I loved the Abkhazi Gardens because they were so beautiful, but I also loved the story. When you stand here, you know you are standing in the happiest part of two people's lives.
The Abkhazi Gardens is open daily from 11am to 5pm. Last entrance is at 4pm. The Abkhazis house is now a tearoom and a gift shop. There is also a washroom available there.
Entry to the gardens was by voluntary donation.
While she was interned in the Japanese prisoner of war camp, Peggy kept a secret diary of her war experiences. This was later published as A Curious Cage in 1981. Peggy also hid travellers’ cheques in a tin of talcum powder. When she was freed at the end of the war, Peggy used these cheques to purchase a passage to San Francisco. From there in 1945 she made her way to Victoria where her closest friends, the Mackenzies, lived.
Peggy used her money to buy the large rocky plot of land that would become Abkhazi Garden. The first building to be placed on her land was the little summerhouse.
Then in January 1946, Peggy received a letter from Nicholas. They had lost each other for the duration of the war and did not know that the other had even survived. They agreed to meet in New York. Their reunion, their first in 13 years, turned into an engagement. They returned to Victoria and were married in November 1946.
The Abkhazis devoted their married life to cultivating their beautiful garden.
Nicholas died in 1987. Peggy died in 1994, at the age of 92.
The garden still stands as a wonderful tribute to their lives and work.
We walked from the Ross Bay Cemetery to the Abkhazi Gardens. These are also on the number 7 bus route.
The sign outside the Abkhazi Gardens describes them as the gardens that love built because of the story behind them.
Marjorie Peggy Pemberton-Carter, usually referred to as Peggy, had a very sad childhood. She was orphaned when she was just three years old. At first she was sent out to relatives, but they did not really want her and put her up for adoption. After some time a rich, childless couple adopted her. She grew up in a cold, loveless environment.
Eventually her adoptive father died and Peggy became the constant travelling companion of her domineering adoptive mother. She was in Paris with her adoptive mother in the 1920s when she met Nicholas Abkhazi.
Nicholas had also had a tragic life. Together with his mother he had fled the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1919. His father was the hereditary ruling Prince of Abkhazia, in Georgia. Nicholas and his mother settled in Paris and waited for his father to join them. This never happened as Nicholas’ father was executed in 1923. With the death of Nicholas's father, the family lost everything.
Peggy and Nicholas became firm friends in Paris and when she left Paris, they continued to write to each other.
Peggy's adoptive mother died in 1938 and Peggy returned to Shanghai - the city of her birth.
When the Second World War broke out, both Nicholas and Peggy were interned in prisoner of war camps: Nicholas in Germany and Peggy in a camp near Shanghai.
This small garden is located in Fairfield, a beautiful area of Victoria. The garden is looked after that the Land Conservancy of BC. A large portion of the garden is comprised of rhodos but there a a lot of other neat plants too. To tour the garden only takes about 15-20 mins. (not long at all for the $10 entrance fee) but at least it is going to a good cause. The gift shop and tea room are nice but if you are looking for a full meal I wouldn't plan to have that here. They have snacks, desserts and a few very lite meals. Staff was friendly and helpful. Overall an okay place to check out.
Open 11-5 daily including holidays - March 1 - September 30
This significant heritage garden was created by Prince and Princess Abkhazi in 1946 and developed by them over the 40 years of their life together. The romantic story of the Abkhazis and their garden holds many of the elements of a fairytale.
In 1999, the Garden was saved from townhouse development by The Land Conservancy, a charitable land trust.
The unique design of this one acre site is strongly influenced by its dramatic natural setting. It features endangered Garry Oak trees, spectacular rhododendrons, mature ornamental conifers, rock and alpine plants and naturalized bulbs with wonderful views over the city to the Olympic Peninsula.
Enjoy a cup of tea in the tearoom to complete your visit.
Open March 1st to September 30th, 7 days a week ,including holidays, from 11am - 5pm.
Gift Shop on site.