ROSE RAMBLER 31.08.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends on this last day of winter – I love it when publishing the Rose Rambler coincides with an ‘event’ such as this! Tomorrow is spring and we’ll all excitedly anticipate lush, healthy foliage sprouting all over our roses, soon there will be magnificently fragrant blooms again – it all just happens!

Or does it?  Let Gra tell us what we should be doing NOW to ensure our roses are indeed spectacular this spring …


I’m a great believer in growing lots of diverse plant species in and around my rose garden – I grow lots of bulbs, mostly daffodils; silver-beet for my chooks (and my mother-in-law eats copious amounts of it which may well testify to her good health at 85 years young!), carrots, potatoes, beetroot; all sorts of seasonal veggies.  Annual and perennial herbs which we use in our cooking flourish, as do the borders of annuals like pansies, petunias and lobelia.

When planting around your roses, be adventurous and the only rule is to ensure good air-circulation is maintained so don’t let companion plants cover the base of your roses.

Companion planting is beneficial to your soil by increasing microbes in the vicinity of plant roots and microbes linked to plants via networks of beneficial fungi will increase the availability of minerals and trace elements which are required to maintain health and vitality to ALL the plants; soil structure and water-holding capacity will be increased and earthworms will abound!

Q. What does a baby bird become after it is three days old?  A. Four days old!

You can pretty much turn your back on the rose garden once you’re done – however, if you water over the entire garden with ECO-SEAWEED solution once a fortnight, you’ll set the roses up to be healthy and hardy during the forthcoming expected hot summer – they’ll enjoy heat tolerance of between 3-5 degrees – that’s significant when you consider how hot our summer sun can be!

Q. How do you catch a unique rabbit?  A.  Unique up on it!  (You sneak up on it) 


into magnificent coir fibre medium and bursting forth with a delightful display of all the various colours of their foliage.

Some glossy and light green, SOUL MATE


The stunning dark almost black red, THANK YOU


The dark greens, REMEMBER ME


Some serrated edged, some dull-matt grey/green … all really beautiful and fresh with the rose buds forming within this colourful display.





To ensure this bounty of foliage stays lush and healthy, if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to fertilize the rose bushes!  Timely also to start the organic spray maintenance program by mixing ALL these products to 10 litres of water:

 1 teaspoon Eco-seaweed powder (or whatever ratio of your preferred seaweed)
¼ cup Eco-oil (insecticide)
¼ cup Eco-rose (fungicide)
Eco – Neem (add only if you have a massive outbreak of aphids or other insects!)

All the products we use and recommend are entirely natural and organically-certified.  They are designed to assist Mother Nature when weather conditions or environmental variables occur that create an outbreak of pests/disease and can be used on your vegetables and fruit trees knowing that you can confidently harvest within hours of spraying!

NEVER SPRAY IF THE TEMPERATURE IS PREDICTED TO BE OVER 30 DEGREES!  Morning application of the spray maintenance program is preferred because the stomata (pores) of the plant are open and very receptive to nutrient uptake … if time does not permit morning application, do it after dinner … just DO IT at least once a month so that you can enjoy the glory of beautiful, healthy roses with an abundance of flowers.

Q. What goes under your feet and over your head?  A.  A skipping rope.

Enjoy all the glory of spring in your garden and step out there, revel in the sunshine – pull a few weeds while they’re small and most definitely, plant a rose NOW – you’ll enjoy beautiful flowers from late October onwards!

Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …
*Terms & Conditions apply. Promotion valid from 31st August, 2017 – 7th September 2017 11.30am. Not to be used in conjunction with other offers. Not applicable to standard roses.

ROSE RAMBLER 24.8.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 24.08.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends from still frosty mornings here in Clonbinane!  Sunny days have given us an opportunity to complete potting all of this seasons roses and we’re almost done with pruning the rose gardens – thanks to the lovely team who work alongside us:  TOVA, LEIGH and BEN.

In coming weeks, you’ll get lots of information about how best to manage watering your rose garden – we are already seeing issues with OVERWATERING ROSES – it’s definitely the quickest and easiest way to kill your roses!   Let the newly planted roses settle in before you start drenching them … you’ve just got to get it right and we’ll talk though this in coming Rose Rambler newsletters.

Please understand that we have vastly different weather conditions from South Australia to Victoria and all along the eastern seaboard through NSW and into QLD. Our advice to you when you email or phone us will be to INTUITIVELY manage each situation within YOUR rose garden … get switched on to what’s happening where you live!


Take a look at this information which comes from a company I visited at Young, NSW just last week because I am interested in their products for making our soil/potting mix more alive with humus and microbes.  I enjoy learning and sharing information from companies such as this one:


News From YLAD Living Soils
1300 811 681

Anyone who follows our work here at knows how deeply we are invested in making the public aware of the underreported dangers of both Roundup herbicide, and genetically modified food, particularly the new RNA interference technologies.For instance, did you know that:

  • Roundup was foundtoxic in the parts-per-trillion range?
  • Roundup is contributing to thedeath of coral reefs?
  • Roundup may becausing global droughts?
  • Roundup maycause Birth Defects?
  • Roundup pollution is so prevalent that it is found in Rain Samples?
Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg


I encourage you to use an organic method of WEED CONTROL – please consider using SLASHER – NATURAL WEEDKILLER which is another fabulous product thanks to research and development by Organic Crop Protectants.  We have used SLASHER for years in the lead up to it being registered as a NATURAL WEEDICIDE and it works for us!

SLASHER is available on now!

Now that your rose garden is pruned and mulched the most important thing you can do is FERTILIZE with a quality well-balanced organic fertiliser – we use and recommend COMPLETE ORGANIC FERTILIZER which you can collect here at the Rose Farm.  Visit your local nursery and be guided by their recommendations if you cannot visit us.

Q. What do you call a really, really strong vegetable?  A. Vegemite!

You can pretty much turn your back on the rose garden once you’re done – however, if you water over the entire garden with ECO-SEAWEED solution once a fortnight, you’ll set the roses up to be healthy and hardy during the forthcoming expected hot summer – they’ll enjoy heat tolerance of between 3-5 degrees – that’s significant when you consider how hot our summer sun can be!

Q. How do you catch a unique rabbit?  A.  Unique up on it!  (You sneak up on it)  

In closing I want to share a couple of varieties of roses which really stand out for me:

Hot pink, seriously vibrant with a super strong, very sweet perfume on a bush which grows to at least 1.5 metres tall and produces lovely strong stems suitable for presentation in a vase – plant this rose in the hottest, airiest situation in your garden!

A most amazingly robust rose which produces masses of perfectly formed blooms on long, strong stems constantly … suitable in all climates …

Is one of the most prolific and beautiful David Austin roses for mass planting where yellow/buff/apricot blooms are produced on a very tidy, rounded shrub of extreme health and vigour – such a delight for the variety of colour in the blooms

Stay happy and healthy in your garden – Gra

Although the roses are potted now, we are still posting them by lifting them from the humid-crib environment of their 20cm pots of coir-fibre – the roots are established so we gently wrap them in damp newspaper, seal them in a plastic bag and they’re travelling well as Meg and others testify:

Hi All… Just to let you know my roses arrived yesterday.  As I picked them up from the post office I could hear them saying “Are we there yet?”  They are now in their positions and hopefully I can do them, you and myself justice!!
They are already looking so much better for a bit of fresh air and sunshine so here’s hoping they will enjoy life here at Yallambee.  Kind Regards – Meg
My response to Meg … Thanks so much Meg for letting me know … I feel for the roses being cramped in boxes and probably thrown hither-thither in AustPost vans once they’ve been positively dizzied by several rounds of the carousel in the mail centres they pass through!  I’m so glad I work with such tough plants which endure all we throw at them and I’m glad they’re going to be loved and nurtured in your garden!  Best wishes … Diana

Keep on ordering bare-rooted roses because they’re travelling well even though they now have good growing shoots on them.

Cheers from us all here at SILKIES ROSE FARM, Clonbinane
Within 500 metres of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE
on the Hume Freeway, 60 kms north of Melbourne
9 – 4 PM – PH. 03 5787 1123 …

ROSE RAMBLER 10.8.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 10.08.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends as the weather warms which might postpone more frosts and ensure us that our winter pruning is now SAFE …??? It’s a risk whichever way you go when you live in a very frosty/cold climate such as we do here at Clonbinane –were not on our own as lots of our customers who live way out western NSW, southern highlands Victoria and even parts of Queensland experience these extremely cold conditions.

Whatever the weather, we’ve got a bit of time now to be pruning so that’s what we’ve been doing this past week … of course, we are definitely still posting roses even though they’re now beautifully potted in supreme quality coir fibre potting medium – their roots will flourish in this ‘humid-crib’ environment.
Every care will be taken when they’re removed for posting … the roots will be carefully bound in damp newspaper and sealed in plastic which means they’ll actually continue growing whilst in transit!  At your end, be sure to get these beautiful roses into your garden as soon as possible and soak them with an eco-seaweed solution at planting then weekly for at least 8 weeks after planting!

Do you know you can apply eco-seaweed solution lightly over all the plants in your garden at least weekly to maintain good root development, healthy foliage and general good soil nutrition … ask your kids to do it for you … they’ll really enjoy having a special role in garden management – it’s easy for them to do, they cannot make mistakes by either over-doing or under-doing measuring the powder into a watering can.  Let them take responsibility and they’ll enjoy seeing rewards of healthy, robust plants in THEIR / YOUR garden!

PRUNING ROSES … This is how well Rosie has pruned just one of her MR. LINCOLN roses –


She’s got 199 to go; then there’s a three-sided wall garden of at least 30 plants of THE WEDDING ROSE which is just as robust.  It doesn’t end there so I urge you to visit GARNER’S WINERY just off the Hume Freeway at Longwood East during flowering season – any other time to sample their magnificent Award-winning wines of course!

If you’re thinking of a real tree-change, contact Rosie Garner as she is now reluctantly selling the winery – here are a few pics of this glorious property …

“GIFT ROSE” IS WINNING HEARTS … sending a beautifully gift wrapped GIFT ROSE of your choice with a personal message inscribed on a rose card is so appreciated!  We are receiving accolades from customers all around the world who trust us to post a beautiful rose to their friends and family; we can post to all States except Tasmania and Western Australia.
Whatever the occasion, let us organise posting a magnificent rose as we did for Barbara’s family recently …

“Hi I just wanted to thank you for the celebration rose bush which my Australian relatives received today and are extremely delighted with; that in part was due to the beautiful attention to detail in the gift packaging.  Thank you once again for making my gift so special”… Mrs Barbara C

Another happy customer …“Hi Diana … Just wanted to say a big thank you!!!!  My parents received their Slim Dusty rose gift yesterday and were very happy.  Thank you for putting together a great gift option and an easy and efficient process with FANTASTIC customer services.  Greatly appreciated and may you and your business be abundantly blessed.”  Kind Regards – Tereza

Don’t forget to put your reviews of our business on WOMO – Word Of Mouth Online as it can be very helpful to new customers and people who are not sure about online ordering.  I think it’s an easy process and we appreciate you taking time to acknowledge our business!

GRA’S GARBLE … “Healthy soils have at least 5% organic matter – most Australian soils have less than 3% organic matter so your household waste can be recycled and used in your own suburban backyard by creating simple layered compost heaps using lawn clippings, all types of baled straw/lucerne, leaves, bagged animal manure and tree litter after you’ve put it through a mulcher.

In order to add household waste to such a layered compost heap, buy a BOKASHI BUCKET – or make your own (BOKASHI powder which is a compost activator is available at large nursery outlets). The BOKASHI preparation is unattractive to vermin; most birds or animals won’t eat it.

You don’t need to turn this layered compost heap but you MUST KEEP IT MOIST to ensure rapid and effective processing of the heap to humus which can then be applied around all the plants in your garden.”

Q.  How do athletes stay cool during a game?  A. They sit near the fans!

Since we’re still posting roses, here are a few of my favourite climbing roses …

BLOSSOM TIME flowers are mid-pink with darker outer petals of absolutely perfect form and suitable for use over arches, on fences or in a pillar frame like these which we sell at the nursery – pick up only!


MADAM ALFRED CARRIERE is always first to flower and will still have flowering buds after the most severe winter frosts – with a fragrance to absolutely die for, this near-thornless rose is a beauty to fill a corner of the garden – let her spill gracefully over fences, through trees – plant this beauty and forget all about management!  Glorious creamy-white flowers with a blush tint during cold weather …

DUBLIN BAY is really my most favourite red climbing rose because it’s just ALWAYS FLOWERING and doesn’t require any special pruning or management … at some times of the day, I detect an absolute fragrance, other times not a hint – always lovely to pop into a vase though!  I love it!


Q.  How do rabbits travel?  A.  By hare-plane … a bit of a sick joke to finish another fabulous week in the nursery

I’ve planted some winter veggies, my early daffodils are flowering; the rest are well-foliaged and we’ll see a spectacular display throughout September and October … ah, life’s grand in the garden!

Enjoy all the moments in your garden this week…
cheers from us here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 17.8.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 17.08.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends,

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”  John Steinbeck

Indeed the cold of winter is almost over.  While you’re out pruning the roses, have a bale of straw close by and lay biscuits of straw/hay around for you to walk on.  If you stomp all over the soil, it is possible to cause compaction and a biscuit of straw/hay will alleviate that problem and give you somewhere moderately dry to kneel down on while you’re pruning the lower branches of bush roses.


… When you use quality products to maintain your roses, the rewards are immense.  Regular applications of the organic spray maintenance program will definitely delay problems like severe insect attack or outbreaks of fungal disease like black spot and powdery mildew – start the program as soon as you’ve finished pruning .   The eco-friendly products we use and recommend are very economical when used on a monthly basis whereas, if you wait for problems to arise, you’ll have to spray every 3-5 days for around four applications just to get on top of a problem.  Makes sense therefore, to start monthly applications as soon as the roses are pruned …  NOW!!! 

Q.  What do you call a deer with no eyes?  A.  No eye deer.
Say it quick enough and it sounds like ‘no idea’.So, Q.  What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?  A.  Still, no idea.

Diana tells me that our products are ALL available for purchase in the online store:  GO SHOPPING for roses along with products which can be posted directly to your door.


add ALL OCP products to your online order and pay NO EXTRA POSTAGE COST until NEXT THURSDAY, 24TH AUGUST, 2017

Meantime, if you prefer to shop in the traditional way, pop into your local garden centre and if you cannot find the Organic Crop Protectants (OCP) eco-friendly range of products:  eco-oil, eco-rose, eco-seaweed, eco-aminogro and eco-neem, ask them to contact OCP and organise stocking these great Australian products.  Then you and like-minded gardeners in your area can confidently manage pest and disease issues using these environmentally friendly products and work with Mother Nature in your garden … Gra


… Carrie ordered roses and during the ordering process she told me she was really ‘new’ at the whole adventure of growing roses – especially scary since she lives in far north Queensland.  I sent her beautiful specimens (along with a really lovely FREEBIE) – I always post the best quality plants because I understand your dilemma at not being able to select for yourself!
Carrie sent this email which is totally awesome and makes doing what we do so very, very special:
 “Hi Diana .. I just wanted to say thank you for my order of roses. I’m new to rose growing so before I found your website I purchased roses from another nursery. Whilst they were very healthy looking, your roses were positively “jumping out of their skin” healthy. My first response on opening the box was ‘wow’. Also, the extra Cote d’Ázure was a lovely surprise and a beautiful rose, thank you.”
“My plan is to grow roses in Babinda, Far North Queensland. Everyone tells me I’m mad because it’s too wet and humid but I’m going to give it my best shot. Once your book is back in publication I’ll be purchasing a copy. I’ll need all the help I can get ☺  In the meantime I’m following your organic rose management instructions in the Australian Rosarian.  Once again, thank you.”  Regards  … Carrie
And more good stuff …
“Greetings Diana, Thank you so much – I am looking forward to getting them – I have had NAHEMA before but sadly after about 10 years it decided to curl its toes up and kark it so I cannot live without it. Have decided to replace it with my recent Birthday monies – thank you so much for stocking it. It is an amazing Rose” – Cheers Ingrid    Hello again Ingrid … how interesting to read this about NAHEMA … do you know why it ‘karked it’ ???  Was there an animal peeing in that location, was it particularly wet or dry???  Most unusual for a rose to just die after such an established time in a garden so if you can enlighten me as to what you think might have gone wrong, please let me know ???  Talk soon I hope …


“Hi again, Not really sure could have been my son’s Red Heeler but he usually relieves himself on my tyres first!!!!! We did have a terribly hot summer up here in SE Qld so that might have been the last straw for it…. I have been using a product called Black Marvel lately and all my roses are looking much healthier… So looking forward to having a new NAHEMA in my garden as it is definitely my favourite rose ever… Thanks again for your emails …” Cheers Ingrid    Oh, actually, I have received lots of information since our last visit to QLD … your roses don’t last anywhere near as long as ours down here … yours have such an incredibly LOOOOOONG flowering season and I think they wear out!  We have a good winter rest of at least three months in most cold zones and the roses enjoy that!  You know, when it boils down to it, you couldn’t have dinner and a nice wine for what this new rose has cost you … you’ll get another 10 years of glory whereas the dinner and wine are down the loo within 24 hours … gotta giggle!  Cheers .. Diana
Here’s a pic of our awesomely friendly guard dog who lets us know you’ve arrived at Silkies Rose Farm, CLONBINANE within 500 metres of the HUME FREEWAY at the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE and open every FRI SAT SUN MON


Enjoy all the moments in your garden this week… cheers from us here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane
– Cheers, Diana, Graham & Mooi


ROSE RAMBLER 04.08.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends on this Thursday in the first week of the last days of winter …
As I turned the calendar, this is what gloriousness presented itself –

I think the rose might be WEDDING DAY but it might be one of the other species roses which display a most spectacular single flowering just once every year … however, for something seriously beautiful which flowers continually through the whole season, one of our most favourite roses is SALLY HOLMES which has a breathtaking display of up to 50 blooms on a branch and makes a most wonderful display in large vases!  Happiness is having SALLY HOLMES flowering in your garden …

Time is going so fast and it’s very interesting to share some emails from customers who haven’t got a clue when to prune … neither do we …???

Hi! Diana & Graham, I usually carry out my annual winter prune on the last day of July. However I cannot remember when I still had roses and some buds still on some of my roses? Can I go ahead and prune as usual? Best regards Ron – Brisbane

Graham responded to Ron .. “Like I said in the Rose Rambler last week … the weather will keep us all talking and pondering and wondering when to do what … just do it when you can and when you feel like doing it and I’m sure it will all work out ok … cheers… Gra”

I had coffee with friends this morning at the Rose Café in Kilmore and Marilyn told me her roses are still flowering in Craigieburn so when should she prune???  I suggested we all take Graham’s advice and do it when time permits and you’re in the right mood for pruning!  Be sure and glove up because this is another email we received this past week …

Hi, Thank you, my roses they arrived this week.  I would like to warn fellow rose growers about the dangers of fungus infections from roses.  I always wear gloves however a thorn went through my glove into my index finger.  The thorn came straight out and I did not think of it anymore until the next morning, which was a Saturday, when I woke up and found my finger and thumb very swollen.

I went to the GP who put me on antibiotics and said to come back on Sunday so he could check my finger.  The swelling had not gone down so I was sent for a scan first thing on Monday morning.  I then went back to the GP who after seeing the scan sent me to emergency at the local hospital.  Within 3 hours or arriving at emergency I was in the operating theatre having my finger opened in three places and washed out.  I was in hospital for two days as the antibiotics had to be changed as there was no initial response to treatment for the fungus infection and the bacterial infection.  I responded to the new anti fungal medication.

After discharge from hospital I had to attend hand therapy for three months to get movement back into my index finger.  I now have movement in the my finger although I does not feel completely normal.  I have to continue with therapy at home.  One has to be very careful when handling roses.  I have been growing roses for 10 years and have 300 roses.  I have never had this problem before.  Apparently it is a fungus specific to roses.  Kind Regards ..Desley

Thank you Desley for sharing!  Fortunately, in more than 30 years of rose pruning, neither Graham nor I have had serious issues and we always stress the importance of protective clothing when working in your garden – we use and highly recommend the MADE IN GERMANY gloves which we have used for more than 25 years … they have greater protection over the knuckle zone and come in FOUR sizes which are suitable for MOST hands … these gloves are available online at



Gardens need many different plant species to remain healthy – microbes in the vicinity of plant roots increase the availability of minerals and trace elements required to maintain healthy vitality of all plants!

All living things – above and below the ground benefit when the plant:microbe bridge is working effectively.

Q.  What has four wheels and flies?  A.  A garbage truck!

Feeding your soil with organic fertilizer and applying layers of mulch such as pea-straw and/ or lucerne increase microbial activity, stimulates worm cultivation and thus improves soil vitality which ensures all the plants in your garden thrive.  Any mulch is better than bare soil; no mulch … definitely not recommended!

Incorporating a diverse range of plant species to your garden assists with managing plant health – amongst your roses I encourage you to grow garlic, alyssum, calendula, lots of bulbs and perennials – vegetables like silver-beet and kale – soon, you can plant tomatoes and other summer veggies – be creative and adventurous!

Q.  What’s the worst vegetable to serve on a boat?  A.  Leeks

Get your kids involved in planting veggies which they will be inspired to harvest, cook and eat – great family time together and way better and more constructive than watching TV.

Research has shown that using chemicals in your garden will inhibit biological soil activity so I urge you to consider which products you purchase when next visiting your garden supplier – yes, there is ‘quick, easy fix’ for most issues which occur within our gardens at times during every season … please take a look at the Sustainable Gardening Australia website and be sure you make INFORMED DECISIONS when it comes to which products you use in managing your garden!


We have a lovely selection of these magnificent roses – there is no more spectacular sight than a weeping rose which flowers prolifically from October through to May/June.

Provide a well-drained, open sunny location at least 2.5 x 2.5 metres around and you will enjoy years of glorious display – all these roses should be well supported with a very sturdy ring and pole kit available here at Silkies Rose Farm.


Freely produces the most amazing flushes of clusters of apricot blooms which fade to cream and literally smother the bush with flowers throughout the season on relatively thornless canes.  This highly versatile rose can be used to cover arches, adorn fences of variable height and is so easy to maintain because of the beautiful flexible canes.Pinkie
Cluster of mid-pink flowers all season. Lush healthy foliage on thornless wood. Dense foliage cover.

It produces small pretty white flowers throughout a very long flowering season. It is thorny but don’t let this deter you. Highly recommended for a healthy, pretty feature weeping rose in your garden.

Summer’s evening

All our weeping rose varieties are my favourites because they’re all really spectacular – you MUST come to the Rose Farm to collect one and get the support kit too!

Remember to use seaweed solution, fish emulsion and other organic liquids like worm-wee, compost tea and other brews to increase ‘soil-life’ which is guaranteed to ensure you produce the most healthy roses, plants and veggies to guarantee YOUR HEALTH!

Enjoy all the moments in your garden this week…
cheers from us here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane