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Royal Show’s South West display hits purple patch
Picture: David Bailey Denise Mercer continues work on the South West’s district display entry for the 2012 Perth Royal Show.

The South West will deliver an array of purples and mauves to the Perth Royal Show this year to celebrate the local production of lavender.

Denise Mercer, of Capel, has designed the South West’s district display for 26 years and has won 13times, including at last year’s show.

The display is worked on throughout the year by Ms Mercer and a team of volunteers from throughout the South West farming community.

‘‘I start thinking about it at the beginning of the year,’’ Ms Mercer said.

‘‘We go up to Perth a week before, and it takes us five days to set it up — that’s putting all the products on the stand.’’

The centrepiece of this year’s display is a hand-crafted patchwork quilt, made by Sally Poore of Busselton, which will be surrounded by other produce from the region, including wool, hay, eggs, timber and wine.

‘‘We always try and get the best of what we’ve got, the best fleeces of wool, the best of everything — we do get marked on that,’’ Ms Mercer said.

‘‘We just try to make it a really pleasant visual display and also try to incorporate an educational value.’’

The lavender for the display will come from five producers across the South West, which has an ideal climate for lavender to thrive in.

‘‘It’s a plant which I think people have had good success with here, it grows pretty much everywhere in the region because of the soil,’’said Lavender Fields of Bridgetown owner, Bruce Bebbington.

‘‘I think it would be good in that it will highlight the fact that people are growing it and there is potential for it as an industry.’’

The South West will compete against five other southern districts, and will be judged on the quality of produce and the overall appeal of the display by 30 judges.

The Perth Royal Show runs from September 29 to October 6.