AUSTRALIA DAY … 26.1.2017

ROSE RAMBLER 26.01.2017


ROSE RAMBLER 26.01.2017 …

Hello HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY 2017 TO ALL OUR DEAR ROSE FRIENDS … today of all days we should stop and quietly reflect on how very, very lucky we are to live in this enormously great land where, amongst many other privileges, we have the freedom to grow and tend a garden!

I could postulate about mostly kind weather for gardening, space, peace, availability of plants, money to purchase plants … I won’t go on and on but ask you to just know that we are simply very, very lucky and while you munch on that barbequed meat in a garden today, take a moment to say ‘THANKS … SO GLAD I’M AN AUSSIE’.


Q. What animal can jump higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge?  A. All animals, because bridges can’t jump!  I’m on a mission researching BIO-CHAR for increasing microbial activity in soil and potentially using it to increase the healthy vigour of our potted roses by adding it to our coir-fibre potting mix this winter.

Exciting research is being conducted in Australia and BIO-CHAR products are available out of Tasmania … I will keep you posted as I learn more and my experiments reveal the kind of growth and hardiness anticipated.

Whatever mediums we can add to increase microbial activity in our very mineral depleted ‘old’ soil here in Australia is worth it over the long-term and even home gardeners can have an impact in this endeavour!  Keep mulching and composting – return your waste to improve the soil in your yard!!!

Here’s a shot of our compost heap –
22 bales of straw were used to create it and it’s breaking down rapidly
… you could make a smaller one to fit your yard!

Oak trees and fire … having experienced Black Saturday ’09 bushfire through our property here at Clonbinane I think it’s timely to once again remind you of the fire-resistance of oak trees – their leaves have an oil/liquid exudate which resists burning.

Our local CFA Captain is an Entomologist at Vic Gov Research Station and he told me that in extremely hot weather, insects exude a sticky liquid which resists burning too.

We and our neighbours have very large oak trees which survived the intense flames – the leaves were burned but within 6 weeks of the fire, fresh new leaves were evident on all oak and other ornamental deciduous and fruit trees.

ALL EUCALYPTUS and other NATIVE TREES were completely burned along with their undergrowth.  Consider planting oak trees if you have an opportunity to plant a tree somewhere soon – glorious leaf-litter in autumn is extremely valuable for making microbial compost/mulch and as these trees grow, they will afford so much pleasure to future generations!

Q. Why do kangaroo mums hate bad weather?  A. Their joeys have to play inside!


For true garden sharing, go along to your local garden club – don’t be afraid that they’re going to rope you into being on Committee as soon as you walk in the door!  (A good reason why lots of people resist joining their local groups – sad because you miss so many great opportunities and information sharing by NOT participating!)

Recently, I joined the Rose Society of NSW because they offer SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP with membership and I nominated ROSE BREEDING to receive information and participate with fellow Australian rose breeders by sharing Richard Walsh’s “Rose Breeders Forum – Vol 1, No. 1” which started with this article and had me in raptures throughout:

You Need an Aim I am sure you have heard the many sayings associated with having an aim. “If you don’t have an aim, you just might reach it.”  Or, “better to aim at 110% and achieve 80 than aim at 60% and reach it.”

I started with aims and have modified them several times as they are achieved or become unachievable. My first aims were:

  1. To raise a rose from seed;
  2. To raise a rose from seed pollinated by myself;
  3. To raise a rose from one of my seedlings;
  4. To raise a commercially viable rose.

I made my first crosses in 1980 and they all failed to take, BUT I saved some open pollinated hips from Charleston and achieved the first aim….”

This first edition of Rose Breeders Forum was captivating and so very, very interesting that Graham asked me to print it entirely – as you know, Graham has already bred an award-winning rose

and he wished he had had access to such information earlier in his breeding endeavours!  To acquire this and future copies, we recommend you join ROSE SOCIETY OF NSW ( for $30.00 annual fee – contact details:

Kristin Dawson, Secretary
The Rose Society of NSW Inc.
PO BOX 637, DAPTO, NSW 2530

Email: or

Meantime, enjoy whatever moments you can share with your roses during this flowering season – picking flowers, summer pruning, weeding and mulching or deep-soak watering with the hose on a still morning with a cuppa in hand … aah, what bliss …

See you soon at Clonbinane… Graham, Diana, Mooi and assistant Tova.


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