Sunday, 19 August 2018

Abkhazi Gardens, Victoria …



One of those extraordinary stories … of developing love … surviving World War II, despite both being captured – one in France and the other in Shanghai as an ‘enemy subject’ held captive by the Japanese  … somehow keeping in contact … eventually to marry and start a garden …


Abkhazia is orange, then Georgia is grey
c/o Wiki - to see the Ossetias
Romantic or what … an exiled Prince of Abkhazi … an orphan adopted by a rich couple… ‘the child’ eventually settling in Shanghai in 1938, the place of her birth.


Nicholas, the Prince in 1919 had fled the Bolshevik Revolution living in Paris with his mother … where he met Peggy during those years accompanying her domineering adoptive mother around Europe. 


The house peeping out

They enjoyed each other’s company and when in Paris did what cultured friends would do … walked, visited galleries, museums, listened to recitals and conversed in French, their common language.  When Peggy was travelling they corresponded through letters …




The summer house at the top of the property
from where they could survey, plan and design
their garden, prior to their home being built




War came … both survived … they found each other … married and came over to Vancouver Island, where Peggy had bought a small one acre plot … their love flourished, as too their home and garden – now preserved by The Land Conservancy.







It’s a tiny heritage property and I should have visited in the late Spring/early Summer, but next year I’ll go again … when the rhododendrons, azaleas and spring flowers are in bloom …







I did not have much time at all … but managed to fit in one of their special Silk Road teas … I enjoyed the tea … and must find out more about this brand.  






Looking across from the house



I was grateful for the tiny sandwich/ scone/ cake offerings on the cake stand … not because I ate them in situ … but from the box on the way home, as I was caught up in traffic on that dreaded Malahat road, curbing my rumbling tummy, as supper was distinctly late that night – eventually not needed.




I think these must be Garry Oaks leading
across to the summer house



I hope you can see the delight of the garden and its plantings … as too the layout of the land … a cascade of glaciated rocks – announcing its need for creative gardeners to foresee the opportunities for green fingers within this tiny space.




The terrace where tea can be served





There’s a hornbeam hedge at the front, the garden itself sits high above surrounding properties, native Garry oaks remain, Japanese maples and rhododendrons have matured … and there are now carpets of heather, irises and day lilies – all to be enjoyed next year …






Part two of this is a story about a plant … and more garden insights in another land …


The Land Conservancy – Abkhazi Garden ...


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories 

39 comments:

Anabel Marsh said...

A romantic story!

Chatty Crone said...

What an amazing love story!

Inger said...

A love story, a garden, something to leave behind to be enjoyed by others. You are becoming quite the traveler. And what's this about next spring? Plans to stay? I must have missed a lot when I wasn't blogging this spring.

Elephant's Child said...

What a delightful way to celebrate and perpetuate their love.

Jo said...

A great way to commemorate their love. Looks like a wonderful garden and I envy you getting to see it - twice!! I take it Abkhazia has been swallowed up by the surrounding countries. Must Google.

Hels said...

I have been thinking about The Silk Road a lot this year, but did not expect to find a connection in Victoria. Your photo of that part of the gardens is beautiful.

D.G. Hudson said...

Learning the history about a place makes us see that we have lots in common with other areas of the world. Romance, gardening and surviving the bad times. Some have it worse than others. Gardening to me was always enjoyable since I was a small child and planted sweet peas. This post brought back memories of that time.

Lenny Lee said...

hi GBM

what a nice love story. cool how they separated and then came back together and planted a wonderful garden. your descriptions of the garden and lands are great. for sure you have a gift and can make words come alive.

another interesting post.

...hugs

Emily in Ecuador said...

This sounds like a delightful place to spend an entire morning or afternoon, Hilary. Amazing that the couple were able to stay in touch and marry after all they experienced. Sorry you had to rush through but at least now you know it is worth visiting. In the Spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom, it will be spectacular. I look forward to seeing new photos then. Love the colors of the blooming plants they have now, too.

I have loads of catching up to do. Looking forward to seeing how Canada is treating you.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
what a wonderful history and the garden looks gorgeous! YAM xx

Suzanne Furness said...

Hi Hilary, I haven't been around for a while but I am glad to see you are still enjoying your travels. A truly romantic story and that garden looks beautiful. Life in Canada seems to be going well. Cornwall has had a lovely sunny time this year but the usual drizzle has returned the last few days! Oh well the gardens and wildlife need it. Safe travels.
Suzanne

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What an amazing story! So glad they were able to find happiness together after the war. The gardens are beautiful. It sounds like a springtime trip is a good idea.

Joanne said...

neat story and lovely grounds. Indeed, you'll have to do a spring follow up. I bet the place will be stunning.
Happy Monday!

Lynda Dietz said...

How absolutely sweet! I love a good love story. And I think it's wonderful that the property and gardens live on to give such beauty to visitors as they learn the story.

Christine Rains said...

What a wonderful story, and wow, a beautiful garden. Love those trees!

Nilanjana Bose said...

How cool to fall in love, marry and start a garden! Beautiful love story and a beautiful garden. Your post lifted my spirits on an otherwise 'dreary day' - thank you.

troutbirder said...

We did see the Buchart Gardens on the Island but this one has a most interesting history. Of course as a history teacher that's my thing so I'm sure I would love it. Thanks for sharing their story...:)

DMS said...

Sounds like they had a love that was strong and able to survive tough times. I love that they created such a gorgeous garden area together. So glad you got to visit and enjoy a cup of tea. :) Thanks for sharing!
~Jess

Kali Delamagente said...

The story is as beautiful as the gardens. I think adversity bonds people more than complacency.

Thanks for sharing this.

Rhodesia said...

A romantic and beautiful story. So glad that the garden is a heritage site and is being looked after. Have a good week, Diane

Liz A. said...

What a story! And such a beautiful place.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anabel - it is romantic isn't it ...

@ Sandie - just lovely, I so agree ...

@ Inger - they've rescued the garden and home in recent years ... so it is a legacy for them. Well I can stay a maximum of two years ... so I'll we what happens ...

@ EC - yes I'm sure it was a release for them to forget all their troubles, and think of the future together in a new country ...

@ Jo - no so far I've only been once, but I will make a plan to get back in the Spring. I linked to the Wiki page for Abkhazia ... so hope you got to check it out ...

@ Hels - I think it's for the branding of the tea - a hook to make us check out their teas and products - they look good ...

@ DG - this history is very tied in with other parts of the world and gives us a chance to learn of other cultures etc. These two certainly survived the bad times ... some not living on. Gardening is very therapeutic ... and I'd have loved to have a garden I could lose myself in - as a child I was lucky. Love sweet peas ... so I'm glad memories came to life again ...

@ Lenny - lovely to see you; gosh thank you for your lovely words ... and I'm so glad you could 'see' the garden through my eyes - makes me glow!! Hugs back to you too ...

@ Emily - the couple's history is so interesting - telling us a lot about those days between the two Wars. I do prefer to see places twice ... as I know what to expect, so as you say I did find it worth visiting and am looking forward to that next visit: yes with more photos. The planting has been faithfully restored as to the summer house and house's colours ... it is beautiful. Lovely to see you back here ...

@ Yam - yes the history of their lives is fascinating ...

Thanks so much for your comments ... it's a glorious small garden ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Suzanne - well you've had lots going on at home ... so it's lovely to see you again. Canada is interesting and definitely not all roses and rainbows - but I check the rainbows more if I can. I gather the weather has been wonderful over there ... and had heard the drizzle has come down. Exactly the county needs some rain for nature ...

@ Elizabeth - It was so interesting to see the garden ... the glaciated rocks that abound here always fascinate me. I think that Spring follow up will be extraordinarily beautiful ... so it's on the cards.

@ Joanne - I think you might be right ...'stunning' it looks like it will be when I see it in Spring ...

@ Lynda - it is certainly a good love story ... but their back stories are fascinating too. I'm glad the garden and home have been rescued ... so that we can learn their history ...

@ Christine - it is a stunning garden - full of wonderful tiny vistas ... but so eye catching ...

@ Nila - especially in those times ... to be able to keep faith and find each other again ... they really did transcend continents. Sorry about the dreary day - it's full of smoke here, so very gloomy ... and thus worryingly sad about the fires ...

@ Troutbirder - Butchart Gardens also has interesting history ... and I must write that one up too. The history of the two Abkhazis is well worth finding out more about ...

@ Jess - they must have had a great affinity and thus love for each other ... especially to survive as they did. The garden must have been their solace ... it's a lovely place to spend some time in ... and have that cup of tea.

@ Jacqui - I agree they sought comfort in each other during the 1920s and 30s ... yet after the War and their internments their bond became indelible.

@ Diane - yes so romantic and encouraging ... they survived tumults and it's so good to see they had so much time together. I know the garden is a delight ...

@ Liz - it is beautiful and their story is amazing ..

Thanks everyone - so lovely to see you all here ... cheers Hilary

Out on the prairie said...

What a lovely tale and beautiful area preserved

Paula Kaye said...

I love a love story!

Pat Hatt said...

Sure quite the garden indeed. Goes to show what love can do, they kept on pushing through.

Susan Kane said...

Vancouver is high on our list of places to visit.

The story is sweet, made even better by its history.

Debby Gies said...

What a beautiful love story Hilary. And the photos are beautiful. :) xx

Vallypee said...

It looks a truly beautiful and rich spot, Hilary. They must have shared a love of gardens too to create such diverse harmony. A lovely love story as well. This garden is a living legacy, isn’t it?

Sandra Cox said...

What a lovely story and garden.
Thanks for sharing.
Cheers

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Steve - it's a lovely story isn't it ... and the garden has been so well brought back to life ...

@ Paula - yes a love story indeed ...

@ Pat - they were lucky that eventually there were able to be together, having survived the war ...

@ Susan - Vancouver is such a delightful city ... but this garden is in Victoria on the Island ... you might get here too?!

@ Debby - thanks they illustrate how the garden looks ... and the sky is blue I see. It's a delight to be there ...

@ Val - I'm not sure where their love of gardens came from ... wandering around Paris when they were able to meet in the 1920s and 30s ... but they were both very cultured ... and Peggy would have had a lot of knowledge from her time in Shanghai. The garden is a living legacy ...

@ Sandra - it's a delight to see ... and I'm happy I shared ..

Cheers to you all - it's a little haven of beauty ... thanks for visiting - Hilary

Sherry Ellis said...

I can imagine how lovely those gardens are in the spring when everything is in bloom!

Mark Noce said...

Beautiful pictures! I love gardens:)

beste barki said...

I’m always amazed by how the postal system was respected and diligently operated so that individuals could stay in touch.

bazza said...

It looks fabulous. Something to see on our next visit. Probably in 2020.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s floccinaucinihilipilificatious Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Juliet Batten said...

What a lovely story Hilary. Thank you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sherry - yes I'm looking forward to going back ...it's a very pretty garden ...

@ Mark - gardens are a delight to the senses aren't they ...

@ Beste - I know the postal system kept going ... but isn't now in South Africa, nor in India I gather ...

@ Bazza - that's great ... it's very near the Emily Carr House - which I've to write up ... and good to know you'll be over probably in 2020 ...

@ Juliet - it is isn't it ... a love story ...

Thanks so much ... the fire haze seems to have lifted a bit - the sky looks more normal, but obviously smoke is still around - cheers Hilary

B Pradeep Nair said...

Hi Hilary,
A heart warming story that oozes lots of positivity and love.
- Pradeep | bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pradeep - yes the Abkhazi gardens are just wonderful aren't they ... and the story of two people finally being able to be together ... thanks so much for your comment - Hilary