Glorious garden open to view

Last updated 15:32 16/11/2012
Winterhome
Tania Dewhirst

Foliage lines: Ward School children, clockwise from front, Honey Dewhirst, 7, Will Chaffey, 11, Guy Chaffey, 9, and Maddie Horton, 10, are surrounded by box hedges in the Winterhome orange orchard.

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Feel like a Sunday drive? Why not fill the fuel tank and drive to Kekerengu on November 25 when Richard and Sue Macfarlane will open their Winterhome garden gates to raise money for Ward School.

Boasting ocean and mountain views, Winterhome has been named a Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Garden Trust. Among its classical French lines, arbors, pools, woodlands and avenues, plants include everything from roses and avocado trees to mature native trees.

The nearly five-hectare property is a regular attraction on Hunter's Garden Marlborough tours and its 2012 festival ticket-holders were filing through last week. Preparations made for them are still looking fresh, says Sunday's open day organiser Anna Chaffey.

She leads the Ward School fundraising team and predicts everyone visiting Winterhome next Sunday will love it.

"Every turn is eye-catching. You can lose yourself in the beauty of this garden," Anna says.

Visitors can enter a canal garden enclosed by a high brick wall, then follow a path to a formal, box-edged rose garden planted entirely with "Margaret Merrill" roses. Further along, orange trees stand in a formal, box-edged parterre, while an avocado orchard is reached by crossing a swing bridge high above the entrance driveway.

There are points of interest at every turn and mass plantings include Mediterranean plants that thrive along Marlborough's east coast.

Anna says money raised will be used by the board of trustees to retain a third class at Ward School. When the number of pupils falls below 50, the Ministry of Education cuts funding. Raising money independently allows a third teacher to keep being employed, Anna says.

"The funds raised from this event will be going directly to that teaching time.

Staff divide the 42 pupils into three rooms for each half-day, providing smaller year groupings rather than, for example, pupils from year 0 to year 4 being kept in one room all day.

Children from Kekerengu are pupils at Ward School, putting Wintergarden in the home patch, Anna says.

"We are thrilled to be utilising this very special local destination as a fundraiser."

Bad weather will not postpone the November 25 open garden day and many of its spaces are sheltered enough to be enjoyed when it rains.

‚óŹ Winterhome Garden, Kekerengu, will be open from 1pm to 4pm. Entry is $10 and cream scones, tea and coffee and goods from various stalls will be for sale (no eftpos). For more information phone Anna Chaffey, 03 579 8990 or email sandy.anna@xtra.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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