Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chamomile Sunray

Rhodanthe anthemoides
I had a delightful visit last weekend, with family, to the Darling Downs Zoo.
I enjoyed the lions and the monkeys. I loved the way that the beautiful red-rumped grass parrots, which are natural to the area, were thriving because they can zip in and out of the cockatoos’ cages and steal the seed. I also enjoyed the native spring flowers which were popping up in some of the animal enclosures.
I photographed these little sunrays near the fence on the road outside. They looking particularly lovely with their gleaming white beside the blue of the native bluebells, and the brilliant red of the local Darling pea. (See "It's Wildflower Time, Oct 2011)

They are paper daisies. Sometimes they persist for a few years, but I find it best to treat them as annuals, and they are a local plant with very good potential as bedding annuals.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see some beds of them at Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers?

Seed will begin to be ready in the nest few weeks, and the best seed is that picked early in the season. Freeze it overnight to kill the bugs, then keep it until March, for planting. I prefer to start seedlings in the shade house and then plant them out, but have also had success with just scattering the seed of this frost hardy plant about in the garden.

The same species can be bought in nurseries, but I have found the local plant to be hardier here, needing no watering once established. It is more upright than the commercially available plant, growing to about 20cm high.

The flowers can be dried and used in floral art, just like the other kinds of paper daisies.


J Gray said...

Thankyou for this post. I remember these flowers from our family farm, located not far from the Pilton Zoo, from childhood. It is great to get an I.D. We also have them at our patch at Kleinton, although I didn't know their proper name until now. Thankyou!

Patricia Gardner said...

I'm interested to hear that they grow at Kleinton. Can you tell me what kind of soil you have there? (Email me perhaps? I'd be interested to hear from you.)

J Gray said...

Thanks Patricia, I don't belive that I have taken a photo of these but I am positive that I saw them last year here in the spring. Our soil is mixed and I believe it is a real mixture and is not red like Highfields or Black like meringandan, I believe is called shoal? Not sure how to spell it sorry, but that now the lady I buy native plants from describes it. Very rocky also! I have been trying to id the wildflowers at our place over the last year or so as I am very new to identifying them, so will do my best to photograph them to make identifying them easier. I will check again for the daisys and think I can remember where I saw them last year. Kind regards, Judi.

Patricia Gardner said...

Hi Judi.
I don't know about "shoal". The soils out in that area are a bit mixed, especially if you live in one of the spots where the basalt and sandstone soils meet.
However, at least you know you have the right soil for the wildflowers that grow there. I imagine they're rather good at the moment?
It can be a lot of fun to collect your own seed, and have your own wildflower garden. Our local wildflowers are hard to get hold of any other way than growing them ourselves.