Of all the gardens we toured in Victoria BC, this one was my favourite. Imagine two lovers parted for many years finally reconnecting and building a sanctuary like this garden has become. Read the story about how Abkhazi Garden came to be here. If you havent visited Abkhazi Garden in Victoria you must. We tried several times to find it without an address in hand and drove by it over and over. You see the owner of this garden never intended it to stand out. It has a normal fence and gate that doesn’t yell out “amazing garden here!” The tiny sign announcing your arrival is just that, tiny. I am glad we finally got the address. If you go, parking is on the street. It is in a residential area.
As you enter the garden you walk the Rhododendron Woodland garden first . It’s a wonderful collection with mature plants towering overhead. Below are swathes of cyclamen in full bloom and ferns of every kind. It was when I saw the plant above that I was stumped. I had to have it and asked a volunteer gardener what it was. It’s a perennial Impatiens she said and told me they had some for sale. It’s a bit of a runner I was warned but it loves the shade and has yellow blooms in late summer. A few minutes later the volunteer came back carrying one of the Impatiens and said I could have it as it was late in the season and needed some tender loving care. That made my day!
Artwork is carefully placed in the garden with ferns and hostas around it.
I found myself looking at the different shade plants noting which ones did well. This Bergenia had leaves a foot long and almost as wide.
Dappled shade made it hard to get good photos but its my favourite part of a shade garden. Here lower branches of the Rhododendrons were above our heads again. The garden was started in 1946 so the plants are mature specimens and have been trained to be more like trees with much of their lower growth removed.
As we walked out of the shade we entered the South Lawn. The garden was built using the natural terrain to add height which makes it look larger than it is. The garden is about an acre in size. Originally this was intended to be a rose garden but many changes have been made since the couple died. Now it is a mixed border of lovely flowers and shrubs.
One side of the south lawn is planted with an array of perennials. This anemone was planted in mass along the walkway.
The garden is full of hardy geraniums. This one in a vivid blue is a keeper.
Arum italicum has both leaves and seed pods in this garden. Look at those magnificent arrow shaped leaves with their white veining.
At the other end of the south lawn the left side is full of flowers. It’s the right side of the lawn that has a story behind it. Peggy planted the Heathers on the right to resemble the Yangtze river in Shanghai, her former home. Imagine this row of Heathers in full bloom. It would be a river of pink.
Victoria is known for its Garry Oaks and this garden has several. Garry Oak is the only native oak in British Columbia and one that needs protection. On my visit I noticed the owls love this tree. There are large stands of Garry Oak near Beacon Hill Park in Victoria.
At the far end of the South Lawn is the summer house. Peggy had this built so they could enjoy refreshments while working in the garden with her husband Nicholas. Did you know Nicholas was a prince? Don’t forget to read about how they met.
On the side of the summer house Billardiera longiflora was full of blue fruit.
We found this tidbit of information about the Billardiera in the summer house. I love reading historical information about how plants get their names, don’t you?
Walking towards the main house from the summer house you can choose several paths. Each one takes you to different heights in the garden. At the bottom of the garden we came upon a pond. Gunnera makes a statement with its large leaves. Marsh Marigold, normally a spring bloomer, had new yellow blooms.
The garden design was worked around the natural rock formations with plants placed in crevices.
Lily of the valley grows from pockets between the rocks. Native plants, ferns and succulents find the rocky terrain their home. They look as if they have been planted here forever.
We climbed the path at the east side of the garden and this is the view from above. Okay, I could live here.
As I turn to look down at the summer house in the distance I am in awe of this garden.
The house is situated at the top of garden with a patio all around. As we left the garden I spotted this Amaryllis in full bloom. I was told this was a new addition to the garden. I look forward to going back to the Abkhazi garden in different seasons.
For more information on the Abkhazi Garden, check out the links below.