When Marianne and Ed moved to the Vintner’s Secret Vineyard 13 years ago they were searching for a place to express their love of land during their retirement years.
They have certainly expressed their love of land since then, but retirement has taken a back seat as they have poured their hearts and souls into the vineyard and garden.
“We use sustainable practices and organic principles in all our operations,” Marianne said.
“There is a six acre vineyard. We have granite soil, not the typical red soil found in the region.
“The house and garden take up a further four acres – that’s where my love nestles.”
The couple have made major changes to their vineyard garden over the years.
“Each year we set ourselves a new project.
“We are very keen to use re-cycled materials so we used flitches that had been discarded by the local saw mill to build fences and walls of small structures.
“As soon as we could, we started running art-based workshops with artists-in-residence and featured outdoor sculptures that reflected the region and used up-cycled waste materials.
“Throughout the garden we now have eclectic sculptures, water features and buildings. We even built a free library in an old refurbished van. It’s a fantastic place!
“I love the way we can be diverse; garden beds of annuals transport me back to my European background, fruit and nut trees in the orchard link me to the love of sustainable food production.
“I have a wonderful vegetable supply garden within a shade tunnel and a heritage herb garden and a greenhouse to nurture seedlings.
“Each garden area we develop has a theme such as the sensory garden, a quiet memorial courtyard under the leafy branches of a huge poinciana tree, native plants that encourage bird life and water features.
“I especially love the sensory aspects of this garden: there are lots of places to sit quietly on a variety of garden seating in dappled shade listening to birds and water sounds, so still and peaceful – serene really.”
Marianne believes their vineyard garden gives back so much to them.
“One of the most amazing things about tending a garden is the tremendous therapeutic outlet of creativity it allows.
“To be able to dig into soil, add water and sunshine and come up with living beauty is indescribable.
“It is truly an expression of one’s soul.”