ROSE RAMBLER 28.7.2016

ROSE RAMBLER … 28.7.2016

Hello dear rose friends as we head into the last month of winter and our roses are shooting madly … soon they’ll be in full-leaf and if you haven’t pruned, the coming weeks will be ideal as the new shoots will guide you exactly where to cut!   If you didn’t prune at least one-third from each stem of this seasons newly planted roses which came from Silkies Rose Farm, please do that now too!!!


After one of the coldest, bleakest winter weeks I can remember, let me start with a bit of humour:

Q.  Why couldn’t the butterfly go to the dance?  A.  Because it was a moth ball.

With more favourable weather conditions on the horizon, the coming weeks would be ideal  to enjoy some gardening time … upon completion of pruning it is wise to treat plants and their roots for fungus spores and insects which can ‘over-winter’ on the remaining branches and in mulch/soil.

Here at Silkies Rose Farm we use and recommend spraying with Eco-oil (botanical insecticide), Eco-rose (fungicide) combined with Eco-seaweed which acts as a stimulant for healthy foliage and prolific root development – we have used this organic spray management program on ALL our roses for MORE THAN 28 YEARS!

By definition, let me once again explain each of the products we use to retain consistently healthy foliage which is generally free of insect attack – remember too (don’t mean to harp on it) HEALTHY FOLIAGE MEANS A HEALTHY PLANT WHICH PRODUCES MASSES OF BLOOOMS CONSISTENTLY THROUGHOUT THE FLOWERING SEASON!!!

ECO-OIL is made from 100% plant oils (eucalyptus, melaleuca and canola) which effectively controls a broad range of insects including scale, mites, aphids, white fly and others most efficiently at the larval stage – ie, when the insect is tiny and not able to breed rampantly!

There is less risk of burning foliage using plant oils compared to white oil and other mineral based oils – care should always be taken to apply ANY oils and they should be used in the morning when the day temperature is not expected to exceed 30 degrees!

ECO-ROSE (also marketed as ECO-FUNGICIDE – same product, different packaging!) is made from food-grade ingredients and will effectively control powdery mildew, black spot and rust because it alters the pH on the foliage so these fungus cannot survive.  Can be used to treat existing fungus infections and prevent mildew problems occurring.

ALWAYS combine with Eco-Oil which makes the Eco-Rose ‘stick’ to the foliage and add seaweed to strengthen foliage.

ECO-SEAWEED – is 100% seaweed POWDER– you add water which means this product is extremely concentrated, very economical and environmentally sustainable … one small scoop to a watering can dissolves readily and you don’t use more product than is necessary for complete plant health.


Pour seaweed solution over ALL plants, especially pots, at least once a month!
I recommend you start the organic rose management program NOW –
To 10 litres water add:
¼ cup ECO – ROSE fungicide
¼ cup ECO – OIL insecticide

ALWAYS add ECO-SEAWEED (or whichever seaweed product you prefer) to the above mix and if you like foliage fertilizer, add ECO-AMINOGRO or other liquid fertilizer to the spray container – saves time, will encourage healthy foliage and prevent fungus and insect attack all in one application – do this at least monthly from here on.

Q.  How many rotten eggs does it take to make a stink bomb?  A.  A phew!

For those who still haven’t pruned, come along to the Rose Farm this Saturday, 30th July and I’ll conduct a ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATION at 10.30am – we’ll also talk about how to construct a compost heap and how to control weeds leading into spring … see you soon – Gra


We are now busy potting all the roses into coir-fibre potting mix – they’re professionally pruned to ensure they create a nicely structured bush in your garden from here onwards.

Although we will continue to pack and post bare-rooted roses throughout August / September, there’s no rush with ordering however, there will be a price increase on MONDAY, 1ST AUGUST and you can now order POTTED ROSES if that is your preferred method of having the roses sent.


As space becomes a premium in lots of backyards, here are a few of the most popular nearly thornless roses which are easily maintained and appropriate to plant on walls, up pergola posts or in pillar/obelisk frames:

One of the most popular climbing roses for a continual show of apricot/cream blooms – lush, healthy foliage – very highly recommended rose for almost any situation

Flowering almost all year, this robust, healthy climbing rose can be trained in any situation – thornless wood with a burr at the back of the foliage – stunning, stunning rose

Most highly fragrant bunches of pale pink flowers in massive clusters continually on completely thornless wood, very healthy, robust and spectacular

Have a great week in your garden – see you at Silkies soon … cheers from Graham, Diana and Mooi (rugged up while she sits with us waiting for visitors to have a hug from!)

ROSE RAMBLER 21.7.2016

Hello dear rose friends from a rather more warmish winter week here at Clonbinane – by golly but there’s been some rain all around Australia and I don’t know about your garden, but ours could do with a little bit of a dry spell so that we can go and mow the lawns!

Our garden looks a bit shabby with lots of weeds, unpruned roses and lawns needing to be mowed – we’ll get there!  Our current priority is to get your roses packed and posted; we’re busy potting them too and always here with a smile when you come to collect.

When things get busy, put them on a row as I do and you know, it all works out in the end because we’ve received some beautiful emails from customers who are so delighted with the quality of our roses.  My day travels less stressfully when I read these lovely messages during such a busy time – thank you to all of you who share happy emails with me or for the whole world to see … sharing some testimonials –

Hi, Just a note to say thankyou. I received my order quickly and in excellent condition. Very Happy,

Hello Diana, just to let you know that beautiful roses arrived in lovely condition. Nicely settled in their beds. Cannot wait until spring, summer. Thank you so much for all your help.
Kind regards, Ann
Hi Diana, Wow I’m so impressed! I will definitely buy from you in the future. The roses are large and so healthy, delivery was prompt, and communication really enjoyable. I wish I knew about your service years ago. Thank you so much!
Kind regards Maree 🙂

Yes, there are still lots of roses in the ground waiting to be dug because of extremely wet conditions so again, I urge you to be patient and I promise to contact you immediately the roses are available and ready to be collected/posted.


It is essential when planting new roses (and other plants) to blend compost with existing soil to the planting hole.  Obtain a high-quality compost from your local garden centre or the Zoo (they supply great ‘zoo-poo’ compost and use funds for zoo projects – take some bags home next time you visit).

Use your own ‘home-made’ compost as long as it smells as good as it looks – never use smelly/steamy/gluggy compost which is in an anaerobic (still rotting) state.  If your compost isn’t ready, buy bagged product!

When you add compost to the planting hole you can be sure of the following:

  • Supresses disease in plants
  • Retains nutrients and stops top-soil leaching
  • Regulates nutrient availability in plant establishment
  • Builds soil structure to reduce water use
  • Increases root depth of plants
  • Improves soil moisture access held in soil cavities which roots could not otherwise access.

Q.  What do you call a donkey with only three legs?  A.  A wonkey

On the second Sunday of each month, either Diana or myself present on 3CR Garden Show (talk-back radio for gardeners at 855 AM band EVERY Sunday 7.30-9.15am) we share with a panel of professional horticulturalists – Karen, at Edible Garden Design is always very inspiring and I would like to share her solution to a weed which can be very frustrating when it flourishes in your garden:

It’s good to have a positive attitude to problems in the garden. ‘The problem is the solution’ says Permaculture. Even so, Soursob, or Oxalis pes-caprae  can dampen the spirits of the most enthusiastic gardeners – quite literally if you spend hours in the rain removing it!

After battling this winter weed for nearly 30 years in my garden, I feel qualified to give advice and encouragement! It is possible to control this weed almost 100%, which is good news if you’ve just discovered it since it came out of warm weather dormancy. Unfortunately, digging up your garden to start a new patch, gives Soursob a new lease on life, by bringing the tiny brown bulbs up to the surface from the depths of your soil. New gardens also feed the bulbs with manure, compost and mulch.

To get Soursob under control, you have two main options – hand weeding or chicken tractors. Chickens love the stuff, as you may have seen from my recent web post.

For hand weeding, remove only the tops of the plants, including the thick white centre of the plant at the base of the leaves, but don’t attempt to dig out the bulbs as they are usually so tiny they are difficult to find and deep digging brings more to the surface. Removing plants as they appear starves the resources of the bulbs, but waiting a little longer and removing plants when the bright yellow flowers bloom removes more resources as most of the plant’s energy is above ground at this point and therefore at your mercy.

Chickens are ideal to keep Soursob under control. Use a moveable hutch or tractor moved to a different location each day but make sure to house your chickens safely each night in their predator proof house. Winter is a time when it’s hard to find enough greens for the hard working girls so the partnership of fowls and this really foul weed is perfect!

Diligent removal over the colder months for at least 2 years will result in substantially reduced and quite manageable Soursob in your garden. Don’t forget you get a break through the warmer months of the year when this weed is dormant. If you have particularly bad infestations, you can also try growing dense groundcovers and low shrubs that are just higher than the Oxalis plants, to compete with light and space.

Take a look at Karen’s website for more great information –

If you have an issue with particular weeds in your garden, don’t rush in and resort to GLYPHOSATE products as they can have very serious detrimental effects on the biological and ecological environment of your garden!  Take extreme care with their use!

From 28th July – 2nd August there is an ideal moon cycle for removing weeds – get down and dirty in your garden and reap the rewards of easy weeding during those dates.

Last joke for this week:  Q. What has webbed feet and fangs?  A. Count Quackula … Gra


There are quite a few flamboyantly striped roses available – I would have sworn I could never like them until I recognised their healthy, free-flowering habit …  here are a few of our absolute favourites…

An outstanding Delbard rose of robust health, exceedingly free-flowering and such delightfully interesting, fragrant blooms of lasting quality – highly recommended rose!

Has the most glossy foliage, dark wood and profuse number of blooms continually on a very upright, tall bush – stunning!

Is rather subtle with pink-on-pink if you are wanting to venture into stripes without going ‘over the top’ … robustly healthy and very free-flowering, aptly named for the gardener/artist of such repute …


We are so proud to offer such exceptional quality standard roses – strong, straight stems which deserve pride-of-place in your garden.

Remember to stake them with sturdy rio-rod – 16mm steel which easily penetrates deep into the soil and is there for the life of your standard roses – tie with Velcro ‘one-wrap’ which is also very durable.

See you at the Rose Farm or talk to you soon on email at  …
~ Cheers from Diana, Graham and Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 14.7.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 14.7.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends after a most freezing wintery blast here at Clonbinane and surely felt in most states … rug up Queenslanders – it just might reach you too so you’ll experience the last beautiful roses of this past season and have to get down and start pruning as we are here in the south!


So you can expect notification of orders being posted / ready for collection – however, there are still some in the ground due to extremely wet conditions – please wait for my phone call/text message and know that I am responding to missed calls and messages left on both phones.

Please email me if you have any urgent requests or need advice about your order or information about rose care during this extreme weather!


It was amazing to do a pruning demonstration at Whittlesea last Saturday where roses were still flowering – remember what I said last week, “be the boss of pruning your roses and do it when you feel it’s right to prune” – leave pruning until as late as August and you’ll still have roses flowering in November!

Make pruning your rose garden a pleasure rather than a chore … use quality, sharp secateurs and wear protective gloves/clothing knowing that once all the roses are pruned, you start the organic rose management program to ensure disease and pests will be kept at bay for when the foliage starts to emerge … here’s the recipe which includes seaweed powder/solution of whichever brand you use:

To 10 litres water add:


If you apply the three products mixed together and either sprayed or poured over your roses AT LEAST MONTHLY from pruning onwards, you will enjoy the pleasure of pest and disease-free roses throughout the flowering season!

Q.  Where did the kittens go for their school excursion?  A.  The meowseum! 

Here are a few of my favourite roses which fill ALL my senses …

Feel the strong ruffled/split petals of beautiful soft, mid-pink – huge blooms with awesome fragrance – this rose compliments the sound of nature all around me and it will definitely add a magnificence in your rose garden …

Is a gorgeously tall Floribunda rose with Hybrid Tea shaped blooms which flowers continually, producing the most amazing abundance of picking-stems which draws you to enjoy the subtle perfume on a strong bush …








Produces creamy/light yellow classic shaped blooms on a very disease-resistant tall bush with glossy green foliage and a lovely soft fragrance – excellent rose …

Q.  Who earns a living driving their customers away?  A. A taxi driver.

Hope you can make time to come to my pruning demo this SATURDAY, 16TH JULY at the Rose Farm – 10.30 and 1.30 where we’ll take a walk around the gardens and talk about all aspects of organic rose management, complimentary planting amongst roses and you’ll enjoy listening to all my ‘garble’ – the weather is predicted to be fine so bring your secateurs and stay for a cuppa if you like!  See you soon – Gra


Because we pack the roses so beautifully in damp newspaper then sealed in plastic, there’s no immediate rush to plant them but place the pack in a cool location (is there a warm spot anywhere right now?).  Then, a few hours prior to expected planting, unpack and put them in a bucket of seaweed solution so the roots are wet at planting.  Once planted, soak the soil to a slurry with the hose, pour seaweed solution over them and DON’T WATER as long as there is rain!

Remember roses DON’T LIKE WET FEET and since we’re enjoying good rainfall, the bushes are best left to their own devices with just a light, weekly application of seaweed solution poured over the entire bush to stimulate root development.

Potted roses here are already sprouting… oooh, so exciting and a promise of great things to come.  Enjoy the moments in your winter garden, even more the moments in your warm home …

~ Diana, Graham & Mooi at Clonbinane


7.7.2016 …
Hello dear rose friends!  We hope you’re enjoying the excitement of roses arriving in a parcel at your door – lovely to see so many folks coming to the Rose Farm to collect their new roses for this winter too!

Let’s get down to the basics of caring for roses in your winter garden …


We are still receiving email photos of roses blooming in gardens around the country after very mild early-winter conditions – no, don’t prune the roses yet if they’re still blooming!  If you’re fed up with looking at untidy bushes, get pruning – one thing none of us is in control of is the weather and despite frosty conditions, I’m randomly pruning roses in different areas of the gardens here – the south gardens cop severe frost while garden beds on the northern side are relatively protected from frost.

Pruning roses in our gardens here is more about when we have time or are in the mood to prune rather than worrying about weather conditions!

PLEASE NOTE … YOU CAN PLANT AND PRUNE ROSES ANY TIME OF THE YEAR – I say this with such conviction because of my 30 years of working amongst roses – every season is different, our climatic conditions are varied and really, truly, roses are the most forgiving plants.  Don’t get stuck in the rut of thinking you HAVE TO PRUNE IN JULY or CAN ONLY PLANT ROSES IN WINTER!!!


Q.  Which dinosaur knew the most words?  A. The Thesaurus (bet your kids didn’t have that dinosaur on their list!)

Should severe frost impact your garden after you’ve pruned and the bushes might have sprouted new growth, don’t panic – they’ll recover with light pruning before flowering.

One of the most important things you can do for newly planted / pruned roses is give them a soak over the entire bush with seaweed solution at least EVERY FORTNIGHT which will offer 3-5 degrees of frost tolerance, ensure great root development and make nutrients in the soil readily available to guarantee creation of healthy foliage … this will convert to masses of beautiful flowers!


Here are a few of my absolutely TOP 5 ROSES which I pick constantly for pleasure and fragrance in vases in our home:

Was the most popular rose sold in our nursery again last year and if you haven’t already got this rose in your garden, you MUST have it for a robust bush which produces masses of long-stemmed, highly fragrant blooms continually throughout the season – highly recommended rose!

Has delighted all of our customers who took the recommendation to plant this most healthy, robust, free flowering and highly fragrant rose – awesome, unsurpassed beauty and delightful GIFT ROSE ..

Is one of the longest-lasting roses in a vase – yes, striped red with dark red slashes – if only it had a fragrance!

Is a climber which produces lovely long, thornless stems of the most beautifully fragrant blooms continually – awesome rose!

Is such an amazingly brilliant rose of stunning health and vibrant colour continually – should be planted as a border of at least three plants – this CFA rose is such an enduring tribute to CFA volunteers that every rose garden should behold at least one FIRESTAR!

My list could go on and on because I love to pick roses and put them on the island bench in our kitchen … Diana complains that she hasn’t got room when it comes to cooking but she loves the flowers too – we’re looking forward to our island bench filled with lots of roses again soon.

Q.  How do you know when an egg is getting on in the world?  A. When it’s on a roll.  I was on a roll at the Langshan Club of Victoria’s Show this past weekend at Melbourne Showgrounds where I took a few beautifully washed chooks – came away with the BEST BREEDING PAIR of white Langshans.  Nice!  Come and see my beauties here at Clonbinane soon … Gra


Graham will be doing a pruning demonstration at Whittlesea Coursehouse, this SATURDAY 9TH JULY FROM 10.30 AM – 12 NOON … if you live close, this is one of the most popular pruning demonstration events – be there!If you can’t make it this weekend to Whittlesea, come see us at the Rose Farm next SATURDAY, 16TH JULY at 10.30am – bring your secateurs!


People who are coming to the Rose Farm or calling on the phone will often meet TOVA who has been working with us regularly – here she is trimming roots on roses ready to be labelled …

She is an integral part of our team now and we wish her a very happy time when she leaves on Sunday to explore her heritage in Lithuania with her father and sister.  Bon Voyage Tova – the roses will be waiting to be potted on your return!

~ Warm wishes to you all during this cold wet winter – Graham, Diana & Mooi


ROSE RAMBLER … 1.7.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends on the first day of the last half of this year and another cold/wet week here at Clonbinane where we are up to our eyeballs in bare-rooted roses and enjoying all the moments of sorting/labelling and packing your roses ready for posting and collection.  The roses are ‘tucked in’ so if you happen to be going away just let us know and we’ll either pot your roses or hold them in the heel-in beds until you get back as late as August!

It’s been lovely to read emails about the excitement of planting new roses this season; this one is worth a giggle …

Your book ALL ABOUT ROSES and Canberra Gardener are my bibles.  You may laugh, it has been cold and frosty here over the last few weeks and one morning I went out at 5.00am to put more mulch on to keep my new roses “warm”…they do look to be OK!  Cheers, Fiona

Of course, the roses will be fine in all this cold weather – the only thing some of you might need to check is that drainage is in order so they’re not drowning during extreme rain events – remember, roses do not like wet feet – most especially while they’re establishing new roots this winter!


Tomorrow is the start of ‘traditional’ rose pruning month – in the very cold zones, definitely wait until later this month or August.  Pruning early or late has no influence on the flowering time in October/November, which is determined by weather patterns during September.

There’s no rush for pruning or for that matter, planting roses this winter … we’ve got months to get organised which is ideal for procrastinators like myself!  I know that I’ll be planting my selection of this season’s new roses during August/September and still be pruning roses then too.

Q.  What did the grape say to the elephant?  Q.  Nothing, grapes cannot talk!

Bare-rooted roses will still be available in our online store until late August!


It is important to accept that you cannot prune a rose wrongly!!!

A 2m high rose bush that was cut back or pruned to 75cm last year can receive the same treatment any time now.

By inspecting and observing how each rose has grown over the past season you will see where the best stems developed and that gives one a lead – that is, to follow the strongest sap flow which is evident in good strong healthy stems and retain them while removing any twiggy older stems that have already been neglected by the bush.

Deciding how severely to prune back a rose is, to a degree, a very personal choice. The principle is that every remaining stem will sprout new growth.  So, leaving lots of stems means lots of medium to short stemmed blooms, while reducing the amount of stems will produce more longer stemmed blooms.

Because roses are sun loving plants, meaning they need lots of direct light onto the leaves to encourage photosynthesis which produces food that is transported to the roots, removing stems that are growing towards the inside centre is ideal.

Q.  What has a neck but no head?  A.  A bottle.


  • Sharpen secateurs/shears before you start pruning
  • Wear protective clothing – especially comfortable, fitting gloves
  • Prune one-half to two-thirds off each bush rose
  • Tie down and trim lateral branches of climbing roses
  • Remove all dead wood right to the crown – use loppers if necessary
  • Pruning will enhance the flowering capacity – just DO IT and enjoy getting down and dirty with your roses this winter!

If all else fails and you want me to give you a very simple, easy to follow run down on pruning, come along on SATURDAY, 16TH JULY at 10.30am – bring your secateurs!


We’ve already potted lots of selected lines of roses ready to be beautifully gift wrapped, carded with your personal message and posted in the exquisite gift box for when you have an occasion when only a beautiful rose plant will convey your loving thoughts – these roses will be flowering in October/November and afford a lasting memory in the recipient’s garden …

A Modern Shrub Rose of extraordinary health and vigour as a pleasant reminder of the hero in your life! My Hero produces an abundance of classic, shining rose pink blooms which clothe the shrub over a very long flowering season. The petals are massed and have a rather old-fashioned look when the bloom is fully opened.


A Hybrid Tea rose with a delightful confection of colours including burnt orange, amber and beige with burnt red edges. It is extremely healthy and robustly produces pale-green watershoots from the base which ensure the rose flowers continuously. In extremely hot weather, the flowers may be slightly smaller and the colour will be more intense.


Mother’s Love has beautifully long pointed buds of the palest pink with slightly deeper pink centres which may fade in the very hot sun. It is a very feminine rose with graceful branches often producing a single rose but very often a cluster of blooms. The perfume is charming.

… are just a few – go to for more ideas or select any rose at and we will make it a gift to remember!


It’s been a busy time and finally, most of the general varieties of roses are here and being processed for posting.  Due to very wet conditions, standards will be delayed even further – digging them in wet conditions causes damage to stems and can incur lasting devastating impact on the soil … please be patient!  We guarantee you’ll be pleased with the quality of our roses when you finally plant them and enjoy them flowering in your garden for many years!

Warm hugs from us here at cold Clonbinane … Diana, Graham, Mooi & Tova