On the second Sunday of every month, either Diana or Graham Sargeant, both Consulting Rosarians and the owners of Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane, are part of the panel of gardening experts on Community Radio, 3CR, Melbourne, located at 855 on the am band. The 3CR Garden Show airs every Sunday between 7.30am – 9.15am and is purported to be the very best gardening radio program because gardeners who phone on (03)9419 8377 or (03)9419 0155 are given good time to consult with the expert volunteer panel. Diana has been presenting on 3CR for thirteen years and hasn’t missed a Radiothon in all those years. Twice every year, the Community Radio conducts a Radiothon in order to raise funds to enable the station to provide alternative programs to suit all styles of cultural and ethnic groups. The Garden Show Radiothon is a time when gardeners can make a donation in return for a host of fantastic products, books and other items relative to gardening. Tune-in to 3CR from the comfort of your bed or while you’re out pruning your roses on any Sunday morning and be entertained and informed by a great range of horticultural experts who, between them, will find the solution for any of your gardening queries.
Hello dear rose friends … lovely Autumn is here with us for the next three months – time to get out and seriously enjoy the beauty of gardening! This is such a great time to plant roses since the soil is still warm, the roses have been in their pots for a few months and right now they’re ready to florish in the open ground. Planting roses in the Autumn will mean that they’ll settle in well before Winter when you will give them a light prune and by next Spring you have yourself a magnificent established rose garden!
OUR MISSION STATEMENT … It’s timely to remind you of our Mission Statement which has been hanging in our shop for more than 15 years:
1. Advance the enjoyment of rose gardening;
2. Educate the public to make gardening simple and fun;
3. Encourage people to be aware of our environment;
4. Provide information on the latest research into horticulture and landscaping;
5. Promote ideas to enable people to be creative in their own gardens.
We are most interested to have your comments as to whether your experience of our business is that we are meeting our commitment to the Mission Statement and to encourage a response, we are offering you 10% off any purchases (plants and products) during the month of March. To redeem this offer, please email your testimonial and I will send you a voucher … thank you in advance!
ROSE OF THE WEEK … This stunning rose absolutely excels in the cooler weather when it retains a depth of colour, so exclusively all it’s own … “ASHRAM” has lovely dark glossy foliage and the beautiful crimson new shoots add a glorious dimension to the deep burnt-orange flowers. Fragance is light and every rose is perfect for a vase!
WHAT TO DO IN THE GARDEN THIS WEEK … If you haven’t fertilized your roses, now would be a perfect time to feed and because of the recent rain, you should also do the rose maintenance spray program now and again in two weeks to ensure that the rose foliage stays protected against the humidity. Give the roses a little TLC now and you will enjoy a bountiful display of flowers right up until the Winter.
Saw this saying in my diary this week … pertinent to gardening throughout this past Summer …
If you can find a path with no obstacles,
it probably doesn’t lead anywhere!
Enjoy the roses in your garden this week …
Cheers from Diana & Graham Sargeant at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.
Hello dear rose friends, after a glorious few days in the rose fields at Kalangadoo, South Australia, I’m back in the office! In previous years we visited our grower, Brian Wagner around Christmas time. This visit there were fewer flowers in the fields and just to excite you and keep you in the loop, the reason we could see the roses but fewer flowers is that the rose bushes were pruned in late January to be sure they’ll be flowering well so that we can uphold our promise to have more than 200 vases of rose flowers on our stand at
Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show
Wednesday 20th to Sunday 25th March
Carlton Gardens, Melbourne
(Nicholson Street side – “Silkies & Wagners Rose Farms”)
Our visit with the grower is always a very important event on our calendar because we have the opportunity to see the roses growing in the fields and we are able to observe the health, growth habit and true colour and fragrance of the roses being released in the coming months.
We spent a lot of time during this visit firming up our plans for the forthcoming MIFGS where we will be sharing a site to enable us to bring you the most amazing display of field-grown roses supported by FOUR consulting rosarians on site. Bring all your rose queries to Site 19B and we will be able to identify a rose flower or rose problem – we will also be taking orders for the coming bare-rooted Winter roses, so bring your garden design plans and any one of us will assist you to create a beautiful rose garden!
Hello dear rose friends … another week of very little rain here in North/Central Victoria – exactly 2mm and the garden is gasping. This is the sort of weather when we are truly pleased that we grow roses because they just love the Summer heat and they all look sensational just to prove the point!
We had some really beaut email responses to the Rose Rambler from last week – lots of snake and spider stories and this is a spider one:
“Hi Diana, big thanks for your email – I have been laughing all day! And now, just a couple of thoughts for you about your voyeur huntsman……. . I am sure that you know that flies have those eyes with many, many facets and see everything multiple times at once ………. huntsman do too ……… so now, just think what that huntsman is looking at …….. ! I have a theory that huntsmen are telepathic – that they see things and ‘beam’ the image to all other huntsman within a 20k radius ………… now think about just how many huntsman have seen the same image ………. . Wow, that is ……….. scary!”
Two days after my episode with the huntsman, he was there checking Graham out – who needs medical examination when you have a resident huntsman? He’s back in the garden where he belongs!!
Just to confirm to the women who read this, men really are ‘different’ … here’s another funny man story about how to deal with snakes:
Thanks for your Rose Rambler. Just thought we would let you know that years ago we had a snake under the building of a youth camp in Halls Gap. The solution was to place a saucer of milk near where the snake went in. When the sun warmed the milk the snake sensed the smell and came out to it. It worked! The idea was to lean out the window above and drop rocks on the snake – but that didn’t work quite as well. Cheers from us both ..”
Really valuable information and the end of the snake and spider stories – we’ll get serious now and talk about the garden!
TALKING ROSES … Do you walk around your garden, see a particularly glorious rose and give it a name or have a chat with it? Very often, when I drive in the gate I find myself smiling because I’m sure that the rose “Guy Savoy” is smiling at me … it is my happy-smiley rose. When I walk past “Abraham Darby” on the little summer house it begs me to stop and take a really good look and especially to revel in the delightful fragrance. And “Duet” demands my attention – her dark pink colour is so intensely different to any other rose and her waved petals pose a sense of frivolous sexiness … yeah, she’s really sexy!
Because I am in the process of compiling an encyclopaedia of roses I would love it if you could give me your ‘talk’ on any roses in your garden and I will add them to the description in the encyclopaedia. What are your roses telling you about themselves? Is what they’re telling you a reflection of your mood? Are some roses distinctly feminine while others are definitely masculine? Would you change the name of a rose because it reflects certain traits? Your input and feedback will be invaluable and probably lots of fun too!!!
ROSE OF THE WEEK … I’ve chosen “FRIESIA” as the queen of the garden and pots too! Her (see, I sex them when I speak about them!) clear, crisp, lemon-yellow buds open with such magnificent fragrance to display lovely red stamens which the bees just cannot get enough of – she’s really cooling and refreshing to visit and her dark green, serrated foliage is a wonderful foil for the masses of flowers she produces so abundantly! Lovely size too … rather slender about 90cms wide and 1.2mt tall.
In closing … Only one week to GO – remember to come along and see the debut of ‘Pearly Petals’ at the GO Festival at Royal Exhibition Buildings, Carlton on 16th and 17th February – only a few FREE PASSES still available so let me know quickly if you would like one of those! Have a great week – stay cool …
Cheers from Diana & Graham Sargeant at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.
Hello dear rose friends … as promised, another ‘Rose Rambler’ from Silkies Rose Farm at very dry, windy Clonbinane! Here in the State of Victoria we would love some rain to recover our parched gardens while Queensland mops up from floods – in this week of Australia Day, we are all reminded of how truly remarkable Australia is!
Just for the fun of it, please send an email with your thoughts in about 200 words of how those roses may have endured the 21 days after leaving the nursery – all entries received before 7th February will receive a FREE bush rose of your choice when you come to the Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane, during the month of February. This is not a competition but a fun exercise!
FEEDBACK … I had lots of calls and emails from people who were pleased to hear my plea for us all to take care of the street trees in our neighbourhoods. There is talk of us experiencing a wet Autumn so until we get good, deep-soaking rains, please continue to water trees in your garden and on your street – the trees are such an intrinsic part of the infrastructure of the space we live in and we must ensure they survive this hot, dry and windy Summer!
IN THE ROSE GARDEN THIS WEEK … If the roses are being irrigated, continue the Summer pruning program, leaving a good cover of foliage to shade the plant – light fertilizer application is recommended and certainly apply liquid seaweed. A thick layer of mulch will preserve any moisture in the soil and keep the microbes and worms alive!
SNAKE WARNING … Within moments of watching Graham try to kill a snake by the front door yesterday afternoon, I answered a phone call from our insurance broker … we saw the snake go under the house and I asked Lerrell if maybe we should take out life insurance and did he have any advice on how to be rid of the snake? He rang back within moments and suggested we get a mouse, tie it to a piece of string and dangle it at the edge of the house, then go and park the cars facing out towards the gate! By this time, Graham was hauling a 44 gallon drum into the back room of the house and making an almighty amount of noise banging on the drum…?? Men, I give up and keep on giggling because otherwise, I’m sure I might be crying at their craziness and lack of sensibility!
Yesterday morning I thought I might have a slightly longer than usual shower since I had spent the previous day planting shrubs and roses on the north side of the driveway and the bones needed loosening … that was until I saw I was sharing my space with the biggest huntsman spider I’ve ever seen! Some days are diamonds .. some days not!
Keep smiling until I share with you next week …
Diana & Graham Sargeant & Dingo, Bonnie, at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane
P.S. Put the dates 16th & 17th February in your diary – I will be at the Royal Exhibition Buildings, Melbourne with our ‘stepping out’ exhibition of ‘Pearly Petals’ – FREE passes still available!
‘PEARLY PETALS’ READY FOR RELEASE …
After many months of research and fine-tuning, we are excited to tell you all that
is now available at the website: www.pearlypetals.com.au or www.rosesalesonline.com.au and I will be exhibiting on
Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th February
Royal Exhibition Buildings, Carlton
and also at the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show (MIFGS), Carlton Gardens, from 20th – 25th March – stay posted for more information in following Rose Ramblers!
The GO (Girls Only) FESTIVAL is a weekend of celebrating women of all ages – it’s about taking time out to relax with friends while enjoying cooking demos, fashion parades, entertainment and the opportunity to see all things relative to being a woman at one exhibition! To find out more, visit the website at www.gofestival.com.au or www.facebook.com/GirlsOnlyFestival.
Because I would love you to see my exhibition on 16th & 17th February, I am offering 10 x single passes and 5 x double passes to you on a first-in-first-gets basis … simply call in at the Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane on any of our open days and you may collect one of either of the above passes … FREE!
SEE YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS IN MELBOURNE ON 16TH & 17TH FEBRUARY!
MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED ROSE QUESTIONS …
Q. Can I shift a rose at any time of the year?
A. Yes, particularly if care is taken to follow this procedure:
* Heavily prune the rose leaving newest 45cm canes – if a climbing rose, canes can be up to 1mt in length
* Dig the rose with a sharp shovel – roots should be trimmed to fit pot or prepared new planting hole
* For potting: use a 50cm tub and premium potting mix
For planting: ½ mt x ½ mt rough hole forking root penetration holes in sides, compost and soil backfill
Complete the shift by applying Natrakelp Liquid Seaweed immediately then weekly for the first six weeks using a watering can with a sprinkler (rose) all over the plant – we guarantee success using this method!
Q. Can I dig around the rose bushes?
A. Never, ever dig around your rose bushes – if you have an invasive weed problem, dig the rose out completely, remove the weed and replant later. A well mulched rose garden should not ever need to be dug and digging close to roses can cause the root stock to become active and start growing.
Q. Can I plant a new rose in the same location as one I recently dug out?
A. Yes, you can! However, it is very, very important to rejuvenate the soil prior to planting the new rose. If you have time to let the soil take a spell for 6-8 weeks, that is ideal. In the event that isn’t possible, take at least four heaped shovels of soil out of the hole and place on the compost heap. Place another four shovels of soil from the hole into the wheelbarrow and mix in compost and rockdust (Rose Marvel is great if you don’t make your own compost). Fork the base and side wall of the planting hole and start replanting your new rose as per the rose planting instructions.
Q. When should I prune my roses?
A. Depending on where you live! Most cities and towns are warm enough to start pruning in the early Winter weeks of June. Cooler zones might wait until late July-mid August. In the very cold zones (like here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane) we can get severe frost to minus 5 three nights in a row late October; this will damage new growth on early pruned roses (while the Clematis laugh at it!!!). We do year-round moderate pruning in some beds.
We are currently conducting rose pruning trials where the roses will not be heavily pruned until late Summer-early Autumn to reduce frost damage – stay posted for updates!
Q. How often and what should I feed my roses?
A. A half-handful of high quality complete organic fertilizer every 8-12 weeks and regular doses of ‘Natrakelp’ Liquid Seaweed whenever you get the urge but no less than once a month!
Q. How much water do the roses need?
A. Regular, consistent watering reduces plant stress and therefore, an automatic watering system which delivers 20 litres per plant per week is ideal. If you are handwatering roses in the rose garden, count to 20 (slowly) while holding the hose at the base of each rose and you’ll get about 20litres per rose bush pretty accurately – doing it regularly is the key!! Roses in pots require daily watering! NEVER water your roses in the evening – the rose leaves stay wet overnight and create fungus problems.
Q. I live in a unit and want to grow roses … how?
A. Locate a sunny position on the balcony or in the courtyard; roses will flourish with morning sun in preference to hot afternoon sun; purchase self-watering pots 50-60cms diameter – Greensmart Pots are ideal because you could plant two roses per pot and have room for seedling flowers as well! Always purchase top quality potting mix and with regular feeding and applications of ‘Natrakelp’ liquid seaweed, your potted roses will give you enormous pleasure for many years! Root-trim and re-pot every couple of years into fresh potting mix.
Q. What plants can I grow around the roses?
A. Any number of varieties of annuals and perennials will enhance your rose garden planting. To discourage pests, many people plant garlic and other herbs – if flowers are your thing, a border of catmint, lavender or rosemary add to the fragrance of the rose garden. In the rose garden below the front verandah I grow lilliums, anemones, penstemons, catmint, calendular, daffodils & jonquils, rock cyclamen, grannies bonnets, silverbeet, a clump of daylilies, love-in-a-mist, an Italian parsley border and other ‘stuff’ I don’t know the name of but have nurtured since we took over this garden 13 years ago! Guess what, there’s still room for weeds!!!
Back on topic … the most important thing to remember about growing any type of other plants in your rose garden is to allow good air circulation around the roses by keeping all the other plants trimmed.
Q. I only have three hours of sunshine – which rose can I grow there?
A. We unequivocally will not sell you a rose for that site! Roses require no less than 5 hours of direct sunshine every day – roses will stress without the sun and never reach their full potential – find a shade-tolerant plant for this location in your garden!
Q. Can you please show me the thornless roses?
A. The ‘Iceberg’ series of roses are almost thornless, ‘The Children’s Rose’ and ‘Firefighter’ have thornless flowering stems and the beautiful climbers: Renae, Crepuscule, Pinkie, Zepherine Drouhin and Mme Alfred Carriere are pretty much thornless. I usually recommend that gardeners should wear protective gloves when managing the roses and from experience, don’t worry about the little people, they soon work out that not all pretty things should be touched and when the ball goes into the rose bushes, they’ll call DAD … he’ll call MUM!
Q. How do I plant climbing roses along the fence/shed as a screen?
A. Climbing roses are an ideal screening plant which, once established, require very little maintenance. Some climbing roses are more suited to this situation so we therefore recommend consultation before you plant. Consideration should also be given to the ongoing maintenance of the structure against which the climbing rose will be placed and therefore, constructing a ‘frame’ of ‘star posts’ with reinforcing mesh slightly away from the structure will not only allow good airflow around the climbing roses but allow space for ongoing maintenance of the fence or shed.
Q. Which roses are suitable to grow as a hedge?
A. There are so many questions within the answer! How tall/short? How wide/narrow? Mass colour display/picking roses? One colour/varieties? With the modern shrub roses, gardeners now have a choice of roses which are suited to hedgerow planting – you decide the colour, specify the height and width and we’ll supply the exact variety to match your specifications and you really should appoint qualified consulting rosarians when choosing the right rose for your individual situation – remember, this rose hedge will be enjoyed by many for more than thirty years!
Q. Why do Silkies Rose Farm guarantee their roses?
A. Because we grow the highest quality roses and there is no substitute for quality and a 100% guarantee when you continue to grow the roses to our specifications … Our grower, Brian, doesn’t grow a “sow’s ear and turn it into a silk purse”, he grows the silk purse of roses! We have been growing roses for 30 years and we take the time to offer you advice, consultation and supreme service! Take a quick look at our genuine customer testimonials and you can be sure, when you buy our roses, you’ll enjoy the experience!!!
Q. How do I take cuttings of my roses?
A. If you have a bit of a ‘green thumb’ and like to be creative in the garden, you’ll enjoy the novelty of taking cuttings of your roses. Here’s how to:
* Cut a rose cane where the flowers are finished but where the buds have not broken into new growth;
* Trim pencil-thick 20cm lengths and remove foliage;
* Dip cuttings into hormone powder/honey/vegemite or nothing and push into soil/potting mix;
* Water in with Natrakelp liquid seaweed and depending on weather conditions, light water daily;
From my experience, most cuttings die from either under or over-watering since it’s a very fine line and a mini hot-house is ideal to grow cuttings but then disease problems can be an issue. Have a go anyway and share your cutting-grown roses with family and friends – take care not to sell them at the local school fete because they might be covered by Plant Breeders Rights or Trademark which means they are illegal to sell without the plant tag since the breeder is entitled to a royalty payment for every plant sold!!!
Q. Why do Silkies roses perform better than other roses I have in my garden?
A. Believe it or not, this is a very, very common question from our customers! Our roses are grown and maintained using the highest quality organic products made in Australia and we (Graham mostly!) are always researching newer and better ways to enhance our growing methods. When you follow our growing instructions you too will grow beautiful roses, organically, naturally!
Q. What is the best mulch to use around roses?
A. The highest quality mulch is definitely lucerne which comes with a price tag to match! Next in line is pea straw which can come with peas to match! Both lucerne and pea straw are legumes and nitrogen-fixing which means that when they break down in your soil, they add humus to the soil and are highly recommended, especially when establishing a ‘new’ garden. Should the cost of lucerne/pea straw inhibit you from using them liberally, we suggest that they be used only around the drip-line of the rose bushes and any of the other mulch products be spread over the whole of the garden bed.
Hello dear rose friends … welcome to 2013 – may this year be a really grand year for your roses! How easy it is to become complacent and expect the water to fall from the sky – according to one of my very special ‘old’ customers, Carmel, this particular period of weather is worse than all of the twelve years of drought and I couldn’t agree more!
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The Rose Rambler Weekly
By request, The Rose Rambler is now coming to your Inbox every Thursday.
If the street trees and plants in your locality are suffering through this unusually hot, dry period, please contact your local Council and ask them to come and water. There is plenty of water in storage around the country and if you stop and consider the fact that when plants die, the replacement costs are far greater than what it would cost to help them through this dry spell … sometimes Mother Nature needs a hand and if you could extend a hand right now, I know she will be most grateful!!! Driving around the streets in Melbourne last week was almost heartbreaking – the street trees are gasping for water and if you have a tree outside of your home, please give it a good soak … reduce your shower time to save the plants in your garden and on your street too!
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The encylopaedia of roses.
Our new website will be launched in the coming weeks, focusing on everything roses.
A complete listing of every rose in Australia, hints and tips about growing roses and an in-depth look at events for rose lovers.
So why are the plants dying when they had such great rain over recent times? Very perplexing because we thought the subsoil would be lovely and moist and keep everything in order … well, apparently, because of the very wet season, our plants produced lots of surface roots (deep roots literally ‘drowned’ because there was too much moisture) and then of course, with the incredible heat and dry conditions, those surface roots have also died! When you visit Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane, take a good look at the trees which are not coping with the current weather conditions … those trees were sodden during the rainy seasons and now they’re turning up their toes – 3 of our more than 20 year old established eucalyptus trees have suddenly died! Some oak trees are severely stressed and the west-facing (15+ year old) maples are all burned. Unfortunately, we can’t see what’s going on in the soil and as in our situation now, we only became aware of a problem when the trees started showing signs of severe stress! Hopefully all the trees will survive because they are such an intrinsic part of the infrastructure of our gardens … please, please deep soak your trees and give them some liquid seaweed!
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Pearly Petals, a beautiful new product from Silkie Gardens.
Our Rose Rambler next Thursday will give you all the details of this great new enhancement to your dining table. Here’s a sneak peak.
• Healthy, well drained and fertile soil which contains at least 10% organic compost (read article about compost and how to make great compost) which will guarantee there is good soil bacteria and fungi – a soil pH test should read 6 – 6.5 and the soil should feel and smell like you could eat it!
• Sun – at least 6 hours of sunshine per day. Morning sun is particularly important as the stomata of the plant is open and receptive … just like humans should start their day with a great breakfast!
• Water – at least 20 litres of water per bush per week; preferably delivered at the same time to ensure deep soaking in the root zone on the plant. Never water roses late in the evening!
• Mulch – at least 5cms depth of compost covered by 10cms of quality mulch such as lucerne or pea straw should be maintained around the plants all year. (Read article on mulch)
• Fertilizer – a complete organic fertilizer applied lightly at the rate of one half handful per plant every 8-12 weeks, watered in and plants washed down with Natrakelp liquid seaweed every couple of weeks.
• Air – if you grow other plants around your roses, keep the plants trimmed to ensure adequate air circulation around the base of the rose bushes.
- Improves soil conditions: binding sands and opening up clay
- Conserves soil moisture – mulch can save 73% of what might be lost through evaporation!
- Improves soil drainage
- Keeps soil temperatures cool during the day, warm at night
- Protects plants from frost injury
- Stops erosion
- Allows the soil to be worked earlier in the spring
- Saves time in cultivating and hoeing
- Prevents surface crusting allowing the soil to breathe
- Reduces soil compaction
- Holds down weeds
- Prevents hardpans being created in the earth
- Provides nutrients, gases and other growth substances
- Prevents vitamin loss in plants
- Encourages nutrients to be taken up by the roots
- Improves the yield of crops
- Stops nutrients from being leached from the soil
- Hinders pests laying their eggs near to the plant roots
- Deters harmful insects by its odour
- Reduces losses caused by soil-borne diseases
- Encourages earthworms and other microorganisms
- Causes feeder roots to develop near the soil surface
- Encourages roots to penetrate deeper in search of food
- Stops plants wilting
- Shades seedlings from sunlight
- Makes plants more sturdy
- Improves the flavor and keeping quality of the harvest
- Protects the produce from mud-splash
- Recycles waste
- Improves the ‘look’ of the garden