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.