ROSE RAMBLER … 24.9.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 24.9.2015


ROSE RAMBLER 24.9.2015

Hello dear rose friends … without meaning to, we had you all tricked into re-reading the R/R last week!  For me it was the funniest joke yet as my email inbox was crammed with notifications like this one:  “Aaah OMG, No Joke?  I’m having withdrawal symptoms – Kathy. The lack of Gra’s inimitably silly jokes caused a real flurry and he’s ready to give me the sack – “bring it on”, I say because then I’ll go on a holiday but then Gra would want to come on holidays with me so I would be immediately reinstated I guess?

Here are the jokes missing from last week … This one is to remind you that school holidays are here a-g-a-i-n and we all need to be mindful … Q.  Why are adults always complaining?  A.  Because they are ‘groan-ups’! 

Here are the jokes missing from last week … This one is to remind you that school holidays are here a-g-a-i-n and we all need to be mindful … Q.  Why are adults always complaining?  A.  Because they are ‘groan-ups’! 


“I am very impressed not only with the quality of the plants but the way you prepare them for travel, wrapping in damp newspaper and a little soil, it makes such a difference and the extra information is fabulous, I photocopied it and passed it on to a fellow rose lover and highly recommended your farm to my friends and family even “old Grumpy’ (husband} was impressed and that’s no mean feat.  Thank you again for your kindnesses and your thoughtfulness and most of All your Beautiful plants .. 
Yours sincerely, Gillian 

If you still have spaces in your garden where you wish to plant roses, go to and ORDER NOW … all prices will increase next week when we cease sending bare-rooted roses!

Q.  Why did the runner wear ripple-soled shoes?  A.  To give the ants a 50:50 chance.

Exactly why we prefer to use a fork rather than a shovel when digging holes in the garden because you slice through worms with a shovel while a garden fork gives worms a really good chance of survival!!!



Worms play a critical role in improving and enriching soil.  In the soil their tunnel networks create air channels, optimizing aeration and provide conduits for watering the soil.  You may say:  “I don’t see many worms in my garden!”  Well, worms need moisture to be able to track through soil so, in our hot climate, worms will go deeper into soil where it’s cool and moist – then you may not see them in the upper soil level, hence, the importance of mulch!!!

Earthworms live an inter-linked life with fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes and soil micro-organisms (all good critters!) and scientists say there are still over 60,000 soil microbes to be discovered – WOW!  How many worms and microbes are in this handful of compost?

Worms function as premium plant-residue shredders – they turn and churn and their castings (poo and wee) is a great source of plant nutrient.  An abundant worm population will produce a ton of castings per acre per year in optimum conditions.

How do you, a ‘back-yard gardener’ encourage earthworms in your garden?

  • Continually mulch the soil
  • Limit using toxic pesticides and herbicides – any chemicals!
  • Only dig soil where planting – don’t dig entire garden beds
  • Use only organic fertilizer – compost, animal manures will be a feast for worms
  • Walk on pads of mulch to reduce soil compaction
  • Be thankful for the natural work worms do in our environment and keeping our plants happy!

Q.  What happens if you eat yeast and shoe polish?  A.  Every morning you will rise and shine!

Here’s a tip:  Worms LOVE boiled pumpkin so grow plenty of pumpkins this season and when harvested, boil them up and spread the mash pulp over the soil, cover with mulch to keep it damp.  Don’t forget, if mildew is present on the leaves of your pumpkins, spray with Eco-fungicide/Eco-rose (same product, different label) so that you are sure to harvest organically approved pumpkin to feed the worms who will flourish in your garden!

Q.  What kind of a person is fed up with people?  A.  A cannibal. 

Here’s one of my choice roses to consider if you want some amazing colour in your garden this season … ASHRAM is a stunning bright orange, perfect blooms for a vase, light fragrance and can be grown in a pot too …


Many potted plants succumb due to lack of adequate watering and since many more gardeners are growing roses in large tubs due to smaller garden spaces, it is imperative to know HOW to water potted plants …

It is so, so important to water potted plants adequately and you do it by watering over the WHOLE upper surface of the pot and not just at the neck of a plant since roots are spread over the entire space within the pot!

Always leave a good 3-5 cms of space below the rim when planting into large tubs allowing space for a light layer of milled lucerne mulch and then water over the ENTIRE mulch surface, filling the pot to the rim at EVERY watering to be sure water travels throughout the potting mix and reaching all the roots which will store water.

Watering pots might seem a ‘chore’ – see it as time to be at one with nature, quiet, peaceful time but please don’t water your rose pots after work in the evening with a glass of your favourite beverage in one hand, hose in the other – get up a little earlier and be sure to conduct your watering program to the morning with your cuppa in hand!   Wet foliage overnight will definitely encourage disease issues on roses!!!

Have a beaut week in your garden with kids in tow … we’re getting organised for the Festival at Melbourne Showgrounds 9-11 October – be sure and put the dates in your calendar because Diana is on the speaking program – don’t miss her presentations at what we believe will be a spectacular spring event …

~ Graham, Diana & Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 17.9.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 18.9.2015

Hello dear rose friends … an apology for the delayed Rose Rambler this week! A slight glitch with our email marketing services, but sorted now! Let’s get stuck into this weeks Rambler…

Lots of folks out on their lawn mowers as the grass grows while you’re mowing!  Green and glorious colour in every glance, oh, the joy of spring – daffodils, tulips, lush foliage and because of recent rains, weeds pull out easily – such a joyous, happy time in gardens everywhere!


An email from a customer who ordered ‘FALLING IN LOVE’ rose … Thank you so much Diana, l really appreciate that!  The gorgeous roses arrived earlier today and l am so thrilled.  Absolutely Beautiful!  You made me laugh re: comment about the thorns on the ‘Falling In Love’ Rose … lol.  Thank you again for your exceptional & quality service. It’s a credit to you & your business.  Wishing you every continued success … and l will most certainly be buying from you again in the future. Take care & kindest regards, Nada …  This is FALLING IN LOVE … thorns and all …

What was the breeder thinking when he named this rose???  Must have been at odds with the love of his life because seriously, the thorns are SCARY but yes, the flower is gorgeous and long lasting in a vase but very little fragrance!  I would rather you purchase THE CHILDREN’S ROSE – way less thorns, magnificent fragrance, perfect blooms, strong bush and beautiful name when you need to have  GIFT ROSE … see


Because I put a good amount of wet coir potting mix at the roots, wrap the whole lot in damp newspaper and seal off in a plastic bag, the roses are travelling well and keep on growing in the box … they’ve got no light so cannot photosynthesise until you take them from the box and plant them …

Hi Di …
Here they are YAY !!!!!!!!!!  As always thank you so very much…no time to chat…I’m off to plant them.

Cheers, Jen

Good Morning Di –
It generally only takes a short time for the leaves to ‘green up’, today’s photo is of the Apricot Nectar which was in the forefront of the photo I sent when they arrived on Monday.  As you can see the colour has changed quite a lot already and they’ve only been here one and a half days.  Until next time (which probably won’t be long hahaha) thank you and all the best to you and yours. 

Cheers, Jen


It is imperative to beautiful settlement of your roses that you soak them to a slurry when planting and then soak over the whole plant with seaweed solution immediately after and then at least every fortnight until they are settled and showing signs of growth!  DO NOT OVERWATER ROSES … weekly watering with 20 litres of water, delivered at the same time so the water soaks to the root-zone is HEAPS … please don’t be a wally with water!!!

eco-seaweed has just been SUPER SIZED!  We’re excited to announce the release of eco-seaweed in a whopping 600g pack which represents amazing value for money for our customers.  It’s a 50% increase from the 400g jar without any price increase!  Reasons we highly recommend eco-seaweed 600g powder

  • 100% seaweed extract containing 16%potassium
  • Powder seaweed – easily dissolves – no heavy lifting!
  • $32.50 per 600g – extraordinary value! Treats up to 6,000 square metres
  • Screw top lid is easier to open and close
  • Includes a measuring spoon – one teaspoon per 9 litre watering can
  • Sealed in a bag inside the jar for better protection again moisture – leave near the tap!
  • Certified Organic
  • We can post it to you and suggest you demand your local nursery stock it!

Remember that every bit of effort you put into your garden NOW will be rewarded a thousand-fold and more when the roses start blooming and flower for the next at least eight months onwards!

Have a beaut week in your garden and we’ll see you at Clonbinane soon …

Cheers from Graham, Diana and Mooi at Silkies Rose Farm

ROSE RAMBLER 10.9.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 10.9.2015

Hello dear rose friends … you’ve got the rest of today and all of tomorrow for productive weeding according to the moon planting guide – the next two weeks are ideal for planting ABOVE GROUND crops so take a visit to your local garden centre, pick punnets of happy flowers and veggie seedlings to plant around the borders of your rose garden – this is an ideal way of hindering the lawn from spreading into the garden and you have the advantage of a colourful / productive display – JUST DO IT!

THINGS I MUST DO this week in my rose garden:

  • Re-trim after winter pruning – there might be some frost damage, maybe a bud isn’t producing strong, healthy growth so trim down to a sturdy outward facing bud;
  • Check all the ties on standard roses – undo, retie securely – we use and recommend Velcro ONE-WRAP – double-sided Velcro which takes years to perish;  NOTE:  metal stake extends 20-30cms above the crown for added support!

  • Tie down the canes of climbing roses – check that new growth is occurring in a direction you want the growth to be supported and flowering;
  • Heavily mulch with compost and pea-straw around all CLEMATIS – they will grow at a rate of knots now and setting flower buds – keep their roots cool with thick mulch!
  • Spray the organic rose management program – noticed aphids on kale in the veggie garden – they’re sure to find the roses so spraying BEFORE they get to the roses will  ensure we’re keeping them at bay by destroying them at the larval stage.

That’s enough work for this week!


I hope you have seen and heard frogs in your garden?  I highly recommend you limit using weedicides and other chemicals as they will have a seriously detrimental impact on the environmentally healthy status of your garden – frogs easily absorb chemicals through their permeable skins, which they can breathe through when underwater and research suggests chemicals are playing a significant and previously unknown role in the global decline of amphibians!

In recent experiments, “the most striking result was that a chemical designed to kill plants killed 98 percent of all tadpoles within three weeks and 79 percent of all frogs within one day”. (University of Pittsburgh researcher, Rick Relyea)

When you see aphids on your roses, please don’t race down to the supermarket and pick up a ‘quick-fix’ chemical spray – implement the organic spray program with Eco-Oil and maybe add Eco-Neem (if the infestation is severe) but otherwise, be patient and let Mother Nature take control – soon enough, ladybirds, lacewings, wrens and other small birds along with all other predators of aphids will abound because you’ve allowed a ready food-source for them to be part of your natural haven!

Q.  What did one frog say to another when he jumped into the river?  A.  Knee-deep, knee-deep, knee-deep!

Consider these little ditties to keep you smiling while you age gracefully, like I am …

  • When I was a child I thought nap time was punishment. Now it’s like a mini holiday.
  • If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would’ve put them on my knees.
  • When the kids text me “plz” which is shorter than “please”, I text back “no” which is shorter than “yes”.
  • The biggest lie I tell myself is “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.”  


ALWAYS use an organic fertiliser for all plants in your garden.  Why?  Because organics are taken in by plants when they need it – chemical fertilisers are water soluble and thus force the plant to take food whether it needs it or not!

Chemical fertilising may produce soft, lush growth which is very appealing to insects and black spot/mildew is way more prevalent on ‘forced’ foliage.

We use and recommend COMPLETE ORGANIC FERTILISER (COF) which is rich in humates for soil-conditioning and gently feeds the soil with a complete range of major nutrients – N:P:K (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) as well as a good blend of minerals and micro nutrients.  We understand that not all of you live close enough to our Rose Farm to be able to collect this product so we urge you to consult with a professional at your local plant nursery/agricultural supplier to source the very best (preferably organic) fertiliser for your rose garden!

Keep smiling while out in the sunshine enjoying the burst of spring growth … Gra


Dear Diana,

I can’t believe it is a week since my lovely roses arrived and no thank you from me although you will be pleased to know the roses themselves are safely in the ground and looking very happy with first rain and then days of lovely sunshine. Your effort certainly wasn’t taken for granted and we thank you. My other big thank you was for my present of “Forget Me Not”. I was thrilled.

I am a rose freak and like I do with most of my new roses, I stood over her expecting a beautiful flower to appear immediately. I know it will come one day. I am so ridiculous I used to make my gorgeous husband laugh when I would say, “Woops, I feel another project coming on,” or one day I quite seriously said, “You know, I want every rose in the book.” I thought he would fall over he laughed so much.

Again my thanks for your care and attention. I just can’t wait for the roses to grow and flower, and I shall think of you with every bloom on “Forget Me Not” and will thank you all over again. 

Best wishes, Susie
Here is FORGET-ME-NOT flowering very late autumn in a Melbourne garden:
Hi Diana …

Earlier this year you sent me 3 Forget Me Not roses, the best looking rose plants I have ever seen. I planted them in memory of my mother who passed away from Alzheimer complications. Today the first bud has opened and the house is filled with the most beautiful perfume. I only wish my Mum could smell it.

Thank you for such quality roses. Grace


Come and be part of THE big spring event in Melbourne. Meet gardening legend, ABC Organic Gardener Peter Cundall who’ll open the festival, give a gardening demo and meet ‘n greet…

If you’re a foodie, you’ll love watching MasterChef winner, Emma Dean, on stage cooking and talking about plant and food foraging. Learn too from Outback Chef, Mark Olive (SBS) about bush tucker foods, and ‘From Paddock to Plate’ local food producers.

For kids, what could be better than getting your hands dirty with DirtGirl! At the dirtgirlworld Activity Centre, why not learn how pot a plant – and get to take it home.

Other gardening celebrities such as Angus Stewart and Costa will be around to answer gardening questions. There’s an array of stage talks and presentations from leading horticulturalists and those who just know their stuff.



See you soon at CLONBINANE …  Graham, Diana & Mooi



Hello dear rose friends – welcome to spring! Today is the actual birth date of my first-born son, Eric – he’s now a strapping 35 year old lad who, most delightfully, is a true plantsman, one of Mother Nature’s own gentlemen – Happy Birthday Eric with our wish to you and yours for many happy years of gardening and good health!


I like this:



Maintain them in all stages of life and enjoy healthy life.

Soil is the engine of human existence” was conclusively decided at a recent conference at Texas A&M University – since soil provides most of what is needed to keep the human body healthy!  Humanity relies on the ongoing provision of eco-system’s goods and services and this can only be achieved with a soil resource that is utilised according to its capability and managed properly to maintain its condition!

Do we ever, as home gardeners, consider our soil in such a special way?  How can this be regarded in a practical sense when we are working in our gardens?  What can we do?  Here are my suggestions:

  • Make compost
  • Always keep mulch on open soil
  • When feeding plants use only organic materials/fertilizers
  • Respect earthworms – only walk on layers of mulch in garden beds – dig with a fork
  • Grow some of your own vegetables and fruit
  • Grow lots of flowers to make your soul sing
  • Use liquid teas / seaweed on compost to encourage micro-life
  • Apply stone-dust to put essential minerals back into the soil

And of course, as a rose grower, I would say you will grow the most magnificent roses if you apply all of the above methods in your rose garden!  A simple thought:  because roses are SO productive, they love to be cared for and then they’ll flower for 8-10 months each year!

Q.  What type of suit does a duck wear?  A.  A duxedo – of course!  And then one for every gals ‘blond moment’ … Q.  Why did the lady put lipstick on her head?  A.  Because she wanted to make up her mind.  Have a great week in your garden … Gra

YES, WE ARE STILL POSTING ROSES … Although cut back and potted, I gently lift the roses from the pot, put some of the coir-fibre potting mix around the roots which are then wrapped in damp newspaper and tightly sealed in a plastic bag.  The roses transit extremely well and we recommend you get them into the soil as soon as they arrive and this email might be helpful when your roses arrive as they do now:

Good morning Diana,  CREPUSCULE arrived safely yesterday and we put her in the garden.  I have a question.  She had many small laterals all over and these had clumps of very small shoots already in leaf — also very small leaves.  Should I trim those back and if so, by how much?  Thanks again, Gabrielle

My response:  No, no … please don’t remove them … we have sold soooo many CREPUSCULE that we are now down to the very cut back specimens … they’re ideally cut back for potting like that because as you now see, they’re producing masses of WATERSHOOTS – these are the new branches which will carry heaps of flowers and you’ll have a very sturdy plant because of all those new branches!!!  Seaweed solution over the entire plant and foliage once a week for the first 6 weeks and then fertilize … you watch how beautifully it grows!!!  Cheers


I posted a rose last week and after it was beyond retrieval with Australia Post and I realised I had sent the wrong rose, this tete-a-tete of emails followed:

Hi Diana
I haven’t received any call from you but I wanted to let you know that I have received the rose – thank you. Unfortunately, as you say, it is “Blue for You”. I would definitely prefer the Beyond Blue rose since I believed that the sale of it would contribute to the organisation to support depression in memory of our friend’s son?

Do you want me to return the “Blue for You” rose? To your farm? Should I water it again before sending it? Regards Judith

This is BEYOND BLUE rose, the proceeds of royalty payments go to BEYOND BLUE FOUNDATION which supports mental health:
Hello Judith … I took the initiative to post another rose rather than call you – please find a lovely spot in your garden for BLUE FOR YOU which is an outstanding rose … you should have BEYOND BLUE early next week – once again, my absolutely sincere apologies for this mix up!  Cheers Diana

Thank you Diana.  I shall think of you when BLUE FOR YOU flowers! Kind Regards Judith

Judith … Thanks for being so kind – the (faceless) internet affords people an opportunity to be nasty if something goes wrong and I always worry when I make a mistake – thankfully, not often!!!  Your lovely message here is ‘phew’ … you will truly love BLUE FOR YOU as I featured it in a wide-spread in my book so it is obviously one of my favourites!!!  Enjoy and take care of you at this time of grieving with/for your friends – my life has been touched by suicide too so I understand your pain!  Cheers – Diana

This is BLUE FOR YOU … a wonderful shrub rose with lovely fragrance and a magnificent display of blue flowers with silver reverse – stunning rose!

Enjoy the moments of early spring in your garden – weed today and part of Friday – don’t do any planting or gardening this Saturday but then remove weeds until next Thursday, 10th September – remember to mulch the garden immediately after weeding!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the Dad gardeners!  Have a beaut day of breakfast in bed then go weeding the garden with the kids … enjoy all the moments of being DAD!

Cheers from Graham, Diana and Mooi at Clonbinane …