ROSE RAMBLER 22.10.2015

Hello dear rose friends as the first magnificent blooms emerge from our frosty, colder than normal winter season – the fragrance and beauty is a delightful reward for our efforts and patience, especially when we know how many of you have been enjoying beautiful roses for many weeks already!

There are a lot of open gardens and events which we have been invited to share with you:

The Rose Society of Victoria Inc.

SATURDAY November 7th – 1 pm to 5:30 pm
SUNDAY   November 8th – 10 am to 4:30 pm

Mount Waverley Community Centre
Cnr. Stephensons Rd & Miller Crescent, Mount Waverley
(opposite Mt Waverley Railway Station, off street parking available)



Or do they?  Here’s an email from Darren …

Hi Diana, I have a quick question – my Reine des Voilettes is currently flowering and there is no scent at all.
I thought this rose was supposed to be highly scented, Is there any environmental factors that can affect scent?  Thanks 

My response:  Hi Darren … maybe it’s YOU ????  Could it be the heat ????  Take a bloom, lay it in the palm of both hands – your body heat will warm it – then take a really clear, long sniff.  REINE DES VIOLETTES

is most definitely a fragrant rose!  There are times when I have detected absolutely NO FRAGRANCE in THE CHILDREN’S ROSE which would be considered one of the most highly fragrant roses in the nursery … it’s all about time of day and where your olfactory senses are at … please let me know how you experience this … cheers, Diana

After emailing that his neighbour come in to check for fragrance, no, she couldn’t smell anything either, the following day I received this email:

YAY!!!  We have success – the rose smells beautiful!! That rich old rose smell.  How bizzare! The sun yesterday must have taken all the scent out of the flower, I know it happens with some of my others (The Prince seems to get stronger scent in the sun and others get weaker but never zero scent like this) – Thanks for putting up with my cyber sooking hehe  Have a good weekend 


Let’s start with something funny because I’m about to get serious … Q.  What sort of hat does a spy wear?  A.  A peek cap! 

It is reported that Australian’s dump 40% of their food waste in garbage bins which then ends up in landfill sites.  If you want to take positive action to stop this happening at your home, here’s a really great idea which I have been trialling for several months since being shown how to by Helmut at Wandong –

Take 1 metre (approx.) off-cut lengths of 100-200mm (or greater if you can find it) stormwater pipe, either plastic/terracotta/concrete and push them very firmly into a garden bed – particularly important if you have a large-breed dog who could push the pipe out of the ground – compost is LETHAL for your pets!!!

The pipes should be located very close to the kitchen.  If you can find a ‘lid’ that would be good – just to keep vermin/birds/pets out.  Each time food scraps are added to the pipe, have a bale of straw/milled lucerne/shredded paper close to lightly cover them – this will add air which is a very important component in good compost-making!

You shouldn’t need to water into the pipes since most food scraps contain lots of moisture but occasionally, if you’re out with a watering-can of seaweed solution, slosh it into the pipe for added nutrient/break down capacity.

Worms will very quickly work out what you’re doing and take up residence in your ‘pipe-house’!  Keep a check on what’s going on by lifting the lid once the pipe is filled up.  Leave it for about 12 weeks then raise the pipe and harvest the humus/compost layer to place around newly planted seedlings, roses, planting holes for all plants.

ALWAYS cover the fresh compost with straw mulch – exposed to the sun, the precious microbes in the compost might die!

An average household will need to have four or five compost pipes to adequately accommodate kitchen scraps.  For a really funky look, get the kids to paint them in all different colours, let them test their graffiti skills at home and add a supremely environmentally-friendly composting system to your garden!

Helmut died at a grand age recently; as a tribute to his life of practicing and sharing, I feel compelled to share his infinite knowledge of ‘natural gardening’ and I hope that you will use this simple, easy, economical and sustainable way of caring for our environment by reducing land-fill waste and composting your food scraps – I am because it does work!

I am doing a COMPOSTING WORKSHOP for Mitchell Shire on SATURDAY, 7th NOVEMBER starting here at the Rose Farm at 10.00am to demonstrate all my composting methods – then we’ll go to the CLONBINANE COMMUNITY HALL (just up the road) to build compost heaps for the Community Garden there.

Bookings are essential – call us on 5787 1123 or contact Council’s Waste Education Officer, Anne McLean:  5734 6200 or email

Just so I know you’ve read all my ‘garble’ and you’re waiting for the second joke, here it is:

Q.  What has four legs and doesn’t walk?  A.  A table – of course! 

Enjoy building your new ‘pipe-houses’ which are sure to be a success during the warm months ahead … Gra

Here are a few pics from around the ROSE FARM this week …
Morning meditation – Gra watering – yes, it requires concentration while being so meditative!

First roses and clematis:  JOSEPH’S COAT climbing rose –
Enjoy all the glory of your rose garden … Diana, Graham & Mooi 

P.S. These gardens will be sensational and very worthy of a day in the country …

ROSE RAMBLER 15.10.2015

ROSE RAMBLER … 15.10.2015 …

Hello dear rose friends –thank you so much to those who visited our site at the Garden Festival this past weekend – I was happy to ‘eye-ball’ some familiar faces in the audience at my presentations – sincere thanks for your support and welcome to all our new subscribers!  This was our site:

When you visit us at STATE ROSE AND GARDEN SHOW at WERRIBEE on Saturday, 14th and Sunday, 15th November – we have an outdoor display with lots of FLOWERING roses and you will enjoy the expert advice from TWO Consulting Rosarians – myself and our son Eric will be there all weekend so do put these dates in your diary – the State Rose Gardens will be in full bloom!

It’s a FREE event (please do give a gold coin donation at the gate because these gardens are managed by a host of volunteers!) and there are lots of displays from nurseries and garden suppliers, delicious food and coffee stalls.  More in later R/R editions …just keep the dates free … this is our PREMIER EVENT OF THE YEAR … to be right there in the most spectacular, world renowned State Rose Gardens – you MUST BE THERE TOO!


It’s from emails I receive and respond to that you will learn lots about those issues we ALL have with rose gardening so read on, weeds first:

Hi Diana, I read with interest your response to Jane regarding onion weed.  I have had great success in “smothering” onion weed in my garden beds with thick wads of wet newspaper covered with a heap of mulch around the rose – making sure I leave the base of the rose clear.  Once that has been lain down the onion weed – and every other weed for that matter has given up the ghost and just disappeared for good.

By the time the newspaper decomposes along with the mulch (couple of years depending on how thick it is laid out) the soil condition has drastically improved into a rich lush (delicious) soil and there isn’t a weed to be seen! 

Rosily and cheerily, Deb

ANYTHING has to be better than using lethal chemicals which contain glyphosate (Roundup) in a rose garden and our environment!


Hi Diana, I have a continuing infestation of aphids on some (but not all) roses. I have been using your recipe and plan to continue using it: my question is whether or not I am diluting the effect as I add seaweed solution to the mix? Why would some roses be more prone to aphid infestation than others? Taste or health of the plant? 

Lots of horse manure available if you want it…..regards, Peta

My response:  “Yes, we’ve got a plethora of aphids too but in the same breath, there are masses of ladybirds (every time I look they’re mating!!!)

and the little birds are keeping on top of eating them too!  You’re NOT diluting efficacy of eco-oil by adding seaweed!  It’s strengthening the cell wall of rose foliage!!!!

I ask the same question as you … why lots of aphids on some roses and not others???  Is it the location?  More confined, easier for aphids to access, less wind, some varieties have more lush foliage in the early spring flush???  All possibilities/probabilities and MOTHER NATURE takes over and does HER job which is one of the lovely challenges of gardening … keep looking out for ladybirds and as long as you’ve got lots of little wrens, sparrows and other birds in the garden, they’ll surely be feasting on the aphids – just like this ladybird – she’ll have them all cleaned up by the end of today!


Your horse poo … I will share it around that you have lots available for collection – lovely stuff and just down the road from Silkies Rose Farm so customers might bring their trailer and load up while they’re here!  Thank you … Diana


Hi Diana, We bought a young rose, which unfortunately never survived planting.  There isn’t anything wrong with the site as we have four other roses surrounding it.  But I have read somewhere that you shouldn’t try to plant a rose where another has died as the new one will die.  Someone else suggested that it was about the bugs in the soil and suggested digging all around the old rose and putting a cardboard box with new soil in its place so the new rose can establish better.

As I have no idea what I’m doing I thought I’d better ask before trying to buy, especially if a particular type of rose is the best answer. 

Cheers, David

My response:  Hello David … do you think the rose you purchased was good quality?  Also, if the rose was only planted this winter, it’s not possible to have the ‘soil sickness’ that is often referred to when planting into the same location where a rose has been growing for many years – the dead rose would only have been there a short time I’m assuming???

I suggest you turn the soil well, add seaweed solution weekly until you purchase a new pl
ant for that location – buy a lovely healthy specimen and I think you’ll be fine!  I hope this is helpful.  Cheers – Diana


Andrea sent through pics of affected foliage low down on her newly planted roses – I suggested she go out at night with a torch and see which critter was eating her roses and this is what she discovered … Hi Diana!!!  Guess what? I found out I think its earwigs eating my roses at front and also my magnolia at back.  So, last night I put down little dishes of BEER!  Voila, today there are dead earwigs in the bowls!  I now have little dishes of dead earwigs!  At least they had a happy ending! Ha ha 🙂

Thought you would appreciate this little tip which I’m sure you have heard of before.  I did not want to put pellets down in case of animals getting them.

Andrea and Stephen

The story doesn’t end there … Andrea sent a follow up which reads:  “I have just re-done the beer for tonight!! Little alcoholics!  P.S. there is one unhappy camper in the story of the earwigs and that’s my husband!  He couldn’t understand why his beer supply was diminishing so quickly!  Yes the little earwigs had premium Boags! He was most upset to think I had given them the best!  Needless to say we are off to Aldi to get some less premium beer for the darling earwigs!  Andrea”


Just a joke this week since I’ve been busy holding the fort while Diana has been off gallivanting at the Garden Expo!

Knock, Knock.  Who’s there?  Mice.  Mice who?  Mice to meet you! 

Be very vigilant with filling mice bait stations OUTSIDE of your home and definitely OUTSIDE the chook enclosure!  Never put mice bait stations INSIDE your home because you will then have issues with rotting carcasses in walls/under the house/in the ceiling!!!  Please check that vermin haven’t dragged bait out of the bait station because mice bait is lethal stuff if your pets get to eat it!!!

Q.  Why do gorillas have big fingers?  A.  Because they have big nostrils! 

Enjoy all the moments this magnificent spring weather has to offer
– see you soon at Clonbinane – Graham, Diana and Mooi 

ROSE RAMBLER 8.10.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 8.10.2015 …

Hello dear rose friends as the frenzy builds for a spectacular Horticultural & Gardening Festival event at the Melbourne Showgrounds starting tomorrow, Friday 9th until Sunday 11th … we’re ‘bumped in’ with our safety vests on, set up our presentation and would love to see you visit our display and hear Diana speak on MAIN STAGE – Friday from 1.30pm – 2.10pm and again in the DEMONSTRATION AREA with friends from OCP on Sunday 1.30pm – 2.10pm where we’ll show you how easy it is to prepare and spray the organic rose management program to ensure you grow the most beautifully healthy, abundantly free-flowering roses in your garden!

Also come visit Diana at Stand D30 at the festival this Friday, Saturday & Sunday, where she will happily sign a copy of her book ALL ABOUT ROSES and show you how really works. See you there!


There is no greater delight than personally meeting our ‘online’ customers – very recently we have had customers from NSW and QLD visiting Victoria and SILKIES ROSE FARM was on their agenda whilst driving down the HUME FREEWAY.  Since we are within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE interchange we would love to see YOU when you’re down our way!



Hello Diana – Thanks for your return phone call. I receive your newsletter each week and enjoy the read.

I am located in Eltham, Melbourne.  I am disappointed with the way my roses are waking up after winter.  A similar thing happened last year but I put it down to relocating them and that perhaps the soil in the new location was not rich or prepared enough.  The roses seemed to develop good buds but when they open they are not fully formed leaves; just look like unopened wispy shoots.   I fed them with a combination of your fertilizer and when I ran out used “Roses Only”.  I also put down some compost which I purchase from Betta Growers.  It is provided in handy sized bags and they say it is suitable for roses.  I seem to recall reading somewhere (may be your newsletter) that mushroom compost is not good for roses.  I suspect the compost I used may contain mushroom compost but the contents are not fully listed on the bag.  Do you think this could be the cause of my rose problem?  At first I thought it might have just been the colder weather delaying the new growth but I have a couple of roses in the area and in another area doing the normal thing (they don’t have the compost on them). Attached is a photo of the rose growth (note the standard roses are healthy and were purchased from you last year; they are co-located with the bad performers (also provided photo of another rose in the same area which is also healthy; it is a La Marque).  There are about 8-10 roses that I am concerned about.

I spray the roses with the recommended dose of eco rose, liquid seaweed, eco oil.

Re the use of weed spray; I may have used some last year but on a lower section of the garden on a gravel path (near the Dublin Bay climber).  I normally use a wand not a spray.

I would really appreciate your advice on what the problem might be and how to get the roses moving. Thanks Diana. 

Regards Kathy
Pic of Dublin bay with affected foliage:

MY RESPONSE … Ok, there are a few roses in the nursery pots doing the same thing???  Has happened before and our agronomist recommended using YATES TRACE ELEMENTS … fixed the problem in no time – if you can get hold of a pack of ROCK DUST that would be good for them too … fortnightly applications of seaweed solution will help the TRACE ELEMENTS do the job.  You might check with the source of compost what EXACTLY they have in the product????  A bit spooky that roses you DIDN’T put the compost on are doing fine!  You must be asking the question yourself???

They’ll come right in no time, I’m sure – please keep us posted.  Hope this is helpful … cheers, Diana


Dear Diana & Graham – Could you help with any suggestions on how to kill or manage onion weed in gardens?  
Thank you, Jane
MY RESPONSE … Hi Jane … I wait for a moon phase which is most beneficial for weeding and pull them out by hand!  Yes, might be considered a NUT but it works for me!!!  One particular garden bed where onion weed is quite rampant can be a challenge but I pull them every single time I visit that garden – most times I get the bulb and all – must be just lucky sometimes I guess.  Hope this works for you … cheers

To which Jane responded (hope she was having a giggle as I did):  Thanks for your reply, thought that might be the answer … Jane


Yes, aphids are in the wind from pasture areas all around Australia.  To control these critters and allow ladybirds and other predators to build up good numbers in your garden, DON’T USE ANY PESTICIDES – not even Pyrethrum as you will kill ALL the beneficial insects!   Look closely and see the beneficial ‘lacewings’ too …
Q.  Why wouldn’t they let the butterfly into a dance?  A.  Because it was a mouthball!

I caught Diana intensely studying one of the climbing roses on an arch in the nursery and she was keen to show me 3 ladybirds (two of whom were sleeping so late in the morning?) and estimated there would probably have been no less than 10,000 aphids on the plant – yes, she’s prone to exaggeration so modified that to 1,000 aphids – how could 3 ladybirds possibly keep up with eating all those aphids?

Aphids are voracious breeders and their numbers are dominant – it takes a while for ladybirds and beneficial insects to populate as rapidly as the aphids so if you start spraying with ‘quick-fix’ chemicals, you’ll kill ALL the beneficials but not ALL the aphids and they’ll be breeding rapidly before you even put the sprayer back in the shed!!!

ECO-OIL however, will assist in the control of aphids by suffocating them – it is especially effective on their ‘babies’ at larval stage which interrupts their breeding cycle.  If there are huge numbers of aphids inundating your roses, add ECO-NEEM to the ECO-OIL so when the aphids suck the foliage, ECO-NEEM goes into their brain and tells them to stop eating.

There is obviously a way more scientific explanation of this product but this is my simple interpretation of how ECO-NEEM works – it seriously does reduce aphid infestation!
Neither ECO-OIL nor ECO-NEEM will impact on beneficial insects or bees – in fact, HIPPO enhanced ECO-OIL has elements which attract, yes, ATTRACT all the good insects to your garden!

Amazing Australian research and development by OCP (Organic Crop Protectants) for the benefit of OUR environment – please use these products in a regular, monthly spray program to be sure you enjoy trouble-free, happy roses flowering in your garden!

Q.  Why do milking stools only have three legs?  A.  Because the cows got the udder.

We are almost flowering here and one of our earliest flowering roses is the most glorious GOLDEN CELEBRATION – the fragrance oozes from this gorgeous, petal-filled bloom which nods from the clambering canes continually throughout the season … this wonderful rose is also a delightful gift for anything relative to a 50th celebration!

Enjoy all the beauty in your garden this week – see you at Melbourne Showgrounds or at Clonbinane soon … cheers from Graham, Diana & precious guard-dog Mooi …

ROSE RAMBLER 1.10.2015

ROSE RAMBLER 1.10.2015

Hello dear rose friends – a pinch and punch for another whole new month – Happy Birthday to my beautiful little sister Sandy today – since she’s not settled in her new home yet, I may not send her a GIFT ROSE  but if I did, I would have sent MANY HAPPY RETURNS

or maybe CLOSE TO YOU

but I might send her either one because most roses can be grown in a large tub and she can take the rose with her when she creates a garden at her new home!  If you have an event which offers you an opportunity to send a gorgeous, long-lasting rose bush, take a look at for a lovely selection of rose varieties to inspire you.

All roses will grow to their maximum size when planted in the soil but when grown in planters, their size will be naturally limited by the size of the pot but they are ‘transportable’ and very versatile as they can be moved around the deck, even inside to shaded areas for an event and when they’ve done their job in a pot, plant them into their final resting place in your garden.

If you have no option but to plant roses into tubs, consider removing the base of the tub (or poking very large holes into it) so that the roots can move right down into the soil below a paved area or whatever surface they’re placed on – up in the nursery we have arches with climbers and clematis so we’ve removed the base of the tub to allow the roots access to soil and moisture – the growth has been amazing since we did this!


It’s time to get your irrigation system in order – check all drippers/sprays and clear them of insects, etc. because it’s time to start watering your garden – we use ‘shrubblers’ where the water output can be regulated according to different plants requirements

Q. What has a sweet taste and flies?   A.  A lollipop left out in the garden. 

Water availability at root level, especially now, determines the stem length and number of flowers throughout the coming months.  On rose bushes, the miracle of plant growth is amazing at this time of year and one weekly soaking of 20 litres per plant during October will ensure solid root development resulting in prolific flowering and strong healthy bushes which will withstand the pressures of whatever weather conditions prevail.


These curly leaves are an indication of mildew – you MUST take action immediately by spraying with eco-rose/eco-fungicide (same product) when you see this happening on your roses …

Keep your monthly organic rose management program happening – it’s easy, effective, really economical and guarantees healthy, robust, free-flowering HAPPY roses throughout the season!

Q.  What’s brown and sits on a piano stool?  A.  Beethoven’s LAST MOVEMENT! 

Because of the amazing growth occurring with flower buds developing, fertilize NOW (if you haven’t already) and apply seaweed solution regularly to increase thickness of the cell wall of your plants to withstand all weather variables – apply every fortnight all over the leaves to ensure your roses enjoy up to 5 degrees frost and heat tolerance!

Hope your garden is well mulched as we head into the warmer weather – planting seedlings of NASTURTIUM which add a lovely colourful ground-covering mass will act as a ‘double-whammy’ because the plant secretes a mustard oil which many insects find attractive and will seek out – particularly cabbage moth.  Alternatively, the flowers repel aphids and cucumber beetle; planted around apple trees is advantageous to repel codling moth… plant Nasturtium after frosts just as you would tomato seedlings.  It’s all happening now … Gra




Be sure to attend this spectacular gardening event at the Melbourne Showgrounds which is sure to be a most entertaining event for the whole family!  Come visit with Diana at Stand D30 where she will happily sign a copy of her book ALL ABOUT ROSES and show you how really works.  See you there!

If you’re not planning to come to the Horticultural and Garden Festival in Melbourne next weekend, then maybe you’ll take a drive to CHARLTON and support this wonderful community who experienced devastating floods in September, 2010 and again in January, 2011 – you will understand the tenacity of country folk and enjoy their hospitality when you visit Charlton!

~ Graham, Diana and our darling Mooi who loves cuddles with our visitors!