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Ian Stannard - 60 Years of Growing Gerberas and Carnations

Ian has always been a keen gardener in the Kalamunda area but carnations and gerberas became his specialities and passion. Ian was the guest speaker at the WA Gerber Society February 2021 meeting. This is an excerpt of his talk.

In 1961 Ian first exhibited at the Kalamunda Show and won a prize. Since then, he has won hundreds of prizes over the years. He has kept one prize card from each place he has exhibited. He has exhibited in 27 different shows from Albany and Bridgetown in the south to Northam in the east. From mid-September – December Ian is always at a show somewhere in the state.

Ian qualified as a judge fairly early on in his exhibiting career.

Here is some of his advice:

Carnations: originally the source of the plants was through supermarkets.

The original garden varieties had a perfume but as carnations were developed commercially, new varieties did not.

The original “garden variety” carnations had 35 rounded petals on each flower. As the “sim variety” developed, they had twice as many petals, a ruffled look, with long stems which the florists loved. There are two main types: standard and field or bedding.

Propagation by cuttings is the best rather than by seed. You can easily take a slip cutting from purchased flowers. However, now imported carnations are treated so that propagation from slips is impossible. Seeds do not produce much quality in carnations.

Originally, Ian found collar rot was a big problem.

Gerberas: originally sourced at Spedding-Smith at Roleystone. They were very expensive to buy (£30 per plant in those days) so people would buy one each and split them and swap. Then they joined WA Gerbera Society.

In the old days, all gerberas were sold bare rooted in newspaper and you were told to plant them in the rose garden, not to bury the crown and just let them go.

Most were not good samples compared to what we have today. WAGS members bread them up and grew better varieties which were strong and had good form, good petal formation and mixtures of colours developed.

Originally, there was only singles. High Noon was the first really good gerbera produced in WA.

Everyone mostly grew gerberas in the ground back in those days but eel worm was a problem. These pests ringbarked the gerberas. Some members started to grow their gerberas in drums to alleviate problems with soils. Pioneering container growing.

Last year things changed because of COVID. A quote Ian likes is: “To plant a garden today is to think of tomorrow”. Ian has decided he is going to grow what he likes rather than what may win prizes.

There are many new varieties of flowers being developed. People don’t necessarily want to “dress” flowers to get “perfection” anymore but rather grow what appeals to them.


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