Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Offer...


Looking for a perfect Christmas gift voucher or a chance to treat yourself?

• 2 nights luxury escape at Willowbrook Park and Willowbrook breakfast $395 pp

• 2 nights luxury escape at Willowbrook Park and Willowbrook Breakfast, with limousine tour to Hobbiton $645 pp

• 2 nights luxury escape at Willowbrook Park and Willowbrook Breakfast, with helicopter flight over Hamilton and high tea at Zealong Tea Plantation $845 pp

Don't fancy going out to a restaurant? Have our chef cook you dinner at the Manor House, and dine in the sumptuous red silk lined dining room with candles and chandeliers ($50-100 pp depending on menu) and choose from a wide range of Mills Reef wines.



One randomly selected voucher will include free hire of Willowbrook for your next business meeting or dinner function. (25 people max. Catering by Kerr & Ladbrook and wines by Mills Reef will be invoiced to you after your requirements have been established.)

Voucher valid for all of 2017. 
Advance booking essential. 
07 856 5656 or enquiries@willowbrookpark.co.nz

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Welcome to Spring, and Farewell to Your Host (for a while)...


Above: The vintage car in which the bride arrived for her wedding last weekend.

As you can see, the typical spring storms are here. This weekend was particularly bad, as the large storm had come across the ditch from Australia. Luckily the weather we had here has not been as bad as in parts of NSW and SA, where there have been torrential floods with peoples houses flooded, roads closed and people's lives changed forever.


The bluebells are out. I am enjoying starting to see the colour combinations come together, such as the lilac from the bluebells with the silver trunks of the Silver Birch Sp. Jacquemonte...


The Silver Pears adjacent to the Birch are just starting to bud up. You can see the storm brewing in the background over the manor. Luckily the weather held out for the wedding, and a 50th wedding anniversary. Everybody had a wonderful time.


The vineyard is starting to come into leaf as well, with some of the Plane trees along the drive greening up with clumps of daffodils still blooming below them.


On to other news. It's out with the old and in with the new. Your host must focus on obligations across in Australia for the next few months, so Peter will be running Willowbrook with the help of our new Business Manager, Mr William Stoneham...

Above: Bill (left) before one of the degustation dinners.

Below: Me, saying, "au revoir"...


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Spring is coming...

The first of the spring bulbs are coming out at Willowbrook...

Above and Below: Some 'Carlton' Daffodils starting to bring a golden glow to the drive...

Below: The Almonds are starting to blossom. It shouldn't be too long until the Cherries and Hazels follow suit...

Whilst the Silver Birch of the Bluebell Walk are still looking decidedly wintery, the Hyacinths below have pushed their way through. The Bluebells should only be a couple of weeks behind them...

  Below: A group of ducklings taking an early morning walk...
Above: Magnolia 'Cleopatra' starting to bud.

Below: Hyacinth 'Pink Surprise' 
Above and Below: Narcissus 'Erlicheer' in the Limewalk

We managed to get the pruning done in the orchard a couple of weeks ago before the rising of the sap. The plums have already started to blossom. By the end of September the orchard should be transformed from its sleepy skeletal appearance to a mass of blossoms on bushy green trees.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Bright Ideas...

Recently we have invested in a lot of landscape lighting, as well as having coloured LEDs installed above the cornicing in the ballroom, which can be set to any colour on the spectrum (from subtle to not so subtle!).

Here are some photos:
Below: The Sphinxes lit with Duracell solar lights...

Above and Below: The Super-bright 60 lumen spotlights available from Duracell USA, which are a big advance upon traditional solar garden lights (which are usually about 5 - 8 lumens).


As you can see, they are plenty powerful for our needs, and have let us light up many of the garden features around the 30 acres, without us having to run cabling around that sized area...


Two of them powerful enough to light up the folly by night too...

We did a lot of research about LED lighting when we bought the bulbs for the inside of the manor. It was a compromise between efficiency and longevity; and ambiance. Even with the warmest colour available on the market (2800K), they still do not create the same ambiance as a good old fashioned incandescent Tungsten bulb (but running over 400 of these in a house would not be a sensible idea). Here is an indicator as to the colour warmth of different lights...


With yellow filters on the outdoor lights one can almost achieve the right colour...

Here is a little video clip of the different glows we can achieve in the ballroom. If there is a colour theme to your wedding or event we can match it perfectly, or let the lights cycle through colours if you wish to use the ballroom as a dance floor.



Note: The flickering is only due to recording on a digital camera, and is not visible in real life.


Monday, June 20, 2016

The China Room...

Finally I have some photos to share with you of The China Room! For those who have waited patiently here they are...

Above: A view from foyer towards fireplace. The blue and white was inspired by Wedgwood Jasperware. The background of the fireplace will be painted blue eventually to highlight the classical motifs embossed on it.

Below: View south towards front of house. The curtains should be finished next week. They are being made from a backed silk, slightly darker than the wall colour.

Below: Some of the Wedgwood collection... 

I like this cheeky little putto on one of the vases...


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