When guests attend weddings or events at In the Grove, run by Ian and Sandy Hatton, they always comment on the beautiful gardens and lawns.
But when Ian Hatton first made the property his home 21 years ago, it was very different.
“The trees were obviously here when the property was first purchased as some of the hoop pines and figs would be around 100 years old,” Ian said.
“The original owners had planted around 150 palms on the property and over the years most of the understory gardens beneath them have had to be replaced when the shade from the top story spreads out and creates fairly dense cover.”
When Ian first viewed the property he knew that there was a future vision here but at the time he didn’t know what that was.
The first thoughts of using the property for weddings came when one of Ian's sons was married there in 2010. Soon after one of their friends asked if they could get married there and then work colleagues asked if they could also marry there and the ideas started to formulate about using the property for garden weddings.
“In 2015 we started the process of putting together our business plan together for turning the property into a Weddings and Events venue,” Sandy said.
“When we received council approval to go ahead as a wedding venue our first addition to the garden was to add the rose garden with surrounding white picket fencing for ceremonies and as a special spot for photography.
“We also added a rotunda for that added bit of charm in the gardens.”
Ian and Sandy love the garden; and even the hard work that goes with tending 5 acres.
“We love the colours, smells and just watching things grow in a garden that is constantly changing throughout the seasons,” Ian said.
“We have many plans on expanding the beauty of our gardens with the addition of running water features, formalising the gardens more and replacing the grass with a more shade tolerant variety.
“Sandy and I manage all of the gardening ourselves along with working and administering our In the Grove business.
“At times when we look at everything that we do we wonder how we get all the work done, but, as they say, if you choose a job that you love then you never have to work a day in your life again.”
- Last week's In our Garden: Station Road garden oozes old-world charm