ROSE RAMBLER 18.08.2019

ROSE RAMBLER 18TH JULY 2019 – Hello dear rose friends from a wet, cold and soggy Clonbinane. Due to persistent rain last Friday, my team of workers, Ben, Tova and Janelle decided they would prefer to work on Sunday – which they did. On checking the Bureau of Meteorology site, Clonbinane registered as “1 degree but felt like minus 4”. They’re brave but by midday, they called it quits as it was way too cold to be working outdoors!

Yes, we’re already potting the roses into magnificent coir-fibre potting media. Our special potting mix gives our beautiful roses the best chance to perform at their best during their life in a 20cm pot since the coir fibre retains moisture longer than other elements in the mix and can be easily re-wet if it ever dries out! Nutrients lock into the fibres where the roots attach.

This potting mix sustains our roses and we believe it is the reason why we are able to produce such outstandingly healthy plants throughout the season and also why they are so adaptable to travelling long distances and then settling into their new home so readily.

There’s no rush with ordering for this bare-rooted season – prices will remain the same until August. However, if your garden beds are ready, get planting as soon as possible!

This email came the other day:

“Hi Diana … My roses arrived today and I am mightily impressed at the standard of the roses and the packaging. I have been growing roses for many years and I have never received such healthy, large plants – they make a mockery of what some other suppliers send out for mail orders. I wish I had found your nursery sooner. You can be very proud of your product and I am a very happy customer. Kind regards … Alan.”

We are indeed very proud of the quality of our stock. However, due to restrictions imposed by Australia Post, we have had to cut the stems of our standard roses for posting so they fit into a box 105cms in length. Meantime, we are reviewing our means of getting your roses to you and will be organised for sending them from next week onwards.

We apologise profusely for this delay – better that we get a new courier service than cut the standard roses so short that you’ll be disappointed in our quality. I must tell you though, if I was planting those standards in my garden, I would definitely be cutting them to around 10cms in length for their first season!

Yes, there are still lots of roses in the ground waiting to be dug because of extremely wet conditions so again, I urge you to be patient and I promise to contact you immediately the roses are available and ready to be collected/posted.


It is essential when planting new roses (and other plants) to blend compost with existing soil to the planting hole. Obtain a high-quality compost from your local garden centre or the Zoo (they supply great ‘zoo-poo’ compost and use funds for zoo projects – take some bags home next time you visit).

Use your own ‘home-made’ compost as long as it smells as good as it looks – never use smelly/steamy/gluggy compost which is in an anaerobic (still rotting) state. If your compost isn’t ready, buy bagged product!

When you add compost to the planting hole you can be sure of the following:

  • ​Supresses disease in plants
  • Retains nutrients and stops top-soil leaching
  • Regulates nutrient availability in plant establishment
  • Builds soil structure to reduce water use
  • Increases root depth of plants
  • Improves soil moisture access held in soil cavities which roots could not otherwise access.​

Q. What do you call a donkey with only three legs?
A. A wonkey

I’m slowly getting around to pruning the gardens – its such a joyous time and the results are beautiful to stand back and admire nicely pruned roses!

We’ll be down at the local WANDONG MEMORIAL PARK on this Sunday, 21st between 10am and 2pm – we’ll stop and have a sausage sizzle for lunch. Bring the kids, pets, secateurs and other pruning equipment … I’ll show you how to sharpen and clean them. Wear good warm clothing and we’ll be there, rain, hail or shine so come along and have fun with us!

Here are three gorgeous DAVID AUSTIN ROSES which haven’t hit the potting bench yet – they would make a stunning ‘group planting’ … yes, all pink but each one with a distinct variable to make a lovely statement of intense fragrance in your garden:

BROTHER CADFAEL – One of the strikingly beautiful aspects of this rose is the dark brown, almost thornless stems – this is a lovely rose to place in a vase!

THE ALNWICK ROSE – Drop the ‘L’ and the ‘W’ to say the name of this beauty which is ideal to grow as a medium-height hedge-row … stunning!

HERITAGE – with ICEBERG in the breeding, you have an incredibly free-flowering rose, lovely rounded shrub and … incredibly beautiful, fruity fragrance!

See you soon at Clonbinane … cheers from the team at Silkies

ROSE RAMBLER 11.07.2019


Hello dear Rose Friends as we already near the middle of winter. It’s been gloriously cold here at Clonbinane … this photo of STANWELL PERPETUAL after minus four degrees overnight recently …

Rug up all you in the north of our beautiful country – this lovely cold weather just might reach you too so you’ll experience the last roses of this past season and have to get down and start pruning as we are here in the south!


My reputation is shot – after years and years of responding to your emails within less than 24 hours in most instances, I’ve not responded to a single email to which came through our Big Commerce server since July 1st – they switched us OFF and it took me days to realise that I was spending almost no time at the computer – all your emails are there and as soon as my IT (on holidays in Canada, mind you!) fixes the issue, you’ll be hearing from me again.

Meantime, if there is anything urgent, please don’t hesitate writing to me on this old email which is still active.

I apologise for this interruption to our business and especially, our connection with you!


Thankfully, I don’t have anything to do with the internet side of our business but I did feel badly for Diana when things went pair-shaped recently! She does a top job responding to emails, getting this Rose Rambler out to you weekly and organising the online store with beautiful photos, etc.

When I told her this joke, she had her usual smile back on.

Q. Why did the computer squeak?

A. Because someone stepped on its mouse!


So you can expect notification of orders being posted / ready for collection – however, there are still some in the ground due to variable weather conditions – please wait for us to phone call/text message and know that we are responding to missed calls and messages left on phones as promptly as we can!

Phone numbers: 0418 33 77 65 or 5787 1123.

Meantime, continue to order bare-rooted roses because we will start potting very soon and prices will incrementally increase accordingly – here are a few which I highly recommend:

PER-F-YOOM PERFUME – this rose absolutely urges you to take a sniff of the romantically swirling petals on such a robust, healthy plant which oozes fragrance to die for! A must-have rose for sure!

NEPTUNE – magnificently formed, perfect HT blooms with a mass of thick petals with substance to endure hot conditions when this rose excels. Mid-green, very large foliage is healthy – remember: more healthy foliage, more flowers! This is a beauty!

THE POET’S WIFE – is a new release David Austin rose and was a stand-out in the field! A yellow rose which holds colour throughout all weather is a definite must-have; add a beautiful fruity fragrance on a nicely rounded shrub and you have a winner!


Gra and the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 04.07.2019

ROSE RAMBLER 4TH JULY, 2019 … Hello dear Rose Friends – we hope you’re enjoying stints in your garden during this winter! It’s so extremely good for you to walk around your garden, do a bit of trimming, pull a few weeds or even to quietly sit for a short time in the fresh air and winter sunshine.

GRA’S GARBLE … warming up with a joke this week …

Q. What do you call a cold dog sitting on a bunny? 

A. A chilli dog on a bun!

Some of you who haven’t pruned yet will be biting at the bit to get out and try your new Lowe secateurs and besides, it’s such a joy to see the roses all neat and tidy in their winter state so go do it!

If you’re not sure about how to prune your roses, then come along to my next pruning demonstration here at CLONBINANE – SATURDAY, 13TH JULY – 1.30PM or, set this date in your calendar for a great family day at our local park where hundreds of roses were planted surrounding the memorial of the Black Saturday Bushfires:



TYPICAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS DURING JULY … To make rose gardening less complicated for you, here are a few typical Q & A’s we get …

Q. I’m going away for six weeks, should I prune before I go or leave it till I get home?

A. Do what works for you and what you have time for – in a really cold zone you might leave the roses until late August but otherwise, a tidy, well-kept looking garden is a good deterrent for potential burglars so worth considering!

Q. I want to get more roses this season while they’re bare-rooted and cheaper but I haven’t got the garden beds ready – what should I do?

A. We suggest you get digging and dunging the garden beds as soon as possible because we prefer the soil is prepared and left for about six weeks prior to planting (especially if you’re adding manure/compost). So, you can either purchase now and heel the roses into some damp, friable soil for a few weeks or wait and purchase the roses when they’re developed in pots, later in the season. A tad more expensive but guaranteed to survive and be successful!

Q. When do I fertilize my new roses?

A. As soon as the roses have good foliage cover – meantime, we highly recommend seaweed solution at least once a fortnight! Definitely fertilize with quality product like our Complete Organic Fertilizer (COF) or Sudden Impact for Roses in spring and then every 8-12 weeks throughout the flowering season.

Q. Should I mulch the new roses when I plant them?

A. Yes, definitely put a light layer of straw or chip mulch around the roses at planting to reduce weed infestation, keep soil temperature even and feed the worms who are breeding now until October – that army of workers you look after NOW will reward you with all their castings to enrich the soil so your roses flourish when conditions get tough during summer!

Q. The organic rose management spray program – when do I start spraying?

A. If you do the first spray soon after pruning – spray all around the mulch too – then at least once a month as ‘maintenance’ you will retain healthy foliage and thus reduce the need for weekly spraying in spring when insects and inclement/humid weather can affect roses.

This is just a short rendition of the type of questions we get from gardeners and we always say, “ … there’s no such thing as a silly question” … IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER, THE QUESTION IS DEFINITELY NOT SILLY!

You are more than welcome to submit questions through our website where Zac has made it easy for you by the click of a button at:

Here are a few roses which I think you definitely MUST HAVE …




Rug up and come for a visit to Clonbinane any Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday – it’s beautiful here and we’re always happy to do a one-on-one pruning demo if you cannot attend one of our scheduled events.

Cheers from the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane