Landcare Driveway

Crazy where time actually wanders! We had great fortune a few months ago. We were the lucky recipients of a further 500 seedlings for one of our front regeneration projects from the Warren Catchments Council. This prompted us to think about our driveway and backyard here at Bellalee. After so much regeneration work elsewhere, it was time to look closer to home – near our home!

It didn’t take much to come around to the thought that we want to create a mini-forest. The driveway and backyard all brimming with beautiful flowing flowering trees, bushes and ground covers. The yard is about 1 acre and the house driveway 230 metres long and 3 metres wide on either side. Up the top of the drive up, we have a remnant stand of trees which are delighted to have some grevillea and other plant brothers and sisters join them.

With great excitement and advice from Katanning Landcarewho provided hundreds of beautiful seedling plants that they grow and are all within South West Australia only. Plus more little beauties from a quick trip to Boyanup Botanical which is is a fabulous family-owned nursery with over 600 species of quality plants with a speciality in Australian natives. Plus Boyanup has a vast range of weekly specials (larger plants) for a minimal number of dollars. I have just turned 60 and am eager to see them established sooner rather than later. Yes, I also raid our local nursery Nightingales for some slightly bigger plants. Driving past – I simply must stop! We have planted just over 350 seedlings with more arriving on Friday.

What to do about the weeds. So many people say weed control is everything…. except three cases have gone against Monsanto and more than 13,000 are pending. It didn’t take much for us to say there must be other ways. Yes, they all involved sweat and time. Manual removal of the weeds close to the seedlings, we had added straw around them to give then a further buffer. Plus recently we added the tree guards from Warren Catchments Council. I was initially hesitant …. gravel….. sheetrock ….. and where has the topsoil gone ….. hard, hard hard. We are determined to make the world around us soft once again. Jorn made me a device to hit into the ground to make the holes for the cane sticks. Somehow he was always away when said work was being done…….. It was necessary as the birds and rabbits were thinking easy meal targets. They were not interested in the capeweed and ryegrass.

They are in and protected. We have promised to water our babies weekly for the first summer to help them get established. Plus I know more will be added. We offer our gratitude to both  Katanning Landcare and Warren Catchments Council. for the tree guards and your invaluable advice – you are legends.

Landcare doesn’t only apply to big projects, #landcare #driveway #pillarsofbeauty



Blackwood Basin Group Babies

We are very grateful we made the call! On the lookout for more seedlings after the closure of Blyth Tree Farm we contacted Kristen Mappin and Karrie Williamson from the Blackwood Basin Group and sort advice. They we very generous with their time and helped us with their expertise. Based in Boyup Brook they are close by. Not only did they put us in contact with Parnell’s Nursery in Tincurrin, they coordinated with them an easy delivery on the back of some of their existing project work.

Last week we took delivery of 7,000 plant babies to add to some of our existing Landcare commitment. We consider regeneration assisting the natural environment an essential component of our sustainable agriculture vision.

We are planting into a very wet area of the farm, and we did not want to cause further degradation via soil erosion thus we did not rip or mound the area as we have done with previous projects. We really wanted to plant directly however it was simply hard work. However, this year is a different story as we discovered an amazing groundbreaking tool by Power Planter, it is an attachment that goes on a cordless drill and effortlessly digs holes to the perfect depth! It takes around 3 seconds for Jörn to drill the hole, I follow and drop the seedling down a piece of poly pipe and close the hole! Simply amazing

Jezabelle wondering just where we planned to plant our new babies.

Can They Be 5 and 2 Years Old!

They certainly can, our first ever projects here at Bellalee have turned five, the area in front of Cockatoo Creek and the Tone River on the western side is a vastly different place today.

The back or eastern side of Cockatoo has turned 2, this was our most ambitious planting – we planed 25,000 seedling in one long week end in June.

Four Months Strong

Our plant babies out in a paddock bordering the Tone Rd are now four months old. They are thriving, having been aided and abetted by some time summer rainfalls. 28mm last week thanks to the remnants of Cyclone Joyce. They and all our trees and other planting’s lapped it up. The land came alive and every plant on the property seemed at peace.

Despite our best efforts, maybe those summer rains helped, the rye grass came back with renewed vigour after we had sprayed it….. we have been in removing radish and melons from the area. We walk through at least once per week to see our the plants are going and pull out any unwanted ones. My earlier sharp bush removal has paid off, Only two have dared to pop up only to be removed just as quickly with my handy pick…. not at all hard after the monsters I have taken a dislike to and removed previously!

We have determined that more must be done. We intend to fence around many of the old paddock trees and add new plants so they may grow in the wisdom shadow of the old. This way the stories of the land will not be forgotten.

10000+ New Family Members

Friday the 15th September we gathered our new plant babies to introduce them to their new home here on the farm in Orchid Valley. With the very capable Jenny Carley from the #WarrenCatchmentCouncil to lead the team we swung into action.

This is a very different planting as the area is subject to water logging. To stabilise the area we have planted out thousands of reeds and grasses to stabilise the area. These are ably supported by mid level shrubs and trees a little higher to fill the area out. They will all merge and grow with flooded gums and white gums already in situ. We are very excited to see how it all grows.

As usual Jezabelle kept herself busy keeping us organised, however graciously bowed to Jenny during her sleeping time.

We here ably assisted by Andy and Murray, two happy quick witted expert planters, better later than never two of our friends Sandy and Michael rolled into to lend a hand.

Originally we had planned to plant one month ago ago the area was seemingly underwater, the rain simply fell and forgot to stop for quite a while. We would have been sinking up to our knees in some areas. Not to mention no vehicle could get there.

Luckily we had time on our side, favourable long term weather forecasts under our belts and hope in our hearts.

Our new seedling friends are settling into their new home, the rain as I write is gently falling assisting them to settle in.

WCC Planting the Dream

We are delighted to be working with the Warren Catchments Council planting the dream of regenerated waterways here on Bellalee. We have been very fortunate to discover that another 10000 site appropriate native seedlings will be planted here around a creek soon to be fenced. This is very important fringe vegetation.

Fringing vegetation plays an important role in the maintenance of a biologically balanced and healthy waterway. It provides a wide range of functions that are essential for supporting plant and animal life and for maintaining the quality of the environment. These functions include: flood control; bankline stabilisation; sediment, nutrient and pollutant filtering and, most importantly, the provision of food, shelter and breeding habitats for a wide range of organisms.

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Yes They Are One, We Are One

Today is World Environment Day! This is a day to celebrate our intricate connection with the world around us – from the tiniest creatures crawling below the ground’s surface, to the tallest trees breathing fresh oxygen into our air, day in, day out.

This weekend one of our regeneration projects turned one and another turned four. Big weekends they were as friends gathered to help us plant seedlings. Our one years olds are growing everyday and are looking fabulous. We went out today with one of our friends David who was here planting last year.

Everywhere we looked all our amazing plants are reaching for the skies. Some of the growth has been phenomenal – taller than Jorn and David. Thank you to Carol, Larissa, Hayley, David, Mark, Paul and Tom for making this happen – it is always wonderful to be able to walk among the many thousands of seedlings we have planted together and see how they are thriving.

Take a moment to pause – go outside and look at a tree or up to the sky, simply stand in silence and contemplate how amazing life is.



Can They Be Four!

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Our first regeneration project turns four this coming weekend. Four photos – Two from then and now the progress taken today. What a difference! I went walking through the projects earlier and am delighted to report that plants are springing … Continue reading

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

That Meatloaf song was all I could think about as we swung into action on our latest project venture. We have three areas of remnant vegetation to fence and at the end of our allotted time, two are a done deal!

Marilyn the post rammer set to work, followed by Christie who makes quick work of donging in the Jio Star posts. Usually we roll the wire out at the same time we install the star posts – however we did not know how we would go time wise so we were patient and waited!

All set the following morning we arose early and ready to roll out the Waratah Stocklock which we are using for the first time after meeting the Waratah team at a recent Dowerin Field Day. Jorn is hooked and loves it. Our fencing system works and we work well together. Naturally I can fix the wire to the posts quicker than Jorn can tie off, I make sure I go extra fast if I think it is touch and go…. just a bit competitive.

We thought we would be done, however the rock underneath thwarted us albeit briefly! And at the end of the day two out of three ain’t bad. The Strainer posts are in situ on the last site so we are on the homeward stretch for next time we are down at Bellalee. Plus we have time up our sleeve as the completion date is not until June.

As usual we could not do any of this work with the assistance of our neighbours generosity with his equipment – tractors, utes and a great sense of humour. A big shout out to the great people at Waratah Fencing who are a proud Australian brand that has been around for over 130 years.

Rolling Around The Edges

The crops have been harvested, Christmas has been and now just a memory. It must be time to think about installing fences around the three pieces of remnant vegetation we are due to fence with our latest round of funding from the South West Catchment Council (SWCC).

To smooth the way around the perimeter Jorn decided to get out his rock roller, partially to clear canola stubble, another to have clear fire breaks and third just to make it easier for us to install. Believe it or not we actually like fencing, generally finding it relaxing and enjoyable. Not to mention the results at the end! 

The first area often sees Forest Red-Tailed and Carnabys cockatoos socialising and feeding. There are some great food sources up there for them. The second and third Sites are high on the farm leading down to the Tone River and I have taken to calling it ‘eagle ridge’ as they are a common sight up there.