Arnold and Elizabeth Teese moved to Monbulk in 1954. The humble beginnings of Yamina Rare Plants were established in 1958. Yamina was the name on the property and many years later my father much bemused realized in fact it wasn’t an Indigenous name but rather a Middle Eastern word meaning “going in the right direction”. Dad initially started growing plants on his parent’s dairy farm near Warragul. At the age of 12 years he imported his first seeds of Dahlia, Giant Delphiniums and Polyanthus.

At 24 he came to Burnley Horticultural College in Melbourne to lecture. This was the start of mum and dad’s romance as my mother was a student of Horticulture. My grandfather “Greg Teese “also worked at Burnley for a period in the Pasture branch shortly after dad started. Mum and dad moved to Monbulk in 1954 and dad managed a bulb farm for a period before heading up the propagation at V.J. Boulters Nursery in Olinda (for 18 years). In this time he established himself as a pioneer in the propagation of Rhododendrons and other shrubs. He also was one of the early members of the Australian chapter of the International Plant Propagators Society. 

In 1974 Dad started full time at Yamina Rare Plants specializing in Rhododendrons and quickly branching out into shrubs and trees that were often new to nurseries and imported often from correspondence hed made around the globe. As a result of correspondence and travel pursuing new material dad made many enduring friendships with doyens of the plant world. Sir Harold Hillier (Hillier’s nursery and Arboretum Winchester UK) stayed with us as did Koshira Wada (Yokahama Nurseries) Japan, Wang Dajun (Director Shanghai Botanical Garden China) Elizabeth Scholz (Director Brooklyn Botanical Gardens New York) and dad visited them and they stayed with us. J.D Vertrees perhaps the most poignant of these contacts corresponded with me for many years and shared his Maple passions with me enlightening me to the best cultivars propagation and Identification resource available, and just a lovely person! Visiting him on two occasions on the banks of a river in Medford Oregon with every maple imaginable and Hummingbirds further enchanting the visitor.

My Brother Don joined Dad in 1969 and travelled further afield pursuing plants and knowledge. I joined the business in 1979 and immediately spent a summer in New Zealand at Duncan and Davies Nursery. This nursery is the pre eminent Nursery of the Southern Hemisphere and what I learned there about plants propagation and nursery is priceless. This time was the springboard for my plant passions and I hope that I can instil that same passion with all garden lovers …Pete Teese.