ROSE RAMBLER 25.7.2013

ROSE RAMBLER 25.7.2013

Hello dear rose friends … since he’s become an overnight rage about all things roses, let’s move right into


  • it’s finally been raining and raining so mulch on your garden is essential to hold the topsoil in place … US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt said “A Nation that destroys it’s soil, destroys itself” and since Australia has one of the oldest soils in the world, we, as guardians of the earth must care for the soil as our top priority!  The mulch should be at least 75mm thick all year.
  • As soon as the sun shines again, we’ll all be mowing lawns  – research has shown that odours produced from freshly mown lawn help your mental processes have a natural, happy ‘high’ .. no Government tax on this one!
  • My pick of all the roses coming into the Rose Farm for the best all-round performance would be ‘Violina’ for it’s beautiful long-stemmed, highly fragrant, tight bud of mid-pink which opens to a huge bloom suitable to vase!  The healthy, well-foliaged bush grows to at least 1.2 metres tall and makes an ideal fragrant rose hedge…. One of the BEST roses!VIOLINA BUD (2)
  • “You have to stay in shape.  My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60.  She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is.”  Ellen DeGeneres

Keep smiling and happy gardening, GRAHAM

STANDARD ROSES … While I was sitting at the Motel in Mount Gambier last week, it occurred to me how, sadly, people plant standard roses in the ‘wrong’ location … these standard roses were planted under the eaves within 30cms of the building, in front of windows which (obviously) had window screens and I can imagine how this rose planting might cause grief when the roses are in full bloom … branches scraping on and marking the windows, possibly slashing the screens …?

The roses would not be happy because the area under the eaves is generally a very dry zone and the grass growing right up around the stems of the standard roses will deplete even more moisture and energy from the roses!

2013-07-17 16.28.50

Notice also that the ties are ‘wrong’ because if you tie a standard rose to a star post, the rose cannot fit snuggly against the stake!  Although we use and recommend steel stakes, they must be either round or square tube which extends about 20 cms above the crown of the standard rose!  Wooden tomato stakes will rot within two years and leave the standard rose very vulnerable in windy weather.

This photo shows you a well-supported standard rose with double-sided Velcro as the preferred tie material …


When you are planting anything in your garden, take a look ALL AROUND YOU – including upwards!  Observe where the sun happens in the garden and how this changes with the seasons and most of all, take into account that the plants will grow bigger if you allow them the space to reach their mature potential.

WET WEATHER WARNING …  Remember that roses are very water-wise plants and will not tolerate excessive water around the root-zone!  Because it has been very wet in many parts of Australia, ensure that your roses are not drowning – especially newly planted roses will have difficulty if the soil is boggy – lift the roses into pots, correct the soil drainage and replant when the soil has settled.  If you’re not sure about your soil type, bring a sample up to the Rose Farm and have a discussion with Graham.

IN CLOSING … Doris Day said:  “I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source” and I thank Caro for sharing this quote with us – prompted us to get on with sourcing another dog … sooner rather than later!

Thank you all for such caring and love … Diana & Graham


QUESTION: Dear Diana and Graham,
Yesterday whilst pruning standard Iceberg roses I noticed that they were weeping rather profusely just after I had started.
They had not been pruned very well for 6 years and were in a bit of a tangle and mess just above the graft sight.
These roses had not defoliated and were in an open west facing bed with river rocks as mulch. We have had several frosts in Wangaratta so I thought end of July would be ok to prune them. I work as a garden contractor and have my own business. I have been pruning roses for many years with no problems.
However I was surprised by this weeping response and virtually a complete set of foliage.
Is this ok/ normal?
I would appreciate your thoughts.
Cheers Kirsty, Wangaratta

ANSWER: Hi Kristy … I don’t know whether you get my weekly rose rambler but I have been talking for weeks now about how ‘late’ the season is and less than 6 weeks ago, we visited our grower at Kalangadoo (SA border near Penola) and our standard roses were still flowering and fully in foliage!  There was no way we could take those roses out of the ground so our customers had to wait … it has caused grief for some – most especially those who purchase and pay on the internet store – they pay, they want NOW!

Feel it this morning … it’s like a Spring/Summer morning …???
Now, about your issue with the Iceberg you pruned yesterday … I did a massive prune on my Iceberg hedge about four weeks ago and yes, there was that weeping too …. I pruned 3/4 of the hedge because yes, I wanted to see what may occur with frosts still very possible – checked those bushes on Wed/Thur and they’re all fine – no indication of frost burn and we’ve had minus 4 since the pruning!  The buds which I pruned to are still viable and swelling as normal too.

The weeping that you have experienced during this pruning I consider quite normal considering that there was a lot of foliage on the plants – an indication of sap still flowing and not to worry about!  You will notice same when you do a rather severe summer prune when say, you might want to re-locate a rose and to do so, you need to reduce the size of the plant to make it possible to lift it from the ground.
Press on with the pruning!  Enjoy! Diana

QUESTION: Dear Diana and Graham

Thanks Diana, I certainly do get the Rose Rambler emailed and read it with gusto.

There’s not much I can do about the Icebergs as the Client is always right. Going to Norway in 3 weeks time so must get them all pruned before I leave, just Mother Nature challenging us. It will be interesting to see plants north of the Arctic circle. Can’t wait.
Thanks for your support.

ANSWER: Thanks Kirsty … you’ll see heaps of Rugosa roses … right down to the beaches and in roadside plantings everywhere … spectacular greenery with flowers!!!  Shame we don’t do it here instead of all the grassy/weedy plants we use!!!!????  Enjoy your adventure!  Cheers … Diana

ROSE RAMBLER 18.7.2013

ROSE RAMBLER 18.7.2013

Hello dear rose friends … thank you so much for all the caring and sharing!  We gardeners seem to have a lot in common … roses and pets go into the same portfolio – how lucky we are to have such a special bond!

This past week I’ve thought how freeing it would be to be a child … I could kick, rant and rave and cry with my mouth wide open – not caring who was watching just letting all the pain be released – just like the kid we’ve all seen in the supermarket!  Next time I see one of those despairing children, I will look at them with different eyes and say “good on you, let us all know how unhappy you are!”

THE GARDEN FORK …  Yes, my secateurs are the most used garden implement I own and love but after that, I could not work in my garden without my four-flat-pronged garden fork – it does the lot!  One of the most beautiful elements of my garden fork is that when I am digging over the garden to plant something new, I notice that I have a far greater chance of not slicing a worm when I use the fork!  The shovel is different because it cuts down and through the soil and consequently, the worms.

Being the sook that I am, it’s important to me that every living thing in our garden has a purpose and we should do everything we can to preserve and encourage all living things with respect so I urge you all to use the garden fork rather than a shovel so that you too will give the worms a greater chance of survival when you are digging in your garden!

GRA’S GROWING TIPS … It’s not just me here at the Silkies Rose Farm so for the next few weeks, Graham will be contributing to the Rose Rambler with some great gardening ideas …

  • Put a handful of dolomite lime around each rose bush after pruning as it assists in the resistance to fungal problems and balances the pH of the soil enabling the plants to more readily take up and use the nutrition you provide when adding complete organic fertilizer;
  • Yes, mulch the garden beds NOW with lucerne, pea straw or any other straw materials because a light mulch through the Winter months encourages worms into your garden by keeping them warm during their breeding cycle, stops weed germination and prevents top soil erosion as well as … definitely mulch around the roses!
  • Rather than have one large compost heap a long way from your garden beds, create small areas around the garden where you place 100mm layers of leaves, lawn clippings, animal manures (yes, dog, cat, possum, chook, kangaroo and any other poo you can find!) onto these smaller heaps – as they break down, spread them out – natural mulch extraordinaire!
  • Avoid digging in the garden …. save your back … happy gardening!   GRAHAM

From the moment Graham’s feet hit the floor out of bed in the morning, he speaks … and then all day, talks and talks and talks!  Getting him to write all those wonderful ‘talks’ down is difficult but I promise to tie him down and you will be amazed by his garden wisdom and forthcoming contributions to this Rose Rambler .. stay posted!

“the best way to get most husbands to do something Is to suggest that

perhaps they’re too old to do it ….?”

That’s a very wise quote from Shirley MacLaine which you other ‘girl’ readers may find useful when you want something done around the place … !  Sharing and caring!

IN CLOSING … I had a beaut conversation with a rose grower the other day – we both raved about the sensational performance of the original ‘FireStar’ rose which was released as a memorial to the Black Saturday fires which ravaged Victoria in 2009 … we highly recommend this glorious rose which is still flowering in many gardens even now …


Enjoy your Winter rose garden … Diana & Graham

ROSE RAMBLER 04.7.2013

Hello dear rose friends … we’ve had a week of broken sleeps due to health issues with our lovely Dingo, Bonnie; she is today having surgery and we look forward to having her back home this evening ready to get on with the rest of her happy life here at the Rose Farm! How easy it would be to have no animals but oh, how sad to miss out on the love and pleasure of having this very special Dingo in our lives. Yes, she’s 14 years old now and never created an inkling of concern to us … except when she ever escaped out a left-opened gate to chase and return home with a rabbit – with her mouth filled with a dangling rabbit, you could still see her smile! No thought or care for the fact that cars have had to come to a screeching halt up and down the Spur Road because she has absolutely no road-sense … cats have ‘nine lives’ and I don’t know how many lives dogs have but Bonnie has surely used up all of hers playing ‘chicken’ up and down the Spur Road here at Clonbinane!

YOUR ROSE ORDERS … Yes, it’s a very long, protracted season but I assure you, all your orders are ‘safe’ and we are still waiting for many varieties to be dug … this is happening now! Once all the bushes have been processed, the standards will be very close behind them and on behalf of our grower, Brian, we apologise for the delay!

Please understand that because of our growing policy to let Mother Nature set the pace of how we manage the roses, we are at Her mercy with when they are dug – the very warm Autumn prolonged the flowering season and natural defoliation would not occur during such warm weather. At the end of the day, you, the rose gardeners are the winners because the roses you eventually plant in this Winter season are now very well conditioned so you will enjoy robust and healthy roses for many years!!!

Some rose orders have been posted and here is one testimonial of the quality roses being sent this season:

Hi Diana,
The roses arrived on Friday. We would like to congratulate you on the quality and size of the plants. We are already doing up a wish list for next year.

YES, GO AHEAD AND PRUNE YOUR ROSES … Because it has been cold and your roses will mostly be defoliated. Sharpen your secateurs, pull on your gloves and coat and get out and prune your rose garden – enjoy the experience and be sure that whatever you do, the roses will forgive you by resuming flowering again this coming Spring.

After pruning, give each rose a handful of high-quality, organic rose (or all-purpose) fertilizer, wash them down or spray with liquid seaweed to which you add the Eco-Rose and Eco-oil rose management products. Depending on the weather in your zone, the roses will start to produce healthy foliage within the next six weeks and be flowering again in Spring … amazing!

The rose pruning demonstrations continue … cost is $25.00 per person and we remind you to bring along ALL your pruning equipment so that we can show you how to maintain your gear – remember too that if you have a group of four or more, we will conduct a seminar especially for your group on any day which we mutually agree upon! Coming up dates at the Silkies Rose Farm:


END OF AN ERA … on Tuesday this week Graham and I, with our (gun-pruner) son, Eric, spent six hours of head-down, bum-up pruning at the old Silkie Gardens Rose Nursery & Café in Kilmore. You’ve heard me rave about my Pellenc pruning gear … I’m really glad that I had it last Tuesday because I’m quite sure that such a huge undertaking with a pair of secateurs would have rendered me physically disabled! Both Eric and I used Pellenc ‘green technology’ pruners/loppers/blower while Graham resorted to conventional pruning gear, to remove two fully laden trailers of rose prunings … Eric doing the ceremonial ‘final cut’ in a garden which we created, developed and loved for 30 years … and will never, ever prune again!

You try and turn the picture up the right way because I sure as heck cannot!!! Have a giggle and hold your computer screen around while you’re trying to see that last cut at the end of an era!

IN CLOSING … This rather short Rose Rambler wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of humour ….


If God was a woman, such a random statement would never have been made without due consideration of the consequences … I’m glad that God made roses …
Cheers from Diana, Graham and Dingo, Bonnie