Following lengthy negotiations with the Town Council of Umjindi, the Gerbera Association has finally been given a lease, for a nominal amount, to a property of approximately two hectares for its Gerbera Park in the Barberton residential area.
This municipal park will be converted into the world’s first Gerbera Park and Museum. The museum will display documents from Traugott Gerber and other papers and articles relating to Gerberas.
The town of Zodel, the birthplace of Traugott Gerber, has been invited to organise a permanent display on its own town’s history and its relationship to Traugott Gerber.
Three years ago Barberton installed a permanent display in the museum in Zodel.
Work has already started at the park: the holes for the fencing structure are being dug and the ground is being cleared. Glengarry Timber in Barberton has donated all the required wood for the fence and Anro Floral Farm in Krugersdorp donated two greenhouses.
The grounds are being prepared to receive the first invaluable collection of Gerbera plants. Donated by Peter Ambrosius and prepared for shipping by Florist in Holland, this collection of plants can be likened to a Noah’s Arc of botanical treasures.
During the 45 years of his professional career, Peter Ambrosius collected hybrid Gerberas from all over the world. Some of the plants now only exist in his collection and are irreplaceable. If they are lost, they are gone forever.
The plants arrived in South Africa in February and were transplanted into pots.
The entire investment over the next few years into this Gerbera Park will amount to R2,54 million. A museum, restaurant and amphitheatre, as well as a retail nursery for indigenous plants, will be built. An educational facility for horticulturists to be trained in the field of Gerbera breeding is envisaged for the future. The project has been initiated and carried out by the Gerbera Association. At this stage, no funding is available or indeed in sight from any Government department. The Association relies solely on donations from the private sector. Companies that would like to assist may contact: Volkmar on 082 680 5670 or visit the Association’s website www.gerbera.org.
In due course, Peter Ambrosius will send his other two exceptional plant collections, which he has also donated to the Gerbera Association in South Africa. The Association will then receive his entire botanical collection, with plants of all Gerbera species from all over the world, as well as all his breeding and genetic stock. This will mean that we, in South Africa, can start breeding new varieties of Gerberas. Originating from South Africa – the Gerbera jamesonii – known here as the Barberton Daisy, is returning to its roots: a flower is coming home.
Text and photos by Volkmar Seifert, chairman of The Gerbera Association.