ROSE RAMBLER 23.1.2014

ROSE RAMBLER 23.1.2014

Hello dear rose friends … phew!  Don’t you stand in awe of the roses as they tolerate the most incredible weather events like this massive Victorian heat-wave and still continue to flower?  The potted roses look absolutely sensational because we kept them very well watered and they were fed just ten days before the real heat set in – roses actually LOVE the hot weather provided they have good irrigation.  It’s no wonder that roses are becoming increasingly more popular!

In extreme hot weather the flower colour can change.  In some of the darker varieties, the colour will intensify where the pale varieties will actually bleach.  An example of this is a hedge of ‘Crepuscule’ which appears to have creamy/white blooms all over when the rose is actually deep apricot.

When I do garden consultations for the really warm zones, I always highly recommend some bright/strong coloured roses be planted amongst the pastels so that your eye is drawn to take a closer look and the rose garden is always interesting.


The jokes first please Mrs. Editor.

Q.  What do you get if you cross a sheepdog with a bunch of roses?
Collie flowers.

Trim, trim, trim.  Roses are not just dead-headed – you MUST cut stems at least 30cms from the finished flower to ensure good strong re-growth which in turn will produce another mass of blooms within 45-50 days.

If you are planning a special occasion at your place sometime in the coming months, trim 50 days before the event and I guarantee you will have stunning roses blooming then.  Be sure to apply one handful of quality organic fertilizer to each rose bush and deep soak weekly – you’re set to impress!

Grow some ‘GREENS’ amongst the roses.  Silver beet, chard, spinach, parsley – all greens which provide Vitamins A, C, K, calcium, zinc and magnesium which are vital trace elements.

Sharpen and clean your secateurs frequently and they’ll be a pleasure to work with … go out and trim, trim, trim with a smile on your face!



If you are a member of a Garden Club, Probus Club, U3A or similar organisation, I urge you to start planning a group visit for the weekend of

Saturday, 12th and Sunday, 13th April
Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell
Annual Art and Roses Tour

Here at Silkies Rose Farm we will be hosting complimentary morning/afternoon teas along with ‘WALK AND TALK IN THE GARDENS’.

Group bus travel will be subsidised by $10 per passenger with free entry to the Art Expo in Kilmore.  Maybe you can organise a couple of car-loads of friends who would enjoy a day out in the country – please contact me and I will arrange the subsidy for your travel expenses.

If your group would like us to come and speak with them to ‘sell’ this opportunity for a great day out, please let me know.


‘TROPICAL SUNSET’ is an outstanding performer in all weather but tolerates the heat exceptionally well by producing stunning dark crimson new foliage which is a beautiful foil for the creamy-orange and yellow splash of colours in each petal.  This stunning Hybrid Tea is a healthy tall bush which flowers freely, continually and the flowers make wonderful arrangements in a vase.  There is a light, sweet fragrance to enhance the overall beauty of this aptly named rose.



Have a happy week in the garden with the little people in your life as they go off to school soon;  share this little ditty with them:

           “Let my words, like vegetables, be tender and sweet;
for tomorrow I may have to eat them”
– author: Unknown.

~ See you soon at Clonbinane … Diana, Graham & Mooi


If you must, take your beverage in hand, pick up the hose and give the roses a drink in the evening too … be sure it’s a good soaking and only at the base of the plants – they’ll get a good face-wash with the next rain or when you’re out there one morning with a coffee!

~ Enjoy your garden – cheers from Clonbinane – Diana, Graham & Mooi 



Hello dear rose friends – HAPPY NEW YEAR and hope you enjoyed the celebrations as much as we did.  This really is an exciting time with expectations that we will all fulfil our new year’s resolutions.  Did you write yours down and stick it in the top drawer of your bedside table so that you’ll take a peek at it each night before you go to bed?

May all your dreams for 2014 come to fruition!

We enjoyed lovely family get-togethers and loved that we were able to come and go as and when we pleased during the past two weeks of holiday time.  Now, we’re back to business as usual and there’s lots of trimming and sorting, feeding, weeding and all the regular ‘stuff’ which is part of living in a rose nursery.

This time of year means whether you’re a parent or grand-parent, there will probably be little people around on a regular basis and rather than have them impose on your gardening time, take them out into the garden with you.  Set them achievable tasks like 5 cents for every weed you pull out in that square metre of ground – might not mean a whole lot to the little, little kids but from 6 upwards, I guarantee you, they’ll be counting and multiplying and you’ll both be checking the arithmetic.  This is so much fun to do with kids.  When they get distracted and go play elsewhere, you get time for your serious gardening and then they’ll be back and wanting some attention.  Throw the ball around for a while and then once again, off they’ll go again and bingo, more time for your gardening pursuits.

With a new puppy around, I find I have to break my tasks into a little bit of ‘play time’ with Mooi (MOY) then she’s happy to sit and watch for a while, I get more weeding/trimming done and then we have another play and so on – that way, we’re both happy and I feel satisfied that I still get my gardening chores completed.  Kids are really no different to pets (or, for that matter, husbands who need to be fed!  Giggle!!!)  They are all an interference to your need to stay in the garden.


They’re about to be tested out, big time! On Tuesday, 17th December, 2013, yes, the week before Christmas, Graham and I together with a team of Council staff planted 400 roses in the Black Saturday Bushfire Memorial Park at Wandong.  Nearly 300 of the roses were bare-rooted plants;   we used some potted/flowering specimens from our nursery stock to give some immediate impact for the local community as two former plantings of native shrubs had died!

After planting, all the roses were saturated with Natrakelp soil conditioner (liquid seaweed) and on that hot Christmas Eve when we realised the Council had not watered the plants, we went there with hoses but the mains water pressure let us down.  On the evening of Christmas Day, members of the Wandong Community Group assisted watering the roses with their 1,000 litre tank – the mains water pressure was good on that evening so we got the job done much faster than first thought.

Every rose is already producing shoots though stems are very sunburnt!

I hear you asking “but why would you plant bare-rooted roses in December?”  Well, the park looked drab with the dead native plants along the walkways so we approached the Council and asked would they be interested in planting roses if we could get them from our rose grower, Brian.  Meantime, I contacted Brian to see whether the excess stock from the past season had already been burned – “No, but it will be next week” was his response and he offered a less-than-wholesale price rather than burn such beautiful rose plants.

Consultation with both parties ensued.  I selected varieties from the ‘overs list’ which I considered would be strong enough to endure such ‘abnormal’ planting and while the roses were in transit, I completed the garden design.

Graham and I are committed to having a beautiful rose garden at this Memorial Park – the colour of the roses around the actual memorial are symbolic of fire – orange, yellow, red and the beautiful ‘Edgar Degas’ with all those colours combined is very dominant in this area of the planting.  Other varieties we used are ‘Bonica’, ‘Summer Memories’, ‘Mary Rose’, ‘Knockout’, ‘La Sevillana’ and ‘Hommage a Barbara’ plus a few others in lesser numbers.

EDGAR DEGAS – Delbard rose of immense beauty and vigour.
Very free flowering, lightly fragrant and extremely healthy rose.

The community at Wandong/Heathcote Junction was ravaged by the ’09 Black Saturday Bushfires and now they will have a beautiful rose garden planted with roses that were also saved from the peril of fire!  It will make a lovely story for future generations.


Happy Gardening New Year!

Q. How do you know when Santa is in the room?  A. You can sense his presents. 

If you use liquid seaweed mixed with water and pour it over the leaves of your roses and other plants, it actually makes them tougher.  It makes the leaf skin thicker so it will give an extra 3-5 degrees heat and cold tolerance.  Use it now every week for an increase of up to 30% more rose blooms and healthier plants!

Q. Why can’t a bike stand up by itself?  A.  It’s two tired. 

Happy holidays if you’re on hols but if you’re back at work, enjoy that too because you can go home and enjoy the garden while we have the longer summer days. Gra


With Australia Post back ‘on the job’ roses can now be ordered for posting again!  Fortunately, all orders processed right up until the last post were delivered before Christmas.  If you received a gift voucher for Christmas, pop in soon for some amazing roses to plant in your garden now!
Best wishes and enjoy the rest of the holiday season …

Diana, Graham and Mooi at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane