Meet Peter Hey, clivia breeder and grower of rare plants
Interview: Linda Ross
Meet Peter Hay. Photo - Linda Ross
When did you start breeding plants?
It really began in 1986 when my wife Margaret and I purchased a property on the mid-north coast of NSW with the view of developing a tea tree oil enterprise.
Much of the work extracting oil from Melaleuca alternifolia was based on selecting and hybridising better and better bushes to improve the
yield and quality of the oil. That’s where the fire for breeding was established.
I’m mad about these new clivia colours you are now producing – lime-green, bronze, peach, scarlet, and apricot!
I’m part of a group of like-minded Australian growers who’ve made a very long-term commitment to developing something very, very special for our unique
climatic conditions. Those colours you mentioned are now becoming available, but just wait for the next tranche of multi-petal and bi-tonal clivia
that will be available around 2020-2025. Now, they will absolutely stun you! One just has to be patient. Much of this material has been in development
for nearly 20 years!
Stunning yellow Clivias, and more to come. Photo - Linda Ross
Will you have some of these for us at Collectors‘ Plant Fair this year?
Yes, I will have a good selection of young adult clivias including the colours you mentioned. I will also have a small number of the pink bi-tonal/bicolour,
as well as a number of multi-petal Group 2 yellow/green.
I’m hoping you’ll also have some of your amazing array of Massonias.
These are fascinating bulbous perennials from southern Africa. They send out two extraordinary ground-hugging leaves in autumn in a range of textures and
colours, then flower in various colours and perfumes in winter, and go dormant for the summer holidays. Great entertainment! I’ll have Massonia mimetica and
Massonia longipes, without question.
What about Veltheimias, they are such a glorious flower for shaded areas?
The Veltheimia bracteata ‘Lemon Flame’ X Peach hybrids are growing nicely. They will be ready for the fair. As will be a selection of a new variegated
lemon form. There should be a small number of bi-colour and possibly some of the white form as well. I got the tucker into them as soon as they emerged
in February so fingers crossed!
Peter Hey will be one of more than 70 specialist growers at Collectors’ Plant Fair, April 6-7 2019, Hawkesbury Race Club, Clarendon. Buy tickets at www.collectorsplantfair.com.