Gerry Gillett (88) has been growing the colourful flower for more than 60 years and he said there were several reasons why he loved the plant.
‘The thing that appealed to me was that they flower the whole year round, which is very unusual, and that was the main attraction plus the fact that they were perennials, you could divide them every year, and they’re quite easy to grow,’ Mr Gillett said. ‘I think it’s probably the fresh air and doing something, I firmly believe it’s the old adage, ‘use it or lose it’ and if you can continue to get enjoyment out of it then it must do your health good I feel, both physically and mentally.’
Mr Gillett said there was an art to hybridising, harvesting and growing a quality gerbera, something that has kept him interested in the activity for more than half a century.
‘I’ve got quite a few that I’ve bred myself, there’s probably 50 or so respectable ones and hundred and hundreds of ordinary ones.’
The Dianella resident spoke of the complexities of cross-pollination, including the time consuming process of taking a small brush to the stamen of the flower and transferring it to the stigma of another.
This results in the pollination of the plant before Mr Gillett harvests the seed.
The next stage is to plant the flower, nurture it well, and hopefully discover a new colour and shape when the gerbera blooms.
Mr Gillett said Western Australia has a rich variety of gerberas and leads the country in hybridisation.
The gerbera exhibition begins at 10am on Saturday, May 3. The entry fee is $4.
Refreshments will be available during the day, with the public recommended to arrive early before the plants and flowers sell out.