In Spring time the bush around here is renowned for its wildflowers. Most are unique to our South West corner of Western Australia….found nowhere else naturally on this Earth! The Stirling Ranges, 50minutes from us, have over 3,000* species of wildflowers, walks or rock climbs up lofty peaks to 1,000m and bushwalks along winding tracks. The Porongurup Range, 20 minutes from us, is the oldest*granitic formation in the world* and supports giant Karri trees, rock climbing challenges and beautiful views from the new Granite Sky *Walk or Nancy Peak walk.
In our back bush you can come across tiny red and yellow……., delicate pink fairy orchids, bizarre spider orchids of green, red and white,(….)* purple and gold tinsel flowers (Calacstasia), yellow and white pompoms of the wattles(Acacias) and big, bold Banksias, ground hugging Dryandras, Grevilleas and lots of other wildflowers. In Spring several families of red-tailed black cockatoo (….)* use the large eucalypt trees as nesting sites returning to the same site each year. The parents bring their fledglings down to our gum trees just behind the house for a few days to eat marri (Eucalyptus calophylla) and jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) nuts and to make a lot of raucous noise!!
Frogs, mammals and reptiles love Banksia Farm. Four different species of frogs call from our dams and lily pond or sit on the doormats waiting to catch the night moths. Pygmy and Honey possums are harder to see but have moved in for the constant nectar source from flowers at Banksia Farm. Kangaroos drink at our dam and eat our green grass and are gone before dawn. Dawn is the noisiest time at Banksia Farm as the birds give us all their wakeup calls. We have had visits from over 50 different bird species with something new coming in each year. Mostly we see the New Holland honey eaters, parrots and magpies, willy-wag tails, crows and mudlarks, the splendid and variegated blue wrens, white-breasted robins and, in Autumn, the red breasted robins. Currently we are being excited by a sacred kingfisher at our lily pond. Birds love our garden and over the years since we have planted our extensive cottage garden with shrubbery, deciduous trees, lavenders and roses, and our even more extensive native garden with banksias and dryandras, hakeas, grevilleas and eucalypts, the birds have multiplied and raised many families often close to our doorways! You may even be able to walk a short distance with our resident bungarra ( Rosewarne’s Lizard) or hear the scruffle of the scales of the king skinks as they scoot off the rocks where they’ve been soaking up the sun. You might even be lucky enough to look down the throat of a blue-tongued & bob-tail lizards.
Creating a balanced ecosystem has meant that the larger predators have also moved in and occasionally we are surprised (and privileged) to come across a black and gold tiger snake near our dam or around the gardens. Being registered for ‘ Land For Wildlife’ means that we do have to protect all wildlife and this is their home too but we do warn people in Spring and Summer time to keep a watchful eye out for these venomous but not aggressive snakes.
If we can’t tempt you with wildlife, wildwalks or wildflowers maybe wines are your trigger! We have some of the ‘best in the west’ only a short drive away. Whatever your preference in red or white, bubbly or flat we have award winning wines in all of our wineries in Mount Barker and Porongurup wine areas.
Food is not a problem here. As part of your B’n’B package, you will enjoy a variety of cereals, yoghurt and home grown fruit either fresh, bottled (Yes, we do our own!!) or stewed depending on the season that you visit. Kevin is the ‘King of Home Made Bread’ and yes, you can awake to the smell of bread cooking. You can top your delicious toast with some of my yummy jams and marmalades (Yes, made by me from our fig, plum, apricot and orange trees). Kev’s pretty nifty at the coffee machine too! He can froth and layer to your heart’s desire. We also do pots of tea with real tea leaves. If you need a cooked breakfast that can be arranged for you as well. We reckon you will enjoy breakfast out on the verandah of our cafe/gallery looking over the dam to the ancient Porongurup ranges. If the day is not pretty then you can eat inside near the heaters.
Lunches can be purchased from one of the numerous cafe-style food outlets in Mount Barker, some of the local wineries or our local supermarket.
Evening meals can be provided by us if you pre-arrange this with us. Other options include Maleeya’s Thai Restaurant, Plantagenet Hotel, Wing Hing Chinese Restaurant, United Roadhouse, the Top Pub. Mount Barker Chicken, Plantagenet Pork, Plantagenet Prime Lamb, smoked trout, marron, strawberries, cherries and apricots come from the Plantagenet Shire food bowl and are delicious.
Your accommodation in our stone house allows you to enjoy a two bedroom suite for two couples travelling together, one room with a double bed and the other with a queen bed. You have exclusivity as a single couple. We don’t book two strange couples together! You enter through your own private set of French doors into a large sitting room housing pool table, piano, TV, fridge with tea and coffee making necessities. We have accumulated a large library of books on plants, birds and animals which may enlighten you. Your bathroom is where you can luxuriate in your own spa. There are dual control electric blankets on your beds and views across the garden to the enigmatic Porongurup Ranges.