Having grown up around plants all my life it seems only right to be growing, propagating and enjoying them with every other person in my world. Listening to my father as a young boy I can’t imagine my life without this passion for plants and nature. In my fathers footsteps at Ted Woolrichs nursery in the Dandenong’s (now Cloud hill Gardens), Pirianda Gardens ,walking every inch of the National Rhododendron Gardens with Dad dissecting every merit of Rhododendrons and plants still rarely available now. Or the day I mowed dads rare Alniphyllum Fortunei which was probably the first seedling of this germinated in Australia how does a ten year old grasp the magnitude of dads displeasure. The accumulation of experience and knowledge that dad has so passionately shared with me has given me not only a career, but a purpose and an amazing opportunity. Plants grow all around the world and the chance too find and learn about them affords amazing travel experiences with like minded friends.
I was inspired at an early age to meet Harold Hillier, Koshira Wada, and later in New Zealand Dennis Hughes, Jim Rumble Oz bloomhardt and Felix Jury. Yet perhaps the most pleasant two trips included a visit to the home of John Vertrees in Oregon which at the time was like too Maple enthusiasts what Will Wonker is too chocoholics. Collecting plants has become somewhat of an obsession and I have some great friends to show for that .John Emery (Manx Plants at Forth Tasmania) has introduced so many plants to Australian gardens, especially Japanese Maples. Bill Funk (Dunkeld) is one of the most knowledgeable and practical plant enthusiasts and has helped make sense of plant nomenclature for me….collecting cataloguing and planting out an Arboretum focusing on material not seen elsewhere in Australia. Ron Radford (Osmaston Conifers) who is now sadly passed has imported more conifers into Australia more than anyone else and if not for his work we wouldn’t enjoy the immense range in Australia. as it is near impossible to import these now. Threaded through all the collecting is the need to propagate what has been collated.
To this end I can thank my father and my early experiences at Duncan and Davies New Zealand. I worked there in my late teens for a summer and with over 300 staff, research facilities state of the art facilities new plants and many knowledgeable nurserymen (such as Jim Rumble) it was a springboard for my early enthusiasm. John Van Ingen has been contract grafting for me almost 17 years and ironically immigrated with his wife Wilma from the Netherlands in the early 60s to work for Duncan and Davies and his depth of experience spans 5 decades (sorry John).Johns budding numbers are legendary exceeding over 7000 per day on some varieties with often 4-5 people tying the buds from behind. Johns experience has certainly improved Yamina Rare Plants ability to graft commercially many difficult plants. Collecting seeds from local and overseas sources and the inherent problems associated with their germination has been further helped by a wonderful and dear friend. Barney Eakin experience with seedlings started at the New South Wales Forestry and he has not only supplied seeds to me for 25-30 years he has mentored me on more than just seedling production.
It is important not only to thank people who have helped on my path but pass this knowledge and experience on too the next generation of plants men and women……Plants to me are an intrinsic part of the “Web Of Life” that enriches all elements of our daily lives ….. Peter Teese