Spectacular Merribee comes complete with a year of wedding bookings
Spectacular south coast garden and wedding venue ‘Merribee’ has been listed for sale, complete with secure bookings for 40 weddings through to 2025 and the assurance of a seamless transition.
Transformed from a dilapidated mid-1800s dairy paddock by Lucy and Richard Marshall with the help of local horticulturalist, James Thompson, ‘Merribee’ is set within 2.8 hectares of remarkable gardens near the Shoalhaven River at Numbaa.
LAWD Director, Trish Brewer, said the estate was extraordinary featuring numerous botanical ‘rooms’ set among avenues of pleached Chinese elms, oaks and crepe myrtles.
“Thousands of Buxus plants are trimmed into elegant hedges and whimsical topiary, with apothecary gardens modelled on monastic and medieval designs from the 7th and 12th century,” Ms Brewer said.
“It also includes a heritage rose garden growing some of the first species ever to be planted in New South Wales.”
Accommodation includes a four-storey silo converted into romantic rooms for the bridal couple, with 360-degree views from the top floor, and a gleaming Airstream caravan with its own bath house and deck. There’s a commercial kitchen and barn with seating for up to 140 guests as well as a restored pioneer’s cottage that becomes a pop-up shop on Open Days.
LAWD Director, Andrew Graham, said the botanical wonderland that is ‘Merribee’ represents a 20-year labour of love for the owners, but its commercial attraction is the three different revenue streams it offers.
“It’s a very popular wedding venue, a place for the visiting public to enjoy, and it boasts a variety of accommodation for guests to stay overnight,” Mr Graham said.
“The estate has entertained thousands of guests and also offers the opportunity to hire specifically designed sections of the property for private parties and naming ceremonies, as well as opening its doors for an annual Lavender Festival.
“The vendors have confirmed 40 weddings booked through to early 2025 and are committed to a seamless transition to new ownership.”
Lucy Marshall and her husband Richard bought the property in 2000 as a family retreat from their busy professional lives in Sydney. They set about creating a garden of sensory splendour, slowly adding to the original 1.2 hectares and building a Secret Garden, Parterre Garden, the Italian Garden, the Edible Garden, the Elizabethan Lover’s Knot Garden, a Formal Rose Garden and more, as well as planting a field of 1000 lavender bushes.
Fragrance is key – as well as lavender and roses, the garden features the scents of a diverse array of bay trees, citrus groves, curry bushes and ginger plants. Edible fruits range from guava, bananas, dates, quinces, kaffir limes, pink grapefruits and apple trees to pomegranate, passionfruit and coffee and tea bushes, and this diversity has attracted 45 different species of birds.
“This is a very solid, well-established business that has averaged 30 weddings annually since 2004, which equates to about 3,600 visitors a year with a further 10,000 visitors from garden tourism,” Ms Marshall said.
“Anyone coming in will find it ticks over very smoothly and they can do as much or as little as they want to,”
“I think the thing I’ll miss most is people’s reactions to the garden – when they see or smell a rose and it brings back a past memory, or when children run around exclaiming with delight at the topiaried animals popping out of hedges.
“People have a sense of wonder about how a garden can lead you somewhere intriguing and then somewhere else again, especially our visitors from mainland Asia where there aren’t many public gardens or private gardens open to the public.”
With more time on their hands, the Marshalls are looking forward to pursuing their artistic careers.
Merribee is being offered for sale through LAWD by Expressions of Interest at 3pm (AEDT) Thursday 7 December 2023.
To explore this opportunity, contact LAWD Director, Andrew Graham, +61 412 448 455, LAWD Director, Trish Brewer, +61 409 524 901.