ROSE RAMBLER 21.12.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 21.12.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends for the last Rose Rambler this year.  We enjoy compiling this newsletter and welcome your comments and information-sharing, ideas, your photos and emails – thank you so much for contributing – it makes the Rose Rambler a valued email when more than 3,500 interested rose gardeners receive it every Thursday morning around this time!

Being seasonally appropriate here’s GRA’S GARBLE starting with a joke:

 Q.  How do sheep greet each other at Christmas?  A.  A Merry Christmas to ewe!  (my question to this joke was:  so what do ‘boy’ sheep say? … “HO HO HO” – such a ‘boy’ response!)

Sally Holmes



Sally Holmes 

Rhapsody in Blue





Rhapsody In Blue

Gold Bunny




Gold Bunny




During our break, I’ll take a video of Diana doing summer pruning as she’s sure to have a different method to show you! We’ll keep everyone posted once this goes up!
There are some amazing roses in the nursery in case you’re thinking of dropping past for that last-minute Christmas present:–

We’ll be open this weekend as usual right up to 4pm on SUNDAY and Diana will pop a lovely gift-wrap on roses you’re purchasing for Christmas gifting.

Here’s my final funny one for this year …“Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

‘In honour of this holy season,’ Saint Peter said, ‘To get into heaven you must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas.’

The man from England fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter; he flicked it on. ‘It represents a candle’, he said.

‘You may pass through the pearly gates’ Saint Peter said.

The man from New Zealand reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, ‘They’re bells.’

Saint Peter said ‘You may pass through the pearly gates’.
The Australian started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women’s panties.

St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, ‘And just what do those symbolize?’

The Aussie replied, ‘These are Carols.’ “Keep smiling and enjoy your garden these holidays – Gra

It was such a pleasure to receive this email earlier in the week:

“Hi Diana, Ross picked up the rose and was overwhelmed with tears by the sentiment. He loved that it was called “FATHER’S LOVE” – so appropriate to remember the passing of his youngest son.
Its gifts like these that really do lighten the burden for those suffering the loss of a loved one. Thankyou rosesalesonline, for offering a truly wonderful service.

We’ll start posting roses again on FRIDAY, 5TH JANUARY, 2018 when we can rely on Auspost to once again deliver our magnificent roses in a timely fashion.
Obviously, the website is open and you can continue placing orders throughout our holiday time. Meantime, from our family to you and yours, we wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS along with good health and happiness throughout 2018 …

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 Open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday – 9am – 4pm Phone 03 5787 1123

ROSE RAMBLER 14.12.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 14.12.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends for the second last …


… since it’s even more ‘silly season’ this week than last week, let’s lighten your mood with a joke … Q. Why did the man run around his bed?  A. Because he was trying to catch up on his sleep!

With the Christmas holidays looming, we’ll all be able to catch up on some sleep and enjoy quiet time at home – hopefully, you’ll make time for moments in your garden so here are a few TIPS FOR SUMMER ROSE GARDEN MANAGEMENT –

  • Watering roses is about DEEP-SOAKING at least 20 litres (or more) per weekly watering event so that water reaches way deep down into the root zone;
  • Watering should be carried out preferably in the early morning or up until 2 pm but NEVER in the evening when foliage is likely to be wet at sunset which can incur black-spot and mildew or rust on foliage;
  • Treat your garden to an application of quality fertilizer, especially since recent rains have leached a lot of nutrients from the soil;
  • Groom your roses … continually remove spent flowers and as a general rule-of-thumb, prune 1/3 of each rose stem during summer pruning – next week I will include a video of my PRUNING DEMONSTRATION – come along to the Rose Farm at Clonbinane this SUNDAY, 17TH DECEMBER commencing at 1.00pm.
  • Hot/dry weather conditions will ‘burn off’ fungal diseases like black-spot and mildew; if your roses are plagued by diseases you should continue to apply the organic rose management spray program – use it early in the morning and NEVER if the temperature is expected to exceed 28 degrees!
  • Most insects which cause issues for roses will hopefully decline in numbers – ‘white-fly’ which have been rampant this past season may still need to be kept in check with ECO-NEEM and ECO-OIL sprays – I suggest you avoid lethal chemicals!


  • Go cow-padding with your family for a fun day out in the country air – collect bags of dried manure to take home to your garden for mulch.  Be sure and check with the property owner prior to entering private property!
  • Plant seedlings along a garden border – perhaps some veggie/herb seedlings in small pots or for a real novelty, drill holes in the sole of shoes which the kids have grown out of and plant them with pansies/petunias/lobelia or other flowers!


An email from Jo prompted me to offer this advice about the two spray units we use here –

Hello Jo … I possibly overlook suggesting this:  ALL SPRAY EQUIPMENT MUST BE THOROUGHLY CLEANED AFTER EACH USE!  We actually use TriNature floor cleaner (Optimate) and disinfectant (Sphagnum Moss) spray in the tank after each use.

This ensures the spray head and line are also thoroughly cleaned because of the oil component in the mix!     We have had a 15 litre backpack spray unit SOLO which has been very reliable for more than 15 years and parts readily available if/when the repair was necessary.

I never fill it to capacity because I couldn’t carry it and we use it predominantly for SLASHER weed killer and it is also used for BIODYNAMIC PREPARATION SPRAYING.

The unit we use in the nursery is a 50 litre SWAGMAN BATTERY POWERED SPRAY UNIT … it has served us extremely well for at least 10 years with only one new spray arm replaced due to mishandling – it’s a trolley and can be easily pulled around.

hardi Container with weedkiller

NEVER use GLYPHOSATE products (ROUNDUP) in the spray unit which you use for spraying your roses!

Q. What do you get when you cross a parrot with a pig?  A. A bird who hogs the conversation!


Which just might get you out of trouble at the very last minute and available until New Year’s Eve …


Xmas Voucher





Really?  Recently we’ve had several requests for black roses – we’ve been shown pics from Facebook of very dark, yes, almost black blooms –we think the stems might have been placed in black dye– you could try doing that.  When I experimented several years ago with dye using ICEBERG (white) roses, it didn’t occur to me to use BLACK but the colours I used were successful as you can see in the pics below.

Coloured Roses

The colours intensified the longer the roses were in the dye and I could have made a very strong solution for greater colour intensity. Back to BLACK ROSES … the darkest, most highly fragrant rose available in our nursery is PAPA MEILLAND as when it first opens, the petals are black/red and the outer petals retain that dark hue right to the end – this picture was taken by Judith in Kyneton yesterday:
Judiths Papa Meillandnursery of Papa Meilland

(Left: Judiths Papa Meilland




 Right: picture from nursery of Papa Meilland)
In praise of this magnificent rose, if you love the fragrance and darkest red combination in a rose, then grow PAPA MEILLAND!


When it all gets too busy and you’ve had enough, pick up your secateurs and close out all of everything and go and trim your roses … speak with them while they tell you about themselves – a more interesting conversation could not ever be had!

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
Open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday – 9am – 4pm
Phone 03 5787 1123

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Our mailing address is:

Rose Sales Online

550 Crn Spur and McDonald’s Rds

ClonbinaneVictoria 3658


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ROSE RAMBLER 7.12.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 07.12.2017 …

Hello, dear rose friends after an amazing weather event here at Clonbinane where we recorded more than 160mm of rain since last Thursday.  It was ‘nice’ rain as it fell quietly and simply rained day and night!  Of course, the blooms are damaged so we’ll have a massive program of ‘summer pruning’ and in order for you to learn all about it, come for a demo this Saturday.


Bring your secateurs for a sharpen and general check and wet-weather shoes to walk into the gardens where it’s still sopping wet!  If you have a rose flower you want to be identified, bring that along too!


Since it’s the silly season, let’s start with a joke

Q. What do you call an attractive pig?  A. A good snort. 

Enjoy your Christmas ham!

CONGRATULATIONS To Gary, Steve and the team at ORGANIC CROP PROTECTANTS who distribute our organic rose management products.They recently released product SLASHER ORGANIC WEEDKILLER is a recognised winner … read the press release:We’re super excited that SLASHER ORGANIC WEEDKILLER has picked up not one but two prestigious awards!  After 10 years of research and product development, it’s incredibly rewarding to have our work recognised by these awards.

Here are the details:

Organic Product of the Year – 2017 Organic Consumer Choice Awards Organic Product of the Year (Non-Food) – 2017 Australian Organic Annual Awards for Excellence

SLASHER was one of 18 finalists in the Organic Consumer Choice Awards which are voted for by the public. Once all votes were tallied SLASHER was the standout winner. Big thanks to all that voted!!! It is particularly satisfying to see so much public support for the product given the short time it has been on the market.

 It’s a further sign that more and more people are opting for safe organic options compared to questionable chemicals. The Australian Organic Annual Awards for Excellence are run by Australia’s largest organic certifying organisation Australian Organic (formerly called the Biological Farmers of Australia – BFA).

To be shortlisted and then win is a big nod from the organic industry that SLASHER is a quality product. Weeds are one of the biggest challenges facing organic farmers and we are pleased that SLASHER is there to help

To celebrate this victory and encourage you to use SLASHER rather than harmful glyphosate weedkillers, we’ll take $5 off every 1-litre bottle until current stock is runout.  We do have 5-litre packs available for pick-up at the Rose Farm – they’ll also be reduced by $5 through December – a keen gardener would be thrilled to receive this product as a Christmas gift!


“Hi there … Firstly, my roses are doing really well – thank you … just a quick question though. They are putting up a couple of quite long shoots with flower buds on top of them – much longer than the bush itself is.  Is this OK – what should I do re “pruning” these, either now or after the flowers have come out??  I might have to stake them up I think, they are so long.”  Many thanks – Lyn

My response to Lyn … they’re watershoots carrying heads of flowers and yes, you might have to stake them in these blustering weather conditions – we lost a lot in this past week … but ah, well, good pruning today will recover them and we’ll have magnificent flowers again in January!

New watershoots

(Two lush branches on the left side are NEW WATERSHOOTS, three other branches are older watershoots and would be the first pruned out in favour of the two newer watershoots) If you see these shoots emerging in future, you might give them a trim ‘on the way upwards’ and this will stop them growing so high and the watershoot will branch out more in line with the overall bush height …

watershoots 2

You’re obviously doing everything ‘right’ by producing such healthy roses so loaded with blooms … enjoy!
I will teach you WATERSHOOT MANAGEMENT during the SUMMER PRUNING DEMONSTRATION and also show you the difference between WATERSHOOTS and SUCKERS so you’ll be able to successfully manage both in your rose garden.

Here are my top picks for a GIFT ROSE this Christmas …

Just $73.90 delivered to your door by Australia Post …

Dark desiredouble delightapricot nectar

Heaven ScentAbraham Darby

(Top: Dark Desire Middle Left: Double Delight Middle Right: Apricot Nectar Bottom Left: Abraham Darby Bottom Right: Heaven Scent)
Diana and her crew of ‘ reindeers ’ will be busy gift wrapping and boxing any rose of your choice until the last posting on MONDAY, DECEMBER 18TH … order NOW and if you have to care for a rose prior to gifting on Christmas Day, just pop it in a sunny location and water it every morning – do trim spent flowers prior to gifting so it looks lovely!


After such a rain event, it is important to take any opportunity (when the weather is predicted to be below 30 degrees) to apply the organic rose management program:To 10 litre bucket of water add:

¼ cup ECO-ROSE (FUNGICIDE) dilute with a burst of water then add

¼ cup ECO-OIL (INSECTICIDE / STICKER) reduce to ½ strength in hot weather

1 scoop ECO-SEAWEED POWDER or follow directions on pack of your preferred seaweed product!

MIX THEM ALL TOGETHER AND SPRAY TO RUNOFF OR POUR OVER PLANTS MONTHLY or more frequently if pests or disease are apparent. If a rose has succumbed to disease infection or just looks poorly after massive flowering and inclement weather conditions, give it a good prune, deep-soaking water and apply organic rose management spray – within weeks it will be flowering again!

I am hearing more and more people talk about how ‘EASY’ roses are!  They’ve certainly been hammered by all sorts of weather this past six months and when I open my eyes each morning and look out over the rose garden here, I am constantly reminded of their hardiness and magnificent beauty!

See you this weekend for the first SUMMER ROSE MANAGEMENT DEMONSTRATION – there will be one more before Christmas on 17th December and I will schedule another couple through January when you can bring the kids along too …  In closing:

Q.  What kind of snacks do noses like? A. SNEEZLES

… have a great week and take time out to smell the roses – especially now during this busy time of year.

Happy Festivities from Graham, Diana and the lovely team who make and SILKIES ROSE FARM at CLONBINANE your TOTAL ROSE EXPERIENCE …