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


Hello to all our dear rose friends at this busy time! In this picture you can get the gist of what we’ve been up to …

Yes, thousands of roses snugly bedded in the heel-in beds but before they get to that point, they’ve been graded (highest quality going to orders!) then they’re tagged with their pictorial labels, trimmed if there are damaged roots/branches and finally placed in the sawdust/manure bed which has been waiting for them to arrive.

The heel bed is easy to access so make a point of coming to visit the Rose Farm in coming weeks to select your own bare-rooted roses – if you need a hand with garden design, bring dimensions of garden beds; photos are always handy!

To ensure your garden has YOUR PERSONAL STAMP on it, help us out by bringing pictures of the types of roses you like, ideas about colours you want and any other issues you feel are relative so that together we can work to create the rose garden of your dreams!



Phew, what a busy time it is – I surely know its winter! This past weekend, a massive dumping of rain (62.5 mls), the past few mornings we’ve had a blanket of white frost to minus 3 degrees and it’s my job to courier parcels of roses to our local Post Offices. Exactly why I keep the humour in my day by sourcing these jokes which you all seem to enjoy …

Q: Why couldn’t the toilet paper roll down the hill? A: Because he got stuck in a crack!

It’s so rewarding when we receive phone calls and emails thanking us for the lovely quality roses which are being posted … to be sure your roses perform beautifully once they’re planted in your garden, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Unpack the roses and either place them in a trough of water with eco-seaweed which is supplied or plant them immediately into soil or potting medium;
  2. Trim all branches by say, one-third;
  3. Soak the roses liberally with water to eliminate air-pockets in soil then water over the entire plant with eco-seaweed;

During the entire process of handling bare-rooted roses, the roots MUST NEVER BE DRY!

Treat yourself and come to the Rose Farm at Clonbinane this SATURDAY, 23RD JUNE for a ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATION and walk in the gardens with me.

Bring your secateurs so we can sharpen them – wear boots because it’s wet underfoot!

Q: Why don’t Eskimos get married? A: Because they have cold feet!


THREE MAGNIFICENT ROSES to consider planting in your garden this winter …

A COUNTRY WOMAN – we re-introduced this beauty because it really deserves to be widely distributed in honour of our wonderful COUNTRY WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION – a gorgeous long-stemmed pure red rose which isn’t overly thorny and makes a great vase specimen!

SUGAR MOON – seriously magnificent fragrance on purest white, perfectly formed blooms and a stately well-rounded shrub of high health.

BUTTERFLY KISSES – in support of VARIETY the Children’s Charity; this pretty, pale pink beauty flowers in profusion on a healthy floribunda shrub and has a delightful citrus fragrance … a lovely rose for the front of a rose border or perhaps in a tub!

We have been very diligent in selecting NEW RELEASE ROSES for 2018 – there are sooooo many new release roses and we have your interests at heart so we’ve tried to select the very best – some we’ve been privileged to plant and trial in our gardens here at Clonbinane so we know how they perform – others we have seen in the growers fields during this past flowering season.

I will show you more in coming weeks … in closing, let us show this lovely message which was shared at where you can see all past editions of this Rose Rambler along with a plethora of other information about roses …

“Dear All .. My husband and I bought a wonderful English Rose PRETTY JESSICA in bud, at Taverham Nursery Norfolk UK after smelling one bush which was already in bloom. I was captivated by its glorious fragrance, absolutely gorgeous !

I had to have it, and so we bought one, and my husband re-potted it outside in a large pot, on our patio path- facing south behind the conservatory. The buds have increased in size and number and I am looking forward greatly to seeing the blooms emerge in their fabulous glory. This has to be the best smelling rose on the planet !”

Well, PRETTY JESSICA is in fact a David Austin (English) rose of immense beauty – yes, it’s also very highly fragrant. It’s truly satisfying that we sell such glorious roses for us all to enjoy in our gardens all around the world! Happy gardening and talk to you again next week …

The team at Silkies Rose Farm / – CLONBINANE, VIC.


Hello dear rose friends where we are working in glorious winter sunshine after severely frosty mornings and some rain this week … exactly as we would expect the weather to be at this time of year!


Enjoy inspiring presentations: JANE EDMANSON, STEPHEN RYAN, ATTILA KAPITANY and be there to visit a large number of niche vendors with unusual plants and allied products.

The event is all UNDER COVER with FREE PARKING so ideal for visiting with predicted inclement weather this coming weekend – public transport is close by and you will be supporting the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria with your presence! Do come and visit us!!!


We’ve had a most thrilling bit of publicity these past few weeks with a story in the WEEKLY TIMES a couple of weeks ago followed by a magnificent presentation in SMALL FARMS MAGAZINE (includes TOWN & COUNTRY FARMER) June edition.

Our darlin’ toy poodle MOOI looks gorgeous in all the photos as does our son Ben and quite frankly, both Diana and I look great too so you MUST get a copy of this magazine – we’ve enjoyed all the other stories featured in this brilliant edition of SMALL FARMS MAGAZINE!

Q: What do you get when you cross a fridge with a radio? A: Cool music. – this joke will be very apparent to our assistant TOVA who likes the radio on while she’s working – we’ve agreed to one day her music, one day ours – happy medium in our work place!!!

I had a phone call the other day: “should I start the organic rose maintenance spray program NOW?” … and my response was: “DEFINITELY, YES! – if you start the program IMMEDIATELY AFTER PRUNING you will eliminate the need to do ‘catch-up’ if/when your roses incur disease/pest issues in spring.

Get ahead of the insects and definitely protect new rose foliage from spring weather conditions which prevail to perhaps incur black spot/mildew!

We recently posted a rose to Ian which was rather roughly handled by Auspost but he’s managed to recover the rose and as any of you who receive roses know, we always pop a copy of our ‘Rosarian’ catalogue into your parcel. Here’s Ian’s email:

“I was leafing through the copy of AUSTRALIAN ROSARIAN, that you put in with my order and I discovered “Shirley’s Rose”. Normally I am not a great fan of white roses, but note that this one is highly fragrant, and my resistance just melted away ’cos my wife’s name is Shirley. So I thought: “I must have that for her”.

For me, I cannot understand why anybody would purchase a rose that is not fragrant, but I am a weird gardener and only like plants that – have a pretty flower, have a nice perfume, or you can eat. Shirley’s Rose will fulfil two of those criteria – guess at a push it could fulfil all three, but probably will not try to eat it 🙂

I don’t have a hole or a place in the garden to really suit this rose, but guess it will survive in that pot that it will come in for a while and I can just pot it on as it grows. This one must definitely be female 🙂 Kind regards, Ian.”

We know that both Ian and his wife Shirley will enjoy SHIRLEY’S ROSE in their garden and suggested that if they ever have another space to fill, two other magnificent roses which were bred by our very own AUSTRALIAN ROSE BREEDER, BRUCE BRUNDRETT who was formerly owner of BRUNDRETT’S ROSES at Narre Warren here in Victoria are available:

THE OPPORTUNITY ROSE will be the very first rose to flower at the beginning of the flowering season in any State – it will also very likely be the last to flower and produce a most stunning display of blooms continually throughout the season – top rose!

MY YELLOW – New Release this year and absolutely amazing for those who want to plant a yellow rose … this rose is so incredibly healthy and very free flowering

Q: What do you call a book that’s about the brain? A: A mind reader.


Hi Diana, just a quick question if I may. I have a shady(ish) spot in the front garden that I’d like to grow something. It gets sun in summer for half a day (but not full sun where I’m planting the other roses you’re sending) and a little sun in winter. There’s a frangipani in the same planting bed but not much else. I’ve been reading that the DANSE DE FEU climbing rose can be grown in shade but not sure if that’s really true!

Any ideas for a shade loving rose that can cover a semi shady corner? There’s a low wall it can grow up. Thanks Lisa

MY RESPONSE: Honestly Lisa … if ANY rose doesn’t get at least 5 hours of sunlight per day while it IS ESTABLISHING it will not give you the joy I would expect … if you were planting the rose in open ground, no frangipani, no other shade trees, etc. then you plant ALL THE PLANTS TOGETHER … it MIGHT work for a rose of exceptional quality – very high-health and extremely prolific since the shady location might cause foliage to incur powdery mildew / black spot but it might also reduce the flowering capacity!

However, to plant a rose in an existing shady location, it probably won’t flourish. The rose you mentioned: DANSE DE FEU is one I have never grown but do remember the name from when we first started in roses 35 years ago.

A magnificent red CLIMBING/PILLAR rose which just might pull this off is DUBLIN BAY if you want to venture! Hope this works and you enjoy planting your new roses this week … best wishes

We’ve done it so many times but it is a great rose so let’s do it again!

Hope you enjoy all the moments in your rose garden this week and perhaps we’ll see you at GARDENER’S DAY OUT, 2018 this weekend or perhaps you’ll pop up to the Rose Farm at Clonbinane .. Graham and Diana


Hello dear rose friends as winter kicks in and we share this quotation from ‘The Four Seasons’ newsletter of Australia Biodynamic – Victoria Inc’ most interesting winter edition.

Winter is a very important time for nature. The earth is inhaling; all the forces are drawn underground into the soil to enable new life in spring. Plants submerge their energy into their roots; movement slackens as matter and energy concentrate.

Here at Clonbinane we have put our heads down and our bums up as we get stuck into distributing the most glorious rose bushes – another consignment arrived this week … so please be patient as we are processing your orders efficiently and quickly as possible.


Yes, the GIFT ROSE goes out now without flowers but beautifully gift wrapped with extremely important messages which matter so much, right when your message is needed to be conveyed:

“Hi Diana, I just wanted to thank you so much for the Rose I ordered for my friend who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. The rose arrived at the same time as I received a text from her to say she was in hospital, so it was perfect timing. She was so thrilled with the rose and even more thrilled with what ‘Joy of Life’ symbolises. It certainly made the rose extra special.


Thank you so much for your assistance and understanding when particular roses are wanted. As always it arrived in perfect condition. Helen Webb”

and another one:

“Good afternoon Diana, I have just collected my ALI BABA climbing roses that I purchased from you from the post office. Beautifully packaged. Once opened I found two magnificent roses.


I have sat them in the shade outside and I will plant on Saturday morning. My only problem is: where shall they go. I keep changing my mind. I have loads of fence to cover, but I want to be able to see them from my office.

Thanks again for your prompt, well packaged and reliable product. If these roses do well with our climate and the growing aspect, I shall be returning for more. Have a great weekend … Merryl”


Do you need a bit of a hand with pruning your roses this winter? Come on up to Clonbinane on one of these dates and I’ll spend an hour or so teaching you all the different pruning methods so you can go home and prune your roses with confidence.

There’s no cost for the demonstrations – bring your secateurs, your kids and a bucket-full of enthusiasm for rose pruning and organic rose management!


Q: Why did the cat put the letter “M” into the freezer? A: Because it turns ‘ice’ into ‘mice’.

There are some glorious roses still flowering despite having endured freezing conditions here and it’s important to know which varieties hang on and on …

LICHFIELD ANGEL was recently planted on the driveway border – it was spectacular this afternoon and even the foliage is clean which means it’s not ready to shut-down for winter this early – I guess, because it was bred in England by David Austin it has special qualities?

NAHEMA is always continually pruned for flowers so it would naturally be still flowering now but in the bed facing south-west, it gets brutally hammered by frost … I could go and pick a bunch of flowers today … such a special climbing rose!

HOMMAGE A BARBARA is also subjected to extreme frost facing south on the shed wall yet there is a great show of colour and I could definitely pick a vase of flowers to place on Diana’s desk this week … a real beauty for a hedge and constant display of darkest red!

Q: Why can’t you play a practical joke on snakes? A: Because they don’t have a leg to pull!

Lots of customers are sharing their ‘autumn rose garden’ stories … lots of lovely blooms, extreme fragrance but foliage starting to show signs of shutting down for winter – don’t bother applying the organic rose management program to your roses now as it’s time for them to lose their foliage and the only mechanism they have for this is to incur black-spot and yellow foliage which then drops and the rose plant defoliates.


If you don’t like looking at the affected foliage, get to and prune the roses. If you like to be a bit more ‘c’est la vie’ let the roses shut down naturally before you prune – either way is OK!

If you plan on travelling this winter, don’t stress about the roses – either prune BEFORE you leave or pack your bags, have a beaut winter holiday and prune the roses when you get home in August/September! Yes, with quality fertilizing after a decent late winter prune, the roses will still flower in November!!!

Enjoy all the fragrance of the last roses from this past flowering season – it might be months before we experience this delight!

Cheers from the team here at Clonbinane who are working flat-out to get your bare-rooted roses dispatched so you can plant your rose garden!

Graham, Diana, Tova, Ben, Leigh and of course, MOOI who knows you’re here!


Hello dear rose friends as we say GOODBYE to glorious autumn and WELCOME to winter and the start of a whole new season in our gardens!

Winter might be considered THE ‘SEASON’ OF ROSES … there’s so much going on in the rose world at this time of year … selecting and purchasing/planting new bare-rooted roses in your garden, pruning roses and getting management procedures in place to ensure your roses grow robustly healthy during the impending flowering season.


the leaves of our magnificent ornamental trees have fallen to create a superb mulch over the soil around our trees and although we still have lovely sunny days interspersed with clouds and some rain, winter is with us tomorrow!

Joke: A COW COCKY was filling in the census form. In answer to the question, “What is the length of residence in Australia”, he wrote: Thirty feet, ten inches with a verandah front and two sides.”

An email from Catriona … When do you recommend we start pruning?

My response: Whenever you like really … we’ll be pruning the potted roses up in the nursery in the next few weeks … garden roses will gradually be pruned as time permits rather more than consideration of the weather since we get soooooo cold here! It’s hit and miss for us because we get such severe frost … prune early can mean the bushes produce shoots which harden in the early frost conditions but prune late and when the bushes shoot, those shoots can be frozen!

If you’re in a mild climate or large town where there are lots of street lights which warm your environment, you can do it anytime I guess. Pruning is a bit like that now! Cheers

The above email response is pretty much how we are experiencing the issue of when to prune … it does definitely depend on:

  • Your climate
  • What suits you ie. Do you travel during winter – prune before or after?
  • Time constraints

I recommend you prune when you’re feeling happy about doing the job – do it in bits and pieces rather than make it a ‘chore’ … we all know that doing a job with negative vibes is way harder and can incur negative responses than when you do a job with joy in your heart and a spring in your step!

Please know that pruning your roses should be a joyous occasion in your garden – you’re doing your roses a huge favour by pruning them during this winter so that they are able to rejuvenate by producing lots of new water-shoots, healthy foliage and subsequent flower buds for next season’s flowering.

Just reminding you and you can pass on to the kids: Chooks are the only things you can eat before they are born and after they are dead!


There are so many times when you just need to send a magnificent rose which expresses exactly what you wish to say as a GIFT ROSE – all you have to do is add your message which I will personally inscribe onto a lovely card. Here are a few suggestions: …






Although the roses are ‘just sticks’ right now, be reminded that those ‘sticks’ when potted into a 20cm pot of top-quality coir-fibre potting mix, will be a magnificent flowering plant by this SPRING and will then endure to be a loving reminder of your consideration in sending a GIFT ROSE during this winter.

Let our lovely roses do the talking for you!

Cheers from the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane …


Hello dear rose friends as we welcome the new season’s roses which are being sorted, labelled and very importantly, kept moist AT ALL TIMES during this processing!

You’ll be hearing from us soon if you have ordered bare-rooted roses – please be patient and wait for us to contact you as some varieties are still in the ground … remember too, standard roses will ALWAYS BE DUG LATER … it will be July before we call you to advise posting or collection of orders which contain STANDARD ROSES!


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

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

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


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




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

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

Talk to you next week… meantime, enjoy the autumn colours all around you… Graham, Diana and the crew at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane…


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


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

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

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

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

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

MUNSTEAD WOOD Because I just LOVE this glorious rose which grows on a short hedge-row in my garden … it stops me EVERY time I walk past because I have to take a sniff and its flowering all the time! My favourite David Austin Rose without a doubt!

KARDINAL I just have to have the most perfectly formed red rose in my garden so that I can pick bunches of long-stemmed blooms to fill vases for the kitchen bench throughout the flowering season and KARDINAL is so PERFECT! It’s so long-lasting and if you get it at the right moment, yes, it does indeed have a fragrance too!

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

Hi Diana, I was given ‘Perfume Passion’ two years ago.

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

Even with a good winter prune I’m finding it’s growing closer to 1.8 metres which is a bit too tall for its current position.

I can always move it but what I’m wondering is, how is the height of a rose determined? Regards – Jon


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

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


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

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

Talk to you next week… meantime, enjoy the autumn colours all around you… Graham, Diana and the crew at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane…

ROSE RAMBLER 10th MAY, 2018 …

ROSE RAMBLER 10th MAY, 2018 … 

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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