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Wedding & Events Venue Marlborough

History of Winterhome

Established in 1939

View from Winterhome Garden  looking out to sea

Established nearly 80 years ago, Winterhome Garden is the proud accomplishment of many years of hard work by its creators Richard and Sue Macfarlane.

Sue’s grandfather, Commander Sanford Critchley (naval officer, artist, and farmer), was first to settle in Winterhome in 1939 and named the property after his family estate in Ottawa, Canada. It was with great faith and foresight that he chose the house site thirty meters above sea level with endless and commanding views over the Pacific Ocean, and dense native bush below the house that was bordered by the rugged coast.

A cottage was soon moved on to this carefully chosen, tussock-covered paddock at Winterhome and later, Heathcote Helmore was commissioned to add to and enhance the modest dwelling. In 1980 Richard and Sue entrusted Sir Miles Warren to design and build a new north-facing wing on the house, which currently stands today.

Establishing shelter on the surrounding flat land was the first priority before any serious gardening could commence in the free-draining alkaline soil. Belts of Pine and Macrocarpa were planted to the south and west, and remain invaluable protection today.

Early tree plantings within these shelter belt confines included Pohutukawa, Moreton Bay figs, Pepper trees, many Acacia varieties and Ngaio. The eastern side of the house, planted by Sue’s Grandmother, is frost-free and the original Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, Strelitzoa, Luculia and Jacaranda which thrived back then, still remain today.

Winterhome Garden art

Richard and Sue’s first five years at Winterhome (1975-1980) saw various weather extremes: cyclones, gales and drought. In 1980 major garden extensions began and continued on for many years. Through trial and error over a number of years, Sue slowly worked out the many plant varieties that would survive in the unfavorable and sometimes very harsh conditions.  Winterhome Garden has never been irrigated so in order to survive plants must endure the long dry summers the Marlborough region is renown for.

Today Winterhome Garden is a proud family run business. Although Sue sadly passed away in June 2018, her legacy, hard work and admiration for gardening will always be evident in her beautiful creation of Winterhome.

Sue’s philosophy was one of straight lines, bulk planting, clean edges and she had very little regard for current garden fashion trends. Winterhome Garden truly reflects this and is structured and planted to have year round appeal. Its formal structure and intersecting axes take visitors on many unexpected and surprising directions.

…strong on design and scale...big dramatic and very beautiful. Definitely not one of the cottage gardens so popular today, Winterhome has long vistas, interest at every turn, and wonderful mass plantings of single varieties.
— Nancy Tichborne

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