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Abkhazi Garden

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The Secrets of Abkhazi Garden in Victoria

Located in Victoria, Abkhazi Gardens is a renowned garden and tea house providing a distinctive four-star experience. Guests can savour locally sourced delicacies at The Teahouse while relishing the stunning garden views. Additionally, visitors can admire the native Garry oaks, Japanese maples, and magnificent rhododendrons.

Abkhazi Garden - A Historic Victorian Garden

At first glance, this property may seem ordinary from the street. However, once you step through the gate, you will discover a beautifully curated one-acre plot of land that has been carefully tended to with love and artistic flair since 1946.

Take a self-guided walking tour through four garden sections, around water features, up the terrace, and into the tea house. Enjoy wandering around the property while taking in the beautiful scenery.

September day viewing the gardens in VictoriaExplore the Rhododendron Woodland Garden and discover the beauty of mature Garry Oak trees that are over 150 years old. These trees provide shade to a variety of flowers that bloom year-round. Among them are rhododendrons, which bloom in January and continue until June.

As you walk along the South Lawn, you’ll come across a memorial installation at the base of the rock in dedication to the memory of Peggy and Nicolas Abkhazi whose ashes were laid to rest in the garden. The lawn is surrounded by thick, lush greenery and flowers, making for a peaceful and serene spot in the garden.

Abkhazi Garden garden ponds a view from the east path and Georgian GardenThe Yangtze River is a path lined with heather that separates the rolling green lawn from the rocky area. Peggy compares this location to the Yangtze River near her previous home in Shanghai.
The path gradually slopes and offers a stunning view of the property. There are also smaller paths branching off towards three ponds formed naturally in the rock, where turtles and other aquatic creatures reside.

As you walk along the East Path, you’ll see a beautiful view of the ponds below and as you are led up to the Georgian garden. In this garden, you’ll discover plants native to the Caucasus region, such as Molly and Witch peonies. There is also a Kvevri, a wine making vessel located next to the grapevines, showcasing the wine-making culture of the country. If you look out, you’ll see the garden in all its glory, with the Olympic Mountains in the background.

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Tips and Suggestions

Parking is limited to street-only options. The gardens are located in a beautiful residential neighbourhood, you may end up parking further out and walking to the gardens.

Reservations are recommended for the teahouse. To reserve call 778-265-6466

The Teahouse & Gift Shop at Abkhazi Garden

The teahouse offers high-quality, four-star service, dining on fine china and white linen while indulging in high tea and light lunches. The teahouse is located in the former residence of Peggy and Nicolas Abkhazi, with a beautiful view of the well-manicured gardens.

The menu is simple yet elegant, using fresh local ingredients, some grown on-site.
Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 778-265-6466. For operation hours, High tea information and menus, visit Abkhazi Garden Website.

Also located in the house is the gift shop, where you will find a showcase of unique, quality gifts created by artisans from across Vancouver Island.

Abkhazi is Vancouver Island's secret garden. It is an absolutely beautiful garden that boasts huge old rhododendrons that are artfully placed throughout. Granite outcroppings dictate the shape of the surrounding garden beds. It is the jewel of the island. An added bonus is the quaint tea shop that serves high tea in China cups. There's no entrance fee, but they appreciate donations.

Started by Royalty, the History of Abkhazi Garden

Marjorie (Peggy) Pemberton-Carter managed to make her way to San Francisco after being released from an internment camp during World War II with the help of a few traveller’s cheques hidden in a talcum powder container. Later, in late 1945, she received an invitation from her close friends to visit Victoria. By the following summer, Peggy had made the decision to purchase the large, treed and rocky lot, which would eventually become Abkhazi Gardens.

In 1946, Peggy received a letter from a friend she had lost touch with during the war, Nicolas Abkhazi, an exiled Georgian Prince who escaped his home country at a young age before his father was executed in 1923. He had lost everything and, similar to Peggy had spent time in a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II.

After exchanging letters and meeting in New York, Nicolas and Peggy got engaged and returned to Victoria to marry in the same year.

The Abkhazis had each led a privileged life before the war; now together, the garden became the focus of their artistic creativity.

Nicholas died in 1987, and Peggy remained in their home for the next year and a half.  After she died in 1994, at age 92, the Garden changed hands a few times.  It was purchased by TLC, The Land Conservancy of British Columbia, in February 2000, after a successful campaign to rescue it from becoming a high-density townhouse complex.

Much more information about Peggy and Nicholas Abkhazi and their life together can be found in two biographies – A Curious Cage, Peggy Abkhazi’s autobiography; and A Curious Life, by Katherine Gordon.

Abkazi House:

Built in 1947 during Victoria’s post-World War II building boom, the Abkhazi House is a charming bungalow surrounded by a stone terrace, offering stunning views of the gardens and surrounding vistas. Today, the house serves as a TeaHouse and gift shop.

In 2000 The Land Conservancy of British Columbia acquired Abkhazi Garden to protect the local treasure. The TLC is a non-profit, charitable Land Trust working throughout British Columbia to preserve cultural, historical, and critical habitats.

Location and Hours

Address: 1964 Fairfield Rd, Victoria, BC V8S 1H2

Bus Stop: Foul Bay at Fairfield. Stop code 100436

April 1 – Sept 30: 11am to 5pm. 7 days a week
October 1 – March 31: 11am to 4pm Wednesday – Sunday

Abkhazi Garden official website

Our Experience at the Abkhazi Garden

In September, we went on a Victoria Garden Tour that started at the Gardens at HCP, continued to Government House Victoria, and ended at Abkhazi Garden.

As the tourist season came to a close, the crowds dwindled, making it convenient to locate a parking space near the entrance.

Upon arrival at the main driveway gate, we approached a small booth where we made a donation for entry. In exchange, we were provided with a walking tour map containing helpful information about the garden.

Abkhazi Garden grounds map for Victoria BCThe trails in the Rhododendron woodland started from the driveway and twisted through abundant greenery that had grown all summer. Although there weren’t many blooming flowers in September, we still saw some colours along the way.

We worked our way past the south lawn up over the stone ridge and towards the back of the lot. The east path offers the best views, especially when you reach a higher point and look down at the ponds and gardens with the Olympic Mountains in the distance.

We didn’t make a reservation at the teahouse and noticed that it was pretty crowded. Instead, we decided to visit the charming gift shop and admire the locally made creations.

Overall we had a great day visiting Abkhazi Garden. It’s impressive that Peggy was able to fit all of this into a one-acre lot. The tour doesn’t take long to walk through the grounds, but it’s easy to appreciate the love and care that went into building up this wonderful spot and the amount of work to maintain it.

There are numerous stunning gardens in Victoria, including the well-known Butchart Gardens and the free gardens at Hatley Castle. Abkhazi Garden is on the list of must-see gardens that is great for those with a green thumb and anyone who can appreciate the work that goes into creating a beautiful garden.

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Does it cost money to visit?
Admission by a suggested donation of $10 per person

Is Abkhazi Garden open all year round?
Yes, Abkhazi Garden is open all year round with limited hours in the winter months.
April 1 – Sept 30: 11am to 5pm. 7 days a week. October 1 – March 31: 11am to 4pm Wednesday – Sunday

Is it wheelchair accessible?
There is access along the driveway up to the Teahouse and Terrace. The rest of the garden has limited access.

Are there restrooms?
Located in the house between the Teahouse and gift shop.

Are dogs allowed?
Dogs are allowed in the Garden provided they are on a leash and cleaned up after.

How long does it take to visit Abkhazi Garden?
The average visit time is 1.5 hours, but if you are just walking the garden without eating or tea. You can view the gardens and the gift shop in well under an hour.

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Abkhazi Garden

Abkhazi Gardens is a renowned garden and tea house where visitors can admire the native Garry oaks, Japanese Maples, and magnificent rhododendrons.

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Original Author:

Modified: May 24, 2023
Last Visit: September 1, 2022
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