ROSE RAMBLER 27.4.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 27.04.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends – phew, what a month this has been and thank you to ALL OF YOU who supported the events which we have been involved with, thank you for coming to the Rose Farm and thank you absolutely for ordering your winter roses/bare-rooted roses online during this past month that the online store at has been open for winter ordering.

In coming weeks I will be uploading all the wonderful photos I’ve taken this past season – do take a look and please, if you see a photo which you don’t think does our website justice because it’s wrongly loaded, please can you shoot me an email.  I will happily add a free rose to your winter order as thank you for being my ‘online scout’ but you have to let me know … thank you so much!


Here are a few of the beauties we showcased at Tesselaar’s Garden Expo this past weekend – gosh, was it spectacular!

A healthy shrub which produces pure white blooms
displaying a swirling mass of petals on long, strong stems ideal for a vase.

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

This David Austin New Release Rose for 2017
had people stopping to check whether the flowers
were real when we presented this magnificent rose at the
Tesselaar Plant Expo in April, 2017 …
what a rose and it just got better as it aged in the vase!


There’s all sorts of talk about how small business makes this country ‘tick’ – so easy to talk and talk and talk!  Please, Australians, buy as local as you possibly can!!!  We select products for our household shopping with diligent care – the one we like MUST preferably be ‘MADE IN AUSTRALIA’ or we’ll find an alternative product of similar or better quality to pop into our shopping trolley!

YES, the Aussie product will obviously be more expensive … H-E-L-L-O … we are SO WELL PAID that all the products we make and distribute here in Australia are always going to be more expensive than what is imported where cheap labour is used to produce our overwhelming need for more!

All worth a thought as our beautiful roses have been taken in luggage to India, Thailand and UK in past weeks.  It’s a small world and becoming smaller.

Q. What do snakes write at the bottom of their letters?  A. Love and hisses …

Hope you haven’t had issues with them in your garden recently – just a few sightings here this past summer and we’re now confident again with colder weather that they’re gone off to hibernate!

… Bhagavad Gita


Here’s an email chat with Jodie in QLD who has received three consignments of roses, eco-products and Diana’s book, ALL ABOUT ROSES in recent months …

Hi Jodie … ok, so you have roses in the shade???  It’s a tricky one and you’ll have to manage it … can you trim the plants/trees which are causing shade?  If it’s the house – ha, ha, you cannot shift it!You’ll have to be very diligent with a spray program … please follow directions in my book ALL ABOUT ROSES when you get it in the post this week … put all the Eco-products into the one sprayer – spray them all over the foliage at least monthly (try and avoid the flowers because it does spoil them!!!) … NEVER SPRAY OVER 30 degrees and hot sun conditions!  Get up early and get it on before 9.00am … put half-strength ECO-OIL in really warm conditions!!!

Think about it too … does NEPTUNE need a bit of fertilizer – it’s been flowering like a ripper … yes?  All the roses will be adapting to your climate, soil conditions and quite frankly, it’s a heck of a journey from here to you, being planted in a whole new environment and perhaps a bit of stress (ie, indicated by back spot on foliage) would be NORMAL???

Remember too Jodie … it’s that time of year when the roses are ready to have a break – there one means of losing foliage to become hardened up for winter pruning is to be riddled with black spot so the foliage cannot photosynthesise, it drops, the plant becomes bare, you prune it, it rests for winter and the next minute, it’s sprouting foliage again and then very soon after, it’s flowering!

It’s a cycle with a whole of lot of ‘stuff’ in between – most awesomely, beautiful flowers pretty consistently for around 7-9 months depending on the climate where you live … All very, very special … enjoy!


Throughout the ages, humans have sought to capture the tantalizing, elusive perfume of the rose … here are some categories of scent …

  • Aromatics such as aniseed and lavender
  • Citrus
  • Flora such as rose, jasmine or lilac
  • Fruit such as raspberry, pear or peach
  • Greenery from herbs
  • Spices like cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Wood and balsam – vanilla, heliotrope at the base.

On still, warm, sunny days, fragrance from roses is at optimum and strongest for even the most ‘hard of smelling nose’!  Blooms picked when the outer petals have fully reflected will exude fragrance for days at evenly warm room temperature – so when you pick a rose that you think is hardly worth popping in a vase, do it as you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the change in fragrance when vased in a warm environment!

Q.  What do you call a rabbit who tells jokes?  A.  A funny bunny!

GOOD TIP … to test for fragrance don’t just take a quick ‘sniff’ but rather hold a semi-open rose bloom in the palm of your hands, perhaps pick it and pop it in your pocket or place it under your cap for a short time and you will soon know whether it is or isn’t fragrant FOR YOU!  Remember, we ALL have a different capacity in our sense of SMELL!

I hope you’re digging and dunging the garden ready for planting bare-rooted roses this winter … next week I’ll give you some really good hints for what to add to the soil but if you’re out and about at a garden centre this week, take home a few bags of quality manure / compost / fertilizer … remember, it’s still autumn and the most wonderful season to sort your garden for this coming winter!

Enjoy the awesomeness of your autumn garden … take a drive out our way to experience the beauty of autumn colour in the ornamental trees … we’re basking in a whole other glory here at Clonbinane!

Cheers from Graham, Diana, Mooi and our lovely assistant, Tova

“Stay cosy!”

ROSE RAMBLER 20.4.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 20.04.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as we pack the iLoad with buckets of cut rose blooms, boxes of vases, potted roses and head off to the Tesselaar Gardening and Plants Expo – which is EXACTLY what it is!

A gathering of some of the finest specialist horticulturalists who meet at this magnificent destination to show our wares and offer our discerning gardening friends an opportunity to come along and meet us all at one place – the pulsing heart of horticulture at Silvan in Victoria.  Yes, some customers have flown to Melbourne for this event!

If you require information about attending this weekend, please call us 03 5787 1123.


I have an opportunity to once again speak at the…

Tesselaar Gardening and Plant Expo

Bring along your questions!  Never, ever, not ask a question because you think you ‘should know the answer’!!!  I feel privileged and honoured to be invited to share my years of horticultural experience at these events.

For all our customers, always, if you have a query, please land it in an email or bring pictures and all your questions to us here at the Rose Farm.  Our belief is – if you don’t ask the question, the answer is NO … just bring on the questions when you have them!

ALSO! Don’t miss out on this 2 for 1 offer for tickets to the expo. Simply print the below coupon and bring it along to Tesselaars with you this weekend!

Q.  What happened to the dog who swallowed a watch?  A.  He got ticks!

Ever tried weeding in garden beds and you pull at the base of the weed but it just won’t come out roots and all?  Other times, you can hand weed such deep-rooted weeds like ‘dock’ and it almost falls out of the ground!  Well, from 21st April till 26th April INCLUSIVE will be a most successful time for weeding this month – please test this for yourself and we would love to hear your feedback!

You can source the MOON PLANTING GUIDE in Better Homes and Gardens monthly magazine so that you know when to plant, when to weed and when to take a rest from gardening!  Great idea!!!

Q.  What position does a monster play on a soccer team?  A. You’re right … GHOULIE!

This past week we experienced another “TYPICAL SCENARIO OF A POTENTIAL ISSUE WITH A ROSE IN YOUR GARDEN” … It starts rather impersonally and we eventually end up as best friends with Diana and I trying to solve a problem together with our customer …

Dear Roses online, I bought several roses from you last year most are performing very well but I have two that I cannot get to flower.  They have been fertilized and watered just the same as the others. I have tried to give them a prune and nothing seems to be working.  The two roses are Brother Cadfael and Eglantyne both David Austin roses.  Your help would be appreciated.  I can send some photos if it would help.  Thankyou.  Jayne

A photo is always helpful.  However, my thought is that the roses are not getting enough sun?????  Sometimes, when a rose isn’t performing, I will recommend digging it up and holding in a pot for some time, re-working the soil then replanting.  What do you think?

Hi Diana, I have included some photos hopefully you might see something that I cannot.  They all have full sun so no worries there.  If you can`t see anything I will remove the plant from the garden and try it in a pot.  Thanks Jayne

Jayne:  Everything seems in order … are you perhaps cutting/pruning roses which want to grow taller than others … they’re both rather tall in their habit and if you keep trimming, then you’ll deplete flowering potential …???  The foliage is healthy and in both cases, I can see they’re true to variety – BROTHER CADFAEL has that lovely new dark red foliage so is easily identifiable.  Since they’re in full sun, I don’t know other than they’re robust plants and you are potentially cutting off the flowers in order to keep the plants short … ???

Hi Diana , many thanks for your help I will leave them alone for a while and see what happens.  If they don`t flower thru the autumn I will have to put something in it`s place.  Another excuse to buy some more??  Many thanks Jayne.

Jayne:  We would prefer to resolve the issue happening in that location … there HAS TO BE SOMETHING WRONG … not wrong perhaps but definitely not 100% ok … if we can be of further assistance, please let us know  … best wishes

Hi Diana and Graham, I think that I may have solved my problem with my roses – I was digging the top of the soil to loosen it up the other day and I seem to have a lot of curl grubs.  I don`t know if they eat the roots of roses but I do seem to have a lot in there.  I would of thought that the other roses would be suffering as well.  My husband has sprayed with confidor so I am hoping that will get rid of them, fingers crossed that it is the problem.  Regards Jayne

Jayne:  Well there you go … a little bit of fossicking and you’ve probably solved the problem … would the grubs be eating the roots of the roses you ask?  We don’t know but them being there is obviously an issue … keep regular applications of seaweed solution (weekly perhaps) to those roses and please do let me know how it all goes.
Appreciate you following through and telling us about this …
Best wishes, Diana & Graham

So you see, good communication generally gets to the bottom of an issue … 10 days of backwards and forwards emailing, a few photos and Jayne will probably have those two roses flowering this autumn.

Believe me, roses are tough as indicated by our very long-time customer Wendy who popped in today and we took a walk in the garden together – she revelled in the fact that we had lots of roses flowering – hers have been dormant through a very long, hot spell in northern Victoria when she didn’t water her gardens!

A few weeks ago she turned on the tap and thoroughly soaked all her rose gardens and then we’ve had this lovely rain so she is totally excited about autumn flowering.


No matter how cold or wet, customers are invited to sniff the fragrance … aaaaah, it is amazing and very worthy of its GOLD MEDAL AWARD for MOST FRAGRANT ROSE at the AUSTRALIAN ROSE TRIALS, 2015 …

Is rich apricot now and will flower right up until the coldest winter weather shuts it down for a rewarding spell as this thornless beauty has flowered and flowered absolutely continually from October onwards …

You cannot deny a rose which has won more than 25 international awards and sold more than 90 million plants world-wide – it will flower freely until the frost tells it to take a rest!

Enjoy all the glorious moments of your autumn garden and remember, if you have a query about something in your garden, let us help you get it sorted!

We hope to see you at Tesselaar’s Garden Expo this weekend – for our interstate gardening friends, we hope you continue to enjoy your autumn roses and remember, the online store is now open for ordering bare-rooted roses!

Graham and I still hope to get across to see the 2017 new release roses flowering at Penola so that we can give you our opinion of their growing habit and fragrance – it’s so very important to us that you read our personal experience of the new release roses …

Happy gardening and best wishes …
Graham & Diana at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane


ROSE RAMBLER 13.04.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends and thank you to all who came this past weekend – phew, wasn’t it a beaut event?  We certainly enjoyed the occasion and are so grateful to you all for coming … THANK YOU!  Also, a huge THANK YOU on behalf of the Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell and Kilmore Art Society for participating and contributing to this wonderful event!

Just a quick reminder, we are closed tomorrow on Good Friday, but we’ll be OPEN 9am – 4pm the rest of the weekend from Easter Saturday, Sunday through to Monday!


Q.  What do you get if you cross a centipede with a chicken?  A. Enough drumsticks for everyone!  

We’ve had some beautiful rain here at Clonbinane so we know that after a very long, dry spell, such a rain event will result in lots of black spot fungus and potentially, some infestation of insects such as aphids – before the cold nights and rain, we had an infestation of white-fly which proliferate in hot/dry conditions!  There’s always something!!!

If you’ve been regularly spraying with our recommended organic rose-management program, your roses should look ok just as ours do – there will be some stress indication as the roses adapt to this wet and cold weather – black spot may tend to defoliate some varieties earlier than others … they’ll recover with a good quality organic fertilizer and fortnightly application of seaweed solution.

VERY IMPORTANT TO FERTILIZE NOW – this is the last fertilizer application until after pruning in late July/August.

Stressed roses are always more susceptible to black spot and undernourishment, the roses growing in partial shade due to trees blocking out the sun or the lower roots suddenly unable to function due to sopping wet soil will all cause fungal infection and defoliation.

The one positive aspect of black spot infection and defoliation is that it starts on the mature leaves, lower down on the bush, as well as on those shaded, on the inside of the plant.

If the upper leaves are protected by spraying with a fungicide, the sap flow is ensured and even with reduced photosynthesis, food flows to the roots, encouraging them to start sprouting new shoots on the denuded stems.

If your rose has dropped its leaves due to black spot infection, trimming the plant appropriately will still stimulate new sprouting and encourage blooming right into the start of winter.

Q.  Where should a 500kg alien go?  A.  On a diet …
(oh, my goodness, are these jokes getting worse or is it just ME???  Editor: Diana)



Hope you’ve got the date in your diary …
9am – 4pm

The perfect weekend for green thumbs and budding gardeners where you can meet more than forty nurseries and plant growers with a vast range of bulbs, plants and perennials on offer in the one location.

Gather knowledge with free gardening talks and information all weekend or directly pick the brains of your favourite grower or specialist. Visit for more information.

Come down and see us!


Here are a few shots of a couple of great looking roses this past week …

THE THANK YOU ROSE produces masses of very fragrant deep
mauve blooms in clusters all over a very healthy,
well rounded shrub continually throughout the season
a lovely rose to gift when you want to say a special
“Thank You” to somebody special!

Hybrid Tea rose with a delightful confection of colours
including burnt orange, amber and beige with burnt red edges.

This is a very striking rose – one that stands out when in bloom.
The flowers are beautiful in form and the colour is amazing,
yellow with orange stripes fading to a soft pink.
Tropical sunset is a great performing rose with numerous
blooms throughout the season and healthy semi-glossy foliage to compliment.

Hope you have a lovely Easter time with family and friends – perhaps a grand opportunity to have some time in your garden … enjoy the moments!

See you soon at Clonbinane where this
SAT SUN & MON we will continue the promotion..

BUY 1 GET 1 FREE for all Roses
Except those under the tunnel*

(*Conditions apply)


ROSE RAMBLER 06.04.2017 …

By golly, time is moving fast and we wish you a pinch and a punch for the first day of this month of April!  Dear Rose Friends you can be pleased we didn’t have this edition of Rose Rambler land in your inbox on 1st April … Gra was in his absolutely finest form with shenanigans for April Fool’s Day – one day I will discover his source of fun!

Meantime, I need you to know that we offer a fabulous GIFT VOUCHER service which will prove useful when you need a ‘last minute’ gift like I have organised here …

Greetings,  I am Secretary of a Community Op Shop and we are looking at a gift for a local person who has done us a significant favour.  We wondered whether you have a gift voucher which we might give her as a token of our appreciation?   Regards – Angus

Hello Angus, thank you for your enquiry.  Yes, of course you can have a GIFT VOUCHER from our business by going to our online store: and purchase a voucher of whatever value which you can print and then pop into a gift card for the recipient to redeem at their leisure either online or by coming to visit Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane.

Or, you can give me a call; I will take all the details over the phone and then post you a complete GIFT VOUCHER pack which will include a GIFT CARD VOUCHER, rose list and other info.  Talk to you soon …

SILKIES ROSE FARM continues to offer such a diverse service with gifts in $ value GIFT VOUCHERS or as beautifully gift-wrapped, potted GIFT ROSES with personal messages along with the best quality roses you could purchase online or by visiting our Rose Farm at Clonbinane – located just 500 metres from the Hume Freeway interchange.


Oh, aren’t the cooler nights glorious – the trees are starting to turn colour and I’m sleeping under a doona again!  Lovely!!!

Q. How do thunderstorms catch fish?  A.  With a lightning rod … !  

I went to see this magnificent hedgerow of KNOCKOUT – Sharyn and Ewen are thrilled with how quickly they were able to cover the unsightly wire fence at the front of their property, how low maintenance the hedge is and obviously, how their front boundary is a stand-out in their street!
Sharyn wrote:

Hi Graham … I thought you might like to see the progress. Knockout has reached the top of the fence in about 18 months. I have not done any pruning since July last year and thought I would see how it went. I read in the newsletter someone was keeping theirs dead headed. A big job over 54 meters!! What do you think is best? I am happy for you to pass on how thrilled we are and it is very easy to explain where we live. Be over soon for some fertiliser. Cheers Sharyn

Q. Why did the students study in the aeroplane?  A.  They wanted higher grades! 

Hope your kids are enjoying these Easter Holidays – get them out helping in the garden to plant winter veggies, fertilize the garden so you get the most amazing flowers right into winter and don’t be afraid to freshen up the mulch by adding another light layer because worms will start breeding soon and they’ll need protection!  Enjoy the moments with your kids and grandkids these holidays.


It’s going to be superb autumn weather so jump in the car and come visit our region for a great day out.  Print this voucher so you pay only gold coin donation at each destination where you enjoy a cuppa.

Lunch at the Art Expo Café, Memorial Hall, Kilmore will be delectable home-cooked fare as usual – served by Rotarians and Artists – COME WITH AN EMPTY BELLY for the most enjoyable lunch you’ve had in a long time!

Being the holder of this document entitles me to free entry at all attractions*
conducted by Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell and Kilmore Art Society




If you need assistance with organising a visit this coming weekend, don’t hesitate calling me on 0418 337 765 or leave a message at 5787 1123 and if I miss your call, I’ll be back in touch as soon as possible – email:

After this weekend, we’ll get stuck into some serious ‘rose information’ to ensure you get maximum flowering through autumn.  Meantime, when weather permits, don’t hesitate to apply the organic rose management program – we’re doing every 7-10 day applications here because of the very cold, damp nights which produced ‘instant’ spots on foliage.  Remember, lots of healthy foliage produces lots of flowers so to retain good cover of healthy foliage, apply fertilizer and eco-spray NOW!

We wish all our dear rose friends who are cleaning up from recent cyclone Debbie our very best wishes – we hope you are seeing light at the end of the tunnel!!!

Here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane, both Graham and Diana will be conducting WALK & TALK IN THE GARDEN with Mooi as supervisor while our assistant, Tova will assist you in the Rose Nursery where you can…



(*conditions apply)

 Our supervisor Mooi& the chooks – “I AM THE BOSS … REALLY???”


ROSE RAMBLER 30.3.2017

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ROSE RAMBLER 30.03.2017 …

While we enjoy more beautiful weather to welcome our dear Rose Friends at the end of the first month of autumn, we send our loving thoughts to gardeners who have lived through CYCLONE DEBBIE … please let us gift you a rose when you re-establish your garden!

What a glorious season it has been – we now enter one of the busiest months of our nursery year with Art & Roses visitors on 8-9 April; then our annual pilgrimage to the Tesselaar Garden Expo on the weekend of 22-23 April where we put on our most spectacular flower show …

Particularly important this week is that you can now transfer your rose wish list to lock in a winter order for bare-rooted roses – the online store is now open and there is a surprise there for ONE WEEK ONLY!!!


Although ALI BABA is listed as a NEW RELEASE FOR 2017, we have had the pleasure of this glorious rose in our gardens for a few years – we wanted to test it prior to release and truly, really, you won’t find a more robustly healthy climbing rose in a dusty orange/apricot colour – more amazing is that this rose holds foliage throughout winter which can be a very prominent reason for having a climbing rose in a certain location – we are frequently asked for roses which retain winter foliage!
ALI BABA is stunning and very, very highly recommended …

Q. When should you buy a bird?  A. When it’s going CHEEP!  

We are also re-introducing MANY HAPPY RETURNS because it is an outstanding performer and has such an appropriate name when you need a GIFT ROSE for the person in your life who has absolutely everything … they will make space in their garden or in a large tub for this beauty which flowers and flowers on abundantly healthy foliage – if you forget to trim spent flowers in autumn, you’ll get the most spectacular show of red hips (seed pods) all the way through winter!


I read this recently:  “Insects and secateurs can transmit rose mosaic virus from rose to rose. (see below pic – irregular mottled yellow markings on rose foliage).

Research conducted at the Universities of Washington State and 3 other USA Universities with funding from the American Rose Society have TOTALLY DISPROVED THIS THEORY.”

Lots of customers tell us they wipe their secateurs with bleach and other petro-chemical mediums whilst pruning … DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME or potentially cause your roses the grief of dealing with wounds affected by these chemicals!

By all means, keep your secateurs clean and sharp but be quite confident that no disease will be spread by pruning your roses and if you read such information and are not quite sure, please shoot me an email so that I can reassure you of the FACTS!

Hope you’ve been planting lots of bulbs – I’m having a ball planting mine and I know we’ll have a most spectacular spring garden again this year!  Don’t you just love the excitement of gardening?  I truly enjoy it all … Graham


It’s such a delight to read emails like this one:

“FYI…. we were all amazed at the lovely packaging, and info with the rose.  My mother and I have always been “into” roses, so she would definitely have appreciated it… I will enjoy watching it grow.   The stem is nice and strong, quite small leaves, which I suppose it just that style of rose? I will definitely keep you in mind again for sending presents like that to other friends!”

Potted GIFT ROSES will continue to be available in the online store even though we are now open for winter orders which are listed as BARE-ROOTED ROSES

If you’re confused or need to speak with a ‘real person’ to sort your order for this winter, please don’t hesitate calling the nursery on our open days:  FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY & MONDAY from 9 – 4 but please understand that we have one phone line  03 5787 1123 – yes, there is a mobile phone too but I can only answer one phone at a time … please be patient!

Know that I will ALWAYS answer your email enquiries promptly – we can even plan and design a rose garden together via email – it’s fun!

Hope you’ve got yourself organised to come and visit during the Art & Roses weekend on 8th and 9th April … see you soon at Clonbinane – Diana & Graham