GAR­DEN HINTS

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - FRONT PAGE - with HE­LEN

I WAS first in­tro­duced to the Sil­ver Daisy Bush (olearia pan­nosa), a spec­tac­u­lar, low, spread­ing daisy, by friends from The Daisy Patch. This ‘Patch’ is a de­light­ful dry­land gar­den which was de­vel­oped by John and Julie Barrie on a low-rain­fall, stony, windswept block at Coon­alpyn, South Aus­tralia. In my gar­den, olearia pan­nosa thrives with lit­tle at­ten­tion. The fo­liage is at­trac­tive fea­tur­ing ever­green dark green shiny lance­o­late leaves with a furry sil­ver lin­ing are not af­fected by frost or burn­ing sun. In spring­time, held high above the fo­liage, a pro­fu­sion of large, starry white daisy flow­ers un­furl. Flow­er­ing lasts for sev­eral weeks. O. pan­nosa is truly a ‘sur­vivor’ gar­den plant. Yet, de­spite its tough­ness, it is vul­ner­a­ble to ex­tinc­tion in its na­tive habi­tat. Threats in­clude live­stock graz­ing, in­va­sive weeds, habi­tat frag­men­ta­tion and in­ap­pro­pri­ate fire regimes. In re­cent times a sig­nif­i­cant road­side colony was de­stroyed by road­mak­ing ma­chin­ery. It is un­usual to come across O. pan­nosa grow­ing in the wild in Vic­to­ria. Small pop­u­la­tions ex­ist on north­fac­ing, shal­low, rocky soils in a few iso­lated lo­ca­tions in cen­tral Vic­to­ria. Most of th­ese small pop­u­la­tions have low seed set and con­se­quently very few seedlings re­sult. Its sur­vival from ex­tinc­tion has been pri­or­i­tized for sup­port by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Threat­ened Species Strat­egy. Re­search into re­main­ing O. pan­nosa pop­u­la­tions in­di­cate that it is long-lived. Some plants may be up to 100 years old. The tuber­ous roots of O. pan­nosa may have pro­vided a valu­able wa­ter and food re­source for the Aus­tralian Indige­nous pop­u­la­tion. If you are seek­ing a tough, easy-to­care-for small peren­nial, with at­trac­tive fo­liage and large, bright white daisy flow­ers, then a Sil­ver Daisy Bush is a great choice. Plants may be avail­able from spe­cial­ist nurs­eries. O. pan­nosa can be prop­a­gated from cut­tings. Seed can be sown in au­tumn into seed-rais­ing mix and kept moist but not over-wet. Seedlings can be pricked out at the 2-leaf stage and trans­planted into pot­ting mix.

◆ FRESH AND BRIGHT: Sil­ver daisies.

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