ROSE RAMBLER 30.4.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 30.4.2015

It’s a breath away from another new month and getting closer to winter when our roses will take a rest so the wonderful blooms you are still getting need to be sniffed and enjoyed all the more right now!

Walking in the nursery the other day with one of my lads and I was extolling the virtue of APRICOT NECTAR … note the different shades in this magnificent old queen of the rose garden – always flowering, delightfully fragrant, suitable for a hedge, wonderful cut flower – aaahh!

and he said to me:  “Don’t you ever get sick of them Mum?” … oh gosh, how could I … no, not ever and he didn’t question my passion because he loves them too!

The roses are just so tolerant of all weather conditions and especially the potted roses are amazing; how would you like to be stuffed into 20cm x 20cm and expected to produce such beauty?  They do, but it’s time now to see them planted in gardens so … come visit us at Clonbinane to take advantage of this very special offer …

FROM $110 TO $78 – save $32

FROM $220 TO $148 – save $72

This offer includes all bush roses, climbing roses, Austin & Delbard roses


The mid to long range forecast is for a wet winter!!!

Autumn is such a great time to plant and transplant roses (and other plants) because there is good moisture in the WARM soil which will allow establishment of strong root systems for future seasons of healthy plant growth.  To transplant an established rose:

  • Use a sharp spade and have the new site well prepared with a rough hole filled with existing soil and well-rotted manure/compost.
  • Trim the rose to a manageable size – make it easy for yourself!
  • Dig to a depth of at least 30cms and 20cms wide of the crown (bud union – where you see all the established flowering stems);
  • Get under the plant and lift it after you have cut the roots all around;
  • Take the rose to its new location on a bag or maybe in the wheelbarrow – DO NOT LET IT DRY OUT at any time during relocation!
  • Give it a really good prune before replanting – remove all old wood and trim the roots to fit the new hole;
  • Place in the new site, backfill and saturate the hole; yes, tamp the soil down around the crown firmly with your BOOT!
  • Top up with friable soil, a light layer of mulch and saturate with seaweed solution – no less than a 10 litre watering-can poured all over each transplanted rose!
  • DO NOT OVERWATER … let the plant settle in its new location and check soil moisture before watering again with seaweed solution, 10 litres per week will be more than adequate during autumn/winter.

Q.  Why don’t dogs make good dancers?  A.  Because they have two left feet!

Did you know that earthworms (the soil ‘wonder workers’) come close to the soil surface and start breeding between May and October?

Because worms feed on mulch and organic matter be sure to have at least 50mm of mulch on all garden beds – lucerne cut into 50mm lengths and pea straw are excellent mulch because they provide natural nitrogen, feed soil microbes and worms!  Rake the fallen autumn leaves onto garden beds if you don’t like to see them in the street gutter or on the lawn – the worms will love them!

Q.  What did the dog say when he sat on sandpaper?  A. “Ruff”, “ruff”


Had a lovely email from a customer about this treasure destination for rose lovers …

Hi Diana,

Just a quick note.  We have not been to the State Rose Garden for many years.  Our first visit was disappointing with hardly any of the roses named, and generally a ‘work in progress’.

Last week we visited and WOW we were impressed!  You encouraged us to go by telling us how happy the roses are in the autumn and they were.  Most were still blooming quite happily, with all the roses named, and with the beds and pathways formed, it was such a pleasure to wander around.
We are so pleased that we made the journey and will return in mid spring for another rose feast.

Hope this finds you Graham and Mooi well.

Go well armed with camera, notebook and sturdy walking shoes
– it’s a large park and so worthy of a day out!

Enjoy your rose garden this week …
cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 23.4.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 23.4.2015

What a wonderful weekend it was at Tesselaar’s Plant Expo; there’s no doubt about it, we gardeners are all quite mad because we go out in all kinds of weather!  Perfect on Saturday but we huddled closely under umbrellas and any shelter on Sunday in the cold wind and driving rain – nice to be so up close and personal with those of you who braved the elements to visit us at the Expo – THANK YOU!

As expected, the flowers withstood the elements – picked in a field where there was no water, laid in the back of the van and transported for more than one hour!!!  Their stems were re-cut prior to vasing and they immediately responded – rained on out in the open each night but everybody commented on the magnificent fragrance and stunning beauty that lured them into our site


We try and write concise messages about how to manage your roses and I suppose, sometimes we don’t quite get it totally right because we are doing it every day and it comes natural to us – here are a few emails from  the past week which I am sure you will benefit from reading:


I religiously read all of the newsletters that you send me and I have a question to ask regarding the regular spraying of the mix of Eco Rose, Eco Oil and Seaweed solution.

1 Do I need to also water it into the soil or only spray on the foliage?
2. Does it matter if I also spray my other flowers and small bushes and the small trees such as Buddleja and Lilac trees with the same mix, or should I leave out the Eco Rose and use only the Seaweed solution for the other plants.

I have lost some of the older roses recently so I am taking more care with the younger ones.  We have very poor clay soil here and even though we plant them in a good soil mix I think that after a while they suffer when their roots reach the clay.  Actually our most successful roses are the ones in pots.  Some of the standard roses have grown quite big and been in the large pots for years.

Thank you  … Jenny


Hi Jenny … thank you for your enquiry.  You spray the foliage to run-off which means residual goes to the soil anyway … after pruning in winter, you might purposely spray over the mulch to reduce fungal spores.  All plants will benefit from the spray program – especially fruit trees, lots of vegetables and most ornamentals!  Seaweed solution can be used directly on the soil at all/any times to improve plant health – it is NOT fertilizer – pour it from the watering can very liberally for all plants and extremely important for potted plants!

I don’t believe that clay is ‘poor soil’ because once the rose roots get down into the clay, they usually flourish unless they are drowning due to poor drainage – mulching clay will encourage worms to come to the surface and do the aerating (digging) for you … this takes time but is very good gardening practice!!!

Potted roses should be repotted at least every TWO years at which time you heavily prune the roots and bush/standard prior to repotting!

Hope this answers your queries … cheers – Diana

Not bragging but another email which came to my inbox after midnight warms the cockles of my heart and makes this journey all so very worthwhile:

Hi Diana

I received your magnificent book today and I am up till late reading every word and enjoying the photos.

I have grown many of these roses and have loved them all. Not surprised to read that Jardins de Bagatelle is one of your favourites 🙂 When I was visiting Paris about five years ago I travelled to the Bagatelle gardens amongst others.

I love your book. It’s a good, sensible reference for any rose grower, beginner to experienced. I hope to get to your talk at Tessallars on Saturday.

Cheers … Michelle.


Bit knackered this week after the Tesselaar Plant Expo last weekend but I’ve got this to share:  a lot of non-living objects are actually either male or female; hope this makes you laugh like I did …

They are male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

Also a male object, because to get them to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under their butt.

These are female, because they are soft, squeezable and retain water.

Female, because they’re constantly being looked at and frequently getting hit on.

Egg timers are female because, over time, all the weight shifts to the bottom.

Male, because in the last 5000 years, they’ve hardly changed at all, and are occasionally handy to have around.

Female. Ha! You probably thought it would be male, but consider this: It easily gives a man pleasure, he’d be lost without it, and while he doesn’t always know which buttons to push, he just keeps trying.

Respecting the ANZACS, we’ll be open for business after midday till 4.30pm on Saturday and we suggest you might drive by the Wandong township to see the ‘new’ memorial garden which we have had the pleasure of planting and managing over the past 18 months … these pics are only a very small part of the whole garden – please do take a look if you’re coming up our way …

Enjoy quiet, reflective moments in your garden this very special weekend for all Australians …
cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Clonbinane 

ROSE RAMBLER 16.4.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 16.4.2015

ROSE RAMBLER – 16th April 2015

Hello dear rose friends – what a sensational weekend we had with the friendly groups who came for the Art Expo & Rose Tours and enjoyed Ben’s awesome scones, Cooper’s delightful chat, Virginia’s gorgeous smile and Graham’s walk and talk in the garden … oops, where was I?  All about the place and enjoying every single moment of the magnificent weather and company … taking pics like this one…


GOD to ST. FRANCIS: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature.   What in the world is going on down there on the planet?   What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago?  I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan.  Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon.  The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds.  I expected to see a vast garden of colours by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles. 

ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass. 

GOD: Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colourful.  It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms.  It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.  

GOD:  The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS:  Apparently not, Lord.   As soon as it grows a little, they cut it – sometimes twice a week.  

GOD:  They cut it?  Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord.  Most of them rake it up and put it in bags. 

GOD: They bag it?  Why?  Is it a cash crop?  Do they sell it? 

ST. FRANCIS:  No, Sir, just the opposite.  They pay to throw it away. 

GOD: Now, let me get this straight.  They fertilize grass so it will grow.  And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?  

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.  

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat.  That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS:  You aren’t going to believe this, Lord.  When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it. 

GOD:  What nonsense.  At least they kept some of the trees.  That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.  The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer.  In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.

ST. FRANCIS:  You better sit down, Lord.  The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle.  As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away. 

GOD:  No ! ?  What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS:  After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch.  They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves. 

GOD:  And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS:  They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch. 

GOD:  Enough!  I don’t want to think about this anymore.

St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts.  What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE:  ‘Dumb and Dumber’, Lord.   It’s a story about . . . . 

GOD:  Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.


Q.  What did the pastor say when a bee entered his church?  A.  Please bee leave! 

Take time now to prepare garden beds for planting new roses this winter!  Why?  Because the roses will flourish and produce way more flowers in their lifetime if you prepare the planting holes like this NOW:

  • Dig a really rough hole 250mm x 250mm at least so that roots easily penetrate the clay wall
  • Mix a bucket full of well-rotted manure/bagged compost/leaves or combination of all blended with some organic fertilizer
  • Back-fill the hole with all the soil and compost blend – mounded up if necessary!
  • Water the area at least weekly with 10 litres of water and seaweed solution

Q.  Why was the teacher cross-eyed?  A.  Because he couldn’t control his pupils!


18th & 19th of April

The Tesselaar Gardening and Plants Expo has kindly allowed us to share their promotion with our loyal readers!

We’ll be at this event! Do come up to Silvan in the Dandenongs, east of Melbourne, where the autumn trees are spectacular and the Tesselaar Garden Expo hosts some of the most professional nurseries in Victoria … A REAL GARDENERS EVENT!

A must for all green thumbs and budding gardeners!

There is a lot to look forward to at the annual Tesselaar Gardening and Plants Expo
this weekend:

The incomparable Stephen Ryan hosts the free Experts Talks program, highlighting special guest speakers; David Glenn of Lambley Nursery, Attilla Kapitany of Australian Succulents and many more expert speakers cover a range of practical topics. See the website for the full details and timetable.

As a valued Tesselaar subscriber, we have included a “Buy 1 ticket, get your 2nd ticket free” offer. Simple present the below voucher at the gate to redeem your free ticket.

We can’t wait to welcome you to this fabulous weekend.

The Tesselaar family

9am until 4pm
18th & 19th April, 2015
357 Monbulk road, SILVAN

$16 – Adults
$13 – Concession
Available online or at the gate.

Your subscriber Voucher

Hope we see you gasping at our cut flower display up at
Tesselaars Plant Expo this coming weekend

– cheers from Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane



Hello dear rose friends … finally some very welcome rain has dumped on our garden – now I’ll have to add “mow lawns” to my agenda of things to do before the bus groups visit this coming weekend.

We are expecting around 150 keen gardeners over the two days and if you would like to ‘tag along’ for WALK AND TALK IN THE GARDEN WITH GRAHAM, please do join us on this coming Saturday and Sunday between 10-11am and 2-3pm.

Because the Rotary Art Expo is on in Kilmore this weekend, I suggest you take a visit into Kilmore also – there is a beaut ‘Expo Café’ at the Memorial Hall where you can partake of a truly ‘home-made’ lunch served by a volunteer brigade of workers and International School students – all proceeds to Rotary projects!


Q.  What’s the biggest mouse in the world?  A.  A HIPPOpotamouse! 

I’ve caught a few big ones this past week – since we live along the Sunday Creek, have mulched gardens and chooks, we expect vermin problems so have bait stations at strategic locations OUTSIDE the buildings and house!

The logic here is that you don’t want vermin in any building so if you bait externally, the ‘hippopotamouses’ don’t usually become a problem INSIDE where they cause the greatest grief – especially if they die in wall cavities, etc. after taking a bait that you had inside!

We are maintaining the roses in good condition despite the cold and now wet weather – every 10 days we are applying the organic rose management program and I recommend you do the same now if you want blooms right up into winter –

To 10 litres of water add:           
Seaweed solution or powder (follow pack directions)
¼ cup ECO ROSE and ¼ cup ECO OIL

It is beneficial to add liquid fertilizer to this concoction to stimulate more flowering and keep the foliage healthy – more healthy foliage means more beautiful roses!

Q.  Why don’t you take your little brother to the zoo?  A.  If they want him, they can COME and GET HIM!

Only a few more days of school holidays – bring the kids with you when you come to visit us here at the Rose Farm – there are chickens to watch romping around … good fun!  Gra


If you don’t already have them!  We all get seduced by catalogues and advertising brochures that show the new release roses every season – here are some enduring ‘favourites’ which you really should consider planting if you don’t already have them:


As a special ‘nearly end of season’ promotion, this weekend ONLY, all the DELBARD and DAVID AUSTIN roses will be reduced to $21.50 each – that’s their winter price but you’ll get them potted and flowering NOW!  If you have a garden bed ready, PLANT NOW!

You will have beautifully established roses for next season’s flowering.  Consider these couple of our favourites:



Don’t be deterred from visiting a very busy Rose Farm this weekend when there will be loads of action and lovely assistants to help you select some more beautiful roses for your garden …

If authors wrote of roses all the livelong day,
And painted them in words to match their sweetness,
They would never tell one half of the glory of the queen of flowers.

– Helen Crofton

Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

– remember, if you can’t get to visit us here then come and meet us at
at Silvan next weekend 18th and 19th April




Hello dear rose friends … welcome to all the new subscribers – hope you enjoy our ramblings and if you live close please come for a visit to the Rose Farm – CLONBINANE is just 60kms from Melbourne CBD – we are within 500mts of the Hume Freeway – entry/exit north and south!

It’s already Easter and we’ll be closed GOOD FRIDAY but open all other days of this wonderful long weekend – call in at the Rose Farm this weekend where you’ll find some super potted/flowering rose deals …




During Saturday, Sunday and Monday, there will be an Easter egg hunt operating continually – any rose where an Easter egg is hidden at the base of the flowering plant will be available at 50% OFF and you’re NOT allowed to cheat because I’ll know where the eggs are ‘laid’ … in 100 of the very best specimens around the nursery!!!

Here are three more new release roses which are available for ordering this winter at – go take a look at these pics which, remember, are NOT MY OWN! Every other rose photo represented at, excluding the 2015 new release roses has been taken by us!!!


The strongly angular red and white petals give the bloom a ‘square’ appearance, similar to a paper folded flower – hence the name Origami. Highly disease resistant and well clothed in mid green foliage, plant singly, as a hedge or in a pot. Light rose perfume.
A Gold Award winning rose – Australian National Rose Trial Grounds.


Like its name suggests, this rose is in Perfect Harmony with itself. Charming blended blooms of yellow with pink/peach edges. A beautiful Hybrid Tea with large, well-filled flowers, which are carried singly or in small clusters on strong stems. A robust citrus fragrance floats from these high-centred buds. This captivating rose blooms in flushes throughout the season which makes it perfect for cut flowers for your home. Good disease resistance. Height: 80-100 cm.


Spreading shrub type Floribunda rose with large sprays of blooms in clusters. Medium sized pointed buds, semi-double to double, mid pink to soft pink blooms, cream-yellow at the base with at times over 60 blooms per spray. Glossy apple green healthy foliage. Repeat flowering. For best visual effect mass planting in beds or borders is recommended.  80cm H x 100cm W.


I buy Better Homes & Gardens magazine for the Moon gardening guide which we use for weeding and planting.  It was a huge surprise to read a fabulous review for Diana’s book, ALL ABOUT ROSES in the April edition.  I won’t copy it verbatim for you here, but the last sentence reads:  “Taking an organic approach to growing, the book is well illustrated and the author’s passion for the blooms spills from every page.” which is why every rose gardener should have a copy of the book on hand! 

Organic gardening should not be a ‘trend’ but very much a ‘norm’ … our organic rose management program is well represented in ALL ABOUT ROSES along with many of our ‘normal’ (organic, obviously!) gardening procedures – get a copy NOW in your local book store or online at so that you have all the information you need to design and prepare a rose garden for this winter … DO IT ONCE, DO IT RIGHT! is our motto.

I like this joke:
Nigel came into the classroom with a great big swelling on the end of his nose.  “How did you get that?” asked Mr. Trilby.  “I was smelling a BROSE.” replied Nigel sadly.  “I think you mean a ROSE,” said Mr. Trilby.  “There’s no ‘B’ in ROSE.”

“Well, there was in this one!” replied Nigel – just as there are bees in the roses you’ll be smelling when you come up to the Rose Farm this weekend!!! 

Bee aware … ha ha!  Gra


Take time out with the kids this week – let them help you as Cooper did so graciously last weekend – he loaded Susie’s car with her potted roses for the new section of garden she’s been planting … we all enjoyed the experience and Susie will have herself a lovely well established rose garden this spring … autumn is the season for planting … nice!

See you soon at Clonbinane or talk to you via email if you’re contemplating designing a new garden this winter and need some FREE ADVICE …

~ Diana, Graham and yes, MOOI – guard dog extraordinaire who thinks she’s a Great Dane but weighs around 2.5 kgs of Toy Poodle!  HAPPY EASTER!!!