This is how the roses arrive at the SILKIES ROSE FARM AT CLONBINANE … and now you will see the magnificent quality which we, unfortunately, have to trim back – both roots and branches, to enable processing and fitting into the packs which are mailed to you …


And then with a little bit of TLC from you, these ‘sticks’ will turn into this … “GOLD BUNNY” if you love yellow


or maybe this … “BRASS BAND” … such a stunning rose


or this magnificent rose … ‘THE CHILDREN’S ROSE’ … suitable for all gardens, everywhere …


but then who can resist a highly fragrant, dark red rose like this …?


Of course, it’s the most popular red, highly fragrant rose, ‘MR. LINCOLN’ … no garden should be without one!

Call in at the SILKIES ROSE FARM AT CLONBINANE, VICTORIA for magnificent quality Winter roses to plant in your garden now and you will enjoy the beauty of flowering roses this coming October/November. See you at the Rose Farm soon …

ROSE RAMBLER 27.6.2013

Hello dear rose friends … Australia is going seriously ‘green’ – as of this morning, we have a ‘recycled’ Prime Minister … best I say no more other than to wish these amazing people the joy of a garden rather than the dross of politics! Somebody has to do their job!

The first month of Winter is already ending. There are lots of beautiful two-year-old roses being processed but the yearlings, the Standards and the Weeping roses are still several weeks away because Mother Nature calls the shots … firstly too warm and then too wet to under-cut … I’m very understanding and hope you are too! I went to the grower’s at Kalangadoo last week and experienced some magical moments in the rose fields! Here’s a picture of the frozen rose hips …


SO, YOU WANT TO CLOTHE A ROSE ARCH WITH BEAUTIFUL ROSES …maybe to create a romantic pleasure in your garden, maybe to create a fragrant entrance or maybe you just want an arch with roses on it …? Let’s take a look at 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 1.5 – 2 metres wide so that two people can walk comfortably abreast through the arch 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!

Being a ‘Consulting Rosarian’, I find that deciding on the right climbing rose for the right location is overwhelmingly one of the most requested tasks. Just yesterday a customer reeled off a list of climbers she would like for the perimeter fence of her garden. She had received several roses as gifts and had them already planted at 3 metres apart – appropriate spacing for climbing roses on a boundary fence – until she mentioned that ‘Albertine’ was there too! NO … this is a ‘rambling rose’ of amazing proportions, totally unsuitable to the back fence/kids playground as it produces very thorny canes in profusion and flowers only in the Spring. This magnificent rose, along with many other rambling roses, deserves a site where it can scramble about – not suitable to the back fence and certainly not over the small archway!

When you come to deciding on the colour of a suitable climber for your arch, there will be at least one highly recommended climbing rose in each different colour range and there is a whole list of those on the website … you know you are welcome to email or call me if you require more particular advice so that the climbing/rambling rose planting is right for your garden!

QUOTATION FROM ‘NEWS LEAF’ … Biodynamic Agriculture Australia Ltd. produce the most informative newsletter and if you are interested in the soil and gardening … even a small plot, biodynamics is a constructive way of managing your land. I recently read an article and the closing statement is “…. Bridges are able to be creatively built revealing links with past cultures and consciousness at the same time that a deed for the future is done out of pure love for the deed. It is done out of reverence with a strong sense of responsibility towards the destiny of humanity and our Earth”. Take a look at the BAA website :

ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATIONS … There are still a couple of spots available for this Sunday, 30th June at 11.00am and then we start on the dates for July …

Don’t forget to bring your pruning equipment with you – we’ve had great feed-back from customers who have attended a demonstration!

RESULT OF LAST WEEKS ‘JOKE’ … The question was: How did the banana skin return to Mother Nature? The answer was: via comPOST … thank you Lisa for lying awake in the night to devise such a ‘gardener’s joke’ … if you ‘create’ a gardeners joke to contribute, let me know and I will publish it for you!

We are now busy potting up the roses and Graham’s best mate, Barry is working with us. The two of them chat and laugh their way through the hours while Virginia and I get on with the job … they laughed so hard at this, we stopped work to join in the fun … they are a circus, believe me!

Gra: What did your old man do before he worked on the railways?
Baz: He was a timber cutter and you could hear his ring barking from miles away …!

IN CLOSING … Enjoy this magnificent Winter weather while it lasts and we’ll see you soon when you come to collect your roses….
Cheers from Diana, Graham and Dingo, Bonnie

ROSE RAMBLER 20.6.2013

ROSE RAMBLER 20.6.2013
Hello dear rose friends … Whoever would have thought two silly (‘poppy’) jokes could provoke such fun responses from you lovely gardeners? Alex from Macedon was the first email opened and so, is ‘stoked’ to receive the two free roses. Surely google doesn’t know the answer to EVERY joke?

Here’s an original from Lisa – a 4.00am email: Q. How was the banana skin returned to Mother Nature? 
Only Lisa and I know the answer so the first correct answer will receive a free Winter STANDARD rose … bring on the answer!

IN THE ROSE GARDEN THIS WEEK … The Winter rose season is now in full swing – I am down at Kalangadoo with my grower, Brian, sorting and packing all the orders we received at Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show – handling exemplary quality bare-rooted rose plants. Thankfully, I have my sharp Lowe secateurs along with my Pellenc battery powered pruners because my Lixion secateurs make pruning the strong canes and roots of the beautiful two-year old rose plants so much more ergonomically efficient … forever glad I chose this equipment instead of the diamond ring when we celebrated 25 years of marriage some years ago!!!

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR ROSES THIS WINTER … Because it was such a wonderful growing season, your new roses from Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane, will be HUGE plants which were trimmed in the field and I have trimmed again to make it possible to post them to you! You MUST
– Unpack and soak the roses in a liquid seaweed solution prior to planting – not more than 24 hours!
– Plant the roses as soon as you receive them – or heel them in big pots or friable soil ready for later planting
– Trim the roses again by at least a third before you plant in a sunny location with no less than 5 hours sun per day
– Soak the new roses immediately after planting – water over with liquid seaweed fortnightly
– Apply a light mulch around the roses – lucerne or pea straw highly recommended

There are lots of useful tips on the website – you can always email me if you need further advice.

COMMUNITY RADIO – MELBOURNE 3CR – 855 ON AM BAND … This Sunday, 23rd June, I will be doing my annual stint on the 3CR Radiothon and it’s a brilliant opportunity for you to tune in, offer a donation in return for the most amazing plethora of gardening products, books, tools, garden consultancies, magazine subscriptions, rose vouchers, etc. etc.
You are able to select goods to the value of every dollar you donate so please tune into 855 on the AM Band this Sunday morning from 7.30am – 9.30am and listen to me go hoarse while I reel off the amazing products available.
If you would like me to bring your products back to Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane so that you can collect them from here, please ask the telephonist you speak to at 3CR – take advantage of this brilliant offer .. PHONE: 03 9419 8377 or 03 9419 0155 THIS SUNDAY!

SUNDAY, 30th JUNE – 11.00 am
SATURDAY, 6th JULY – 11.00 am
SUNDAY, 14th JULY – 1.00 pm (note time change from 11.00am … sleep in morning!)

IN CLOSING … Stay warm and cuddly while you listen to some beautiful music ….

“When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long;
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose….”

BETTE MIDLER’S song reminds us to plant roses to give us pleasure … plant a few new roses in your garden this Winter so that when the roses flower again this coming Spring, you can enjoy the romance of your own roses!

Cheers from Diana, Graham and Dingo, Bonnie – celebrating her 14th birthday!

ROSE RAMBLER 13.6.2013

ROSE RAMBLER – 13.6.2013
Hello dear rose friends … I was re-inducted to the Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell earlier this week! The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is very special to me and I’m thrilled to once again be able to commit time to this very worthwhile organisation which does such an immensely fabulous job of working in humanitarian projects around the World.

NEW SEASON’S ROSES … I have the greatest admiration for our rose-grower, Brian and you will too when you see the magnificent roses he has produced again this year. The first boxes of roses have arrived so the orders will be processed in the coming weeks – as soon as your rose order is ready to be collected/posted, I will notify you. NOT ALL THE ROSES ARE IN YET so if you don’t hear from me immediately, do not panic – it is a very late season because of the warm Autumn weather and it is important for the roses to ‘harden’ and naturally defoliate. Remember, we work WITH Nature – the result is a far superior rose for your garden!!!

ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATIONS … There are still a few places left in the following demonstrations – NOTE the NEW dates which are now available up to mid-July …

SUNDAY, 16th JUNE – 11.00 am – FULLY BOOKED
SATURDAY, 22nd JUNE – 1.00pm
SUNDAY, 30th JUNE – 11.00am
SATURDAY, 6th JULY – 11.00 am
SUNDAY, 14th JULY – 11.00am

Graham will be taking the “Show on the Road” by doing demonstrations in the Wellington Square Shopping Centre in Wallan on Thursday, 11th, Friday, 12th and Saturday, 13th July between 11.00am and 3.00pm. These demos were very successful last year so do drop in if you live in the area and give him something to talk about! There will also be demonstrations at the Whittlesea Court House on a Saturday in July … date to be advised next week.

ROSE OF THE WEEK … There are almost no roses flowering now, however, this little ripper still is and needs considering when you are purchasing your Winter roses because it’s a delight every single week of the flowering season and is only just finishing flowering … ‘Tintern’ is a fragrant ground-covering rose – we have it planted as a border along the entrance drive-way to the Silkies Rose Farm where, despite being planted within two metres of the huge Eucalyptus tree, it flowers and flowers in a stunning array of golden-yellow, orange and bright red – one of the ‘easy-peasy’ beauties which is so useful anywhere in the rose garden …

HAVE A LAUGH … Here are two of Graham’s jokes … the first person to email the correct answers to both jokes will receive two bare-rooted Winter bush roses of your choice, posted to your door – I will publish all the answers and announce the winner with your first name ONLY … do, please have a go at this! I’ve been living with these jokes for years and still get stumped but I know there are lots of very clever gardeners out there!!!
JOKE NO. 1 Why was the sand wet?
JOKE NO. 2 Why did the tomato blush?
Think like a child, think funny and think gardening and you’re sure to come up with the correct answer – share the fun with family over dinner or with colleagues at work … send the answers in an email! Don’t be shy …

QUOTATION FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION … EHRENFRIED PFEIFFER, 1981 … One of the most important scientists of the 20th Century … “The whole problem is primarily a moral one. Our future depends upon our choice between death forces and life forces; upon whether or not we will return in humility to the soil. The great questions are: Will we return to a philosophy of life which lays stress upon growth? Will our youth be educated in the spirit of growing things, and of service to life? Will they learn that it means more than money to plant our seeds and harvest crops? If the right inner attitude towards the soil penetrates the human race again, a renaissance of rural life will begin, and not only will new resources be created for our population, but spiritually we will be ‘safe’ …” Re-read the quotation and it makes so much sense!

IN CLOSING … Please take time within the space of your family and your back-yard to get down and dirty this weekend, plant some seedling colour, maybe some Winter veggies … definitely leave space for a beautiful, fragrant rose which is now available at the Rose Farm, CLONBINANE … see you soon ..


We all want / expect QUALITY when we purchase a new item and purchasing new roses for your garden should be no exception! When you want to purchase new roses for your garden then a visit to the SILKIES ROSE FARM AT CLONBINANE is an absolute MUST because you will be able to purchase the most beautiful quality two-year old roses … RIGHT NOW!

At SILKIES ROSE FARM, CLONBINANE, you don’t just get great roses, you get the back-up service to ensure that …

1. You select the right roses – roses which you will want to love and care for!
2. Roses which suit the location you are planting into – do it once, do it right!
3. The most recent-release and ‘high-health’ roses available in Australia
4. All the products you need to make your rose growing experience easy and rewarding

Today there were people at the Rose Farm who drove quite some distance to collect a few roses which they had previously ordered … they told me how glad they were to personally collect the roses because I was able to advise them how to manage their roses in the future! Their past experience was that their standard roses kept blowing off in the wind and the stakes kept breaking … easy-peasy to purchase the great tie-material we use and recommend and WOW, take a look at how to properly stake a standard rose!

Soon I will do a video and show you how to stake and tie your standard roses … meantime, if you live within driving distance, a visit to the SILKIES ROSE FARM AT CLONBINANE for your total rose experience is a MUST … see you soon!


Hello dear rose friends … today it’s my immediately younger sister’s birthday – we’ve always enjoyed joshing with people about her being older than me … as sisters do! My sister Veronica has an interesting birthday because when we were kids, we celebrated her special day on the 7th of June. When she went to get a passport, her birth certificate stated 6th June as her birth date – relatives in Holland have shown me telegrams dated 1st June?

She’s lucky really because I applied for a passport when I was nearly 18 and wanted to travel overseas … I didn’t even exist! Many statutory declarations later, together with a letter from the Hospital where I’ve been told I was born in Leeton, NSW stating that my mother had “a living female child on …” were evidence enough to get my passport.

In this glorious Winter, I’m happy to be alive and so thankful that I live in this wonderful country where we grow the finest wool … there is nothing quite like being out in the rose garden rugged up in Australian woollen clothing … highly recommend that you treat yourself to at least one Australian woollen garment to keep you snug and warm in the Winter rose garden!

YES, IT’S OK TO START PRUNING YOUR ROSES … IT’S JUNE! … I know you’ve been waiting for me to give the ‘go ahead’ for you to get stuck into the rose pruning. Remember, however, what I mentioned last week … treat yourself to the opportunity of becoming skilled at pruning and come along to one of the PRUNING DEMONSTRATIONS – still vacancies in the following AND A QUICK PHONE CALL TO : 5787 1123 OR 0418 33 77 65 WILL RESERVE YOUR PLACE:
TOMORROW … FRIDAY, 7th – 1.00pm
SUNDAY, 16th JUNE – 11.00 am
SATURDAY, 22nd JUNE – 1.00pm
Please bring your pruning equipment with you so that we can go through the sharpening and maintenance of your gear to make the pruning experience so much more ergonomic and safe for you and your plants! Please also bring your children along so that they can be pruning our roses while we’re teaching you how to prune yours!

‘GREEN CLEANING’ WITH TRI-NATURE … It is important to let you all know that we are still distributors of the fabulous Tri-Nature range of cleaning and skin-care products! Just the other day, I was cleaning the glass on our fire-place and I had the most amazing experience … the laundry is closer than the kitchen and rather than traipse up to the kitchen I grabbed the ENHANCE PRE-WASH SPRAY – as the name suggests, usually used on dirty clothes prior to washing them. I couldn’t believe how well the cooled glass was sparkling clean so easily! For the glass on the fire-place and the stove, I usually use BLITZ OVEN CLEANER. Another one of the wonderful Tri-Nature products which is ‘multi-use’ and so economical too!!! It has taken me 8 years to use 1 litre of SPHAGNUM MOSS DISINFECTANT … diluted to hospital-grade at 5ml : 500ml water!

If you have a septic system or sewerage treatment unit at your place, can I recommend that you swap over to using these great AUSTRALIAN products – treat yourself, your family and our environment – the products may seem expensive when you first purchase them but over the long-term you will see they are extremely economical and they, above all, make cleaning easy and very pleasant with natural, lasting odours. You’ll also enjoy skipping the dreadful smell of the ‘cleaning products’ aisle at your supermarket … a treat in itself!! I would be happy to send a catalogue and price list – if you are interested please phone 03 5787 1123.

THE ROSES ARE DUG … Yeah! The report from Brian, our rose grower is that the two-year old roses are magnificent plants and are now ready for grading, sorting and despatch. We will have roses here at the Silkies Rose Farm within the next week and then we have to sort, label, heel-in and contact you all once your order is ready for collection/despatch!

Because the standard roses are still flowering, digging them will be a bit longer yet. If your order contains standard roses, those orders will be processed late June/early July … the Winter rose season is exciting and well under way!

PROPOSITION LIKE NO OTHER … The new Langshan chooks are different to what we’re used to … they fly around the pen, sit up on high perches and poop everywhere! The Silkie fowls always nest in a huddle on the ground and they don’t fly wildly around the pen. In an effort to ‘train’ these new chooks, Graham found an old fishing net so he got busy stitching one of his old singlets around the edge of it, knotted the shoulder straps and so had invented a way of being able to gently catch the Langshan’s … anyway, he got the thing together, was trying it out on a pair of boots on the lounge-room floor and then nicely asked me to “get down on the floor, make like a chook and I’ll see if I can catch you” – we laughed till we cried!
The following morning I asked him how his ‘chook catcher’ worked; he smugly told me “the three roosters are up in the training cages” … jeez, I’m really pleased I didn’t get down on the floor and make like a chook … ! Here’s Graham stitching …



Have a happy long weekend – hope the weather is fine enough for a spell in the rose garden … enjoy the moments!

Diana, Graham and dingo, Bonnie

9.00 am – 4.30 pm or AND JUNE, 2013


Last Monday I had a machine dig and level the area for my new rose garden … 20 x 20 metres square. Because it is a large area and has never been planted before, it is my intention to plant a green manure crop of oats and vetch, turn that back into the soil to energize and aerate the soil ready to plant the rose bushes in the late Spring.

I spread the seed and raked it into the soil. Since the seed was sown, we have had 30 mls of rain but today I re-seeded because I don’t know how they know about it, but I now have cockatoos and galahs eating the seed! After the first seed was sown, within 24 hours there were about eight galahs and by this past weekend, there were at least 20 of them and more than 30 cockatoos having a grand feed!

Can anybody tell me how these birds know that I planted the seed? I have NEVER had them in the rose gardens before in such numbers – they fly over all the time, they are in this area but suddenly they are in my rose garden …?

Today I re-seeded and raked. On one part I have placed some bird netting and it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the seed under the netting to emerge – I will keep you posted … hopefully with good news!!!