ROSE RAMBLER 15.8.2013

ROSE RAMBLER 15.8.2013

Hello dear rose friends …Rain, rain, go away .. come again another day … I’m trying to heed Graham’s gardening tip from last week to go and prune the roses NOW and I seriously hate working in the rain even though I know I can go and take a hot shower afterwards … it would be my luck that I would get soaking wet, go take a shower and somebody would rock up here at the Rose Farm looking for a rose …NICE ???  NOT!!!

Let’s move right into … GRAHAM’S GARDENING TIPS …

  • Compost is great to use on the garden – start right now to add your own compost around the rose bushes because it is a ’gentle’ feed and the cold soil microbes and worms LOVE compost for feed and warmth.
  • If you cannot produce your own compost, there are many brands of quality compost available in 30 litre bags – clean and easy to distribute around the roses;  they will reward you with bountiful healthy rose bushes and lots of flowers.
  • When you place the compost around the plants, cover with a light layer of mulch which will protect the microbes when the sun starts to get hot!

Gra’s humorous episode happened recently:  I drove into a car park and he said:  “Did you know they now have senior’s car parks at Coles?”  “No, I hardly ever go there but how would they know you’re a senior anyway?”  His reply (quick as a flash):  “Because somebody would have seen ya!”  Needless to say, we rolled, laughing into the restaurant.

WARNING ABOUT WET FEET … ROSES HATE WET FEET …  If you are at all concerned that your new roses are not performing as you would expect, or if they are starting to go ‘brown’ around the bud-union or on the green stems, get them up out of the sopping wet ground and let them grow in pots for a while!  Take care of the drainage to the garden bed and re-plant the roses later when the soil has had a chance to stabilise after all this rain!

Please never leave the new bare-rooted roses in soggy soil because they will definitely perish in a boggy soil!

The newly planted rose bushes should now be producing lots of plump buds and new shoots.  Some develop quicker than others, depending on variety.  Provided you have all the right requirements in place, your Winter roses will be producing lots of roots and this is indicated by swollen buds and shoots.  If you didn’t prune the new roses when/before they went into the ground, go around now and give them a light prune to an outward facing bud – while you’re out in the garden, get the watering can and your liquid seaweed… treat all the roses to a wash-down tonic which will encourage more roots … more roots, more shoots, more shoots, more flowers!  DO IT NOW!!!

SHIFTING AN OLD ROSE …  This afternoon I had a call from an inner-city gardener who (with approval from the property owners) saved four very old roses from a demolition site.  He dug the roses whereas I would have asked the machine operator to dig them!  Anyway, he’s got the roses in his yard but no ground to put them in …?  That’s a real boy thing to do!

Moving on to the important part of our conversation … my suggestions were as follows:

  • Cut every single branch to around 30cms in length
  • Remove all the old/deadwood at the crown
  • Cut out the oldest branches until 3-7 branches remain
  • Soak the plants overnight in a trough with weak solution of liquid seaweed
  • Plant tomorrow into the garden or;
  • Pot into quality potting mix and locate in a sunny position
  • Water lightly weekly with liquid seaweed solution

If you have an opportunity to save old roses from the demolition derby which is happening all around us, please do so with confidence …  the pleasure will be immense and the satisfaction in knowing that the person who planted that rose, however many years ago, will be there in spirit, looking over your shoulder and providing all the energy to make the rose survive … believe it and it will happen!

Transplanting an old rose can and should happen whenever the situation occurs … we transplanted the entire rose garden from the Kilmore rose nursery location in February/March and not one single rose died in the process!  Virginia has a beautiful rose garden as a testament of the hardiness and resilience of roses!!!

IN CLOSING …  Enjoy the last weeks of Winter by rugging up and getting down and dirty in the rose garden … the weeds are coming up easily so get ahead of them NOW … when your day is done and you look out at the beautifully pruned rose garden … oh, the pleasure …!

Cheers from Diana & Graham

ROSE RAMBLER 22.8.2013

Hello dear rose friends … have you ever spent time watching a Magpie have dinner?  Quietly, cautiously step across the lawn, head leaning to one side … listening to hear the worms crawling through the earth … is it possible that a worm actually makes a noise while it slithers through the soil?  The magpie hears something …?

The fascination of nature in a quiet moment sitting up on my veranda last evening!  That beautiful female Magpie ate no less than 50 worms and grubs as she readies herself for mating, laying her eggs and the consequent routine of sitting till the chicks arrive.

How her life will change when the eggs hatch and she and her partner will share the feeding of the chicks – I will keep you informed as to how many she has this year … beautiful!

While the Magpies are a happy and non-invasive garden resident, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos look at me, pick a daffodil and destructively leave it on the ground … I’ll share all the food and resources of the garden, but please don’t just peck something off and then leave it as litter … so angry, I screamed at them, opened the wire-screen door and  slammed it shut hoping to scare them …. ?  They looked at me up on the veranda, railing at them and laughed at me … oh, I got so mad I was racing through the yard with my hands waving!

Surprised not to see an ambulance driving around the corner – here to come and pick me up and take me to the nearest available mental facility … newspaper headlines:  “Local, highly respected rose nursery proprietor removed in great distress ..”   giggle … should make it happen and have the press here ready to report something seriously funny for the evening news … would have to be better than all the negative stuff on the news!

Over the years, how I have despaired for all you beautiful rose gardeners that walk out in the morning to find the possums have feasted on your roses while you’ve been sleeping – there has to be a way of stopping this blatant garden destruction ..?

If you have a good idea or solution, please tell me so that I can share it with other very frustrated rose gardeners … thanks!

SAVE THE ROSES … THERE FOR THE TAKING …  If you live in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne or are seriously keen to get some very old roses which have been raised by staunch rosarians, Mandy and Allen Brundrett – members of the BRUNDRETT ROSES family, please contact … Margaret Lawson on 0407 896 309 and she will give you directions and information about when you can access the property at 29 Kingswood Crescent, Noble Park North where more than 100 roses between 30-50 years old can be dug and rescued.

A HOST OF GOLDEN DAFFODILS … Such a wonderful sight

Yes, we are rosarians and for just as many years, we have been very keen daffodil growers with many of our collection of bulbs in the gardens here at Clonbinane.

If you take a close look at the photo, you will note that the bulbs closest to the Oak tree are smaller than the others … reason for this … I mowed them before they were ready to be mowed!

Never, ever, cut the foliage from your bulbs before that foliage is well and truly browned-off because all the energy from this year’s foliage goes down into the bulb as a food-store for the next year.  Sometimes I have been impatient and not wanted to look at all the dead foliage, run the mower over it and yes, the following year, the flowering stems are shorter with fewer flowers!

Beautiful customers, Linda and Ray were in the other day and Linda was saying that Ray lifts the daffodils and separates them … Is that why they never get a true ‘drift of golden daffodils’ as they see in other people’s gardens ..?

Definitely do not lift and separate your daffodils and let the foliage completely disintegrate so that you can experience the true ‘host of golden daffodils’ … warming pleasure in the Winter/Spring garden!

IN CLOSING …  Graham asks you to allow yourself to feel nature and enjoy the pleasure of growing some seeds, see them come to life with small green shoots which have amazing energy … music to the heart!

Birds singing in the gardens are starting to herald the closeness of Spring … those birds singing are stimulating the stomata of each plant leaf to open and drink the dew to nurture joyous growth.  Liquid seaweed your plants regularly to increase their vigour and strengthen them in readiness for the bounty of the Spring.

Enjoy this last week of Winter … Diana & Graham at Clonbinane



Hello dear rose friends … happened to see a young guy mowing his lawn this afternoon … there were a few things I noticed ..

  1. He was wearing a tee-shirt and it was seriously cold;
  2. There was 15mm of rain the evening before and the grass must have been wet;
  3. He put the grass clippings from the catcher into a garbage bag!

The last point brings me to giving some recommendations regarding the disposal of your lawn clippings – we’ll all be mowing lawns during the coming weeks and there are some serious considerations of how you deal with the refuse of your lawn mowing.

Several years ago, a long-time customer of the Rose Nursery in Kilmore became seriously ill as a result of putting her lawn clippings into green garbage bags, allowing them to rot down after placing them in a sunny location and then distributing them over her garden as mulch!

Lyn has never recovered from the debilitating lung condition she acquired as a result of inhaling the ‘mould’ from what she distributed about the garden from those garbage bags!

When you mow your lawns in the future, consider the following:

  1. Mow without the catcher on so that the clippings ‘self-mulch’ your lawn;
  2. Find a corner of your yard where you can compost the clippings in thin layers, adding other garden and kitchen refuse to create humus to redistribute on the garden;
  3. No room at your place?  Find a neighbour or other place where you might be able to place your clippings for use as compost – neighbourhood community garden maybe?
  4. Place the lawn clippings in bags and bring them a.s.a.p. to Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane;  we will add them to compost areas here.

Provided you only use very light layers, the lawn clippings can be distributed over existing garden beds.  If you have ‘feral’ weeds in the lawn, those weeds will have the opportunity of spreading throughout the garden!  If you’re not sure, don’t put the catcher on the mower, mow more frequently and let the clippings mulch the lawn!

Please take serious heed of this warning when mowing your lawn in the coming months!!!

WINTER ROSE SEASON WIND-UP …  The roses for this season are now potted into high-quality potting medium … they’ve been cut back to within inches of their lives and by doing this severe prune, we know that they will produce the most astounding potted specimen roses which will be flowering in November! offers you the opportunity to order roses at any time of the year – these beautifully potted roses will be packaged and posted direct to your door for any occasion!  On a whim, if you want to treat yourself to a new rose for a special location in your garden, just log-in or call me at the Rose Farm and I will happily pack a rose for you or somebody you love that needs a rose to cheer them up!

For that really special occasion, ask me for a gift-wrap …. the rose looks so special in the beautifully coloured wrap – even though there might not be any flowers


I usually select a paper and ribbon colour which matches the rose of your choice and this service costs only $4.50 –  it’s a very thoughtful and  precious, living gift!


  • If you haven’t pruned your roses yet, DO IT NOW!  All old foliage should be stripped because it is still photosynthesising and making sugar and carbohydrates which results in a concentration of these nice food sources which can attract aphids and spider mites.  The insects go into multiplication mode and it won’t take them long to invade!
  • Once pruned, wash-down or spray to run-off with the rose management program as follows:  To 10 litres of water add:  ¼ cup Eco-rose, ¼ cup Eco-oil and add liquid seaweed to the mix to increase strength in the cell walls of the foliage.

A recent ‘green space’ report has shown that 91% of people believe that parks and gardens have a positive effect on our quality of life, contributing more to our wellbeing than our jobs, our sex-life, money or religion!  Is it natural to want to be with Mother Nature?  The plants and flowers, of course, are essential to meet the needs of all our senses and roses are great because they flower for up to eight months of the year!!!

Did you hear about the race between the lettuce and the tomato?  The lettuce was a ‘head’ and the tomato was trying to ketchup …. Enjoy the rain on your garden … Graham

IN CLOSING … Every time I try to follow Gra’s tip to go and prune the roses NOW, I kit up, get a few bushes done and it starts to rain … or the phone rings and I have to go and pack up another lot of roses for the post.  The ground is all ‘mooshy’ so I try and lay pads of mulch rather than compact the soil around the roses … buds are bursting and Spring is in the air …

Cheers from Diana & Graham Sargeant



Hello dear rose friends … Another month of Winter gone – some would say, finally!  I rather love the glory of the Winter garden and all the changes that occur during this beautiful season – a time of ‘tidy up’ … prune, fertilize, mulch and within a turn of your back, everything starts to come alive with enormous bounty … joyful!

SERVICE AND SMILE …  By now, a whole lot of the Winter orders have finally been processed and due to the late and very warm Autumn, the roses were dug later than usual and this caused distress to some of our customers for which I am eternally sorry!

Apart from the lateness of the season, there were problems with the interstate orders which required the roses be sprayed to comply with quarantine regulations – more delay!  Then a whole bunch of the parcels we packed were rejected by Australia Post and had to be processed by a courier – more delay!

Let me assure you that Silkies Roses are the most lovely quality roses you can buy and our service and smiles together with our vast knowledge about roses and their culture guarantee your rose purchase will be most rewarding – there were however, obstacles which prevailed this season completely beyond our control … in the history of the business I cannot remember a time when I apologised so frequently and sincerely;   for the (hopefully!) last time, I am truly sorry if you were caused any inconvenience by our service this season.

When the roses bloom, I am sure you will forget any misery associated with their delivery!

This is an email I received from one of my understandably disgruntled customers:

Hi Diana … The roses you sent me (Tassie) arrived this morning. They were in very good condition and the quality as you said is outstanding. Thanks again for the great effort you put in to get the roses to me. Sorry for the inconvenience I put you through but I can tell you that I am a very happy customer.

Kind Regards  ….  Arnie



  • Ladybirds are our very best friends in the rose garden!  They help control aphids and they actually eat some fungus … yes, amazing!  Once you have pruned the roses this Winter (it’s NEVER TOO LATE!) start your spray management program using ¼ cup of each:  Liquid Seaweed, Eco-Rose (fungicide) and Eco-oil (insecticide) to 10 litres of water and spray or pour over the plants – you are giving the ladybirds and other insects and birds a hand with insect control.  You can apply this environmentally safe management program in the morning and pick and eat your veggies for the evening meal on the same day!!  Brilliant Australian researched and made products … go Aussies go!
  • While you’re out pruning standard roses, check the ties and secure with double-sided Velcro – the UV stabilized shiny side facing outwards.  We can post this to you 3 metres:  $18.50  5 metres:  $24.50 plus pack and post.  See this pic …


  • Time to fertilize the garden with COF –Complete Organic Fertilizer – great thing about applying organic fertiliser – the plant only takes up the feed when it needs it!

Have a laugh and enjoy your garden this week … why did the banana go to the Doctor …?  Because it wasn’t peeling well …

(Note from Diana, Editor:  You keep talking about these crazy jokes which only encourages him … when you stop laughing, let me know and I’ll delicately tell Graham to take them back to the grandchildren!)

PRUNED ROSES … Nearly all of the potted roses have been pruned to less than 15cms of growth and this will encourage massive water-shoot development and lovely rounded bushes with lots of blooms come Spring.

If you are thinking of ordering more roses in the coming weeks, keep in mind that we’ve done all the hard work for you – the packs will be smaller because the roses have been heavily cut back and ready to plant without any work on your part!

IN CLOSING ….  Stay warm and cosy while you enjoy this last month of this crazy Winter – if you want some advice about pruning your roses and/or fruit trees,  pop up to the Rose Farm and Graham will happily allay all your fears … love the snip, snip, snipping

Regards from Diana & Graham Sargeant at CLONBINANE