Hello dear rose friends … How lucky are we gardeners? Taking time to ‘switch-off’ from all the busyness to get down and dirty pulling a few weeds, trimming some roses for a vase and yes, mowing the lawn – ah, the smell of a fresh-cut lawn.


We’ve had a week of extreme winter weather with ample rain to water gardens however, with the rain, rose foliage might be affected by blackspot/mildew. You’ll continue to enjoy beautiful roses if you stay on top of this problem with the organic rose management spray:


    • 1 SCOOP (5g) ECO-SEAWEED – or other seaweed product

Mix the products together well and pour or spray over foliage to run-off. When spraying, you can try and avoid spraying the flowers as the products will mark the lighter coloured blooms.

During these humid conditions, it would be effective to spray every 10-14 days then as soon as we get some hot, sunny weather, it will burn fungus spores and you can continue the once-a-month regime of spray management!


Because of the rain, blooms might be affected – some end up mushy balls of mould and these MUST be removed! I don’t even like them being left to rot at the base of the rose plant as I believe they are a haven for mildew/mould spores so rake them up and get rid of them in general garbage waste.

When you’re out trimming the spent flowers – don’t be shy – cut stems at least 20 – 30 cms in length so that the re-growth is lovely and strong, carries lots of flower heads and you maintain lovely rounded bushes rather than leggy / untidy bushes.

Q:If 2’s company and 3’s a crowd, what are 4 and 5?A:9!



Brilliant brightest dark pink, long-stemmed blooms with slight fragrance are produced on a sturdy, vigorous bush of immense disease resistance – this beautiful rose will impress you by the length of time it lasts in a vase.  Just one bush will provide an immense number of long-stemmed blooms each time you want to fill a vase!


RHAPSODY IN BLUE is an extremely vigorous, high-health rose to adorn a wall, place in a pillar frame or position at the back of the rose border as a hedge – this magnificently fragrant rose with the most dark purple petals and a showy mass of yellow stamens as a foil for the brilliant glossy mid-green foliage is very highly recommended.


SOEUR EMMANUELLE produces an abundance of lilac pink, highly fragrant blooms which are massed with petals and make a beautiful display in a vase.  The high-health bush is tall and upright, the foliage dark and healthy – very highly recommended rose!


Please don’t leave your shopping until the last minute – our last roses to be posted will be FRIDAY 14TH DECEMBER but please also remember that lots of people leave home at Christmas to go camping/holidaying so why not send them your gift rose NOW so they can tuck it into their garden where it will be safe and survive with a deep-soaking watering of just 20 litres ONCE A WEEK!

You can purchase a GIFT VOUCHER at – for every $50.00 you spend, I’ll gift the recipient an extra $5.00 to spend on their next transaction.


When you call in at Silkies Rose Farm you’ll likely meet our dear friend Shelley (and foxy Nelson) who has come to give us a hand – she’s a wizard with roses and loves a chat!

Take time to smell the roses during this amazing rose season and if you get a moment, please send a HAPPY 75 TH BIRTHDAY GRAHAM which he celebrates tomorrow … thank you all for being such beautiful customers!


Hello dear rose friends as we all revel in the glory of our spring gardens – colour, fragrance and absolutely breath-taking beauty surround us!

I apologise profusely for the NO SHOW last week … it all got so very, very busy after I had a few days off for my very first Oaks Day at Flemington Racecourse as part of Melbourne Cup week … here’s what I wrote about that …

“The roses at Flemington on Oaks Day were amazing, so much so, my friend Marilyn had to keep telling me to keep my mouth closed … I was in awe and loved every moment of the occasion!  I waited till the last race to win 1st, 2nd and 3rd place bets so yes, I had a fabulous day …”

Then we presented for the weekend at State Rose & Garden Show in the State Rose Garden at Werribee – I am delighted to tell you that this magnificent rose garden was voted 5th IN THE WORLD by the World Federation of Rose Societies – every rose lover MUST visit these spectacular gardens which are predominantly maintained by a group of 120 + volunteers who meet there every Wednesday and Saturday.

If you live close and would like to become part of this friendly group of volunteers, please contact to register your interest.

Back at the Rose Farm we are now enjoying magnificent flowering potted roses … it’s spectacular now and you should jump in the car and visit soon … the garden is magnificent also and we welcome you to take a walk with us.


To say it’s been busy is an understatement so here’s a joke to have a giggle …

Q:  If horses wear shoes, what do camels wear?   A:  Desert boots.  
“Dear Graham & Diana, A couple of years ago I came out to visit Silkies Farm, and came away with a couple of roses, your book (which I had borrowed over and over from our local library) and some sound advice re a CLIMBING DEVONIENSIS covered in mildew on a southerly aspect.

At that stage, DEVONIENSIS, CLB. had only been planted by our front door about 18 months. I knew that a southerly aspect was a big ask of a TEA ROSE, and really felt I’d done the wrong thing by her when she became smothered in mildew.

You suggested that I give her a couple more years to really get her roots down, and that chances were she would then go for it if she could get high enough to catch the westerly winter afternoon sun, and if not, then to shift her to a sunnier location.

Ka-boom!  Get going she did.  With my neighbour’s front garden, we have a scrumptiously perfumed corner of our street, and it’s a delight to arrive home, bushed after a day of teaching, to be greeted by such a heavenly sight.

I remember mentioning to you that if she comes good, I’ll send you a photo!  Many thanks for a delightful visit … I’m due for another … and for your encouragement and advice.

Hope the spring season is a great one for Silkies.  Very best wishes  –  Deb”

HOW LOVELY IS THIS … “Hi Diana, Ha, it wasn’t until I went to check my rose guide book (about planting potted roses in early summer) that your name clicked…you wrote the book!!
Just letting you know that roses arrived safely and planted out well, which was very welcome because they shipped during weather up around 40 degrees. So thank you very much for the careful packing!
All the best, Andrew”
PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEA – ALL ABOUT ROSES by DIANA SARGEANT – get organised early and I’ll post a signed copy NOW … $30.00 plus p/post and available in our online store:  GET YOUR COPY NOW!

GRA’S BLUE’ rose is now back in stock and we have lovely flowering potted plants ready for planting …

A few true beauties as they start to flower in abundance here at Clonbinane … 
FIREFIGHTER – one of the most gorgeous darkest red roses with magnificent fragrance and best of all, near thornless flowering stems – highly recommended rose
TWILIGHT ZONE – spectacular darkest purple blooms with awesome fragrance on a medium sized well-rounded shrub which is suitable as a border … gorgeous rose!
ASHRAM – is one of the most perfectly formed orange roses which is beautifully matched by stunning dark green, delightfully healthy foliage – a great rose!
Q:  What’s the same size and shape as an elephant but weighs nothing?    A:  An elephant’s shadow.  

Enjoy the roses all around you …
cheers from the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.


Hello dear rose friends when right now, I’m enjoying my first ever visit to ladies Oaks Day at Flemington as part of the Melbourne Cup Racing Carnival. You can be sure I’m way more interested in visiting the rose gardens than wagering any $’s on a horse – I’ll pop a few bucks on something that perhaps has a rose name and I’ll let you know next week how I fared!


Please accept my apology for the reference to ‘indigenous’ people as I have the greatest respect for all Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.


Good afternoon, Well I think that this is their third year and this is the start of the KNOCKOUTroses blooming season until I prune them say late July. Last season they grew very tall as well as wide. They grew to nearly 2 metres. I pruned a good 1200mm plus off them this year to try and get them to a manageable height, but I think they will just do their own thing again. They were planted approx. 900mm apart and it is a thick as a box hedge.  I need not have had barbed wired installed on the top of the fence cause if anyone wanted to try and climb over they would be ripped to threads….as are my arms, even with protective clothing!

My industrial block is known as the one with the red roses. LOL.  Just around the corner from me is Landmark and their colours are Green and Gold. Well they have about fifty GOLD BUNNY roses around their shop. That also is spectacular, although they do not grow quite as thick.

I bought two ALI BABA climbing roses from you earlier, one is ok, sadly the other has passed on. I don’t think it liked the continual minus 5s, 6s and 7s. Although I am on a hill. I have also lost three roses (well established) at home. But I live down low where there is always a frost. (Yes, they did get fortnightly applications of Eco Seaweed)

The season ahead is predicted to be more harsh than normal. Well our winter was abysmal with morning after morning of severe frosts….Drought. Our season has been cruel on our poor farmers with grain yields to be predicted at 95% down on average. Most farmers have cut their crops into hay, or in cases where the crops did not reach a cuttable height, spayed with herbicide.  I do not think that city dwellers really have any concept of how dire it is for the rural communities.

At least roses will handle the harsh conditions. May not end up with their best flowers, but will generally bounce back. This is my update. Hope you are all well. Kind regards … Merryl

PIERRE DE RONSARD in Merryl’s garden in drought affected Tamora, NSW … and another great success story from Tamworth…

Hi  Gra … At the end of August I sent you photos of my two feral two-year-old MUTABILIS roses and asked for advice.  So here is a photo or two………….had to send you also my two feral two-year-old CREPUSCULE.  This is a small courtyard in a Retirement Estate in Tamworth.  Unfortunately it is hot today so the CREPUSCULE will be feeling it as it is west facing.  The MUTABILIS seem too thrive in heat.

I cut the MUTABILIS back to the fence and down quite a bit as you suggested.  It has grown at least a metre in the few weeks. You were spot on, thank you. Also for the surprise 600g ECO-SEAWEED (not 100g as per my order!) with my secateurs last week. (We’re glad you’re using ECO-SEAWEED for drought-affected garden – it will definitely make a difference … Gra) Kind regards to you all, especially that little black furry one, MOOI.
– Heather

Policeman:  Did you know that you were driving at 120kph?  Driver:  Impossible. I’ve only been in the car for five minutes!



We like to list this rose by its ‘proper’ name so if you happen to have been looking for this beauty as MUTABILIS, now you know why you might not have found it! Such a magnificent rose in ALL climates and conditions – needs good care to be established but once established … WOW!

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read
the description in the catalogue: “no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.” –   
Eleanor Roosevelt


Do come to Werribee this weekend – the State Rose Garden is spectacular and entry with ample parking is FREE! Diana’s stage presentations with Kim Syrus are at the following times:




Enjoy the roses all around you …
cheers from the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.


Hello dear rose friends as we offer a pinch and a punch for a whole new month!  Oh, and isn’t the season spectacular?  Huge rose blooms, loads of colour and gloriously healthy lush foliage … it doesn’t get any better!


Here is a series of emails which we can all learn from:  don’t forget to organise a visit to Silkies Rose Farm this Saturday for my composting demo!

Q. What do you get if you cross a monster with a dozen eggs?  
A. A very hairy omelette – YUK!

“Hi Diana, Can you please help identify this bug which is on my beautiful Gold Bunny.  I have a couple of lady birds as well.  Have used Eco spray.   Regards – Jan”

We forwarded Jan’s pic to Steve at OCP and how good is this response:

Morning Di … Good news. These are the larvae of ladybeetles! Nothing to worry about 🙂  Steve 


We thought there was a possible solution with Citronella spray, Monica in suburban Melbourne ecstatically emailed to say her CREPUSCULE climber had shoots after just one application.  Within two days, the possums decided she was trying to kid them so they ate all the new foliage!

After a to-and-fro conversation, Monica sent this pic and email:

One solution might be to invite our indigenous friends for a hunting party. It takes a few suburban back yards worth of possums to make one traditional cloak!




Dear Diana and Graham.  A few weeks ago you were discussing ideas for long lasting and financially viable rose labels. One lady had a great idea using animal ear labels. I didn’t have access to these, so attached are pictures of some metal stamps I bought for $45 (a bit of an outlay to start with).   I used these to stamp into metal flashing. (Again, if you have to buy it, that’s a bit of an outlay of something like $20-$30) but I’m set for a life-long of labelling my garden plants with no more expense – forever!   Hope this might be of some help to others.  Kathleen




Hello Graham and Diana, A couple of years ago I let you know that I was going to try Epsom salts on my LA JAGO after reading a recommendation for it in one of your newsletters, as it had very blotchy, yellowish foliage.  You said LA JAGO had yellowish leaves normally and you asked me to let you know how the Epsom salts went.  Well I think it has made a big difference. Here’s a photo I took yesterday morning.

I didn’t get around to pruning all of my roses this year, so I will probably be dealing with a bit of black spot due to how bushy they are, but I’ll give them trims over the summer if they get particularly bad, otherwise I’ll just let them do their own thing this year.

So, why did EPSOM SALTS make a difference to this rose?  Here is some information I extracted from the internet which you can also follow through with if you’re interested:

Epsom Salt Uses: GARDENING 

Fertilize your houseplants: Most plants need nutrients like magnesium and sulfur to stay in good health, and Epsom salt makes the primary nutrients in most plant foods (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) more effective. Sprinkle Epsom salt once weekly to help nourish your houseplants, flowers, and vegetables.

Keep your lawn green: Magnesium sulfate crystals, when added to the soil, provide vital nutrients that help prevent yellowing leaves and the loss of green color (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule) in plants. Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and sprinkle on your lawn to keep the grass healthy and green.

Insecticide spray: Use Epsom salts on your lawn and in your garden to safely and naturally get rid of plant pests.

Read on for more information on gardening with Epsom salt.

Hi Graham, Just had to drop you a quick line just to say thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion. I always look forward to your emails and this one was definitely a juicy one, I learnt a lot!  Thanks again – Cheers, Shae

Closing with a joke:
Q.  What do you call a monster who eats his father’s sister?  A.  An aunt-eater … 

So, please can you all rally and send Gra some new jokes for this Rose Rambler as I think he’s running out of puff!  Diana


WINNER AT THE NATIONAL ROSE TRIAL GROUND AWARDS – BRUCE BRUNDRETTwith two varieties which are yet to be named.  They will be released in 2019-2020 so keep an eye on this Australian rose breeder who grows amazingly healthy roses which are extremely free flowering and disease tolerant!

Hope you back a winner in the Melbourne Cup next Tuesday and if you’re going to Oaks Day on Thursday, look out for Diana with her friends.

Enjoy all the glory this magnificent rose season is affording us … Graham, Diana, Ben, Tova and MOOI …