ROSE RAMBLER 25.5.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 25.05.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as the days get shorter and we’re seeing the last of our beautiful roses for this rose season … aaaw, how we will miss the fragrant beauty on the kitchen island bench but oh, how I will enjoy having a clear space for the next few months – as the garden changes, so does the interior of our snugly home!

In glorious sunshine we’ve been madly labeling all the roses which we collected last week and lots of orders are being processed for posting/collection – don’t despair if we haven’t called or emailed you about your order – this first consignment of nearly 5,000 roses is only the beginning of a HUGE season!

It is sooooo important that you practice PATIENCE at this time … if your order contains the very new 2017 release roses or standard roses, there will be a delay in dispatch as these varieties are allowed to have a bit of cool weather to ‘harden up’ before they are dug!

We are committed to processing your order as soon as it becomes available for posting or collection and WE WILL CALL OR SMS TEXT YOU AS SOON AS THE ROSES ARE READY!!!

Here are a couple of my absolute favourite roses which, if you want to create a hedge or simply wish to fill spaces around the garden with the most free-flowering, easy-care, delightfully awesome roses, these are the ones I highly recommend:

Modern Shrub/Floribunda rose of immense beauty,
resistance to disease and ability to grow
and flower in any sunny location.

Modern Shrub rose named for our very own
Maggie Tabberer who is the patron of the Melanoma Foundation
who receive the royalty payments from sales of this rose in Australia.

Beautifully fragrant Hybrid Tea rose produces masses of
perfectly shaped blooms with the clearest pale pink centres
fading to almost white at the edge of the petals.

Of course, there are lots of others in all colours and categories – why not email me your specifications and together we’ll create the garden of your dreams!


Let’s start this week with a bit of a puzzle …

Q.  What travels around the world but stays in the corner?  A.  A stamp!

Diana will be speaking at the following destination … suggest you book a place for this event which is really just around the corner now and sure to be a brilliant day out at a most pleasant location –


Garden Seminar

Thursday 15th June 2017
Garden Room, Buda Historic Home & Garden
42 Hunter Street, Castlemaine
10.30am for 11.00am start – 3.00pm

Hot buffet-style lunch – BYO drink –
Cost: $15 members   $25 non-members
RSVP Thursday, June 9

Organizer:  Tom Comerford –  –  5470 6230

Format – 2 sessions
a.m. Speaker Diana Sargeant – Consulting Rosarian
p.m. Garden Symposium with Jill Hildebrand,
Garden Curator Buda Historic Home & Garden

Gill Miller, Curator Castlemaine Botanic Gardens and Diana Sargeant, Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

Please register your attendance with TOM COMERFORD at Castlemaine on 5470 6230.

Q. Why did the monkey put a piece of steak on his head?  A. He thought he was a griller.


Let’s kick off traditional ‘rose pruning season’ with some demonstrations in June … come along to one of our FREE DEMONSTRATIONS and I’ll show you what to do …


Please know that you really should let the roses go into a natural dormancy, allow them to lose their leaves and then just as they start shooting new seasons leaves, do the pruning!  That way, they’ll indicate exactly where to prune – makes pruning a real cinch and makes you look like an expert!

Talk to you again next week … from us at beautiful CLONBINANE …
Diana, Graham, Mooi & Tova

ROSE RAMBLER 18.5.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 18.05.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as the cold weather starts to kick in with winter just around the corner now; the lovely sunny afternoons are such a delight with the autumn tree colours enhanced by sun – it’s a beautiful, beautiful time of year in our garden!

Not much time to squander enjoying the view though … we are head-down-bum-up heeling in this seasons bare-rooted roses … 5,000 of which arrived this morning!

We sure hope you have your rose order organised for this year – there seems to be a reinvented interest in roses and yes, we think it’s because they are more and more easy-care, free-flowering and there’s a huge amount of fragrance in the newly released roses!

Place your order during the next 5 days and enjoy selecting one of our FREE ROSES as a special treat for all orders over $100.


Today we removed the outer layer of hay bales from the compost heap which was started on November 16th, 2016 because we wanted to use those straw bales (filled with breeding worms) to create a new compost heap over a load of steaming, fresh horse stable manure and bags of oak leaves from a Melbourne property which were delivered here this past weekend.

Rotten little opportunists we are – absolutely! and most especially when it comes to gathering such glorious products to create more compost which enhances our gardens!

You might think “it’s all right for them, they’ve got lots of space” … but hang on, just a very small amount of space would be required in your back yard where you can compost all the ‘stuff’ you need to put some goodness back into your garden … I hope this information triggers action at your place:

Alarming Facts – we can all help to reduce – Approximately 50% of the rubbish Australians put in the everyday mixed-waste ‘garbage bin’ could be put to better use in the garden as compost and mulch or could be returned to agricultural land to improve soil quality. Based on 25 Council audits conducted by EC Sustainable in 2011, around 33% of the rubbish is food organics (including peelings) and about 10% is garden vegetation.

Alarmingly, such a huge amount of organically-active material buried ‘anaerobically’ (without air) in landfills causes over 3% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions annually through the production of methane gas (which has 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide).

Please click on the link to read more:

Q.  Why did the jelly-bean go to school?  A. Because it wanted to be a smartie!

It was such joy to make a ball of humus exactly 6 months to the date after Diana created the hay-bale-compost-heap when she became frustrated at the amount of weeds I had caused by putting oat straw on garden beds last winter … we turned a negative situation into a huge positive for our gardens.


This new compost heap has very different composition with a similar concept from its creation – lovely customers in Melbourne load their garbage bin with leaves every week and since they enjoy raking them, we suggested they might like to bag them and bring them here on their next visit – 19 bags of leaves over a load of stable manure from our neighbours!  I’m in heaven … whistle, whistle!  In 6 months, I’ll show you another series of photos and truly, very little input for an immensely pleasing reward!



Q.  Why were the baby strawberries upset?  A.  Because their parents were in a jam.


Many roses should NEVER be budded onto a standard understock/stem because of their upright shape and despite me constantly telling our customers to ‘be the boss and make the rose grow as you wish it to grow’, I encourage you to be careful when selecting standard roses for your garden!

Here are a few of my most favourite standard roses because they are so beautifully shaped when grown on a 90cm standard understock/stem …

Hybrid Tea Rose with a very strong growth habit
and free-flowering throughout the season.

Hybrid Tea rose which produces masses of vase-quality blooms continually throughout the flowering season on lush, healthy, dark green foliage

Healthy and produces and abundent supply of the most perfectly shaped rose blooms which last well in the vase – looks stunning when planted as a Standard Rose.

Is one of my most highly recommended roses for fragrance, health, vigour, stunning foliage, exquisite fruity fragrance from a Hybrid Tea shaped bud which opens to a cupped mass of swirling petals in shades of mauve/warm pink

Is a Hybrid Tea rose with unusual green buds which, depending on the weather, turn golden yellow in the summer or retain a chartreuse green in cooler weather.

Our standard roses will become available at the end of June/early July – remember, always buy quality and consider durable stakes like 13-16mm rio-rod and use reliable ties – we use and highly recommend VELCRO ONE-WRAP 19mm.

If you need assistance creating the rose garden of your dreams design, let me give you a hand – send as many pics, dimensions, ideas and your own wishes so together we can make it work … my motto:  DO IT ONCE, DO IT WELL …

Talk to you again next week … from us at beautiful CLONBINANE …
Diana, Graham, Mooi & Tova

Can you spot our supervisor Mooi in our newly resurfaced nursery?!

ROSE RAMBLER 11.5.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 11.05.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as the frosty mornings take their toll on our beautiful roses for this season – a few will be glorious this weekend for Mother’s Day gifting – the most spectacular rose right now is PERFUME PASSION.

You know, there are times when the name of a rose is very, very important – I understand that because I do the GIFT ROSE which is, quite sincerely, mostly about the NAME OF THE ROSE … however, when appropriate, I will select a more gloriously beautifully flowering rose or a more robust, healthy specimen to pop into the GIFT ROSE pack!

Why?  Well, it’s all about the MEANING of the GIFT ROSE – you don’t want a shaggy, half-decent rose being delivered and let’s be honest here, sometimes in their flowering cycle, most roses go through a pretty shaggy time when they’re definitely NOT suitable for gifting.

MOTHER’S LOVE which is so appropriate for Mother’s Day this weekend has NEVER been at her absolute best by late April/early May so think outside the square and afford your Mum the most spectacular rose available at the time!

It might be AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL or SUMMER ROMANCE or LA VIE EN ROSE which are all new varieties we have carefully selected to add to our list for this season.

A gorgeous modern shrub rose which produces masses of blooms in clusters – best described as lemon in colour, very deeply-cupped cool yellow in the centre with very pale lemon/white outer petals which open flat as the blooms age.

A supremely healthy modern shrub rose which produces fully quartered, old-fashioned style blooms which have a captivating spicy fragrance continually throughout the season.

A beautiful addition to the Delbard series – it’s healthy, produces masses of fragrant blooms which are suited to a vase and all this, produced on a sturdy upright bush with extremely healthy foliage … very highly recommended for 2017 planting in your garden.


It’s winter which means it’s footy season so let’s see if you can get this joke:

Q. Why are football grounds odd? A. Because you can sit in the stands but can’t stand in the sits!


There’s little need to continue spraying the roses now as they are ready to go into winter dormancy which means their foliage will spoil with yellow leaves and black spot.
This means there is no more photosynthesis; the rose ceases flowering or producing new foliage so the foliage will drop and the rose bush will be ready for winter pruning.

Dear Diana, I have heard that you must pick up all fallen rose leaves.  Being elderly and with bad knees I find that I am unable to do this.   Will this be detrimental in the long term or will your rose programme help to keep the roses in tip top condition.  Your advice will be much appreciated.  Many thanks … Margaret

Diana’s response: Whoever wrote such rubbish could never be a ‘real’ gardener!  Can you imagine how I would ever be able to maintain a rose nursery where petals and leaves are falling EVERY DAY in masses?  I would be on my hands and knees all day picking up petals – I would rather be out amid the roses sniffing and enjoying them and I encourage you to do the same!!!

Yes, if you are using our organic management spray program use it immediately AFTER PRUNING and spray over the mulch on the ground as well just because you can!  Hope this relieves you of the stress thinking you were doing it all wrong!!!  Best wishes … Diana

I will remind you as we head into winter rose management that once the roses have had a bit of dormancy, they’re hardened for winter pruning and the organic rose management program will be implemented again.

Meantime, please don’t give up on regular seaweed solution applications.  Remember, as the nights get frosty, your roses and other plants will enjoy between 3-5 degrees of greater frost tolerance if their cells are filled with seaweed solution protection!!!
I urge you to conduct trials in your own garden … pour seaweed solution over a few plants, leave others without and see for yourself what the difference is … these trials are not ‘overnight’ visually apparent but your whole garden will appear more robust and healthy when you implement regular fertilizer and maintenance programs!

When ordering your roses NOW FOR WINTER PLANTING, afford your plants a really great start with ECO-SEAWEED – this 600g pack of powdered seaweed with just a small scoop per 10 litre watering can will make more than 500 watering cans of solution … all that for just $32.50 – be sure and add it to your winter rose order!

Q.  What lights up a football stadium?  A.  A football match!


… to all our beautiful rose gardening Mothers, Grandmothers, Nonnas, Omas and Great-Grandmothers … “Grandmere” which my beautiful Mother has the joy of hearing 17 of her great grandchildren call her!!!  

If you’re awake nice and early on Sunday tune into 3CR GARDENING SHOW at 855 on the AM band quite close to 774 ABC Melbourne.  Graham will join a great panel of professional gardeners who offer their Sunday morning for your listening pleasure and learning …

7.30AM – 9.15AM at 855 on the RADIO AM BAND
Cheers from Graham, Diana, Mooi and Tova at
Open Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday 9am – 4pm
PHONE:  03 5787 1123


ROSE RAMBLER 04.05.2017 …

Hello  dear rose friends and welcome to the month of May when we start to see the last of our magnificent rose blooms until spring!  I will indulge you with lots of beautiful pictures to incite you to purchase some of the beauties which are newly available this season …

Ooooh, gosh but was it gorgeous in the vase at Tesselaar’s Expo recently and it will be a delight in your garden as a lovely healthy rounded shrub which is bound to produce masses to flowering stems throughout the season … I’ll be sure to plant at least one in my new garden …

Luscious palest pink heavily petalled and deeply cupped, highly fragrant blooms are the outstanding glory of this magnificent new rose …

Salmon pink blooms with masses of petals which reflex to flat open blooms on an extremely healthy shrub rose – the flowers were glorious after a very humid five days in a vase which is another reason to grow this beauty in your garden …


I love it when I get this kind of testimonial for the beautiful rose I created from seed which then received awards including a GOLD MEDAL as the most highly fragrant rose at the Australian Rose Trial Grounds.

“Graham gave me a small rose bud after his pruning demonstration on Sunday at Tesselaars Plant Expo. When I unpacked the car later that evening I found a very sad, shrivelled bud amongst other plants I’d purchased.  As my husband boiled the kettle for tea I recalled the section in Diana’s book that talked about reviving roses in hot water.  This is the result…. GRA’S BLUE in all its splendour.  So thanks for the very useful tip….it works!!!”  Madalyn, Mount Evelyn.

Q.  What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?  A.  A carrot.


The most successful and rewarding rose gardens are those where the soil was well prepared prior to planting and autumn is the ideal season to prepare your new garden beds for winter planting of bare-rooted roses.

Remove the grass/weeds to a depth of say, 50mm – 100mm. This ‘turf’ can be laid in another area to create a lawn or place it on the compost heap where it will break down and provide compost for another garden bed once the weeds are ‘cooked’.

Do not dig the cleared area because it is back-breaking work and there is no need for you to do it.  There is an army of workers waiting underground for you to proceed to the next step of creating this new rose bed and they will happily do all the necessary digging and aerating which is essential to create a well-drained site suitable for bare-rooted roses.

Apply gypsum and liquid seaweed over the area then pile on any combination of animal manures or whatever composted material available.  Take some litter from under a range of shrubs and trees in other areas of your garden and spread them over the compost.  This will supply mycorrhiza (fungi) from your own garden environment and is an integral component in the soil life when preparing a new garden bed.  Lightly mulch with lucerne or pea straw and water weekly if there is no rain.

Sprinkle rock dust and liquid sea minerals to ensure a balanced range of earth and sea minerals are incorporated into the soil.

Liquid seaweed applied weekly will act as a soil conditioner as well as feed the worms, your army of workers, without whom your garden will not flourish at all.  They will rapidly come to the surface and begin aerating the soil for you.  As they chew their way through all the manure, straw, leaf litter and goodness you’ve been adding to the site, they will generously add their castings to the soil.  If the pile of manure you have applied rots down to become humus and the bed needs to be raised, keep adding more manure and straw layers up to four weeks prior to planting.

When you are ready to plant the roses, the only area to dig will be at the planting hole.   By doing this, you reduce weed activation because you are not disturbing the soil structure of the entire garden bed.


It’s time now to put your winter order together … it’s easy to procrastinate but we would like to ensure that you get EXACTLY WHICH ROSES YOU WANT and some varieties are already close to selling out!

WE OFFER A 100% GUARANTEE ON OUR ROSES … Yes, we do offer this guarantee but it can be tricky when things don’t quite go as planned like in this case with Gayle

Hi… last year I ordered a bare rooted rose from you my order no. #2857.  I planted the rose…like I do all my roses properly…it is very weak and sick looking lost all its leaves and is now looking very sorry for itself.. Do you have any ideas what I can do..I would love to save it.  I planted it in memory of my deceased 18 year old cat Duchess.  Any help would be appreciated – Gayle

Perhaps if you send some pics I might be able to assist you?  I’m thinking you might have planted DUCHESSE DE BRABANT which is a magnificently strong Tea Rose of immense beauty.

Please do let me know … Diana(Several weeks passed and I got a photo which I cannot locate but the rose looked great.)  The next email was:

Hello Gayle … oooh, I can see lots and lots of new growth/foliage on this plant … perhaps it has been sulking for a while but it’s definitely ok in the location where it is planted so LEAVE IT ALONE!  Give it regular seaweed solution – weekly perhaps because of the intense heat stress it might be incurring and it will be beautiful in no time!  Hope this is helpful and keep me posted please … best wishes

Hi Diana….thanks for the advice…yes it is looking a lot better, thanks again –  Gayle.

Early this week, I received this email from Gayle:

Hi Diana…thought I would give you an update on my DUCHESSE rose….the rose is healthy…I realise it was being nibbled at by rabbits!!  Have a wire protection on it now. and learn!

Yes, we offer a 100% guarantee on all our roses, a replacement rose is offered where necessary but not before thoroughly exploring EVERY possible reason for why a particular rose isn’t flourishing and we urge you to do the same!

Q.  What kind of pets do teachers at beauty school like?  A.  Hares!

Have a great week in your autumn garden – get out the winter woollies because winter is just around the corner now.  Enjoy sniffing the last rose blooms …

Cheers from Graham, Diana, Mooi and Tova at Clonbinane