There you go, the first month of winter already behind us along with the equinox … things are on the up and up!

IT’S OFFICIAL and we’re pleased to share that our youngest son, Benjamin is now employed as a permanent staff member here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane. He will be working alongside us as part of improving our service both here at the Rose Farm and behind the scenes with the technology side of, etc.

Many of you will know and remember Ben as Chef at the Rose Café when our nursery was in Kilmore; he’s a warm and sincere personality and he’s been working around roses since he was a little fella so he knows and loves them well!

Here’s the cover pic of SMALL FARMS magazine June edition with Graham, Diana, Ben and Mooi their smiling best …


After a minus 3 frost last Saturday, I didn’t really expect a great turn-out for the Pruning Demonstration – surprise, surprise the bold and brave came to the Rose Farm and we all enjoyed the event.

The next pruning demo is this SATURDAY – 30TH JUNE, commencing at 10.30am – wear your winter-woolies and bring secateurs and lots of questions about rose gardening and you’ll enjoy the event!

Q: Did you hear about the unlucky sailor? A: First he was ship-wrecked and then he was rescued … by the Titanic!

ROSE PRUNING AT WHITTLESEA COURTHOUSE will be held on 14th JULY at 10.30am


This is a very frequently asked question about roses – here’s a recent email exchange which might clarify this issue for you …

“Hi Diana and Graham. Just wanted to thank you for trudging around in the rain for all the beautiful roses last weekend. They are all planted in their new homes where I hope they will shine and be happy. I was meaning to ask you if there is any truth in tale that you shouldn’t plant a rose where one has been previously? I’m hoping to move a couple over the next few months when they are dormant. If I do, it will mean that I’ll be replacing another rose in that spot. What is your opinion of that plan? Thanks for your advice and truly gorgeous roses.” Jennifer

“Hi Jen … it was a pleasure as it always is … did you notice more people coming in immediately after you? It was a surprisingly busy day – you were the trendsetter though!

There is truth in that ‘tale’ … most particularly when a rose has been in a certain location for many, many years – however, since your garden is so young, I would think that if you take a few decent shovels full of soil out of the hole along with the rose and replace that soil with a 30lt bag of compost/animal manure or blend of other soil and compost from other areas of your garden, the new roses will flourish in their new home! This is one of those ‘rose gardener moments’ when you put the head and the heart in sync and do whatever you think is appropriate to the occasion.

Thank you for purchasing your new roses again this season … best wishes and happy gardening when they flower for years going forward!” Diana


When we were asked to assist with design and delivery of roses for the Wandong Memorial Garden after the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires which severely impacted our local area, we decided to include these three amazingly healthy and prolific roses in large numbers –




All are still flowering after a considerable number of frosts in our region – they’ve toughed-it-out during long periods of extreme heat and being in a public garden, they are dependent on their own resources to continue flowering – our local Shire and members of the Wandong Community Group manage watering / weeding / pruning and so many local residents now use the park very frequently because it is so attractive!

Now is the time to purchase these grand roses – all just $16.50 each plus pack/post!!!

Stay warm and cosy as winter sets in … hope to see you at the Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane real soon … cheers from the team


Hello to all our dear rose friends at this busy time! In this picture you can get the gist of what we’ve been up to …

Yes, thousands of roses snugly bedded in the heel-in beds but before they get to that point, they’ve been graded (highest quality going to orders!) then they’re tagged with their pictorial labels, trimmed if there are damaged roots/branches and finally placed in the sawdust/manure bed which has been waiting for them to arrive.

The heel bed is easy to access so make a point of coming to visit the Rose Farm in coming weeks to select your own bare-rooted roses – if you need a hand with garden design, bring dimensions of garden beds; photos are always handy!

To ensure your garden has YOUR PERSONAL STAMP on it, help us out by bringing pictures of the types of roses you like, ideas about colours you want and any other issues you feel are relative so that together we can work to create the rose garden of your dreams!



Phew, what a busy time it is – I surely know its winter! This past weekend, a massive dumping of rain (62.5 mls), the past few mornings we’ve had a blanket of white frost to minus 3 degrees and it’s my job to courier parcels of roses to our local Post Offices. Exactly why I keep the humour in my day by sourcing these jokes which you all seem to enjoy …

Q: Why couldn’t the toilet paper roll down the hill? A: Because he got stuck in a crack!

It’s so rewarding when we receive phone calls and emails thanking us for the lovely quality roses which are being posted … to be sure your roses perform beautifully once they’re planted in your garden, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Unpack the roses and either place them in a trough of water with eco-seaweed which is supplied or plant them immediately into soil or potting medium;
  2. Trim all branches by say, one-third;
  3. Soak the roses liberally with water to eliminate air-pockets in soil then water over the entire plant with eco-seaweed;

During the entire process of handling bare-rooted roses, the roots MUST NEVER BE DRY!

Treat yourself and come to the Rose Farm at Clonbinane this SATURDAY, 23RD JUNE for a ROSE PRUNING DEMONSTRATION and walk in the gardens with me.

Bring your secateurs so we can sharpen them – wear boots because it’s wet underfoot!

Q: Why don’t Eskimos get married? A: Because they have cold feet!


THREE MAGNIFICENT ROSES to consider planting in your garden this winter …

A COUNTRY WOMAN – we re-introduced this beauty because it really deserves to be widely distributed in honour of our wonderful COUNTRY WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION – a gorgeous long-stemmed pure red rose which isn’t overly thorny and makes a great vase specimen!

SUGAR MOON – seriously magnificent fragrance on purest white, perfectly formed blooms and a stately well-rounded shrub of high health.

BUTTERFLY KISSES – in support of VARIETY the Children’s Charity; this pretty, pale pink beauty flowers in profusion on a healthy floribunda shrub and has a delightful citrus fragrance … a lovely rose for the front of a rose border or perhaps in a tub!

We have been very diligent in selecting NEW RELEASE ROSES for 2018 – there are sooooo many new release roses and we have your interests at heart so we’ve tried to select the very best – some we’ve been privileged to plant and trial in our gardens here at Clonbinane so we know how they perform – others we have seen in the growers fields during this past flowering season.

I will show you more in coming weeks … in closing, let us show this lovely message which was shared at where you can see all past editions of this Rose Rambler along with a plethora of other information about roses …

“Dear All .. My husband and I bought a wonderful English Rose PRETTY JESSICA in bud, at Taverham Nursery Norfolk UK after smelling one bush which was already in bloom. I was captivated by its glorious fragrance, absolutely gorgeous !

I had to have it, and so we bought one, and my husband re-potted it outside in a large pot, on our patio path- facing south behind the conservatory. The buds have increased in size and number and I am looking forward greatly to seeing the blooms emerge in their fabulous glory. This has to be the best smelling rose on the planet !”

Well, PRETTY JESSICA is in fact a David Austin (English) rose of immense beauty – yes, it’s also very highly fragrant. It’s truly satisfying that we sell such glorious roses for us all to enjoy in our gardens all around the world! Happy gardening and talk to you again next week …

The team at Silkies Rose Farm / – CLONBINANE, VIC.


Hello dear rose friends where we are working in glorious winter sunshine after severely frosty mornings and some rain this week … exactly as we would expect the weather to be at this time of year!


Enjoy inspiring presentations: JANE EDMANSON, STEPHEN RYAN, ATTILA KAPITANY and be there to visit a large number of niche vendors with unusual plants and allied products.

The event is all UNDER COVER with FREE PARKING so ideal for visiting with predicted inclement weather this coming weekend – public transport is close by and you will be supporting the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria with your presence! Do come and visit us!!!


We’ve had a most thrilling bit of publicity these past few weeks with a story in the WEEKLY TIMES a couple of weeks ago followed by a magnificent presentation in SMALL FARMS MAGAZINE (includes TOWN & COUNTRY FARMER) June edition.

Our darlin’ toy poodle MOOI looks gorgeous in all the photos as does our son Ben and quite frankly, both Diana and I look great too so you MUST get a copy of this magazine – we’ve enjoyed all the other stories featured in this brilliant edition of SMALL FARMS MAGAZINE!

Q: What do you get when you cross a fridge with a radio? A: Cool music. – this joke will be very apparent to our assistant TOVA who likes the radio on while she’s working – we’ve agreed to one day her music, one day ours – happy medium in our work place!!!

I had a phone call the other day: “should I start the organic rose maintenance spray program NOW?” … and my response was: “DEFINITELY, YES! – if you start the program IMMEDIATELY AFTER PRUNING you will eliminate the need to do ‘catch-up’ if/when your roses incur disease/pest issues in spring.

Get ahead of the insects and definitely protect new rose foliage from spring weather conditions which prevail to perhaps incur black spot/mildew!

We recently posted a rose to Ian which was rather roughly handled by Auspost but he’s managed to recover the rose and as any of you who receive roses know, we always pop a copy of our ‘Rosarian’ catalogue into your parcel. Here’s Ian’s email:

“I was leafing through the copy of AUSTRALIAN ROSARIAN, that you put in with my order and I discovered “Shirley’s Rose”. Normally I am not a great fan of white roses, but note that this one is highly fragrant, and my resistance just melted away ’cos my wife’s name is Shirley. So I thought: “I must have that for her”.

For me, I cannot understand why anybody would purchase a rose that is not fragrant, but I am a weird gardener and only like plants that – have a pretty flower, have a nice perfume, or you can eat. Shirley’s Rose will fulfil two of those criteria – guess at a push it could fulfil all three, but probably will not try to eat it 🙂

I don’t have a hole or a place in the garden to really suit this rose, but guess it will survive in that pot that it will come in for a while and I can just pot it on as it grows. This one must definitely be female 🙂 Kind regards, Ian.”

We know that both Ian and his wife Shirley will enjoy SHIRLEY’S ROSE in their garden and suggested that if they ever have another space to fill, two other magnificent roses which were bred by our very own AUSTRALIAN ROSE BREEDER, BRUCE BRUNDRETT who was formerly owner of BRUNDRETT’S ROSES at Narre Warren here in Victoria are available:

THE OPPORTUNITY ROSE will be the very first rose to flower at the beginning of the flowering season in any State – it will also very likely be the last to flower and produce a most stunning display of blooms continually throughout the season – top rose!

MY YELLOW – New Release this year and absolutely amazing for those who want to plant a yellow rose … this rose is so incredibly healthy and very free flowering

Q: What do you call a book that’s about the brain? A: A mind reader.


Hi Diana, just a quick question if I may. I have a shady(ish) spot in the front garden that I’d like to grow something. It gets sun in summer for half a day (but not full sun where I’m planting the other roses you’re sending) and a little sun in winter. There’s a frangipani in the same planting bed but not much else. I’ve been reading that the DANSE DE FEU climbing rose can be grown in shade but not sure if that’s really true!

Any ideas for a shade loving rose that can cover a semi shady corner? There’s a low wall it can grow up. Thanks Lisa

MY RESPONSE: Honestly Lisa … if ANY rose doesn’t get at least 5 hours of sunlight per day while it IS ESTABLISHING it will not give you the joy I would expect … if you were planting the rose in open ground, no frangipani, no other shade trees, etc. then you plant ALL THE PLANTS TOGETHER … it MIGHT work for a rose of exceptional quality – very high-health and extremely prolific since the shady location might cause foliage to incur powdery mildew / black spot but it might also reduce the flowering capacity!

However, to plant a rose in an existing shady location, it probably won’t flourish. The rose you mentioned: DANSE DE FEU is one I have never grown but do remember the name from when we first started in roses 35 years ago.

A magnificent red CLIMBING/PILLAR rose which just might pull this off is DUBLIN BAY if you want to venture! Hope this works and you enjoy planting your new roses this week … best wishes

We’ve done it so many times but it is a great rose so let’s do it again!

Hope you enjoy all the moments in your rose garden this week and perhaps we’ll see you at GARDENER’S DAY OUT, 2018 this weekend or perhaps you’ll pop up to the Rose Farm at Clonbinane .. Graham and Diana


Hello dear rose friends as winter kicks in and we share this quotation from ‘The Four Seasons’ newsletter of Australia Biodynamic – Victoria Inc’ most interesting winter edition.

Winter is a very important time for nature. The earth is inhaling; all the forces are drawn underground into the soil to enable new life in spring. Plants submerge their energy into their roots; movement slackens as matter and energy concentrate.

Here at Clonbinane we have put our heads down and our bums up as we get stuck into distributing the most glorious rose bushes – another consignment arrived this week … so please be patient as we are processing your orders efficiently and quickly as possible.


Yes, the GIFT ROSE goes out now without flowers but beautifully gift wrapped with extremely important messages which matter so much, right when your message is needed to be conveyed:

“Hi Diana, I just wanted to thank you so much for the Rose I ordered for my friend who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. The rose arrived at the same time as I received a text from her to say she was in hospital, so it was perfect timing. She was so thrilled with the rose and even more thrilled with what ‘Joy of Life’ symbolises. It certainly made the rose extra special.


Thank you so much for your assistance and understanding when particular roses are wanted. As always it arrived in perfect condition. Helen Webb”

and another one:

“Good afternoon Diana, I have just collected my ALI BABA climbing roses that I purchased from you from the post office. Beautifully packaged. Once opened I found two magnificent roses.


I have sat them in the shade outside and I will plant on Saturday morning. My only problem is: where shall they go. I keep changing my mind. I have loads of fence to cover, but I want to be able to see them from my office.

Thanks again for your prompt, well packaged and reliable product. If these roses do well with our climate and the growing aspect, I shall be returning for more. Have a great weekend … Merryl”


Do you need a bit of a hand with pruning your roses this winter? Come on up to Clonbinane on one of these dates and I’ll spend an hour or so teaching you all the different pruning methods so you can go home and prune your roses with confidence.

There’s no cost for the demonstrations – bring your secateurs, your kids and a bucket-full of enthusiasm for rose pruning and organic rose management!


Q: Why did the cat put the letter “M” into the freezer? A: Because it turns ‘ice’ into ‘mice’.

There are some glorious roses still flowering despite having endured freezing conditions here and it’s important to know which varieties hang on and on …

LICHFIELD ANGEL was recently planted on the driveway border – it was spectacular this afternoon and even the foliage is clean which means it’s not ready to shut-down for winter this early – I guess, because it was bred in England by David Austin it has special qualities?

NAHEMA is always continually pruned for flowers so it would naturally be still flowering now but in the bed facing south-west, it gets brutally hammered by frost … I could go and pick a bunch of flowers today … such a special climbing rose!

HOMMAGE A BARBARA is also subjected to extreme frost facing south on the shed wall yet there is a great show of colour and I could definitely pick a vase of flowers to place on Diana’s desk this week … a real beauty for a hedge and constant display of darkest red!

Q: Why can’t you play a practical joke on snakes? A: Because they don’t have a leg to pull!

Lots of customers are sharing their ‘autumn rose garden’ stories … lots of lovely blooms, extreme fragrance but foliage starting to show signs of shutting down for winter – don’t bother applying the organic rose management program to your roses now as it’s time for them to lose their foliage and the only mechanism they have for this is to incur black-spot and yellow foliage which then drops and the rose plant defoliates.


If you don’t like looking at the affected foliage, get to and prune the roses. If you like to be a bit more ‘c’est la vie’ let the roses shut down naturally before you prune – either way is OK!

If you plan on travelling this winter, don’t stress about the roses – either prune BEFORE you leave or pack your bags, have a beaut winter holiday and prune the roses when you get home in August/September! Yes, with quality fertilizing after a decent late winter prune, the roses will still flower in November!!!

Enjoy all the fragrance of the last roses from this past flowering season – it might be months before we experience this delight!

Cheers from the team here at Clonbinane who are working flat-out to get your bare-rooted roses dispatched so you can plant your rose garden!

Graham, Diana, Tova, Ben, Leigh and of course, MOOI who knows you’re here!