I found this article on the ABC Web site. Rain is needed to germinate these lovely plants or a sprinkler if allowed. Many areas in Australia are in drought and extra water for sprinkling is not available.
Everlastings lasting all year round.
Thursday, 24 August 2006
Presenter: Sian Gard
The Midwest and wheatbelt is famous around Australia for the wildflower season. Carpets of colourful flowers usually cover the ground from August to October, but not this year. The drought has considerably reduced the number of wildflowers.
What if you could have wildflowers in your very own garden, all year round?
Rob and Jen Warburton of Kojonup have turned the idea of growing wildflowers where you live into a growing business of selling everlasting seeds. Rob says the business came about, almost by accident ” We had a fellow collecting native seeds on our property on 200 hundred acres of bush we’ve got and just as a bi-product he sort of said, heres a kilo of seed why don’t you see if you can grow these things commercially, there’s a bit of a market for it”
Do these beautiful flowers need much care and attention when it comes to popping them in the garden? Not according to Rob ” we get the seeds and throw them on the ground, like you should do, like it happens in nature”
But with the size of the seeds and the amount of flowers that could spring up, you would think that making the everlasting seeds profitable and viable would be a labour intensive chore.
” Eventually the everlastings came up and we thought how are we going to harvest them? Says Rob ” I sort of then worked out a way for mechanically harvesting them, so by the time I had harvested them and put them through several process of cleaning them, we came out with quite a clean product. We were able to sell that and that was about five years ago”
There are hundreds or maybe even thousands of different types of flowers in the world to plant in your garden, but according to Rob what makes the everlasting or paper daises stand out is its uniqueness.
” There a long flowering annual, they come in lots of different colours. We grow the pink and white variety and also the pink variety, which is a very dark red sort of pink colour with a yellow centre, and some of them have a black centre, which is quite stunning as well. They grow through the winter months and flower mostly through the spring ” but as Rob explains these flowers can bring delight all year round “they can be grown all year, we have grown them in patches in November and they have flowered throughout the summer”
The pretty but very simple everlasting is not only a flower that is found in the Midwest and wheatbelt and admired by tourists, it’s a flower, which according to Rob is gaining popularity in the celebration of an everlasting union, marriage.
” We’ve had people who have picked the flowers and dried them, they’ve used them as table displays, in the bouquets themselves and we know a girl just locally who is very keen, who’s having a wedding in December, to come out and pick some flowers and dry them for table arrangements”
Here is an example of a photograph of one of the Brachyscome species that I grow. Typically the colour has not been reproduced correctly. This hybrid daisy has flowers that are nearly a cerise pink.
It seems to be a hardy plant which suckers readily. It tends to die back during the heat of summer, to reappear as the cooler weather arrives and watering is resumed or rain falls. It flowers for a couple of months. I am not sure of its frost tolerance as the plants are in a fairly sheltered spot to protect them from the high temperatures during the summer.
The daisy garden bed which I began a few years ago needs to be re-organised as it was n
meant to be a show case and a test garden for the pH of the soil and heat and frost tolerance.
It is so difficult to take photos of plants that are in the mauve / blue / purple colour range. I have tried photography in the shade, at night with a flash, relying on the editing facility with digital photography and still been disappointed with the results.
There are a number of members of the daisy family, in particular Olearia and Brachyscome which have these colours. A mass of mauve Brachyscome multifida will look a dirty white or ‘washed out’ pink. One day I will come across some clues to help with this. Meanwhile when I try to tell anyone about the beautiful colour of the purple form of Olearia floribunda, I feel great frustration that I cannot show them what I mean. Similarly with Olearia ciliata which varies in colour from mauve to purple.
All these have the typical daisy shaped flower which vary in size from 1cm to 5cm across. Some look good as cut flowers in small posies. All look great as potted plants and garden plants.
I enjoy propagating these plants from seed and cuttings. Cuttings strike fairly easily in warmer weather.
This daisy was the reason I joined the Australian Daisy Study Group. This is one of many study groups set up under the auspices of the Australian Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP). Most daisies I had seen were relatively insignificant but the large flowers on this plant were stunning. The bush covers itself in 70mm wide white fllowers.
I enjoy and appreciate the information that is available through membership of the study group.
I noticed that the plants are beginning the spurt of growth that comes just before the flower buds form. It flowers at the end of winter.
It is one of those plants that needs to be cut back after flowering. It has the appearance of a shrub but behaves like a perennial plant. New growth appears lower down the stems. I am never sure whether to cut back to the bottom most part of this. Members of the study group have not had a great deal of success when cutting back into older wood on some of these daisies. I have never cut back too severely.
This is one that grows quite well in the highly alkaline soil that is in my garden. Not as vigorous as the plants that grow where the rainfall is a little higher and there is not so much limestone.
These are wonderful flowers which can be naturalised in the garden. That is, have them growing in patches rather than in rows. They flower over a longer period if extra water is available, but still give a marvellous display on diminishing moisture in the soil. You will have seen photos in brochures about Wildflower tours to Western Australia, where it is pink or yellow or white for as far as the eye can see. That is not trick photography!
You can do the same thing on a smaller scale in your own front or back yard. Set aside a patch a few square metres in area, and put in some plants or seeds. Seed of some species is available from supermarket garden centres as well as specialty seed merchants. You can buy seedlings, or more advanced plants in the same way that you buy â€œpotted colourâ€ from nurseries. Instead of buying petunias, look for Rhodanthe (Helipterum) species.
These will drop seed which will probably germinate with the first rains in autumn and continue to appear year after year if you have a sand mulch on the garden bed rather than leaf litter or other organic mulch.
Donâ€™t forget the mass planting in a large tubâ€¦ be creative about your pots.
These plants need a lot of sunlight to do well, so the location of your few square metres, or your planter is an important issue for these species.