ROSE RAMBLER 27.06.2019

ROSE RAMBLER 27TH JUNE, 2019 … Hello dear rose friends as we are already past the shortest day – amazing how quickly time flies and another beautiful winter is here which heralds time for rose pruning.


Graham invites you to come and visit us here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane for …

SUNDAY, 30th JUNE at 11AM
(If you’re early, we’ll put the billy on and have a cuppa!)
(Bring the family and pets – on a lead please)

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On SUNDAY, 21ST JULY between 10am and 2pm, we would love you all to come along to a really special community event where Graham and Diana will be at the Wandong Memorial Park for pruning and a real country sausage sizzle after you’ve practiced pruning the magnificent rose garden which was planted after the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires!

There is a playground and skate-park in the gardens so please bring the kids for a really great family day and let our local community offer you a lovely country experience while you learn about rose pruning.  Bring your own tools with you!  We’ll sharpen them if necessary and have our entire range of pruning equipment there for you to experience.

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Q.  What is the difference between a cat and a comma?  A.  A cat has claws at the end of paws; a comma is a pause at the end of a clause.  

It was a real pleasure to attend the RHSV event at Deakin University recently where we met lots of very keen gardeners – here is just one of the emails we received:

Hi Diana, my husband and I were at the GARDENERS DAY OUT (hosted by Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria at Deakin Uni on 15th June) and learned lots from your presentation. We own a JIM’S MOWING franchise and today we had a rose pruning job that took us over an hour to do. We bought two pairs of the secateurs you recommended and they were fantastic – there was no soreness or fatigue in my hands at all. We were also more confident in what we were doing. Thanks – Mary-Ann 

All of us here at Silkies use LOWE secateurs and highly recommend them because they do such precision pruning with absolute ease.  Treat yourself to new secateurs for just $67.50 (plus pack/post) before you start this pruning season – very highly recommended and guaranteed to offer you the pruning joy that Mary-Ann and every other customer who uses them experiences!
You can purchase online or give us a call on 03 57 821 123 during open hours:  Fri – Sat – Sun – Mon from 9am until 4pm

There were three men in a boat – it capsized but only two fellows got their hair wet!  Why?  A. The third man was bald … like me!

Gotta have a giggle – and remember to rug up with a woolen beanie and jacket for at least half an hour outside in the garden EVERY DAY during winter – preferably when the sun is poking through the clouds to ensure you get adequate Vitamin D intake.  Let your garden be your Doctor!!!


Two of Australia’s most recently famous race horses have been immortalized by two magnificent roses named in their honour and we have them at the Rose Farm NOW.
Don’t delay, order these beauties as bare-rooted specimens for winter planting:

WINX – like the legendary mare, is the epitome of class!  This beautiful rose is the product of exquisite breeding to capture the same qualities in flowers as those that define a magnificent horse named WINX – elegance, longevity and brilliance.


BLACK CAVIAR – has the most intoxicating perfume and the blooms are very full and quartered in the shape of old-fashioned roses.  Continually free-flowering over a long season, BLACK CAVIAR will always be in the winner’s circle and will definitely be a magnificently beautiful rose in your garden!


Enjoy all that winter has to offer … warm hugs from all of us here at Clonbinane …

ROSE RAMBLER 20.06.2019

ROSE RAMBLER 20TH JUNE, 2019 … Hello dear rose friends.  We’ve worked in the rain to finally make it possible to invite you to Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane where you can easily select magnificent quality, alphabetically sorted, two-year-old bare-rooted roses for planting in your garden this winter.


I’m always being asked “What is the best manure to use when planting roses?”  and my response is:
Any animal manure is great in the soil but it MUST BE COMPOSTED prior to using at the planting hole of roses – or, in fact, any other plant!  Raw animal manure has the potential of being highly acidic with the risk of burning new roots which the roses will produce as soon as they settle into the soil!  Exactly the reason for not placing fertilizer in the planting hole unless it’s way deep down in the hole, covered completely with soil and available when the rose is nicely established with a solid root system.
If you have access to fresh manure, spread it over a compost heap for at least six weeks, water weekly with seaweed solution and turn it fortnightly – you’ll see steam coming from the heap which means it’s not ready to be applied in planting holes!  Wait until it is more like the consistency of soil – at this point, place it around the base of your roses and cover with a light layer of mulch to protect all the microbes and worms.

Q. Why does a chicken coop have two doors?  A.  If it had four doors, it would be a chicken sedan. 

Here’s a pic of my gorgeous LANGSHAN roosters admiring themselves in a mirror …


Graham will be part of the panel this Sunday – 855 on the AM Band where you can call in, donate and be rewarded with garden products, books, professional garden consultations or gift vouchers from many nurseries to the value of every dollar you donate to this magnificent Community Radio program which regular radio listeners say is the most informed, interesting and BEST garden talk-back radio which airs in Melbourne every Sunday from 7.30 – 9.15am.

Lay in bed with your cuppa and toast, pick up the phone: (03) 9419 8377 or (03) 9419 0155 and treat yourself by purchasing lots of goodies to indulge your garden, gifts for friends or simply to know you’re donating $’s to keep a wonderful garden show on the air so you can pick up the phone on any Sunday and get FREE ADVICE from a panel of professional horticulturists.

There are 5 x $30.00 SILKIES ROSE FARM GIFT VOUCHERS available during the program!

Stay warm and well … cheers from us all at Clonbinane – Graham, Diana, Mooi & the TEAM!

ROSE RAMBLER 13.06.2019 …

ROSE RAMBLER 13TH JUNE, 2019 – Hello dear rose friends … there’s hardly time to stop and write to you – every spare moment is consumed by sorting and labelling beautiful quality two-year old bare-rooted roses.  Once again, our grower has excelled by producing magnificent plants which we are very proud to distribute and offer our 100% guarantee that these fabulous roses will grow and flourish in your garden for many, many years!.

“The minute you settle for less than you deserve,
You get even less than you settled for.”

– Maureen Dowd


As the roses ‘shut down’ for winter dormancy you’ll see lots of yellow foliage; perhaps black-spots on the foliage too.  Did you know this is the ONLY way for roses to defoliate!  Your rose is still 100% healthy but doing its natural thing at this time of year.  Just leave the roses to get on and do their thing while you go find something else to do around the garden.
By mid-late July all the foliage will have dropped and the roses will start shooting – they’re sending you a sign of where to prune!  Honestly, if you just leave the bushes for about six to eight weeks to have their ‘quiet time’, they’ll get going again in no time and the shoots they start producing will make your pruning exercise that much easier!

Q.  What’s red, white and black and taps on the window?  A.  Santa Claus in the microwave!


There are lots of great reasons for planting climbing roses – if you’re looking for an impenetrable barrier to stop intruders entering your property, here are a few varieties which have ghastly thorns that no person would entertain clambering through

ALBERTINE – one of the most beautiful sights in spring/summer – a huge rose which can easily cover 5 metres of fence line!

BANTRY BAY – spectacular with continual flushes of flowers throughout the entire season – great on an arch or spanned along the fence with mesh support.

NEW DAWN – flowering continually on branches thick with vicious thorns, this magnificent rose requires little attention once established – chain-saw pruning for sure!

Of course, there are other varieties and lots of different coloured roses which also have significant thorns but these three varieties in variable shades of pink, also have very dense, healthy foliage and are all spectacular when flowering.

Consider planting any of these roses to protect your property but ensure their support structure is durable – timber lattice rots quickly, timber fences require repair or painting perhaps so we recommend steel mesh and posts to support climbing roses for many years.

Enjoy your garden this week … cheers from the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.


ROSE RAMBLER 6TH JUNE, 2019 – Hello dear rose friends as we welcome the first week of winter and the heel-in beds are finally brimming with magnificent quality bare-rooted rose plants – we’ve got a few extra pairs of hands working every day as fast as we can to label and sort the roses as quickly as possible.

PLEASE NOTE – STANDARD ROSES ARE NOT DUG YET – EXPECT JULY DELIVERY.  We promise to get your roses posted as soon as we are able – we will call or email YOU if your roses are ready for collection from the Rose Farm.

If you’re out and about this coming QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY PUBLIC HOLIDAY WEEKEND, do call in – the CLONBINANE interchange has north and south entry/exit and the Rose Farm is within one kilometre of the Hume Freeway – SLOW DOWN and you definitely won’t get lost because we have good signage in place!

GRA’S GARBLE … With recent good rainfall here at Clonbinane we are seeing significant weed infestation – mostly cape-weed which is a real nuisance when mowing starts again in September/October so I’ve been busy applying DOLOMITE which sweetens the soil – the cape-weed doesn’t like it!

Though it’s a bit messy, throw DOLOMITE around the rose garden while it’s raining to save you hosing it in!

Managing weeds is always an issue – even in a pocket-sized suburban garden I’m told … a dear lady mentioned this week that she’s 100% sure she never uttered a swear word before she became a gardener and became frustrated with weeds … how funny!  I still believe that getting ‘down and dirty’ on my hands and knees for a really great session of weeding makes my heart sing and clears my head.

This leads me to share some stats from recent global research:

  • Gardening could help you live to 100
  • A good plant-based Mediterranean diet, daily exercise and social interaction are extremely important to reduce stress and increase positive mental health
  • An hour of planting and weeding in a garden EVERY day, achieves the required amount of cardio work and stretching to remain physically fit
  • Disease tolerance seems to be improved by wielding a spade and rake

Some gardening chores do become physically exhausting as we get older and it would seem easier to give up.  I urge you to measure time in your garden; don’t overdo it and try to inject some funny ideas to a repetitive job … count how many steps it took to walk to the compost heap then count how many shovels it took to fill the barrow; listen to music whilst gardening and meantime, remember this silly joke and share it with as many as you can

Q: What banks never run out of money? A. River banks.

Below is a copy of our latest ROSE PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS which will be sent in all rose packs but you might like to print a copy to have on hand …


Enjoy the long weekend … stay warm!  Graham and the team …