ROSE RAMBLER 25.8.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 25.8.2016 …

Hello dear rose friends as we farewell a cold, wet, bleak winter which reminded me of when I was a kid walking to school breaking ice on puddles.  Of course, because of the great rains experienced around Australia, we’ll enjoy a bumper season of spring gardening!


Although I’ve successfully grown clematis for more than 25 years and wouldn’t consider my garden ‘complete’ without their magnificence, I was shocked when I started pulling weeds in the front garden yesterday to note that all the clematis are loaded with lovely foliage … I HAVEN’T HAD TIME TO PRUNE THEM! 

Normally, I prune every branch down to around 30cms and remove the spent foliage but I’ve spent all my time up in the nursery these past months and totally neglected my front garden so I had to resort to assistance from our clematis guru for advice as to what I should do … just in case you’ve not pruned your clematis this winter, here’s some helpful advice:

Hi Diana, You can prune now or leave them and prune after flowering.  Just give them a good feed with rose food.  Regards, Judy

I definitely WON’T be pruning the clematis now but WILL definitely be placing a heap of compost and Complete Organic Fertilizer then pea-straw mulch around the base of every one of those magnificent plants – I’ll do the same for my asparagus while I’m down there.

And, I suppose, while I’m pulling all the weeds which I told you about last week, I will make an effort to prune the roses too … maybe they will wait for summer pruning …???  I’m quite sure they’ll forgive me – let’s wait and see how they perform this spring/summer.


Q. Did you hear about the magician who sawed people in half?  A.  He had lots of half-brothers and sisters. 

As of tomorrow and until the end of August, we move into a very favourable moon phase for weeding … if you weed any time during the next week, you will experience the weeds pull from the soil a lot easier.

It is important to always look after your back and knees while weeding so take your time, do half-hour stints!  Extensive research has proven that gardens and gardening reduce stress, moderate anxiety/depression and assist those with post-traumatic stress.   Being in your garden – whether you’re weeding, pruning, fertilizing or even sitting on a chair contemplating which task you might do next – its ALL GOOD FOR YOU!

There has been increased interest in CLIMBING ROSES … we guess it’s because people have smaller gardens, they still want colourful, fragrant flowers for at least 8 – 9 months of the year so they’re going ‘upwards’ … here are a few of my favourite climbing roses which are sure to delight you in your garden …

Grows to around 3 metres in a beautiful fan shape against a wall with pure, bright red, moderately fragrant blooms continually throughout the season.

Light pink, full-petalled blooms with the most amazing fragrance.  This rose is the most-used flower in bridal arrangements in Europe … awesome rose!

Strong pink/magenta intensely fragrant blooms cover the vigorous branches of this supremely healthy, disease resistant climber.

This week Diana received an on-line order from MR. LAJOIE … and responded:

Hi  .. thank you for your order.  I saw your name first and thought “oh, I hope he’s getting JEANNE LA JOIE” and sure enough you are!!!  So pleased as you will be thrilled with it in your garden.  Your roses will be posted today … enjoy!

His response:  Cheers!! Not a common name here. We’ve planted one in every home we’ve had. Many thanks … K Lajoie

We both absolutely love this miniature climbing rose and highly recommend it where you want prolific cover and masses of blooms continually – ideal to espalier.

My dear mate Barry (Bawwy) has a rabbit (wabbit) that’s always getting tired so a friend suggested that he place the rabbit in the refrigerator.  Why?  Because it’s a Westinghouse.  Read it again and you’ll get it … Enjoy the last days of winter – Gra


Got space for another couple of roses this season?  You’ll notice in the online store that we are now posting POTTED ROSES but unless you absolutely have to have the roses in pots, please continue ordering BARE-ROOTED ROSES because I pack them so well, they continue to grow in transit!  Yes, they do because there is coir-fibre potting medium at their root-zone, they’re moist and travel extremely well!

When you get your roses, I suggest you plant them as soon as possible – not necessarily as urgently as Jenny did …

Good evening, Diana.  My lovely new rose arrived in the mail yesterday in perfect condition. I planted it last night in the dark when I arrived home from work. I am very happy with my new purchase and am looking forward to springtime. Many thanks. Regards Jenny

By mid-late September I will cancel the BARE-ROOTED ROSES option in the online store so please, if you need more roses this season, take advantage of acquiring magnificent quality bare-rooted roses NOW!

See you at Clonbinane soon … Graham, Diana, Tova and Mooi

ROSE RAMBLER 18.8.2016

ROSE RAMBLER 18.8.16 …

Hello dear rose friends in another week of brighter weather alluding to spring around the corner … we still haven’t done the rose garden pruning but feel the weather is definitely on our side now so it will happen in the next week or so.

Once we’ve pruned the roses, we’ll have to weed the garden beds … unfortunately, Graham mulched with wheat-straw which was ‘left over’ from the hay bales we used for seating our guests during the Art & Roses Expo.

Any field-grown mulch products – lucerne / pea straw will probably contain some weed seeds which are generally very easy to pull out but you can guarantee significant weed production if you use wheat/barley/oat straw mulch or in fact, manure from animals who have eaten these straws!

With wonderful wet conditions, we’ve watched the weeds grow in this mulch so they’ll be pulled and placed over the existing mulch as a ‘green manure crop’ of mulch!

I’ve already saved my dollars for a bulk load of pea straw to be delivered.  Once the beds are weeded, we will fertilize with Complete Organic Fertilizer and throw rock dust over the beds before we place layers of pea straw.

Oh my word, it will be a huge task but the gardens will look sensational afterwards and the results will be immense throughout this coming flowering season.

Heads down, bums up and into it!


Now is a great time to re-pot roses that you’ve had growing in tubs for more than 12 months – here’s a simple guide to follow to ensure your roses continue to flourish in pots:

  1. Select a pot which suits the type of rose you’re growing – the larger the pot for a climbing rose, the greater growth the rose will produce; miniature/patio roses will be happy for a whole season in a 400mm pot while any shrub/HT rose will perform exceptionally well in a 500mm pot – try the self-watering pots!
  2. Use a quality potting mix which is guaranteed to contain a blend of nutrients to sustain healthy growth for months
  3. Select a sunny location with no less than 5 hours of direct sunshine per day
  4. When you lift the rose, cut roots back by about half after removing all the old potting mix from around the roots – take advantage of severely pruning the rose while you have it ‘bare-rooted’ – remove all old branches and dead wood
  5. Once re-potted, soak and re-soak the new medium to expel all air around the roots and water when necessary
  6. Pour seaweed solution OVER THE ENTIRE PLANT at least fortnightly to maintain healthy foliage

Q.  Why did the little cookie cry?  A.  Because his mum was a wafer so long.

If you happen to have potted plants which are impossible to remove from the pots because of their size, I suggest you gently fork out as much of the old potting mix as you can reach, deep down into the base of the pot and refill the pot with high-quality potting mix then top up with compost, a sprinkling of rock-dust and soak with seaweed solution – plants which have been flowering in pots for several seasons deserve rejuvenating!

When you are watering pots throughout this coming season remember to WATER OVER THE ENTIRE SURFACE OF THE POT and FILL THE POT AT EACH WATERING to almost overflowing – this ensures that ALL THE ROOTS of the potted plant are receiving necessary water to sustain healthy growth.

If you water just to the middle of the pot, you can guarantee that roots which have reached the side of the pot will perish, the potting medium will become dry and the plant will not flourish – watering pots is not as ‘mindless’ a task as it might seem!

Q.  How do you catch a squirrel?  A. Climb a tree and act like a nut! 

Here are a few beautiful rose pics in the GIFT ROSE series available at and which now have lovely foliage and will soon set flower buds in the recipient’s garden to remind them of your loving thoughts when they needed them …

Enjoy the last days of winter in your garden …
Graham, Diana, Tova & Mooi at Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 11.8.2016

ROSE RAMBLER … 11.8.2016

Hello dear rose friends from a rather more sunny, warm Clonbinane where the birds a chirping loudly, the morning light is welcoming and lots of our garden roses haven’t been pruned yet!  Nice though, the new-season roses are ALL POTTED into high-quality coir potting mix where the black plastic pot acts as a ‘humid-crib’ so they’ll set roots very quickly to be beautiful plants for those of you who are late with purchasing roses to plant this season.

Don’t panic – our magnificent quality roses are available and can be planted at ANY TIME OF THE YEAR and most especially important – WHENEVER YOUR GARDEN BEDS ARE READY FOR PLANTING … this is such a vital part of gardening which is overlooked as we view TV programs which promote ‘instant gardening’.  There’s really no such thing!

Take time to prepare your garden beds and you will reap the rewards of magnificently flowering roses for many, many years – if you need advice, don’t hesitate sending an email to and we will give you all the common-sense guidance to make your garden a special place!  Remember too, all back-issues of this ROSE RAMBLER NEWSLETTER are available at so you can always find helpful information when you’ve got spare moments.


MY BOOK is now being reprinted!  Wow!  If you don’t already have a copy and would like a signed copy of the FIRST EDITION, we have the last 28 available which you can purchase at or call in at the Rose Farm.  Here is a review published recently:

“Thanks Diana, I settled in to read your wonderful book and enjoyed it right to the end. I looked at the last page and thought I saw a familiar photo and realised that I did! Thank you for remembering this old rose-lady in your superb book. I was so thrilled!  Love Laurel”


Since we’re early riser’s, it’s so nice to see daylight happening earlier so I can get out into the yard, feed the chooks, turn the compost heap and weed and prune the gardens – get set for a bumper spring!

Q.  Did you hear about the two silkworms who had a race?  A.  It ended in a tie. 

Now, I don’t know anything much about silkworms but I do know that if you don’t start the organic management rose spray program NOW, you might have to contend with insect infestation on your roses in early spring!

I urge you to start spraying as soon as the roses are pruned to be effective in controlling aphid/mite/scale and other bugs in the LARVAL STAGE … that’s when they first start breeding – if you reduce the incidence of their numbers NOW, you’ll be more than a step ahead – believe me, when we know we’re going to have a bumper spring because of all the lovely winter rains, the insects are definitely thinking the same thing!


When you’re out in the rose garden either pruning, planting or walking on garden beds, please take biscuits of straw to step on.  If you think your roses have ‘sunk’ due to the wet conditions, fork around them and gently lift them by placing some soil/compost under the upper-level roots so the bud-union is above soil level to ensure the rose can produce lovely fresh water-shoots at the crown.

Birds will often fling mulch over the bud-union which is ok because it’s usually a friable medium and water shoots can push their way through.

Q.  Did you hear about the Frenchman who hated snails?  A.  He liked fast food!

Talking of snails – with recent rains, conditions are PERFECT FOR SNAILS to proliferate in your garden – you can place small trays of beer around the garden for slugs and other pesky insects to drown in but I prefer to use ‘pet-friendly’ snail baits to protect my veggies, bulbs and perennials.  Be vigilant NOW.


I said to Diana today, “when I plant any rose now, I want to be sure it’s a standard” because I find them just so easy to maintain.  Pruning standard roses is an absolute pleasure because I don’t have to crouch to the ground – I know there’s lots of air-flow around my standards which means I can plant herbs and veggies underneath and standard roses add a lovely high profile in my garden.

The extraordinary quality of our standard roses this year is such a pleasure and I recommend you take a look at the varieties we have to offer – a few UNUSUAL varieties which I recommend are:

Such strikingly beautiful form and a strong grower

Most free-flowering, healthy David Austin rose

Beautifully, highly fragrant, perfectly formed blooms on a strong, healthy bush

All the above varieties are pretty rare to find and they would all make a lovely statement in your garden for years to come – I remember visiting gardens in Alexandra years ago whilst researching my family – there are roses in the Church garden there that must be more than 50 years old!  If you’re getting a bit ‘long in the tooth’ like I am, plant standards and enjoy having roses at eye-level and so you don’t have to crawl around the ground when you want to pick a bunch of roses for a vase in your home!

Here’s a pic of our darling little Mooi who loves to be with us up in the nursery – she chose a sunny spot one cold morning this past week … we laughed and want to share the joy.


Have a beaut week in your garden…
Graham, Diana, Mooi & Tova at Clonbinane


4.8.2016 …
It’s another whole new month and we start to see new foliage emerging on our roses – be sure to protect all that development with the implementation of the organic rose management program which you should continue at least monthly to ensure prolific healthy foliage which in turn will offer magnificent blooms soon!

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face – Victor Hugo



Most of you will now have your roses planted – there was a bit of doubt about what Graham mentioned last week – “prune 1/3 of the new bushes back” … yes, DO IT as this will promote creation of WATER SHOOTS – these are the thick stems which shoot from the ‘crown’ (the point where the rose was budded).  Roses which are now being posted to you or collected in their pots here at the nursery are all VERY PRUNED and producing magnificent new growth!

See these ‘trimmed’ PAPA MEILLAND which are now potted in the nursery – your roses will do exactly the same if you give them a good prune NOW …

When roses produce lots of water shoots you can be guaranteed there is great root development which means the rose will continue to produce magnificent blooms throughout this flowering season – on new roses, these sturdy water shoots are an indication that the bush will be extremely well established for many seasons to come!



“I received your latest newsletter yesterday, & I accidentally deleted it, while attempting to get used to a new tablet I had just purchased. I meant to press save, buy somehow pressed delete.  I wonder if it’s possible for you to send it to me again, as I get very good information from your newsletters.By the way I brought some bare rooted roses from you a few months back. I have followed the advice in your newsletters about spraying with the “ECO” products, & I just wanted to say it’s worked a treat & they are thriving.  In fact, if you want a recommendation for the Eco products here’s my experience.

I had an older rose that had really suffered during last summers drought & very hot weather (despite my best efforts to look after it). When I received the bare rooted roses, you had also included information about using the Eco products, so I purchased some (as recommended), & began spraying that sick rose every fortnight. When I began the rose was just sticks, with no leaf at all & I thought I would lose it. In fact it looked so crook I never even gave it a winter pruning.

That rose responded like nothing I have ever seen.  It went from bare sticks to producing foliage quite quickly. Then quite remarkable, given the fact that it was quite cold, the rose formed petals & next thing it was in full bloom.  That rose right now has mass foliage & has rose flowers all over it. That’s remarkable considering we have had quite a number of heavy frosts, & it has been cold & windy.

My neighbours can’t believe it, nor can I. That’s so much for the advice about the sprays they are brilliant. Hope you are able to re-send me the latest newsletter.  Mervyn”

Truly, really, if you want to have beautiful, healthy-foliaged roses throughout this season, roses which produce masses of blooms continually and give you the greatest pleasure, please use the ECO-PRODUCTS which we have used for more than 25 years of rose-growing – safe for us and our family who have grown up around roses, safe for our visitors and customers who purchase our fabulous quality roses!

If you cannot find the OCP (Organic Crop Protectants) products in your local garden centre, please go to our online store and we will send the products to you via Australia Post.  ALL PRODUCTS MADE IN AUSTRALIA – ALL REGISTERED ORGANIC!



I had another lovely group of people for rose pruning demonstration last Saturday and if I am about when you come to visit us at the Rose Farm, please don’t hesitate asking for a special demonstration – always happy to oblige!

Q.  Why did the bees go on strike? 
A.  Because they wanted more honey and shorter working flowers.

In MY garden I have a couple of lovely hedges of DAVID AUSTIN ROSESMUNSTEAD WOOD and MOLINEUX – here are a couple of varieties which I’m definitely going to plant as hedges in coming months … they’re so much like peony flowers …

Large globular clear pink flowers with strong rich, old-rose myrrh fragrance.  The blooms are held on strong, thornless stems of a very healthy, robust bush of 1.2 x 1 metre – very highly recommended rose!

One of the largest blooms in the DA selection and has an exceptionally strong tea-rose perfume.  Can be used as a short climber or nicely rounded, slightly arching shrub to 1.5 x 1.5 metres – awesomely beautiful rose!

Magnificently fragrant blooms of clotted cream on a sturdy rounded shrub to delight ALL your senses continually throughout the flowering season – stunning

We are constantly asked about PEONY ROSES (they’re not ROSES AT ALL) – but rather, an herbaceous plant which flowers in spring/early summer and unless you live in a very cold zone or are prepared to place ice over their corms whilst they are developing flowers in late winter, we suggest you grow some of these David Austin roses which will afford you huge, frilled-petalled blooms from spring through to winter and have all the glory of PEONIES!

Q.  What is black and white and dangerous?  A.  A magpie with a machine gun. 

With spring fast approaching we can see the magpies starting to pair-up, the kookaburras keeping an eye on them and yesterday morning, I’m sure I heard a thrush … all signs of the birds around us starting to build nests when their bubs herald the new season.

It’s been pretty wet EVERYWHERE so do take care while trouncing around the rose garden, whether you’re pruning or weeding … be sure to take a couple of ‘biscuits’ of straw, maybe thick wads of newspaper or pieces of carpet to stand on because your weight will compact the soil and could cause long-term damage and drainage issues in the garden!

Once you’ve pruned all the roses be sure and fertilize with quality all-purpose organic fertilizer – pick up a bag of COF (complete organic fertilizer) when you visit or get the best quality you can buy at your local garden centre.  DON’T FERTILIZE NEWLY PLANTED ROSES just yet – seaweed applications weekly for the ‘new roses’ then fertilizer for ALL THE ROSES again in 8 weeks …

See you soon at the Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane … Graham, Diana, Mooi & Tova