Orchard Garden owners Dale Butcher and Wendy Robertson live their lives by the seasons.
The husband and wife team have planted and nurtured an extensive garden and maze on their Alexandra property, which includes a hospitality venue and cafe that are abuzz during the summer months.
It will soon be time for last call as they have put the business and attached house and gardens up for sale.
They will have owned the site 34 years in May, having bought an existing house on what was originally a war resettlement block and the attached orchard.
The property was originally just over 10ha and is now about 4ha.
They started gardening ‘‘from day one’’ and moved into hosting events because Ms Robertson’s sister wanted to hold her wedding there.
‘‘And then a close friend asked to be married in the garden and it just snowballed from there,’’ she said.
That was 28 years ago, during which time the property has hosted 550 weddings, in addition to numerous other events, and they added a cafe 22 years ago.
‘‘It’s been absolutely fantastic, but it’s time,’’ Ms Robertson said.
In the holiday period they were working 100›hour weeks ‘‘and it’s incredibly hard going’’.
They would remain in Alexandra, but would leave the hospitality industry behind.
‘‘We’re looking for a sea change, not a start›again,’’ Mr Butcher said.
Both have many good memories involving the property, both personal and professional.
They raised their two children there. Son Finn Butcher (26) is a World Championship silver medallist kayaker and daughter Meg Butcher (28) lives and studies in Christchurch.
They have also formed long› term relationships with many of their clients and staff.
‘‘The joy will be leaving the pressures behind,’’ Mr Butcher said.
As to who might buy the property, they had thought about it a lot, Mr Butcher said.
It would be an ideal lifestyle block but, ideally, they imagined a couple in their 30s or 40s in Auckland with a passion for hospitality and maybe a young family, looking for a better lifestyle.
‘‘I imagine somebody looking online and saying, ‘We could do this — we’ve got the skills, we’ve got the passion, and we can make a sea change in our lives’.’’