Everlasting daisies (Rhodanthe chlorocephala subsp. rosea) provide beautiful spring colour in the garden and I plant them every year in June. I’ve had more success starting the seeds in seedling trays and then transplanting the young plants because snails love to devour them. Every year I let the flowers go to seed and they fall into the leaf litter, ready to pop up the following winter. This year there are so many plants growing before June has even started. I’m looking forward to fields of pink and white come spring.
After the rain of the last few weeks the front garden bed has self-sown plants coming up, but the side bed already has a carpet of 10cm plants, which started growing in March. When the plants first came up I wondered if they would survive because it was still hot and the rain didn’t continue into April. But the plants are growing well and could just flower earlier than usual.
My back garden bed isn’t fenced off and over a couple of weeks last spring someone removed pretty much all the flowering plants. I enjoyed the flowers for a time but seeds didn’t get the chance to develop, so no self-sowing happened. I was rather annoyed when it happened, but I hope whoever took my flowers enjoyed them. I’ll plant seeds in June to transplant to that bed and hopefully this time no one will steal my flowers. Currently watermelon is growing there and the fruit hasn’t been nicked – yet!
Everlasting daisies are endemic to a widespread area of WA, from Shark Bay to Wiluna to the Great Australian Bight. Much of the populations are inland, Perth and around Geraldton being the main coastal regions. Perth is a bit of an outlier on the distribution map and the plant identification guide Perth Plants states,
“Historical data show that there have been natural populations in Kings Park in the past though current populations have been introduced.” 
I wonder how accurate that historical data is because I’ve heard some people question it. Whatever the case, the fields of everlastings planted in the gardens of Kings Park make for a stunning spring show.
Snails and caterpillars love to chow down on young plants and when the weather warms in spring, aphids will munch on flowering plants. I use iron chelate (EDTA complex) snail bait and Bt to kill caterpillars, both of which aren’t harmful to other critters. This photo of a caterpillar on a flower isn’t common, but it happened at least once in my garden.
As well as pests, pollinating insects love my fields of everlasting daisies. Next Tuesday the Northern Suburbs Branch of the Wildflower Society of Western Australia is giving a presentation on “A Native Garden for Wildlife.” Come along to Henderson Environmental Centre, Groat St, North Beach at 7:30pm if you’d like to find out what plants to grow to attract wildlife to your garden.
- Barrett & Tay (2005) Perth Plants Perth: Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority