Hello dear rose friends … the cool Autumn night turned into a very frosty start last Sunday morning when it was minus 2 degrees here at CLONBINANE at 6.30am! The fire wasn’t burning from the night before because we had been out late at a family function so luckily the glorious sunny morning hastened our exit from the house as it was decidedly warmer outside than it was inside!

Lots of people who have been visiting the Rose Farm are amazed at the number and quality of rose flowers that are shining in the glory of this lovely Autumn – it really is a season to enjoy the roses! Driving through the northern suburbs of Melbourne last week was a pleasure – roses in all the gardens were flourishing and in the roadside plantings around Epping, Whittlesea, Wallan and Kilmore it is so wonderful that some Council Departments are starting to realise that planting roses is not only beautiful to delight the ratepayers but obviously very low maintenance as well.

I spoke with one of the horticulturalists on our Mitchell Shire last week when he came to collect more roses for the parks in our Shire and he has invited me to come along and demonstrate how the roses in Kilmore should be pruned this Winter … I will show them!!! I will kit-up with my Pellenc hedger and the guys will be gasping in envy at how quickly, quietly and environmentally soundly I have the roses pruned … and on that note, why not come to Silkies Rose Farm on the first Sunday in May and we’ll do some demo pruning while we do “WALK AND TALK IN THE GARDEN” … starts at 10.00am and will only be cancelled if it rains! We’ll have morning tea together too!!!

ROSE OF THE WEEK … ‘CASANOVA’ is such a stunning rose that three years ago, I planted a whole bed of it with 24 plants … you must come and visit with it because right now there are masses of glorious bright orange blooms with shiny, dark crimson foliage as a foil for the clusters of flowers. ‘Casanova’ has every quality ingredient you would expect of a rose – including fragrance, ability to stand up well in the vase and is an all-round very highly recommended rose for all gardens and situations …

SO … SO WISH YOU WERE HERE … to see the spectacle of my ‘bonnie’ on Sunday night!!! Had a thought that we should cancel these huge (public funded) fireworks displays in the City and go back to the ‘cracker nights’ we used to have when I was a kid … ok, no crackers because although nobody in my memory ever got hurt, I can remember having the shite frightened out of me by unsuspecting crackers going off around me and now that I’m older (maybe more sensible …?), I understand the danger of crackers/fireworks!

But, hey, how fabulous would it be if every person in your neighbourhood collected their garden refuse, packaging, etc. – anything that burns nicely – stacked it at an agreed destination like the local park in each suburb and you would all sit around and socialise while watching the sparks fizzle from your own local bonfire? … such a wonderful pleasure as well as a brilliant community ‘get to know your neighbour’ and ‘clean up’ opportunity.
If I was the Prime Minister, I would declare it mandatory to have an annual community bonfire in each suburb – who wants to be the Co-Ordinator? Or maybe to do the study or be the Co-Ordinator to implement the study or the Co-Ordinator to study the implementation of the study or the implementer of the co-ordination of the study … let’s just DO IT!

THIS WEEK IN THE ROSE GARDEN … If you haven’t done all the things which I recommended you do from the past weeks, do them now! It is especially important to have a layer of straw mulch (preferably lucerne, pea straw or wheat straw) over the garden beds – keeps the soil warm for longer and gives the worms a ‘homely’ place for breeding… they’ll be breeding from now through to October and the more worms you have in your soil, the less work you have to do.
In the spirit of the ANZACS, God Bless our beautiful Australia … kick back and enjoy the magnificence of the Autumn rose garden … take time out to smell the fragrance in the rose blooms … Winter is just around the corner now!!

Cheers from Diana & Graham and Dingo, Bonnie, at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane

ROSE RAMBLER 11.4.2013

Hello dear rose friends … aaah, the smell of freshly cut green grass on a still and sunny Autumn day; what bliss and most especially since I had my beautiful 5 year old grandson, Logan on the mower with me. He asked me: “Oma, why do I have to stand up” … “there’s only room for one on this seat and you can steer the mower for me”. Within moments I felt his little body become heavy against me as he fell asleep so I popped him up on my left leg and continued mowing …
He quickly became a ‘dead-weight’ and it was almost impossible to steer the mower because his little bum caught on the steering wheel. I stopped and lifted his legs over both of my legs to distribute his weight and continued to mow…. Anybody who drove past the Rose Farm and saw me mowing with a sleeping child in my arms might have wondered what the heck I was up to but the moments were so precious, the grass smelled so glorious, it was still and the sun was shining down on us! Very special memories of Autumn 2013 in my garden …

IN THE ROSE GARDEN THIS WEEK … Because of the low night temperature combined with very moist air, it is essential to get the rose maintenance program happening to avoid black-spot infecting rose foliage!
To 10 litres of water add
¼ cup Eco-rose powder
¼ cup Eco-oil
¼ cup Natrakelp liquid seaweed

Mix well and spray over the rose plants to run-off – this spray program should be conducted prior to 10.00 am if the weather is expected to be over 30 degrees! To maintain healthy foliage while your roses are in bloom from now right up to the early Winter, we recommend this spray program be carried out no less than once a month – fortnightly is even better!

Now is also the time to fertilize all the plants in your garden – apply a good handful of high quality (preferably organic) fertilizer around a square metre at the base of each rose – remember the rose roots are spread out and down! We use and recommend Complete Organic Fertilizer (COF) which is available in 15kg and 25kg bags here at the Rose Farm – the product is what it says, “Complete” and takes the guess work out of feeding ALL the plants in your garden … easy, peasy!

LISTENING TO THE RADIO … and Bing Crosby was crooning …
“Every time you’re near a rose, aren’t you glad you’ve got a nose?”
This Sunday from 7.30am you should tune into the 3CR Garden Show on the AM Band at 855 – I will be part of the panel this Sunday, along with Stephan Ryan, so call in with a rose question – I definitely won’t be crooning!

THE GIFT ROSES … There is a rose suitable to gift for most occasions – here are a few which might be helpful next time you want to “say it with a rose” …

The Children’s Rose – a beauty for any occasion pertinent to a child
Mother’s Love – such a femininely delightful rose for all mothers
Many Happy Returns – birthday gift to remember that special day
Spirit of Peace – suitable for many different occasions
Father’s Love – had to be a glorious red rose for the gents
In Appreciation – when saying thank you just isn’t quite enough
Playboy – if you don’t have one in the bedroom, pop one in the garden
Fire Fighter/Fire Star – for the ‘firey’ in your life
Best Friend – RSPCA rose to remember your best friend
Remember Me – such a wonderful memorial rose

… and the list goes on and on so next week I will give you some more ideas but I must stress that on many occasions over the years when customers have come looking for a memorial rose I am adamant that whichever rose is selected, it must be a very hardy and easy-to-grow rose so that the rose fulfils the purpose of creating pleasure in the garden of the recipient!

In closing, thank you to all of you who visited with us at the Tesselaar Gardening Expo last weekend … what a delightful setting for you to enjoy ‘real’ professional plant growers from around Victoria all in one place.
Keep enjoying this splendid Autumn weather amid the lovely roses in your garden while you prepare another spot for a few ‘newies’ this Winter …



The Children’s Rose – a beauty for any occasion pertinent to a child
Mother’s Love – such a femininely delightful rose for all mothers
Many Happy Returns – birthday gift to remember that special day
Spirit of Peace – suitable for many different occasions
Father’s Love – had to be a glorious red rose for the gents
In Appreciation – when saying thank you just isn’t quite enough
Playboy – if you don’t have one in the bedroom, pop one in the garden
Fire Fighter/Fire Star – for the ‘firey’ in your life
Best Friend – RSPCA rose to remember your best friend
Remember Me – such a wonderful memorial rose

The ‘REAL’ gardeners …

What a delightful experience it was to be ‘up in the Hills’ at Silvan this past weekend. The Gardening Expo was a pleasure to attend as we found ourselves represented amid the amazing group of specialist growers who want to get out and show ‘real’ gardeners the wonderful array of plants available today. Graham and I were very busy over the weekend chatting with people who are serious about gardening in their backyards which ranged from 400 square metre blocks to large country gardens – the gardeners who attended this Expo overwhelming want a ‘real’ garden.

We gained a lot of ideas about how we can expand on creating a website with loads of information … stuff we know and probably think you know … we are going to ‘get down and dirty’ and make this space a place for you to come and explore all the information and ideas you need to create the space which you call ‘home’ the most beautiful, relaxing and rewarding place for you to spend your spare time – a place where you can rejuvenate your spirit in order to be able to cope with the fast pace and craziness of the world we all live in …

Stay posted for my plan to let you know how to prepare your garden bed ready to plant roses this Winter …

The ‘Black Boy’ rose saga


Dear Diana and Graham,

You suggested emailing you with mystery rose images, and I’m very happy to oblige. The attached mystery red was sold to me as Alister Clark’s ‘Black Boy’ [I have the label still; it originally came from Rankins]. But a serious rosarian friend who has collected almost all Alister Clarks known saw the plant alone and told me this was not Black Boy. Seeing the blooms, it was obvious even to me that indeed it is not Black Boy, which is less double and has flimsy transparent untidy petals.

My plant is acting like a climber. It is a repeat bloomer and is very fragrant. I’m sorry it’s not Black Boy, because I am told my great grandfather had that rose growing in his garden on St Georges Rd in North Fitzroy, and I wanted to have it in his honour. But the rose I DO have is extremely nice in its opulent, velvety and rich way. I’d love to know what it really is.

Suggestions so far have included ‘Countess Of Stradbroke’, another A Clark, ‘Climbing Crimson Glory’ and ‘Climbing Chrysler Imperial’. I don’t think it’s Chrysler Imperial because the red is wrong. Mine is more pinkish crimson.

So I’d be grateful if people could cast their eye over my pics and give me the benefit of their knowledge.

I hope your stall at the show was a good experience and that you are reaping benefits. Thanks for bringing along the beautiful rugosas, which I had only ever seen as wintry looking bare roots, masses of fearsome prickes on hugely robust looking leafless twiggy plants, on a farm.

Best wishes,


All the rose pictures which you can see on this site and our related sites, and are photos taken by myself, DIANA SARGEANT, Consulting Rosarian, so I can assure you that they are accurate replications of the roses as named. It is my intention to provide you with several pictures of each rose so that you can enjoy the seasonal variables that occur with most varieties of roses.

It is important that you continue to visit us here to view updates and news of events, reviews of new rose varieties and general information relative to gardening.


She’s going to be 14 years old in July this year and you MUST take time to visit her when you come to visit the Rose Farm.
We originally had two dingoes but sadly, ‘Chienne’ succumbed to an altercation with a tiger snake a few years back. Her grave is near ‘The Children’s Rose’ in the garden south of our home.
‘Bonnie’ resides in the huge run on the eastern side of the house and you may see her when you drive through the main entrance of the Rose Farm – usually sitting up on her ‘pedestal’ … the massive log where underneath she has created her den.
Unfortunately, we cannot let ‘Bonnie’ roam free in the gardens during Rose Farm open hours … the grass, for her, is definitely greener on the other side of our fence and she has very little road sense so she is confined to her pen when the farm gates are open!
We believe that ‘Bonnie’ protects our Rose Farm from kangaroos and other native animals because she leaves her scent around the Rose Farm. She wakes Graham in the night by pawing his side of the bed when she knows she needs to go out and let the ferals be aware she is here! (I got up for the kids all those years, now it’s Graham’s turn to be woken in the night and he does it so graciously for his ‘other girl’!)
If you arrive here around closing time at 4.30 you’ll probably find the gates closed because ‘Bonnie’ howls some time after 4.00 since it’s her feeding time and also time for her to be free in the gardens – toot your car horn and I’ll come and open the gate for you!

3CR Radio

On the second Sunday of every month, either Diana or Graham Sargeant, both Consulting Rosarians and the owners of Silkies Rose Farm at Clonbinane, are part of the panel of gardening experts on Community Radio, 3CR, Melbourne, located at 855 on the am band. The 3CR Garden Show airs every Sunday between 7.30am – 9.15am and is purported to be the very best gardening radio program because gardeners who phone on (03)9419 8377 or (03)9419 0155 are given good time to consult with the expert volunteer panel. Diana has been presenting on 3CR for thirteen years and hasn’t missed a Radiothon in all those years. Twice every year, the Community Radio conducts a Radiothon in order to raise funds to enable the station to provide alternative programs to suit all styles of cultural and ethnic groups. The Garden Show Radiothon is a time when gardeners can make a donation in return for a host of fantastic products, books and other items relative to gardening. Tune-in to 3CR from the comfort of your bed or while you’re out pruning your roses on any Sunday morning and be entertained and informed by a great range of horticultural experts who, between them, will find the solution for any of your gardening queries.

Rose Rambler 07/3/2013

Hello dear rose friends … lovely Autumn is here with us for the next three months – time to get out and seriously enjoy the beauty of gardening!  This is such a great time to plant roses since the soil is still warm, the roses have been in their pots for a few months and right now they’re ready to florish in the open ground.  Planting roses in the Autumn will mean that they’ll settle in well before Winter when you will give them a light prune and by next Spring you have yourself a magnificent established rose garden!

OUR MISSION STATEMENT … It’s timely to remind you of our Mission Statement which has been hanging in our shop for more than 15 years:

1.         Advance the enjoyment of rose gardening;
2.         Educate the public to make gardening simple and fun;
3.         Encourage people to be aware of our environment;
4.         Provide information on the latest research into horticulture and landscaping;
5.         Promote ideas to enable people to be creative in their own gardens.

We are most interested to have your comments as to whether your experience of our business is that we are meeting our commitment to the Mission Statement and to encourage a response, we are offering you 10% off any purchases (plants and products) during the month of March.  To redeem this offer, please email your testimonial and I will send you a voucher … thank you in advance!

ROSE OF THE WEEK … This stunning rose absolutely excels in the cooler weather when it retains a depth of colour, so exclusively all it’s own … “ASHRAM” has lovely dark glossy foliage and the beautiful crimson new shoots add a glorious dimension to the deep burnt-orange flowers.  Fragance is light and every rose is perfect for a vase!

WHAT TO DO IN THE GARDEN THIS WEEK …  If you haven’t fertilized your roses, now would be a perfect time to feed and because of the recent rain, you should also do the rose maintenance spray program now and again in two weeks to ensure that the rose foliage stays protected against the humidity.  Give the roses a little TLC now and you will enjoy a bountiful display of flowers right up until the Winter.

Saw this saying in my diary this week … pertinent to gardening throughout this past Summer …

If you can find a path with no obstacles,
it probably doesn’t lead anywhere!  

Enjoy the roses in your garden this week …

Cheers from Diana & Graham Sargeant at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.

Rose Rambler 28/2/2013

Hello dear rose friends, after a glorious few days in the rose fields at Kalangadoo, South Australia, I’m back in the office! In previous years we visited our grower, Brian Wagner around Christmas time. This visit there were fewer flowers in the fields and just to excite you and keep you in the loop, the reason we could see the roses but fewer flowers is that the rose bushes were pruned in late January to be sure they’ll be flowering well so that we can uphold our promise to have more than 200 vases of rose flowers on our stand at
Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show
Wednesday 20th to Sunday 25th March
Carlton Gardens, Melbourne
(Nicholson Street side – “Silkies & Wagners Rose Farms”)

Our visit with the grower is always a very important event on our calendar because we have the opportunity to see the roses growing in the fields and we are able to observe the health, growth habit and true colour and fragrance of the roses being released in the coming months.

We spent a lot of time during this visit firming up our plans for the forthcoming MIFGS where we will be sharing a site to enable us to bring you the most amazing display of field-grown roses supported by FOUR consulting rosarians on site. Bring all your rose queries to Site 19B and we will be able to identify a rose flower or rose problem – we will also be taking orders for the coming bare-rooted Winter roses, so bring your garden design plans and any one of us will assist you to create a beautiful rose garden!