Hello dear rose friends after celebrating Sinterklaas yesterday with some of my Dutch family… how privileged I feel to have connections with such lovely traditions which are still celebrated more than 60 years after my parents migrated to Australia from Holland.


Thank you to you all for your beautiful, thoughtful and kind messages to celebrate my birthday last week. Here’s a joke about my age …

When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, “I’m not sure.” “Look in your underwear, Poppy,” he advised. “Mine says I’m 6 – 8.”

I promised to give you some tips for managing your roses through summer and I guess one of the most important tasks is to dead-head the roses regularly – take secateurs and a bucket of water with you EVERY TIME you go to the rose garden.

Removing spent blooms will encourage a new flush of blooms more quickly and keep the rose bushes looking tidy – the new growth is sure to be healthy too!

Because you’re regularly dead-heading the bushes, you MUST fertilize them to be sure healthy foliage remains prolific and disease resistant – remember, more healthy foliage, more flowers! We use and recommend Complete Organic Fertilizer which is available from our Rose Farm at Clonbinane – source a quality product in your locality!

By regularly feeding the soil, you’re sure to be rewarded with continual flowering!

Mulching is imperative now that summer and hot weather is imminent! We’re using pea-straw again this year – I prefer a few peas rather than the hay/straw weeds which tend to dominate and I think might rob the soil of nutrients rather than enhance the soil!

Watering your garden is NOT difficult but it is one of the most misunderstood areas of maintaining a healthy, robust and free-flowering rose garden!

Please water DEEPLY and LESS FREQUENTLY! Once a week in most weather conditions is more than adequate – give each rose bush at least 20 litres of water delivered at the same time – that’s just two buckets of water once a week. In extremely hot weather, do this twice a week.

Check what amount of water is delivered by your drippers/shrubblers or stand at the tap with a 10 litre bucket and time how long it takes to fill the bucket … if you hand water, you’ll know how many seconds to stand and water each rose. This is SO IMPORTANT!!!

Please don’t waste our precious water but make it work to the advantage of a beautiful, free-flowering garden at your place! BE WATER-WISE! Inspired by this email you’ll now read about why I take a bucket of water out to the garden when I’m dead-heading …

Hi – I have ‘A Shropshire Lad’, a ‘Jude The Obscure’ and ‘The Alnwick Rose’  David Austin roses.  They are quite young and have not yet grown into substantial rose bushes.  I notice that if I put the flowers from these roses into a vase, the petals often fall off, the flowers don’t stand up very well and overall they don’t last long.  Will this change when these roses mature?  Some of my other bushes are lovely and strong as are the flowers that grow on them.  Would be very appreciative of your advice. Regards, Lorraine

My response: Lovely to hear from you Lorraine … In the case of your roses which you are wanting to place in a vase, DA’s are especially short-lived most of the time.  However, I’m very successful at bringing them indoors and placing in an open bowl – they do last a bit longer that way!  Of the varieties you mention, THE ALNWICK ROSE

is the most beautiful and long-lasting in a vase as a long-stemmed rose.  (Please note THE ALNWICK ROSE is SOLD OUT for this season – we grow it as a short border and it always produces lots of lovely long- stemmed bunches of roses for a vase!) The others will fall and shatter within 48 hours – even when picked at bud stage!

Most important that you take a bucket to the garden – pick the stems and dunk them immediately.  If you can, take them to the house and place in a cool, dark place – water level high up to their neck!  After a few hours of ‘drinking’ the flowers are more conditioned and ready to vase.  Of course, if you add flower preservative to the initial water and then to each vase, there is a chance the roses will last way longer indoors. Hope this is helpful …

Q:  What did the cat say when he lost all his money?  A: I’m paw!


Hybrid Tea rose with a delightful confection of colours including burnt orange, amber and beige with burnt red edges.


Modern Shrub Rose of extraordinary health and vigour as a pleasant reminder of the hero in your life!


This glorious specimen with tall single stems of the most highly fragrant dark red rose will be a joy to all rose gardeners

Yes, a gentle reminder that Christmas is looming – last roses will be posted from Clonbinane on FRIDAY, 14TH DECEMBER; posting will resume on MONDAY, 14TH JANUARY 2019.


Please note, SILKIES ROSE FARM will close from…

Enjoy the peace and quiet in your garden … until next week, best wishes from the team at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane.

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