USING THE AUTUMN LEAVES … If you like to rake the Autumn leaves please don’t pile them up and burn them! Run the mower (with catcher on) over the fallen leaves and mulch your rose garden with them – the lawn clippings that come with the leaves will add nitrogen to the rose garden too.

From: Joanne
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 4:30 PM


Just a query. I thought lawn clippings depleted the garden of nitrogen, do you mean old clippings
or fresh one mixed with the leaves. I agree with demonstrating pruning. I had a technician here today
showing me how to do the Avery jam labels – it makes sense after a month of trying!

Last night we had a speaker from SGA on selecting, placement, preparation, pruning and harvesting of fruit trees
mainly apples and pears and, like you mentioned, not to think of pruning until after leaf fall (Manningham Council puts
this on last Wednesday in the month). Last month it was Helen Tuton (soil scientist) on soils. Never can learn enough.



On 30/05/2013, at 7:00 PM, Diana Sargeant wrote:

Hey Joanne … when I wrote that, I thought about it and yes, there is the theory that lawn clippings in heaps deplete the soil of nitrogen (and other nutrients!!!) however, because the lawns aren’t too long right now, to collect the leaves with some lawn clippings and then throw over the garden is a really good idea …. certainly way, way better than burning them. I have to be creative and address ALL the gardeners, young, old, experienced, inexperienced, etc. etc. – on issues such as this one, it’s difficult and like I said, better to give everybody a way of clearing the autumn leaves rather than burning them!!! Thanks for your ongoing interest in Silkies Rose Farm … cheers …

Diana Sargeant

From Joanne, 31.5.2013

Thanks Diana, I see the point. I was confused because like I said last night the speaker addressed
this issue as someone asked if it was OK to pile up the lawn clippings under the citrus trees!
Thanks for clearing that up


ROSE RAMBLER 30.5.2013

Hello dear rose friends … yes, a gloriously stunning Autumn is now ended and Winter is with us for the next three months … time to wrap yourself up and provided your roses have finished flowering and you don’t live in the cold zones, you can sharpen your secateurs and get into the garden for rose pruning. Remember, there is no race with the pruning – you might consider doing a ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATION with us before you start hacking away at your roses.

Here are a few facts about learning … if I was to tell you in this Rose Rambler how to prune your roses, by the time you get out into the garden tomorrow, you will only remember 10% of what I have written about rose pruning. If you read my information and then start chatting with somebody about pruning, how to do it, when to do it and all the equipment you need, your memory will jump to 50% – you’ll be ‘half an expert pruner’ … that’s OK and your roses will bloom again in Spring.

However, if you join a discussion group, practise by doing and immediately use what you are learning, you will retain 90% of the information you have received – it all makes sense to me that you should BOOK NOW to come along to one of our pruning demonstrations … treat yourself and your roses by learning how to be a 90% expert pruner! It is IMPERATIVE that you bring your rose pruning equipment with you to the rose pruning demonstrations … we will show you how to sharpen and maintain your tools and you can use your clean and sharpened secateurs under our watchful guidance.

Each ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATION is limited to 10 attendees per session so that you can gain the maximum experience – allow at least two hours per session and then stick around for morning/afternoon tea. The dates are as follows:
SATURDAY, 1st JUNE – 2.00 pm
SUNDAY, 2nd JUNE – 10.00 am
SUNDAY, 16th JUNE – 11.00 am
SATURDAY, 22nd JUNE – 1.00pm
The cost is $25.00 per person and you are welcome to bring your children free of charge – they can run and play while you learn or we will offer them a sharp pair of secateurs and they can prune our roses and be occupied while you are learning … giggle! We promise you a great day out!!

If you belong to a Garden/Probus Club and you can organise a group of between 4-8 (one or two comfortable car loads), we will conduct a special ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATION on a day which suits your group – booking is absolutely essential and can be on any day other than the designated dates listed above.

NEW SEASON / WINTER / BARE-ROOTED ROSES … Yes, they’re nearly here and let me give a brief explanation of why we don’t have our new season / Winter / bare-rooted roses as early as you see them in all the chain stores … it’s been a very mild Autumn and in rose gardens which haven’t been affected by frost, the roses are blooming incessantly … the same is happening in the paddock where the roses are grown!

To pull those flowering roses out of the ground would cause them immense grief … they MUST have time to defoliate naturally and harden before lifting – that is now happening! Within the next few weeks, the roses will be here at the Silkies Rose Farm and we will be contacting you as soon as your order is processed and ready for collection or posting! We believe in letting Nature take her course – as with all aspects of gardening, every season is different and patience is a virtue!!!

USING THE AUTUMN LEAVES … If you like to rake the Autumn leaves please don’t pile them up and burn them! Run the mower (with catcher on) over the fallen leaves and mulch your rose garden with them – the lawn clippings that come with the leaves will add nitrogen to the rose garden too.
Cheers from Diana, Graham, Dingo Bonnie and chooks at SILKIES ROSE FARM, CLONBINANE

9.00 am – 4.30 pm


Sent: Monday, May 27, 2013 2:50 PM
To: ‘Diana Sargeant’
Subject: RE: standard roses inquirey

Hi Diana,
Thanks so much for your honest opinion and sound advise as it has given me a lot to consider (reconsider). I should have mentioned that I wasn’t going to plant the Princess De Monaco and the Abracadabra side by side, but taking on board what you have said and thinking how the driveway is a mixture of plain coloured roses and bi-coloured, I would be happy to choose something different than the Abracadabra. (Princess De Monaco would be a keeper though as I have had this in a bush at our previous house and fell in love with it, and planning to place it next to our Mr. Lincoln standard where it was placed in our last garden)

RE: the ‘weeping’ Burgundy Iceberg…not sure where I saw it, but yes it was advertised as a small, 4ft weeper…I have time to choose one though as the bed Iam planning for it would not be ready for aprox. another 12mths as we have a pine stump to contend with first. This will give me some time to make a trip out and have a look at your wonderful roses.

Will keep in touch,
Thanks again

Thanks Rachael … sometimes my honesty gets me into strife! Obviously not so this time!!! Excellent choice to stay with Princess de Mon … gorgeous rose and next to Mr. Lincoln it will be perfect!

The Burgundy Iceberg can be purchased as a 4 ft STANDARD rose and should not be advertised as a WEEPING rose. I don’t even really recommend it as a 4 foot standard because if you can imagine a 4 foot rose stick …. (1.2metres) with 4 ft (1.2mts) of growth above that, tell me, how do you prune it or enjoy the flowers? Yes, with a step-ladder! My sons who are over 6 ft tall might be okay with pruning a standard of that height but most of us couldn’t possibly see the flowers on a rose so tall. The 4ft standard roses are okay in certain locations but care needs to be taken with selecting them for ordinary garden beds!

I would be more than happy to assist you in re-designing and planning your new garden! Great to hear that you know not to plant the weeping rose until the stump and residue from a pine tree is well and truly taken care of … many times in gardening, patience is an absolute virtue!

See you soon … cheers …

Diana Sargeant
PH: 03 5787 1123
MOBILE: 0418 337765


From: Ds@Kilmore
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2013 5:04 PM
Subject: standard roses inquirey

We are replanting the driveway of a house we have bought in Kilmore and are looking for some specific varieties of 3ft standard roses. We are after Princess De Monaco and Abracadabra and wondering if you stock these? In the future we would also like to purchase a weeping Burgundy Iceberg and wondering if you stock these as well? Could you also give as an idea of prices for these plants if you are able to help us out.
Thanking you in advance,
Rachael and Jeremy

Hi Rachael and Jeremy … thank you for your enquiry! Firstly, let me say that you would “have my neck” if I sold you those two varieties to plant up the driveway! Secondly, you would really ‘neck’ me if I sold you a ‘weeping’ Burgundy Iceberg … I seriously hope that there is nobody in the industry selling Burgundy Iceberg as a weeping rose because it will NEVER weep!

Now for some explanations! Princess de Monaco is a wonderful, wonderful rose and I would be more than happy to supply it as a standard rose on your driveway. Abracadabra needs a very warm to hot location to perform and I don’t know that it is in production/sold as a standard rose … I can hardy bare it that I sell this rose as a bush – it is such a woeful performer in most situations and when I do sell it, it is sold without our 100% guarantee … despite being told this, some people want to have it! The striped rose which I can highly recommend is ‘Maurice Utrillo’ … awesome!!!

Most importantly, Princess de Monaco and Abracadabra are so opposingly different that they would look shocking planted together! If you asked me to supply standard roses of ‘Maurice Utrillo’ and Princess de Monaco for your driveway, I would suggest something (anything!!!) different too!

My recommendation to you might be P de M and say, a highly fragrant pink in the same shade as the P de M border … ie. The Children’s Rose or if you would rather have a striped rose like Maurice Utrillo, then have a great, highly fragrant red like ‘Tatjana’ or maybe a yellow like, say, ‘Gold Bunny’. All colours can go together most of the time – just NOT a bi-colour and a striped!!!

Now to the weeping rose … if it is a red rose you want as the weeper, the one I highly recommend is ‘Summer’s Evening’ … however, it is not a burgundy red – it’s bright, pillar box red but it is always in flower and will weep beautifully! If the colour is not the issue here, there are many, many wonderful weeping roses which will create a magnificent spectacle in your garden … let’s get together some time and sort out the colour theme for your garden. Please don’t waste your money on roses which are sure to cause you grief … come out to the Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane and although it is very late in the season to be able to show you actual rose blooms, I can certainly assist you in creating a beautiful, spectacular rose garden at your new house … one that I know you will love and be proud of for many, many years!

I hope that you are not offended by my response to your request … I really, really care that people have a beautiful rose garden and in many ways, I am glad that you have approached me for advice!

Cheers …

Diana Sargeant




PH: 03 5787 1123

MOBILE: 0418 337765



From: Angela
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2013 4:18 PM
Subject: RE: Roses have thrip..

Hi Diana,

I hope that you can help me with the following. I bought roses from you awhile ago. However, I have just been told that my roses have developed – ‘thrip’. How do I get rid of it?
Would the liquid seaweed (I bought this from you) get rid of thrip or do I need to use something else?

Looking forward to your response on the above real soon.


Hello Angela … the only way the roses can have ‘thrip’ is they come in on hot winds from the north … since we haven’t had that, I suspect that whoever told you that you have thrip does not quite know what thrip are … it can be very confusing and lots of people call ‘aphids’ … ‘thrip’ … aphids are little sucking insects – usually green or light brown. Then there are ‘mites’ which are on the underside of the foliage although the insect might be difficult to see without a magnifying glass, you can usually identify the mites by the webbing they produce.

So, to analyse what insect it is that you have on your roses, check the underside of the leaves … any webbing? No! Good, we know that you don’t have mite!

It is almost impossible that you would have thrip at this time of the year … it is also a very small insect and very visible on pale blooms … tiny little devils which are always moving and when you pull the rose bloom apart, especially if you do it on a white plate, you’ll see the thrip very easily. When I was a young Mum, I would proudly hang my lovely white cloth nappies on the washing line and sometimes after strong hot northerly winds, the nappies would look dirty because they had thrip on them! That’s how I know to open the flower on a white plate for identification … can’t imagine you have cloth nappies hanging on your washing line??? giggle!!!

Then next area to check – are there small green/brown insects at the buds? Bingo, you have ‘aphids’ and NO, the liquid seaweed will not do anything to them … it will make your rose feel and look great which is probably what the aphids are thinking too!

Aphids can be a nuisance, not only on roses but on a host of other plants and vegetables as well – we use and recommend Eco-oil rose maintenance program because it is very friendly to all the other beneficial insects which are in your garden! If you only have a few plants, the watering can method is easy – to a 9-10 litre watering can, add 1/4 cup Eco-oil and pour over the plants, preferably in the morning. Do this a couple of times at 3-5 day intervals and you will have upset the breeding program of the adult aphids to adequately keep the insects at bay. Monthly application of the rose maintenance program with the added Eco-Rose fungicide and liquid seaweed are highly recommended for ongoing health of your roses. Using a spray unit is more economical!

Hope this is helpful and please let me know what insect it is you have! If it isn’t one of the above, back to the drawing board! Talk soon … cheers …

Diana Sargeant




PH: 03 5787 1123

MOBILE: 0418 337765




So, you want to clothe a rose arch with beautiful roses to create a romantic pleasure in your garden … just a few small issues before we start to select the right rose for your location – think about your priorities relative to colour, fragrance, type of rose flower, etc. and then, how big is the arch? To enable you to enjoy many years of joy from this flowering spectacle in your garden, it is imperative that you select the right rose to suit the size of your arch and we recommend the walkway be around 2 metres wide so that two people can walk comfortably abreast and not be ‘caught’ by the roses – small, flimsy arches are totally inadequate for most roses … the rose will be there for more than 20 years and deserves a structure that will support it!

Then you come to deciding on the colour – here are a few of my recommendations in each different colour range …
PALE PINK – ‘NAHEMA’ – Highly, highly fragrant large flowers continually with lots of canes and mid-green healthy foliage
MID-PINK ‘PINKIE’ – One of the most floriferous climbing roses with thornless canes and dense, lush green, healthy foliage
DARK PINK ‘GUY SAVOY’ – My ‘happy, smiling rose’ … large blooms with slashes of white through the dark pink – highly recommended rose!
DARK RED ‘GUINEA’ – Darkest red, fragrant and totally free-flowering rose suitable for climbing over an arch
RED-RED ‘SYMPATHIE’ – Very free flowering and very healthy with medium sized blooms in clusters
CRIMSON ‘DORTMUND’ – The healthiest foliage graces the abundant single blooms and great Autumn hip production
LEMON-WHITE ‘LAMARQUE’ – Lemon centred pure white blooms over a long season – fragrant and glorious mid-green healthy foliage
BLUSH-WHITE ‘SEA FOAM’ – Amazingly prolific rose producing clusters of flat blooms with masses of petals – glossy dark green foliage
PURE WHITE ‘ICEBERG’ – Very prolific blooming throughout the season with mid-green, healthy foliage
MAUVE ‘BLUE MOON’ – Free-flowering, highly fragrant perfect blooms continually
DARK MAUVE ‘RHAPSODY-IN-BLUE’ – Stunning fragrant blooms with yellow stamens – exceedingly healthy and free-flowering
YELLOW ‘GOLD BUNNY’ – The first and last with flowers and flowers throughout the season too! Stunning yellow climbing rose!
GOLD ‘GOLDEN CELEBRATION’ – Luscious large blooms with high fragrance bloom freely throughout the season
GOLD-RED ‘JOSEPH’S COAT’ – Masses of blooms throughout the season – eye-catching magnificence!
ORANGE ‘WESTERLAND’ – Fragrant blooms continually with shiny dark green, very healthy foliage
APRICOT ‘CREPUSCULE’ – Massive clusters of blooms continually throughout the season – lush healthy foliage
APRICOT-PINK ‘ABRAHAM DARBY’ – One of the most beautiful, charming and fragrant climbing roses flowering throughout the season

Above are just some of the many magnificent climbers which are suitable for an arch in your garden.


CREPUSCULE – Apricot clusters continually
RENAE – Pale pink clusters of highly fragrant blooms continually
PINKIE – Mid-pink clusters continually
ICEBERG – Pure white medium blooms continually
MME. ALFRED CARRIERE – Blush white – first and last to bloom, highly fragrant – suited to planting with clematis
VEILCHENBLAU – Dark purple rambler flowering only in Spring

PILLAR ROSES which are suitable for climbing on fences or walls – these roses reach a certain height and have a fan-like growth habit:

DUBLIN BAY – The most free-flowering pillar rose with glowing red, lightly fragrant blooms continually – extremely healthy!
HIGH HOPES – Mid-pink perfectly shaped blooms continually throughout the season – light fragrance – suitable for the vase
PIERRE DE RONSARD – Heavily petalled cream with pink edged blooms throughout the season
TEASING GEORGIA – Clotted-creamy yellow/apricot blooms in flushes of pure magnificence splayed on a wall!
ALTISSIMO – Bright red, single blooms with yellow stamens – a real ‘in-your-face’ spectacle in the rose garden
TWILIGHT GLOW – Huge pale apricot blooms continually with luscious mid-green very healthy foliage
CYMBELINE – Highly, highly fragrant blooms with swirling mass of grey-pink blooms throughout the season

RAMBLING ROSES – many of which mostly only flower in the Spring with light flowering in the Autumn but deserve a place where space permits because for six weeks you will experience the pure bliss and romance of magnificence which only the rambling roses can deliver:
ALBERTINE – Swirled mass of pinky-apricot blooms in proliferation on a thorny, healthy and rampant rose
MME. GREGOIRE STAECHLIN – Highly fragrant, mid-pink waved petalled blooms of extraordinary beauty – great hips in the Autumn
VEILCHENBLAU – Dark mauve clusters with yellow stamens adorn the rambler so that you can barely see the foliage
WEDDING DAY – Masses of pure-white single blooms in clusters – lush, glossy healthy foliage – thorny
MERMAID – Large, single cream blooms adorn this massive rambling rose spasmodically throughout the season – reverse hooked thorns
NEW DAWN – Pale-pin clusters of medium sized blooms continually throughout the flowering season – thorny beast
NANCY HAYWOOD – Single-petalled, dark-pink blooms reliably continual in good conditions – amazing sight in full bloom
LORRAINE LEE, CLG. – Muddy-pink roses flowering when every other rose is not flowering – tendency to mildew if cloistered!

And, of course, there are more climbing roses for you to consider which might be perfect for the location in your garden where you wish to plant a rose to protect your yard from intruders – use the most thorny! You want to screen the neighbours – use a rose which produces the most lush, healthy foliage! A shade screen for the dog-run … masses of flowers and healthy foliage all season!

To be successful in having the climbing rose do what you require it to do in your rose garden, I recommend you speak with us, Consulting Rosarians who we have the knowledge to ensure that you get exactly the right rose to suit your individual situation!

ROSE RAMBLER 23.5.2013

ROSE RAMBLER … 23.5.2013
Hello dear rose friends – on a very bleak, cold Autumn day last Saturday, the switch for our newly installed solar system was turned on … within moments there was the most glorious sunshine and I imagine that our new ‘green energy’ will be amazing! My excitement vanished when the installers told me that we had to wait for the inspectors to come and approve everything … and then the power company had to come and inspect that inspector …?? I was dismally disappointed! How delightfully simple and uncomplicated it is when you buy a rose, take it home, plant it, enjoy it flowering … must be me getting older …?

WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO ENJOY THE GARDEN …? Over the years of listening to customers reflect on their passion for gardening, “My Grandfather/Pop” and “Grandmother/Nan” have been the dominant teachers of the pleasure of gardening, followed closely by “My Mum/My Dad”. With all the ‘busyness’ in our lives, I am wondering if, possibly, the next generation might say that they learned their gardening skills at school …?

For weeks prior to a series of ‘Kids Day’ gardening lectures at Silkies, Graham collected old shoes and boots from the local second-hand shop and when the kids rocked up for their gardening adventure, they each selected a boot which they filled with potting mix and flowering seedlings which they took home to care for – Graham received letters of accolade from those little people and I highly recommend the activity for the kids in your garden.

To extend the activity, get the biggest boots you can find, let the kids drill holes in the soles, paint the boots with water-based paint … do give them lots of colours to select from! While the paint is drying they can set about cleaning up the paint brushes, organising their seeds/seedlings, the potting mix, tools they need to complete the task, along with filling the watering can with liquid seaweed and water – they will talk like crazy during this process and you will have a lovely time of ‘connection’.

Give your kids the experience of gardening at home! They’ll love it and so will you because eventually, they’ll do all the gardening ‘work’ around your place while you kick-back on the recliner reminding yourself of how clever you were to teach them the skills – I promise you, you won’t stay on the recliner for long because you’ll want to be out there chatting and enjoying time with each other and you will all cherish the memories for many, many years to come!!!

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR OTHER WEBSITE … Every week I will be adding at least another two rose varieties to the Rose Encyclopaedia on and there is a plethora of information there – quite literally, all about roses!

If you have a question or issue about roses which you would like us to talk about on the website, please call or email me and we will be happy to oblige and include all the rose-growing tips of the trade so that you can stay informed and enjoy your rose gardening experience more.

THIS WEEK IN THE ROSE GARDEN … If you’re a bit of a ‘neat-freak’ it would be great to go around the rose garden and trim off the rain affected rose blooms – in our garden they are mouldy blobs and I really don’t want all that mould falling to the ground, over the mulch. We will cut all those spent rose flowers off – they can safely go into your compost bin but it really is better if they don’t stay around the ground in the rose garden!

If you miss the opportunity of removing them or you would like to ensure a good clean environment for the start of next flowering season, after you have trimmed the roses, start your rose maintenance spray program in the next couple of weeks as follows:

To a 9 or 10 litre watering can add –
¼ cup Eco-rose fungicide powder (add a bit of water to the watering can to dissolve the powder)
¼ cup liquid seaweed – add a bit more water and slosh around the watering can
¼ cup Eco-oil – turn the water pressure up and fill the watering can so that all the products are well mixed

When you pour this over the pruned roses, enough of the product will fall over the mulched area around the roses to ensure you have a good, clean start for next season and if you continue with this rose maintenance program on a monthly basis you can be quite confident that black-spot/mildew and early incidence of aphids will be kept well under control for a beautiful, trouble-free rose blooming in the Spring. All the products you need for your rose maintenance program are available at or drop into the Silkies Rose Farm at CLONBINANE.

IN CLOSING … Finally, we have chooks here again … how lovely it is to wake up and hear the roosters crowing! Graham took a few days off to see his ‘chook mate’ Wayne in Young, N.S.W. who shared his surplus Langshans with us. The guys went off to a chook auction where Graham bought a black Silkie hen for Logan, 5 year old grandson who has spent his life around Silkie chooks at Kilmore. Logan had a lonely buff Silkie named ‘Murphy’ – nobody can figure out where Logan got the name from, he contrived the name when he was first able to talk! He has named his new Silkie ‘Hedred’ … go figure where that name came from ??? Eventually, we will have Silkies here too and I’m looking forward to that time because they really are the most beautiful fowls and they so belong here at the SILKIES ROSE FARM! No, I won’t be naming them!

Have a great time in the last week of Autumn in your rose garden – rug up and go dig over a new patch of earth for the Winter roses which will be available in early June … call and book your place in the ‘ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATIONS’ which start next weekend … cheers from Diana, Graham, Dingo Bonnie and chooks at SILKIES ROSE FARM, CLONBINANE



REGULAR GROUP DEMONSTRATION DATES ARE PUBLISHED IN ‘ROSE RAMBLER’ our weekly email newsletter – subscribe at the home page of to receive your copy!
Each Pruning Demonstration will include a morning/afternoon tea and will only be cancelled if it is ‘seriously’ raining! Your children are most welcome!!
This first weekend in June is the start of a series of pruning demonstrations which I will give notice of in future Rose Rambler editions. There will be at least one demonstration on each weekend throughout June/July so if you have a group of people, please contact me so that we can organise a time which suits.

CALL ME ON 03 5787 1123 and we’ll organise a date and time which suits us both!

ROSE RAMBLER 16.5.2013

Hello dear rose friends … the other morning during a shower of rain we had an enormous flock of yellow-crested white cockatoos fly over the property and I stood and watched as a couple of them ‘took a shower’ hanging upside down in the trees and fanning their feathers right out so the rain washed all the dust and grit away –for a second I felt like a ‘peeping tom’ as it seemed such a ‘personal hygiene moment’ – they were having a ball and not one bit perturbed by me watching! Getting so close up and personal with nature is one of the most significantly beautiful aspects of our shifting the nursery from Kilmore to Clonbinane.

When you visit the Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane we offer you the opportunity to spend some time here – take a wander through the gardens and you are always welcome to bring a picnic as there is a lovely area under the gum-trees close to the kids play area where you can sit and enjoy the fresh country air!

ORGANICALLY, NATURALLY!!! … We have used this phrase on all our printed materials for more than 20 years and supported our organic status by “practice not preach” using only high quality, Australian researched and manufactured products. We encourage the use of organic methods and I will quote this description of organic farming from HRH, the Prince of Wales’ book “HARMONY – A NEW WAY OF LOOKING AT OUR WORLD”… page 57 …

“A truly durable farming system – one that has kept things going for 10,000 years – is the one that is commonly called ‘organic farming’. In a sense this is an unfortunate term because it has the ring of an alternative approach, or even a new one, when it is actually how farming was always conducted before industrial techniques came to dominate agriculture. It means farming in a way that preserves the long-term health of the soil, which comes down to giving back to Nature organic matter to replace what has been taken out. It means maintaining microbes and invertebrates in the soil and good moisture. It means using good water catchment management, planting trees that prevent the soil being eroded and maintaining the teeming biodiversity, including the beneficial and essential insects, such as bees.”
Smart man, HRH Prince Charles – the book is extremely worth reading – we received our copy by responding to a public notice which Dick Smith placed in ‘The Land’ newspaper and a sticker inside the front cover reads: “Donated by Dick Smith for our world’s children and future generations”.

IN THE ROSE GARDEN THIS WEEK … Most gardens will have had a good shower of rain this past few days so it is time to add CALCIUM over the rose garden. Calcium is a macro nutrient that performs many critical functions both within plants and the soil. Traditionally, calcium is applied in a powdered form as either GYPSUM, DOLOMITE OR LIME however, since powders are very slow to activate in the soil and are bulky and messy, the new eco-flo products represent a breakthrough in effectiveness and convenience. Using superfine particles, the eco-flo products with added seaweed are 40 times more concentrated than powdered forms of Gypsum, Dolomite or Lime and commence work straightaway.

We will use eco-flo Gypsum over the recently turned soil where my new rose garden will be established and eco-flo Dolomite over the other rose gardens. While you’re at your local garden centre purchasing these products, pick up a pH test kit and check the soil in your garden. If you need further advice, please email your questions to your ‘In-House’ consultant: Graham Sargeant at Silkies Rose Farm –

ROSE OF THE WEEK … A HUGE thank you to all the wonderful people who volunteer their precious time to do all manner of work in our communities! I had the pleasure of once again being able to gift wrap the roses for centre-pieces at the Mitchell Shire’s Volunteer Luncheon this week and the most outstanding rose of them all was ‘PLAYBOY’. I so hope the rose went to a lady with a sense of humour because in my description of this grand rose I always say, “If you can’t have a PLAYBOY in the bedroom, you must have a PLAYBOY in the garden”! With shiny crimson new tips, the dark green foliage is a magnificent foil for the single-petalled blooms of yellow eye, bright orange and red edges; this extremely free-flowering and healthy beauty should grace every garden for the shocking fun of it … here’s a picture …


IN CLOSING … I wrote to the local newspaper telling them of my near-miss with a pink-spotted black pig on the dirt road I’ve travelled into Kilmore for the past 13 years on a daily basis – do you think they would believe me if I wrote another letter telling them of the ‘mother-of-all-pigs’ which I encountered on another road into Kilmore today? Six cars stopped and one brave guy guided the very friendly (obviously hungry) pig into a verge and when the gorgeous blond owner arrived on the scene, the pig promptly bit her on the foot … I’m still giggling … have another great week in your rose garden!