28th SEPTEMBER, 2017…

ROSE RAMBLER 28.09.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends from sunny Clonbinane where the day still starts with minus 2 frost and our gardens are a blaze of glorious colour thanks to the daffodils and tulips … delightful!

Most Exciting News …

Diana’s beautiful book ALL ABOUT ROSES is now reprinted and once again available to purchase – go to your local bookstore or to our website to purchase a copy.

Last week I received a rose order along with this lovely message from Les …thanks for the newsletter, and look forward to my shipments.

“I just re-read some of your ALL ABOUT ROSES book.  LOVE IT!  There is even a mention of me in the book!  ” …. Want to grow roses but wouldn’t have a clue.” !!! That’s me!” – Cheers Les

ALL ABOUT ROSES is being reprinted by popular demand!

Reviews since it was first released in 2014 have declared it a book for ALL rose gardeners … very practical advice, magnificent photography and simply the book which EVERY rose lover should have sitting on the coffee table – perhaps in the garden shed because all our organic rose management recipes are right there!

Order a signed copy for yourself or get in early for a Christmas gift for the rose-lover in your life!


I passionately enjoy growing daffodils and this season is one out-of-the-box for magnificent flowers-


Our pretty Daffodils,

and splendid Tulips!


JOKE :  Harry went for a job interview and the first thing they told him was:  “We are looking for someone responsible” to which Harry replied:  “I’m your man because at my last job, every time something went wrong they told me I was responsible”.

Mulching Your Garden…

Is seriously one of the most important tasks you can undertake NOW while there is still good soil moisture deep down in the sub-soil/clay.  To conserve this moisture and have your roses send their roots way down and anchor themselves for years of robust, healthy growing and flowering, I recommend you place a good thick layer of mulch around the entire garden bed.

Notice when we mulch here, there is a ‘biscuit’ of pea straw along the border – this stops birds flicking loose straw out of the bed and we generally place a thick layer of damp newspaper under the ‘biscuit’ to inhibit weeds coming into the garden bed!

In the actual garden bed, the pea straw is pulled apart and fluffed-up – nice and thick – this allows fertilizer pellets to find their way down onto the soil.  NEVER REMOVE THIS LAYER OF MULCH because soil microbes are actively working to enhance your soil and you could destroy them very quickly by exposing them to sunlight!

Some roses in lower areas of our garden are seriously frost damaged but we are not going to prune ANYTHING MORE off them until the first flowering in November and I urge you to do the same where frost damage is evident.   From previous experience here at Clonbinane, I assure you that ALL YOUR ROSES WILL RECOVER and flower this spring.

New foliage is very soft and lush which makes it susceptible to insects who will take advantage of these conditions … see the aphid cycle on this magnificent photo Diana took and which Steve at www.ocp.com.au  (Organic Crop Protectants) has labelled so you now know more about aphids and their cycle …

  • White stuff – these are the shells of the aphids which they’ve shed when moulting
  • Winged insect – these are winged adult aphids and not lacewings.  When aphids enter their final moulting stage they can emerge as either winged or wingless adults.  They produce wings if the area they’re in is already heavily populated with aphids so it allow them to emerge with wings and fly off to find a new feeding ground which is less crowded.  Clever trick really
  • Brown blobs – these are aphids which have had a parasitoid wasp inject an egg into them.  When the juvenile wasp hatches it feeds on the insides of the aphid before pupating and then cutting a tiny hold in the shell of the aphid and emerging as an adult wasp.  During the whole process the aphid swells up, turns brown and dies.

If you have good numbers of birds in your garden, consider the aphids as their seasonal feast!  Don’t be too quick reaching for sprays to eliminate the aphids if you feel they’re under control … ECO OIL is very effective in controlling the immature/larval-stage aphids which of course, in time, interrupts the breeding cycle!  There is no hard and fast KILL with organic rose management so observation is critical – gentle, gentle works and remember, roses recover from all kinds of harsh elements without interference!Hope you’re enjoying all the glory which spring offers us gardeners – Graham


This weekend is the last opportunity you’ll have to order BARE-ROOTED ROSES because the roses are now beautifully foliaged, lots of roots in the coir-fibre potting mix and some are even budding!  Yes, we have flower buds despite minus 2 frosty mornings!

In between watching the footy this weekend, scroll through www.rosesalesonline.com.au and order a few roses to plant for flowering throughout this season and for years to come!  Every reason why so many people resort to purchasing GIFT ROSES as a way of expressing their heartfelt feelings!

Our GIFT ROSE continues to please – here’s an email from Toni who had tried to phone through an order on Tuesday (my day off), resorted to Facebook (which is managed by our IT team – not ME – they emailed me for response) then she finally emailed me and I called her –

“Diana – Haha … No worries I was just trying to cover all bases.  It’s because you do it so beautifully like no one else I found and I didn’t want anyone else’s rose to go to Leanne.  Thank you so much for your assistance 🙂 ” 

Yes, we will be here this FRIDAY which is a public holiday for THE DAY BEFORE THE FOOTBALL GRAND FINAL – gasping as I type that!!!  Yes, we will also be here during the whole weekend although it is a sport weekend … take this opportunity to get down and dirty in your garden …

Slashers Organic Weedkiller…

We’re extremely excited that Slasher Organic Weedkiller is in the running for “Organic Product of the Year” in the 2017 Organic Consumer Choice Awards.

Naturally we’d love Slasher to win and for this we need your help. Please click on the link to vote now. It only takes a minute and will help us spread the organic word!

Grab your bottle of Slasher Organic Weedkiller at www.rosesalesonline.com.au or find it at your local garden centre.

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 21.9.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 21.09.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends – this is another one of those ‘special dates’ – I’m producing a Rambler on the date when, in 6 months, I’ll be turning 60 and I won’t talk about this going forward … let’s see who remembers next February?

Where is Clonbinane?  What is in Clonbinane?  The history of Clonbinane?    You’re right, there is no store, no Post Office, there isn’t even a Pub!  Just up the road (2 kms) from Silkies Rose Farm, there’s a community of houses in Waterford Park … no shop or PO there either but since the tragic Black Saturday fires of 2009, we have a magnificent CLONBINANE COMMUNITY HALL where we frequently get together with all the locals.

So really, CLONBINANE TODAY is ABOUT SILKIES ROSE FARM which is located within 500 meters of the CLONBINANE INTERCHANGE on the HUME FREEWAY (entry and exit north and south) where thousands of vehicles travel every day between Melbourne / Sydney / Brisbane and everywhere in between.

Do be sure to stop off and say hello on your way past

FUN EMAILS … Last week I posted a lovely rose to Helen and I couldn’t stop giggling when I read her response:

 “Thank you, Diana, I love this rose very much, it has a special place between my Reine Victoria and Mme Pierre Oger!  Lovely!  And this time I will really REALLY look after it properly.  Summer is no good for my brain or my roses.” Helen

Summer can cook your brain just don’t let it cook your roses!

POSTING PRODUCT… yes, of course, I can post ORGANIC ROSE MANGEMENT products to you but please read this email and consider my response …

Thanks, Diana, yes postage was steep but that’s not your fault. Postage is really high now. I can’t seem to buy these products in Traralgon so I had to send to you.  LOVE the products you sent, my rosebuds in Queensland were so plump, I have never seen them like this.  Wasted a lot I think as I put some in a bucket and watered from below, then used as a spray.  I will have to order more!!  Thanks for the intro to Amino Gro.”  Jan

Yes, spraying is the best way!  Can I suggest that you go to your local garden center and ask if they would please stock the OCP range of garden maintenance products … people will definitely buy them if they are available!  Even Bunnings if you have to …?  Cheers, and thank you!


there are lots of NEW RELEASE ROSES in the nursery and as they’re now getting foliage, I’m more and more interested in them and have absconded pots which I will soon be planting in MY garden …

EARTH ANGEL … we displayed this in vases earlier this year at Tesselaar’s Garden Expo and it held up beautifully throughout the weekend – such a lovely specimen for garden display and definitely in a vase …

SUMMER ROMANCE … This very special beauty is what I consider PERFECT PINK … with swirling mass of petals and lovely spicy fragrance, the name says it all!  I’ll be planting it for sure because I know that it will present really well in a vase too.

JOKE:  “Charlie applies for a job in a factory.  The manager asks:  “Have you worked with chemicals before?”  “Yes!” Charlie replies.  “Great.  Can you tell me what nitrate is?” the manager asks.  Charlie answers:  “I’m hoping it’s going to be time and a half.”

The last word from me this week is to remember:

Keep frequent applications of eco-seaweed happening in your rose garden … I think we’re in for a really hot, hot summer and if we condition our roses NOW, we can pretty much guarantee they’ll be ok with whatever this summer has to offer them – it might be water restrictions, perhaps intensely hot sun but whatever they’re presented, offer them great conditioning with regular applications of eco-seaweed solution – you should buy a 600g pack added to every rose order!

I found this and would like to share:

Preoccupied with a single leaf, you won’t see the tree.
Preoccupied with a single tree, you’ll miss the entire forest.

Nurture and love what you have – dream of what is possible to have in your garden and work to achieve your dream … see you at the Yea Garden Expo this weekend – I will be presenting at 2.00 on Saturday … Graham

BARE-ROOTED ROSES STILL AVAILABLE ONLINE … go to www.rosesalesonline.com.au where you can still purchase bare-rooted roses for the next few weeks – it is imperative that you plant these magnificent specimens as soon as they arrive at your door – offer them eco-seaweed solution weekly for at least four weeks after planting to reduce transplanting shock and to get their roots settled – most roses will be flowering by November … not long to go now!

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

ROSE RAMBLER 14.9.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 14.09.2017 …

Hello dear rose friends from Clonbinane …   where morning temperatures still defy the fact that spring has sprung – every morning we are greeted by another frost.  However, all the roses are pruned now and will ‘tough it out’ if frost persists. Take a look at how severely Ben pruned KNOCKOUT hedge last Friday – I’ll let you see pics of this magnificent rose in a few weeks when it’s flowering again.

How severely Ben pruned the KNOCKOUT  hedge last week!

How it looked before the pruning!



Soon we’ll be inundated with garden events as roses start to flower and we expect to have one of the busiest seasons on record here – there are bus groups booked and we are attending a few events which might interest you if they’re in your zone:

23 & 24 SEPTEMBER – 10- 4 each day


KYABRAM ROSE SHOW – FRIDAY, 13TH OCTOBER – details in following Rose Ramblers 


Diana and I are guest speakers at this event so if you would like to attend, please contact :  George at shruby.orchids@bigpond.com to reserve a seat at this very popular event.

We will keep you well informed of events where either of us attend – remember too that I am a regular presenter on the 3CR Garden Show – Community Radio, Melbourne, 855 on the AM BAND every Sunday 7.30-9.15am – I present with the panel EVERY SECOND SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH. 


Every year I diligently save my cents until they become a couple of hundred dollars and I buy daffodils – it’s a thrill to peruse the catalogues, chat with the growers and the greatest delight is seeing them flowering at this time of year and the cold season has been perfect with masses of daffies flowering in absolute profusion – this has to be one of the best seasons I’ve experienced in many years!

Remember DO NOT CUT OFF THE FOLIAGE of your daffodils when they’ve finished flowering – this is VERY IMPORTANT!  When the flowers are spent, you must apply fertilizer so that as the foliage dies down, it takes all the energy into the bulb where it is stored for next season.

Feeding bulbs as they start to shut-down from this spring flowering will almost surely guarantee good multiplication of the bulbs to ensure even greater numbers of flowers next season – we use the same fertilizer for bulbs as we do the roses – Complete Organic Fertilizer – be guided by the assistant at your local garden centre for the best quality fertilizer for your bulbs and roses!



Q. What gets bigger the more your take away?  A. A hole of course! 

Hope you’ve dug a few holes recently to plant more roses; maybe some seedling annuals and veggies for delicious summer salads?  Get your garden looking gorgeous for this season – I’ve got 9 more roses to ‘sneak’ into my garden – testing varieties which will be released in 2018 so I’ll give them premium treatment to ensure they grow really well and I can hopefully highly recommend them for your garden next season too!

From a blissfully happy Graham enjoying my daffodils … cheers!





Yes, it works brilliantly, it’s very economical and extremely environmentally friendly.  You, the gardener MUST contribute positive energy and accept the follies of Mother Nature – expect there might be times when a particular plant isn’t PERFECT … ask yourself :  “am I perfect, always?” and when we speak at Garden Club presentations, we often ask the audience if they would like us to come and visit their home early in the morning … gushingly, the audience is horrified at this prospect because hey, how fabulous do you look when you first step out of bed?

Give your plants the same grace and help them to look beautiful as much and as frequently as they can … here’s my advice to Xiumei recently:

“Hi Diana, Following our previous email, I hesitate to continue to purchase any other roses because I found insects/pests, like aphids and dark spots on some other roses in my garden (I bought from Bunnings previously).  Would you please give some advice how frequency to spray Eco-oil/neem? once per day or per week? I saw the menu it is spray every 1-2 weeks. But for my case, it looks not enough only one spray every 1-2 weeks.  The bare-roots rose I bought from your nursery also looks be impacted. I found one leave with yellow-dark spot on it. 

Currently, I have to give a quick check the leaves and bottom of flowers in the morning, I usually could find some aphids at the back of leaves.  That’s really upset me.  Finger crossed, wish my lovley rose plants could survive in the new home. ” Best regards,  Xiumei
My urgent response to Xiumei:  Hello … it’s very, very important that you STOP WORRYING and being concerned about every little bit of spot or yellow leaf … do you know that you lose skin and hair every day?  Leaves are the same on roses – they run out of being necessary on the plant so they go yellow with black spots and drop!  New leaves ALWAYS FOLLOW … did you know too that aphids are food for birds and other insects/visitors in your garden?  When they become out of control it usually means there’s not adequate ventilation – aphids love to be out of the wind where they can breed prolifically!

You should NEVER EVER use our organic management program more than fortnightly!

Please stop worrying and see the beauty of the flowers rather than what little pests might be there … yellow leaves are normal on spent foliage. As long as your roses are well watered and fed, they will please you!  Best wishes … DIANA
“The response which I truly love:  Brilliant, Diana! Take it in my pocket now.”
Cheers, Xiumei



Ann alerted me to the fact that at www.yellowpage.com they’re asking for people to send pictures of their gardens which might be selected for the covers of local area phone books!  Be adventurous and send a picture of your garden.

I’ll send this one of our garden … PIERRE DE RONSARD (pink bloom on left) and SYMPATHIE (red blooms) with NAHEMA (pink buds on right).  All these magnificent climbers produce beautiful flowers suitable for a vase!


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 07.09.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends as we sing …  SPRING IS IN THE AIR, EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK AROUND … It’s soooo green and what a lovely week we’ve had to welcome spring here in Victoria where the soil is sopping wet!  The moisture augers well for our gardens to flourish this season …


It’s a different story for our gardening friends in other regions of Australia, some are thirsty if not desperate for rain.  In NSW, things are shaping up for yet another ‘green drought’ in late winter/early spring.

We hope that most of you know that to apply heavy late-winter mulching of garden beds is imperative in anticipation of all-too-frequent dry spells.  Hot summers ensure that mulch rapidly disappears and usually needs topping up before the season ends.

This is a pic of recent pea-straw mulching here at the Rose Farm …

Sensible garden mulch applications enhanced by quality fertilizer and regular seaweed solution results in quite rapid carbonizing of the topsoil – you’ll see your soil turn quite dark brown, beautifully crumbly and growing magnificent roses!

There have been a few customers whose winter planting of bare-rooted roses hasn’t quite gone to plan – where is the fault???  If you have a newly planted rose (in any season) that doesn’t perform well, please don’t leave it in the soil to perish!

Lift it, place it in a pot or replant in a different location – there are lots of things happening in soil and most especially if there have been additives … compost and ‘new’ soil can be lethal because of decomposing which causes anaerobic conditions underground – your roses are dealing with it and you cannot see it!

Yes, we guarantee our plants 100% but we urge you to consider the situation you have planted your roses into and please, please, don’t let them die because of any of the above examples of where they might be planted!

Take action – trim them back to below where there might be visible dying stems and drench with eco-seaweed solution weekly until they recover …

Q. What do you call a fairy that doesn’t take a bath?  A.  Stinker Bell!


“Hello, Firstly I would like to congratulate you on such a wonderfully professional business. A short time ago I ordered an ORIGAMI rose which arrived in pristine condition, 

I was stunned that it was possible to order a plant online and receive it in better condition than I could purchase at my local nursing here in Qld. The plant is absolutely flourishing and beginning to produce its first buds.

The care and attention to packaging along with the rose itself and care instructions are simply impeccable. I also have enjoyed the Rose Rambler emails and look forward to receiving and reading them. Once again thank you and I look forward to ordering from you again in the future.” Sincerely, Mark.


With magnificent rose varieties named to suit all occasions which occur in our daily lives, our GIFT ROSE is an absolutely joyous way of acknowledging an occasion in your family … here is a testament to the beautiful 50TH ANNIVERSARY ROSE – GOLDEN CELEBRATION … 

Hi Diana, Just wanted to say a huge thank you for the beautiful golden celebration gift box for my in-laws.  They just sent me the attached photo through of it growing already and tell me they are planting it this weekend.

It’s my parents 50th Anniversary next year, so you’ll hear from me again to arrange another one for them.”  Kind Regards  … Roschell

Q. What happens when a cat eats a lemon?  A. It becomes a sour puss …

Enjoy your garden in these early weeks of spring – if you haven’t pruned your roses from last season because you were worried about frost, get them done NOW … we’ve been pruning here at the Rose Farm too!

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 …