ROSE RAMBLER 27.7.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 27.07.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends as the morning bird calls start to indicate a sign of spring in the air … definitely a bit early by comparison to previous years but all things considered, it’s been a rather extraordinary winter with us having recorded our coldest frost in 17 years here at Clonbinane – down to minus 8 a couple of weeks ago and an amazing number of freezing morning temperatures with gloriously sunny days and above-average daytime temperatures.  Aaaaah … the conspiracy of the weather will keep our conversations alive!

Yes, we are all ok and still here – yes, your computer email is functioning ok too – I didn’t produce a Rose Rambler last week simply because I felt it was way more important to put all my energy into packing parcels of roses!   Thank you to all of you who checked up on us!

After a consignment of roses this week, most rose orders will be completed – JOSEPH’S COAT was a real straggler and has held up a lot of orders … when it flowers in years to come, you’ll forget about how late your rose order was delivered when this magnificent rose flowers and flowers throughout each season … what a sight to behold it is and I’m so glad we offer it to you by having it budded each year …


STANDARD ROSES are most definitely a great way to grow roses as your body ages and it gets more difficult to get down on the ground to prune and manage bush rose plants!  One of the most important issues to consider when planting standard roses is permanent and durable STAKING A STANDARD ROSE …

We use and highly recommend 13mm RIO ROD which easily penetrates deep into soil and will not move, will never rot and actually looks great because it’s almost invisible as it rusts and sits very snugly right against the rose stem.

Be sure and allow around 20-30cms of rod ABOVE THE CROWN which acts as support or to lightly tie new water shoots to, in extremely high-wind areas.


To secure the standard rose understock to the rio rod, use 19mm VELCRO ONE-WRAP because it doesn’t come unstuck if correctly applied!

Q. Why aren’t elephants allowed on the beach?  A. Because they can’t keep their trunks up! 
(for the kids reading this, old guys ‘trunks’ are kind of like your ‘jocks’ …)


We can all learn from this email exchange during past weeks:

“My names Amber and recently my rose garden has been devastated by Rose Rosette Disease! About 16 of our roses have contracted it. I was wondering if you had advice on how long we should wait to re-plant new roses after digging these ones out as we would like to order between 10-20 bare root roses from you guys.  Also if you could recommend something to prevent mites and other pests that would be great. We had been using eco oil and a yates spray previously, but it didn’t seem to prevent aphids and what I suspect were mites destroying our roses. Perhaps we weren’t diligent enough with spraying.  If you could get back to me at your earliest convenience that would be great! Thanks”

My initial response to Amber … I would be most interested to know who diagnosed your DISEASE?  This all sounds very dramatic and totally over and above ANYTHING that I have experienced in more than 30 years of rose growing!  Seems you’ll swing from chemical maintenance to organic with no success using either regime.

Let me help you grow beautiful roses ORGANICALLY, NATURALLY!!!  Get rid of all the chemicals as the first move.  Take a big, deep breath and relax whenever you go into the rose garden – actually, BEFORE YOU ENTER the rose garden so you go there with a quiet mind ready to experience all the pleasure rather than perhaps focus on some of the negatives which can occur from time to time in ANY GARDEN and on potentially, ANY PLANT!

I am almost 100% sure that your ROSE ROSETTE DISEASE is in fact growth appearing AFTER you’ve been spraying around the roses with one of the GLYPHOSATE PRODUCTS … perhaps RoundUp or Zero???  Had you used a weedicide product prior to noticing the weird foliage which has been diagnosed as RRD?

If you give me more information and perhaps a few pics I’ll take this further … talk soon – Diana


One pic of Amber’s affected foliage …

Amber admitted to ‘self-diagnosis’ after trawling through the Internet … I suspected this and although I know there is NO rose rosette disease in Australia, I wanted to be careful with how I responded – not wanting to offend any Rosarian who might be consulting with Amber and trying to sort her problems!

Since much email exchange, I realised Amber ordered roses from us this week …

Hello Amber … whilst I was busy packing roses today I noted that there was a parcel of roses for YOU … the roses are now in the post but I’m concerned about whether you should be planting while you seem to have so many issues with the existing roses???

My colleagues have all agreed that there is an OVERDOSE OF SPRAY on your roses … which product exactly, we’re not sure … highly likely a pre-emergent weedicide of some kind.


Thankfully, Amber has responded very positively …

“I have stopped using any chemical sprays at all & my husband knows not to use any weed killer as well now. I have purchased eco rose, eco seaweed and already have eco oil on hand so I’m going to be using the organic spray recipe on your website from now on.”

Please take extreme care when using weedicides – in fact, ANY CHEMICALS around your garden!  There are so many alternatives available – for more information please retain these two addresses: and so you have access to the most updated information about sustainable gardening and which products you can safely use in your home garden.

Q. What happens when a frog parks in a no-parking space?  A. It gets toad away.

When the winter blues happen for you, either give us a call (our phones were seriously challenged this past week when all calls went direct to ‘message bank’ … sorry!) or log into and purchase some roses just like Holly did a couple of times in these past weeks …

“Feeling a bit low just now because after the worst winter day this year (no gardening) I baked two cakes with duck eggs (famously wonderful) which came out like moon craters.  Ho hum.  See- my mind is only on gardening, not baking, and my brain thinks digging holes is the only thing worth thinking about.  I even dreamed of rose planting last night!  So it serves me right trying to bake when the heart is elsewhere, eh?  Mary Berry is safe in her day job. Looking forward to receiving my roses … thanks, Holly”

Enjoy time spent in your winter garden …
cheers from all of us at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane …

ROSE RAMBLER 13.7.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 13.07.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends after another series of freezing nights and gloriously sunny days with birds noisily indicating they’re mating and preparing nests for spring reproduction.  There’s a continual shrilling sound which we think is a tree frog but we’re not quite sure … if you’re in the nursery in coming weeks, please ask about the critter which has us perplexed and sure to be heard during your visit.

I’ve soooo enjoyed reading your stories following on from last week’s Rose Rambler article about ICEBERG!  Thank you all for sharing … yes, unfortunately, ICEBERG has the status of COMMON yet it is without doubt, THE ROSE OF THE CENTURY; it is proudly listed in the WORLD ROSE HALL OF FAME and continues to be the most popular standard rose in our industry year after year!

I guess in the olden days when people were classed according to their status, I might have been classed as a COMMONER.  However, if I had half the beauty and afforded my subjects as much incredible joy as what COMMON old ICEBERG has done, let me gladly be classed as COMMON!  A bit of fun with words I guess …?


I so miss the fragrance of roses since the FRAGRANCE OF A ROSE IS IN ITS SOUL … being deep in the winter here, there’s not a fragrant rose to behold – instead I’m busy pruning so get out and you do just the same – remember that you cannot kill a rose by pruning it … come along to a pruning demo this weekend at WHITTLESEA COURTHOUSE on SATURDAY at 10.00 am and help me and an enthusiastic group of gardeners prune the roses there.

This SUNDAY at 1.30PM be sure to come along to Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane where we’ll walk and talk and prune our way through the gardens here … bring the family and pets; don’t forget to bring your secateurs/loppers for a lesson on cleaning and sharpening.

My joke for this week:

Children were asked to write about the ocean and here are a few of their comments to give you a giggle …

Mike, aged 7:  If you are surrounded by ocean, you are an island.  If you don’t have ocean around you, you are incontinent.

James, aged 7:  My dad was a sailor and knows everything about the ocean.  What he doesn’t know is why he quit being a sailor and married my Mother.

I hope you haven’t overlooked ordering these most beautifully fragrant and robustly healthy roses to add to your rose garden collection this winter …

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. Grows to 1.5mts
Hybrid Tea rose which has stood the test of time. Tall, upright almost thornless stems produce clusters or single stems of highly fragrant perfectly formed blooms.
This glorious specimen with tall single stems of the most highly fragrant dark red rose will be a joy to all rose gardeners. The men will rush out to buy it because it has so very few thorns and tell us in the nursery that they just love the red roses … we know it’s all about the lack of thorns even though we also know that men prefer their garden roses to be red!


Here are my suggestions for comfortable, safe and enjoyable pruning:

  1. Clean and sharp secateurs – we use and recommend Lowe 4 which are available in our online store –
  2. Look after your back – sit on a chair if you need to – one rose at a time!
  3. Do light exercise before you start to get your muscles ready for a work-out!
  4. Wear protective clothing – most definitely a comfortable pair of gloves.
  5. Be the boss and prune each rose according to how it suits your garden!
  6. Enjoy being out in the garden knowing that every 25 minutes you spend in your garden is equivalent to a 4km walk – Yep, backed up by University research!

Enjoy all the moments of this fabulous winter weather in your garden – turn over a patch which will be ready for planting spring seedlings to feed your family the most nutrient-rich salad-greens and veggies throughout spring/summer.

See you soon at Clonbinane to collect roses or attend a pruning demo – happy gardening from the team at – Diana & Graham Sargeant


ROSE RAMBLER 06.07.2017 …

Now Hello dear rose friends as we enter the middle of winter with very cold nights – down to minus 8 here on Sunday morning and miserably small amounts of rain – just  13mm in the past few days!

I haven’t had a great deal of time to prepare this Rose Rambler so let me just take some emails with very interesting information for sharing … even Gra has been head down, bum up and hasn’t got a joke this week … you actually need to send him a couple if your kids/grandchildren are into jokes – he did have this little ditty to share …




Dear Diana.  I have received the rose today and planted in the garden. Thank you very much, it was a surprise to receive so much information concerning roses and the sea weed sachet was a pleasant surprise.  I will look forward to the rose in bloom thanks so much – Christine



Hi Diana,  I posted a message comment on your website a month or so ago, and have only just realised that you had emailed me a response. It went to my junk mail and I accidentally deleted it before I read it and now cannot retrieve it!  So my apologies for the poor communication; I will start again!

I am planning my wedding for Australia Day next year and would love potted white roses leading down the aisle. I have been given all sorts of advice on how to time their flowering, including that floribunda types would be the easiest to time the flowering.  After the wedding I plan to give some away, and keep some for myself which I intend to plant out within a few years.

Although I am an agronomist by day, I have not had much to do with roses at all! I’d would be very grateful for any advice you may be able to offer me. Are there any varieties that you would suggest? I am mainly aiming for ease of management, ability to time the flowering, and abundance and fragrance of flowers. Of course things like disease resistance and hardiness would be useful going forward, but I imagine you can’t have everything!  Also if there is a resource that answers my questions please feel free to send me in that direction instead. Thanks very much, Pamela

Hi Pamela … thank you for contacting me again… I think that to save a whole lot of bother / money / time and be guaranteed of success with this project, you need to source 30 or more ICEBERG bush roses – I can supply same for $16.50 each if you order over the phone very soon … roses are now being potted and have been increased to $19.50 online …

Why ICEBERG and not some other very fancy, highly fragrant hybrid-tea rose like say, POPE JOHN PAUL II … simply because ICEBERG is the variety which will most definitely be flowering at the time of your wedding with the least amount of stress – after the wedding, as gifts, the roses will offer immense joy in the home garden of your guests.

Yes, ICEBERG is common (Pamela actually stated that in one of her emails!!!) but so what?  It’s beautiful and will definitely give you an avenue of potted white colour down the aisle at your wedding – do what works for YOU not what others might say about this glorious rose!  Please let me know if I can assist to make this work for you … no, I cannot offer cheaper price than $16.50 per plant plus pack post … oh, $45.00 high out!  Talk soon perhaps … best wishes DIANA

Hi Diana,  Thank you so much for your detailed response. That is very helpful for me and I will certainly go with the Icebergs. Like most women planning a wedding I do however have a fairly tight budget, and even these roses are quite the extravagance. I’m not sure of the most diplomatic way to say this, but I was hoping you’d be able to offer lower costs for bulk and to be truthful they are down to around $10 with some of your competitors, which represents quite a difference in the total I’ll end up paying. I’m very sorry as I would love to purchase from you. Next time when I’m purchasing roses in smaller lots I will definitely order from you, and I hope that this is sooner rather than later. Thanks again for your help, sorry we can’t work something out this time. I’m looking forward to buying roses from you in the future.  No need to reply. Thanks, Pamela

In my usual form, I did respond to Pamela and wished her well with her wedding – you, know, it’s not always about the cost of something and no, roses purchased from Silkies Rose Farm / aren’t the CHEAPEST but by golly, they come wrapped or potted with love and they’re 100% guaranteed to grow in your garden and give years and years of pleasure – something that good NEVER COMES CHEAP!


Maggie is delightfully feminine – the superb flowers are softly ruffled with masses of petals in rich, creamy white. During the cooler months, there is a distinct border of blush pink at the edge of the petals and there is a distinct soft, fruity fragrance which adds a romantic charm to this most beautiful rose.
Modern Shrub/Floribunda rose of immense beauty, resistance to disease and ability to grow and flower in any sunny location. With flowers creamy-white, tinged apricot-pink deep in the swirled central petals, the blooms open to 15cms wide and reveal their dark stamens when opened.

A magnificent pure white rose with the most amazing fragrance!  The healthy bush produces masses of long stemmed, large blooms continually throughout the season – a very highly recommended rose!


Graham will conduct regular pruning demonstrations here at the Rose Farm throughout July – here are the dates:


We promise to get it together and video Gra doing one of his garden WALK ‘N’ TALK demos so that all you lovely interstate followers can be part of what goes on down south!!!

Meantime, best wishes to all from the team here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane