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Australian Paper Daisies

Did everybody watch Gardening Australia on Friday!?  Honestly, I usually miss out on the live airing at 7:30 because it falls right in the middle of the bedtime routine… sometimes I let the kids stay up and watch with me, but I usually re-watch later via ABC iview… remember that you can always hop on there and re-watch episodes for free, anytime!  

So… there was a whole special on WA paper daisies!  Every state in Australia has its own native species of paper-y daisies, but in the diversity hotspot of WA, there are over 400 species of annual daisy... many of them everlasting.  How incredible is this! 

We are most familiar with the pink and white {Rhodanthe} everlastings, and these are by far the most common type of seed we have available to purchase… but there are so many more out there; it is so exciting to learn about the lesser-known species, and what’s even more exciting is the possibility of more seed becoming available for us to keep these precious {and still very threatened, despite the recent rain} Australian plants alive in our home gardens!

Make sure you check out this episode if you missed it, the images of the wild fields are just too good to be true! 

A paper daisy is a delicate little thing, with its centre comprised of a cluster of the tiny true flowers, surrounded by petals…  and these petals have a job to do… to protect that precious centre.  So when there is rain, nasty weather, and darkness… the petals close up!  If you go outside right now and pour some water over your strawflowers or paper daisies, you can watch the process happen right in front of you… something really fun to show the kids!

I have actually noticed, while working in my flower room, if I put a steaming cup of tea next to a jar of dry {and very dead} strawflowers, so that the steam passes near the dried blooms, they start to close!  Talk about magical… has anyone else ever noticed this?

A couple of other interesting points about paper daisies…

The fluffy white seeds have that adaptation of fluffiness for good reason… when it becomes damp, it clings onto the soil to help keep it in place, which is important because as we know, these seeds need to stay at the surface in order to germinate.  The fluffiness plays another role too, which is to hold onto moisture around the seed, so that it doesn’t dry out too fast.  

These are easy to grow flowers, but remember to keep fertilisers low, water regularly, watch out for slugs and snails {they especially love these seedlings} and remember to sow at the surface.    

Store seeds at a high temperature!  I’ve never heard this one before.  I always store seed in a bottom drawer that is cool and dry.  But as these seeds spend months on end baking on the surface at high temperatures in the wild, it makes sense.  This calls for an experiment!  Have you ever heard of storing paper daisy seeds at a high temperature?

Thank you so much for being here!

Xx Elizabeth   

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