chilli and garlic which seems to be working…fingers crossed. Have a great day. Regards …Carrie

If you live in a rental property and want to grow roses, those 25 litre grow bags look like a fabulous way to create a ‘portable’ or ‘mobile’ garden! Thanks for sharing Carrie!

Q: What did the skunk say when the wind changed direction? A: Ahhh, it’s all coming back to me now.


Some rose gardeners think the striped roses are horrid and it took us a while to get used to them too however, here are a couple of the very best which you cannot help but fall in love with!




Don’t panic if you haven’t pruned your roses yet … the longer you wait, the more time you give them to show you EXACTLY WHERE TO PRUNE … go gently and enjoy the experience! Take a look at the new roses you planted this winter – give them a prune too now that they’re shooting new leaves – prune down to the strongest looking growths!




Hello dear rose friends as we flip another page of the calendar over to reveal a whole new month. If you’re anything like us, there will be dates highlighted in August – another busy month ahead!

We’ve hardly pruned a single rose in the gardens because it’s been just so busy in the nursery but we’ll get there. If the weather is fine and you haven’t done your pruning yet, come on up to the Rose Farm this Saturday


Customers who afford themselves the time to come to one of these experiences with Graham always follow through with a lovely email of appreciation so do come on Saturday.


to say it’s been busy is an understatement and I’m always fascinated about where our beautiful roses go when I read the labels on the parcels whilst loading them into my van ready to deliver to our local Auspost depots at Kilmore and Wandong.

Most importantly during this busy time, I’m the delivery guy! Arriving before 7.00am at Wandong in the dark on very cold mornings and later in the day to Kilmore Post Office, I am very pleased to tell you that Auspost do a grand job of getting our roses to destination in the quickest possible time with very few glitches.


(simply buy 4 roses, and we’ll add an additional rose to your shipment!)





You could plant five of these beauties in a row to make a fabulous hedge of roses to pick for vases throughout the coming season … all highly recommended roses for growing in all Australian gardens!

Only one joke this week – from very naughty ANNE P …

It was entertainment night at the Senior Citizens’ Centre. After the community sing-along led by Alice at the piano, it was time for the star of the show – Claude the Hypnotist! Claude explained that he was going to put the whole audience into a trance. “Yes, each and every one of you and all at the same time,” said Claude.

The excited chatter dropped to silence as Claude carefully withdrew, from his waistcoat pocket, a beautiful antique gold pocket watch and chain.

“I want you to keep your eyes on this watch” said Claude, holding the watch high for all to see. “It’s a very special and valuable watch that has been in my family for six generations,” said Claude.

He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting, “Watch the watch — Watch the watch —- Watch the watch”.

The audience became mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth. The lights were twinkling as they were reflected from its gleaming surfaces. A hundred and fifty pairs of eyes followed the movements of
the gently swaying watch. They were hypnotized. And then, suddenly, the chain broke!!!

The beautiful watch fell to the stage and burst apart on impact. “SHIT,” said Claude.

It took them three days to clean the Senior Citizens Centre and Claude was never invited there again.

I hope you’re laughing until your sides split and the tears are running … exactly what Diana and I did when we read this! Nice that we’re all going in the same direction and keeping each other aware of the pitfalls of aging in a most enjoyable way … get out in the garden and bend your body every which way to keep mobile!


Hello dear rose friends … no time for too much rambling this week since we’re finally up to our eyeballs packing rose orders so that we hopefully meet our deadline of having empty-order-folders by the end of August.

Another two huge consignments arrived on Tuesday – all the roses need to be graded, labelled, sorted and tucked into the moist, friable soil we call the ‘heel-in-bed’. From there we hope to be able to contact you and advise that your order is ready for collection – if the roses are being posted, you’ll receive Auspost tracking notification!


Always time for a joke:

Q: What’s the difference between an oak tree and a tight shoe? A: One makes acorns, the other makes corns ache!


  1. Blend ANYTHING you add to the planting hole with existing soil
  2. NEVER add any product which is decomposing/smelly/steaming to planting hole
  3. ALWAYS pour seaweed solution into planting hole and after planting
  4. After planting TRIM the new roses by at least 1/3 – be brave!
  5. DON’T OVERWATER – more roses succumb due to wet soil than dry soil!
  6. Fertilize roses with top-quality organic fertilizer when foliage appears

Enjoy planting new bare-rooted roses in your garden this winter … there are still more than SIX WEEKS until we start posting POTTED ROSES … plenty of time to dig over a new garden bed to plant these beauties which I highly recommend:

MR. LINCOLN – still our most highly prized top-selling rose of all time in all climates!

DAYBREAKER – seriously fabulous and most healthy and prolific rose!

MEMOIRE – the most weather-tolerant, perfectly formed white rose of all times!

If you’re about this weekend and want to learn about rose pruning do call up to the Rose Farm on SATURDAY … 1.30pm for WALK AND TALK PRUNING DEMO with me – see you there, Graham.

P.S. One more joke: Q: Why is a ladies (or gents) belt like a garbage truck? A: Because it goes around and around and gathers the waist (waste).

UUMMM??? Get out in the garden pruning and planting roses so that you reduce the waist-line and keep fit and happy!!!


We endeavour to have most orders completed by the end of August. Meantime, if you are anxious at all about your order, please know that we have it all in hand and are posting as quickly as we can!

We had a massive victory with Australia Post last week – due to the volume of parcels we are posting they have allowed us to post over-sized packs with STANDARD ROSES so we will be able to post standard roses to you throughout the year!

Please email if you have concerns about your order or need advice regarding planting a new garden – our service is FREE and we welcome the challenge of assisting you to create the rose garden of your dreams …

See you soon at Clonbinane perhaps … the team at SILKIES ROSE FARM …


Hello dear rose friends as we freeeeeeeze here at Clonbinane with days on end of minus degrees – this swale has NEVER frozen over so is a very good indication of how cold it’s been …


it’s going to be a busy weekend with pruning demo at WHITTLESEA COURT HOUSE on SATURDAY starting at 10.30 am then I’ll be at Melbourne Showgrounds on Sunday before I venture to the City for the Rally to SAVE THE ABC. If you’re out and about, you might see me along with Ben at these locations.

Meantime, because we’re so flat out here at the Rose Farm in one of the busiest winter seasons we’ve experienced in years, I’ll post these couple of jokes to remind you that we make time in every day to have a giggle and keep the fun in our day! We know you love these jokes as much as we do …

Q: What animal drops from the clouds? A: A reindeer!

Just in case it happens to you, let me tell you what one of the kids said to me recently:

“Poppy, can I tell you a dirty joke?” I was cautious but before I could respond, my grandson said: “THE MAN FELL IN THE MUD” … phew, that let me off the hook as we laughed and did a ‘high five’! Turn this trick joke on one of your kids and enjoy the response!

Here are a few pics of roses we’re pleased to be releasing this season …





Please know that there is a HUGE consignment of roses coming to the nursery today and all those roses need to be graded and tagged, collated for orders, then pitted into the heel-in beds so they’re roots are kept moist during the entire process whilst here in our care at the Rose Farm.

There has been a bit of a delay with some varieties of roses this season … those stragglers have held up quite a few orders but we seriously hope to have most orders wrapped up and posted early – mid this coming week.

Please note that it is still WINTER and we promised to send your roses during winter – the roses will be fine to be posted way, way into August/September so don’t panic and remember to keep the LOVE in planting roses this winter!

If you are at all concerned because you are going away, please don’t hesitate to email Diana at to advise your plans so that your roses can be posted accordingly. Otherwise, please know we are going flat-chat as fast as MOTHER NATURE is allowing us to!

Enjoy the ‘new rose-planting experience’ … if you need advice or assistance with any rose management please contact us during our normal business hours: FRIDAY – SATURDAY – SUNDAY – MONDAY 9.00am till 4.00pm

Please understand that if you call 03 5787 1123 during those hours and you experience our recorded message, it’s only because WE ARE ON ANOTHER CALL … we are ALWAYS OPEN on the days we promise to be here!

Hope you’re gloved-up and rugged-up, out there with a sharp secateurs enjoying pruning your roses! Cheers from us here at Clonbinane …


Hello dear rose friends as we’re well into winter and within a week or so, will finally have the STANDARD ROSES available for sorting/labelling and despatch – pretty much on time as promised!

There are still quite a few varieties of roses being dug and graded during this time – believe me, everybody is doing their absolute best to get beautiful quality roses processed and ready for posting and planting in your garden this winter!

Q: Why was Cinderella thrown off the netball team? A: Because she kept running away from the ball!


There’s lots happening this week …


From 7.30-9.15am I’ll be on the panel for 3CR GARDEN SHOW which you can find on the am dial of your radio at 855 (close to 774 which is ABC).


WHERE: The Grandview Hotel (upstairs), 429 Heidelberg Road, and STREAMED LIVE ONLINE

ABOUT: Diana and Graham will discuss with us their organic rose businesses. They will give their best tips for getting the most out of your roses, including pruning techniques and feeding, as well as some of the new varieties available and how they can be designed into your gardens.
They will remind us why roses are one of the most widely grown ornamental plants in the world, and how they can be successfully grown organically.

PRESENTERS BACKGROUND: Diana and Graham are the owners of Sikies Rose Farm and Rose Sales Online, a production nursery and retail business specialising in the organic management of roses. They have spent more than 30 years showing people how to grow roses successfully, without the use of harsh chemicals.

This event is free for GGP members – venue and live-stream (Live Stream link will be emailed to GGP members separately, no need to book)

Non GGP member pricing: $20 and hort students $10 (code STU, student ID required) Visitors book HERE for venue or live-stream

For $85 p.a. join SGA’s Green Gardening Professionals
For more information and to join click here

SGA Green Gardening Professionals are gardeners, horticulturists, landscapers, food gardeners, educators, trainers and nursery people interested in learning and catching up with people working in the same world as themselves.

Want to know anything else: Office (03) 8850 3050 or email:


How cathartic it is to get down and dirty around the roses whilst pruning! Pruning is really one of the most pleasurable jobs – yep, it will stretch every limb in your body but the joy of standing back and seeing a beautifully pruned rose makes the hardship worthwhile! If you don’t enjoy pruning, consider this option:

This pruning season, if you think your roses would benefit from a PROFESSIONAL PRUNE then please contact our team who will travel if/when necessary. They’ll be pruning with the finest battery-operated equipment from PELLENC which means you’ll get a truly professional prune done in your garden this winter.

Please, don’t call us at the Rose Nursery to book pruning but rather, call direct:

TOVA @ SHE LANDSCAPES: 0481 455 499 or BEN SARGEANT: 0468 822 373

to book them for professional pruning anytime NOW and enjoy the rewards of these two young people pruning your roses and if you want, fertilized too, ready for spring!

Q: What did the hat say to the scarf? A: You hang around and I’ll go ahead!


I so appreciate it when you come along to my Rose Pruning Demos and other special events – earlier I indicated that I would be holding a PRUNING DEMO on Sunday, 15th July but I now have to cancel this as I feel very committed to attending a Rally at Melbourne Town Hall to SAVE THE ABC …

Overwhelming public demand.

Due to overwhelming public demand we have changed the venue for our protest. Existing tickets (for Deakin Edge) will still be valid for Melbourne Town Hall.

WHEN: SUNDAY 15 JULY 2.00 – 4.30pm – (arrive by 1.45)
WHERE: Melbourne Town Hall, cnr Swanston & Collins St, MELBOURNE

Book (seats, $10) at

Earlier on that Sunday, 15th July, I will call in at the ALL POULTRY SHOW at Melbourne Show Grounds and then attend this rally to SAVE THE ABC! ALL Australians should support this most important campaign which enables free speech and an opportunity for information to be dispersed with honesty, integrity and all that we, here in Australia stand for! See you there perhaps?


It’s very important you read this so that when you contact us for advice, you’re not wasting precious time with details that can be provided IN THE FIRST CONTACT rather than a lot of toing and froing of email conversation!

My chats with David:

Hi …I have an arbour 2.4 metres high an opening of 2 metres and 1 metre deep so the total length is 6.8 metres.

I want to put a rose either side to climb to centre of top so 3.4 ish metres. Could you please give me some suggestions? Regards David

Hi David … always happy to work on designing a rose garden with the motto, DO IT ONCE, DO IT RIGHT! If you give me just a few details about how YOU see the finished result, I can definitely assist … you need to tell me which roses you like … shape, colour, fragrance, etc. then I can recommend the best variety. Please also offer me what the aspects are … plenty of sun I suspect??? Cheers

Hi …Thanks for your reply, actually the aspect may be an issue this is on the south side of house, in summer it gets sun most of the day but in autumn and winter only in the afternoon, preference on rose would be of a red, fragrant, medium size blooms something in the looks of MISTER LINCOLN. Like I said not sure if aspect will work especially for the one on the left of pic. Would be ok once higher on arbour but I’m really not sure – Regards David

Exactly why I ask the right questions in the first instance. Yep, it’ll work but only if you ESTABLISH the roses really well during this coming spring/summer … how did I know, also, that you were going to ask for something like MR LINCOLN, CLB ??????? It’s a ‘boy thing’!!!

If you really, really want that rose on that arbour, you can do it – it will take some TAMING but if you BE THE BOSS, it will be magnificent I think – just don’t let it have its head and do its own thing but keep it tied to the brilliant frame you’ve created and chop, chop, chop to make it look really full of lush healthy foliage which in turn will create magnificent lots of blooms in the zone where you are working/playing rather than setting flowers way, way up in the air where you cannot enjoy them! MR. LINCOLN, CLB. is a very ROBUST rose and needs to be kept in check.

If you decide that’s all too hard, as most of the HYBRID TEA CLIMBING ROSES can be, then consider a different colour and I’ll work on selecting a different variety of rose which will be easier to manage over such a lovely structure.

Hope this is helpful … Diana

After a few more emails and discussion, David ordered 2 X NAHEMA and it will be stunning over the area which is in fact, an entertainment area, frequently visited by family and friends so sure to be enjoyed in that location.

Remember that you can call in at the Rose Farm or email me photos and dimensions of your garden, a wish-list of the types and perhaps colours of roses you would love to grow and I will assist you to create the rose garden of your dreams.

Meantime, stay warm and hope you have a chance to listen to 3CR next Sunday morning at 855 on the am band in Melbourne and view the SGA Presentation this coming Tuesday evening via live stream.

Cheers from the busy team who are up to our eyeballs
in magnificent bare-rooted roses here at Clonbinane …


There you go, the first month of winter already behind us along with the equinox … things are on the up and up!

IT’S OFFICIAL and we’re pleased to share that our youngest son, Benjamin is now employed as a permanent staff member here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane. He will be working alongside us as part of improving our service both here at the Rose Farm and behind the scenes with the technology side of, etc.

Many of you will know and remember Ben as Chef at the Rose Café when our nursery was in Kilmore; he’s a warm and sincere personality and he’s been working around roses since he was a little fella so he knows and loves them well!

Here’s the cover pic of SMALL FARMS magazine June edition with Graham, Diana, Ben and Mooi their smiling best …


After a minus 3 frost last Saturday, I didn’t really expect a great turn-out for the Pruning Demonstration – surprise, surprise the bold and brave came to the Rose Farm and we all enjoyed the event.

The next pruning demo is this SATURDAY – 30TH JUNE, commencing at 10.30am – wear your winter-woolies and bring secateurs and lots of questions about rose gardening and you’ll enjoy the event!

Q: Did you hear about the unlucky sailor? A: First he was ship-wrecked and then he was rescued … by the Titanic!

ROSE PRUNING AT WHITTLESEA COURTHOUSE will be held on 14th JULY at 10.30am


This is a very frequently asked question about roses – here’s a recent email exchange which might clarify this issue for you …

“Hi Diana and Graham. Just wanted to thank you for trudging around in the rain for all the beautiful roses last weekend. They are all planted in their new homes where I hope they will shine and be happy. I was meaning to ask you if there is any truth in tale that you shouldn’t plant a rose where one has been previously? I’m hoping to move a couple over the next few months when they are dormant. If I do, it will mean that I’ll be replacing another rose in that spot. What is your opinion of that plan? Thanks for your advice and truly gorgeous roses.” Jennifer

“Hi Jen … it was a pleasure as it always is … did you notice more people coming in immediately after you? It was a surprisingly busy day – you were the trendsetter though!

There is truth in that ‘tale’ … most particularly when a rose has been in a certain location for many, many years – however, since your garden is so young, I would think that if you take a few decent shovels full of soil out of the hole along with the rose and replace that soil with a 30lt bag of compost/animal manure or blend of other soil and compost from other areas of your garden, the new roses will flourish in their new home! This is one of those ‘rose gardener moments’ when you put the head and the heart in sync and do whatever you think is appropriate to the occasion.

Thank you for purchasing your new roses again this season … best wishes and happy gardening when they flower for years going forward!” Diana


When we were asked to assist with design and delivery of roses for the Wandong Memorial Garden after the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires which severely impacted our local area, we decided to include these three amazingly healthy and prolific roses in large numbers –




All are still flowering after a considerable number of frosts in our region – they’ve toughed-it-out during long periods of extreme heat and being in a public garden, they are dependent on their own resources to continue flowering – our local Shire and members of the Wandong Community Group manage watering / weeding / pruning and so many local residents now use the park very frequently because it is so attractive!

Now is the time to purchase these grand roses – all just $16.50 each plus pack/post!!!

Stay warm and cosy as winter sets in … hope to see you at the Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane real soon … cheers from the team