"Breathe deep, fly high, seek peace"

"Breathe deep, fly high, seek peace"

-Skybax rider motto

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Kings Park

A spring visit to the Kings Park botanical garden festival on a perfect day.  I couldnt have asked for anything else, except perhaps a few less people!  The Friends of Kings Park have four plant sales a year, where they sell the plants they grow from seed or propagation, I havent been for quite some years now, but it seemed to me a lot more people have caught on to the idea, it was so crowded.  The plants are quite cheap & a lot are rare and cant be found in nurseries. I bought two Eucalypts - E brandiana, this one is extremely rare, it was only discovered in the late 90's in the fitzgerald area south of Perth & has no lignotuber, so does not regenerate after a fire, hence the rareness.  It has been named after a curator at the park. The other is also quite rare, E crucis or silver mallee, this is a beautiful little tree, that is found in the wheatbelt, so should grow well for me.  I also bought two lechenaultia's, a banksia & a thryptomene, so look forwar to posting photo's of these ones in flower.
 This is the Giant Boab 'Gija Jumulu' that was transported to Kings Parkin July 2008, it journeyed over 3200 kilometres, from Warmun in WA's Kimberley region, to Kings Park in Perth.This iconic tree, estimated to be 750 years old, weighs 36 tonnes and stretches 14 metres high and eight metres wide (branch span). Its trunk measures 2.5 metres in diameter. The boab had to be moved as it was in the way of a highway, this was a first in Australia, transplanting such an old tree over an enormous distance. I remember the journey was followed every evening on the news, the nation held its breath & hoped that this incredible endeavour would be successful, when the first tiny shoots pushed through in spring you could almost here the collective sigh of relief.  Boabs are deciduous and the kimberly in WA is the only place in the world they are found, they are related to South Africa's baoabab's.  Now this proud giant enters its third spring in his new home & we await the first signs of life with baited breath once again.  Nature is so exciting!

Desert flowers

silver princess

                                                        black kangaroo paw with hibbertia
                                                      lechenaultia, my fav!
                                                         Qualup bells
                                                           smoke bush
                                                       swan river daisy
                                                         feather flowers
                            kangaroo paws and wax plants

These plants are all indigenous to Western Australia

Thursday, 22 September 2011


This Bella, she is S4's dog (skybax number 4) & is a retreiver/labrador cross. Bella is 2 & 1/2 years old & has the most endearing personality, although she does annoy me while I garden. She is a talker, never stops, she grumbles, growls, whines, whimpers & yaps all in the never ending quest for attention. When I have my head down, bum up gardening she is forever trying to get her head under mine, I growl & send her away, this lasts until I move or look up & this is her signal to have another go. When my sons bring girls home, she will lie on her back with a ball between her feet balancing it. I think she's jealous & trying to get the attention back on her, but S4 just says she loves to perform for anyone who will watch. The relationship Bella & S4 have is astounding, they are completely besotted with each other & when he is in the garden I am unceremoniously dumped! As she is getting older she has the typical labrador trait of putting on weight & S1 has taken to calling her "chubbsy", so S4 is flat with the excercise, I think he takes it personally! Saturday is the big day for us S1 is flying a Cessna 210 down to Perth from Broome for servicing, he is a pilot up there, & he gets to stay at home until Wednesday, its quite a journey as Broome is at the other end of WA to Perth & he is leaving at 2am sat. morning to get in some instrument flying. He has been in Broome for over a year now & is building his hours & experience up in order to apply for airline jobs. At 23 he is having some wonderful experiences in the outback & learning so much, it has been just the best thing for him.
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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Native trees

E ucalytus luecoxylon rosea - Pink flowered yellow gum, yellow gum
found in open forest and woodland in western Victoria, South Australia and south-western New South Wales.
 a medium-sized tree which reaches 10-30 metres in height. The bark is retained on the lower trunk but the upper trunk and branches are smooth-barked and cream to grey in colour.  The flowers are usually seen in autumn and winter and may be white, cream, pink or red.
 It performs best in well-drained, moist soils but, once established is tolerant of extended dry conditions.
E.leucoxylon is regularly planted for windbreaks, shade, honey production and for ornamental purposes and it grows well in alkaline soils.

These two E luecoxylon were bought as tube stock, I have replanted them in 1L milk cartons as Im going to attempt to plant them in the paddock next autumn using Bill Hicks long stem planting method.  In order to do this I need the roots to grow down to the bottom of the carton & the stems to grow taller than they are.  Using the long stem planting method a 1 metre hole is dug & the tree is planted deeply with soil up its stem, it then grows roots from its stem making it more stable & stronger. 
Casuarina cunninghamiana - River She-oak
Tall pine-like tree, usually straight, 35m high, with dark rough bark.  Initially their shape is narrow pyramidal becoming more rounded in maturity. Dark green foliage with predominantly fine branchlets with leaves reduced to tiny scales or leaf teeth occurring in whorls or rings around the stems.  These rings are 4-9 mm apart.  River she-oak is the largest of Australia’s she-oaks. Trees have either male or female flowers.  Male flower spikes are about 2 cm long: female flowers develop into woody fruits or cones, globular to 1 cm. long with hard, projecting valves which open to release winged seed.
Naturally occurring in Victoria, NSW, Qld and NT on freshwater streams and watercourses. 

Hakea laurina - pincushion hakea
found in the south west of Western Australia, a small tree to 6m with rounded reddish flower heads, that look like pincushions in autumn to winter. Drought tolerant.
A rather boring post, but I want to record these little beauties right through, maybe I might even see them fully grown?  It will also be interesting to see how the long stem planting goes, I will need all of my trees to be drought tolerant as they will be hand watered for their first two summers only, then they will need to survive on approx. 300mm of rainfall a year.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

City back yard

These photos are of my city suburban back yard, west facing wall, very sandy soil. Growing plants here has been a continual struggle as the water will not stay in the soil, just leaches as soon as you put it there, we are only allowed 2 watering days a week in summer, 3 if you have a bore & total ban over winter.  Although I like the look of the garden at the moment, I know by the middle of summer I will not be enjoying it at all as it will take all me efforts just to keep it alive Had I started this garden from scratch I would have planted only indigenous species as I think they are the only ones to survive without a mammoth effort.  The asparagas fern and ponytail palms always do well, but the cordyline electric pink is no longer there, sorching sun & lack of water killed it off.
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Saturday, 17 September 2011


Yesterday we set off for a day trip to Cunderdin to the Agricultural College open day, our youngest son is to go their for years 11 & 12.  It is a residential college that teaches mainstream maths and English & then the students can choose between 3 different pathways, Trade, Agriculture and university.  We had already signed him up for the trade pathway, but after yesterday is now more keen on the ag pathway, he's such an animal lover & he got to see the cows and pigs.  Access was limited to a few pigs of various ages, & we had to wipe our shoes in a disinfectant bath before going near them due to the risk of disease.
While we were there we stopped off at our hangar at the airfield, a plane was parked directly in front of it, so it was lucky we didn't want to get ours out as it wouldn't have been possible.  Apparently the minister for education had been flown up in it to address the school at the open day, (they can park anywhere due to the importance factor!)

This old aloe plant (not sure which one it is) is growing next to one of the old world war 2 huts out at the airfield, it looks as though it might have been planted back when the huts were built.  The huts & hangar were built to train pilots for the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) early in world war 2.  Towards the end of the war the airfield was used as a base for heavy bombers in connection with the campaign against the Japanese.
I took a piece to strike amid various scathing remarks from son & husband, "why would you want a piece of that?, its so ugly" and "now we have to share the car with a triffid!"  I think it has its own beauty an with a bit of TLC will be a plant worthy of any garden.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

My boys

Im so excited today as I have just heard my eldest son is coming home for a weeks holiday next week, I havent seen him in ages & it will be so good to have my whole family together again ( 4 boys & husband).
The name of my blog comes from my boys growing up on dinotopia, the skybax riders were a huge part of our lives in the 90's through books which inspired hours of imanginary play in the paddocks and around the sheds.  It just seems like yesterday they were all flying around the yard winning a war on the backs of their skybax, it goes so quickly, in the blink of an eye they are adults, thankfully my eldest hasnt lost his imagination & can still lead the others in some quest or another, although now they resort more to a Monte Python holy grail quest rather than a dinotopian one!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


I have had these two cactus forever, they were purchase some 20 odd years ago as little novelty plants with glasses and hats on. I have replanted them a couple of times, but mainly they have been neglected for long periods of time, rediscovered & nutured for a few years & then lost & forgotten for a few more.

I am making a concerted effort now to be much more considerate & loving towards them, lets see if it makes any difference.  Have no idea of their names.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

new little succulents

I have 3 different Haworthia's planted in the one pot, the first two which I think are H Fasciata & H attentuata, I took a couple of plantlets from a house my parents were housesitting, they were very old and overgrown, have been in the pot for 1 year now & done nothing!  Today I purchased a H tesselata to go with them, doesnt look much like its picture, looks very grim & almost dead, hopefully being transplanted it will show some life now.  Apparently they are very slow growers, so will take some time to fill this pot.
I also bought what I think looks like an Agave, which one Im not sure, as the only label it came with was "succulent" which of course is no help at all.
The other two photo's are an echeveria black prince & aeonium chocolate rose, all of these I will grow in pots until we move & then they will find their home in my dry succulent garden.

Saturday, 3 September 2011


This is spicezee, my Flemmings interspecific nectarine/plum.
I recieved it free from Flemmings Tree Nursery for being an insider subscriber. It was planted bare rooted in this pot in July 2011, it will stay in the pot until we shift to our country property, where I intend to have an orchard.  Cant wait!