"The Gem Wildflowers continue to breed and acquire extrodinary and unusual clivia. Amazing interspecfic breeding has been a fantastic success and much appreciated accomplishment. With each new season brings joy and excitement as to what will flower next."
Bio on Francois van Rooyen and Clivia at The Gem Wildflowers
Francois van Rooyen is a fifth generation farmer in Greytown, a small town in the Kwa-Zulu Natal midlands. The farm at present has a variety of Timber cultivation, Meatmaster sheep, Nguni cattle and a growing Indigenous Nursery. The nursery was started over 20 years ago and has grown with clivia being at the forefront and where Francois' passion/obsession lies. Francois was raised, in a family that have always cherished fauna and flora. His grandfather, Professor Leo van Rooyen had one of the largest cycad collections of its time and passed this love to Francois' father, Pieter van Rooyen. Pieter introduced Francois to everything wild and wonderful from an early age. Pieter has been a professional hunter and conservationist for over 60 years. Francois attended boarding school at Grey College in Bloemfontein and worked his military service which kept him away from the farm for some time. Much anticipated holidays being the only time spent on the farm. In 1991 Francois returned to The Gem Farm and joined his father farming. During the first few years he gained experience and knowledge of a variety of produce and was involved in a breeding program of their Brahman Stud. Also during this time his fixation of all things indigenous flourished. His affinity with Clivia grew to a point where he joined the KZN Clivia Club in 2000. This is when his more formal journey with clivia began. He shared and is supported on this journey by his lovely wife Ginny who is not indigenous to South Africa but a born and bred Texan from Dallas. Francois and Ginny have been blessed by the Lord with triplets Alexander, Isabella and Pieter born in 2005 which keeps life wonderful and busy. The Gem Wildflowers strives to breed, preserve and protect the enchanting Clivia and has one of the largest pendulous and habitat heritage collections. They have won numerous awards at clivia shows, most renowned being Gem’s Apoline and prodigy often taking Best on Show all over the country. With the amazing variety of species and genetics that they have they also enter many Gardenii/Pendulous and Interspecific shows working hard to show many plants in order to educate the public about the expanding breeding and flowering seasons of clivia. It is always exciting when more people become involved and enjoy this passion as the young need to continue and persevere with genetic lines. Francois has become involved at provincial and national levels of clubs and society's. He has further had the privilege to be invited to speak at meetings and conferences as well as judge several clivia shows over many years. Every season he learns a tremendous amount from listening to clivia and other flora enthusiasts and enjoying the results of exciting clivia breeding. Let us know how we can help and get you started as we hope you too find a passion and enjoyment for the marvelous Clivia.