I got mine last year way into the fall Suzy. That's not to say that they weren't ready sooner, but I knew nothing about them and just dead-headed my neighbor's (and one from the town's planter) after they were done caring for them for the season. Not much help I know, lol. BTW I had pretty good success with them. They are just about to bloom.
The petals will fall off and the little ball that results will turn from a reddish color to a gray/whit 'fuzzball' look. They won't be as fluffy as a dandiloin, but have a bit of a 'stickerball' look about them.
Yes it is. This Sounds like info on how to stimulate the plant for division next spring. You leave it in the ground & in spring separate the part that was partially separated in the fall. Then you have more plants.
Most gaillardia are short lived perennials. There are some annual ones like Sundance Bicolor etc. I always collect the seeds once the puffballs are nice and white. The puffballs seem to not hold up and last real long. The seeds are short triangular spikes as I recall. The last time I tried to transplant them in spring was really odd - like digging up spaghetti.