Sometimes it’s best to be satisfied with the little things

They met in Paris in the 1920’s and became friends. She was an orphaned girl who lived with her adoptive, domineering mother. He was an exiled Georgian Prince of Abkhazi.

She settled in Shanghai. They both ended up interned in prisoner-of-war camps during World War II – she in China and he in Germany. After the war, she bought a rocky expanse of land in Victoria on Vancouver Island and built a home. Most importantly, she created a garden.

He discovered where she was, and, within a year, they were married. For 40 years they worked on the garden together.

What a story! Who wouldn’t be curious to visit the famous – and very personal – Abkhazi Garden? We waited until our friends, Joyce and Jerry, came to Victoria to have a look. Joyce knows more about plants than anyone else we know, and it’s always good to take your own guide with you to a garden! After a lovely lunch dining at picnic tables on the deck at Fisherman’s Wharf, we headed off for the garden.

The sun was intense and not a cloud in the sky.   Well, not the best light for photography, we told ourselves as we started down the semi-wooded paths.   Trying to photograph delicate little cyclamen flowers about 3 inches off the ground in dappled light didn’t work at all. Maybe we need some photography lessons?

Anhazi Garden

…or maybe the lesson is to be satisfied with the photos we could get in that challenging light?

The creators of Abkhazi Garden encountered many challenges. We were curious to see how talented gardeners worked on the rocky, hilly land;

…with plants that grew well in the particular area that were unfamiliar to them when they arrived in Canada;

…with plants that grew well in the particular area that were unfamiliar to them when they arrived in Canada;

...and placed them all into a setting that achieved a harmonious and beautiful effect.

…and placed them all into a setting that achieved a harmonious and beautiful effect.

They used bright, showy flowers more sparingly to a better effect.

They used bright, showy flowers more sparingly to a better effect.

A little turtle swam out from under the lily pads in the pond.

A little turtle swam out from under the lily pads in the pond.

A vine from Tasmania climbed up a post covered with purple seed pods. We’d never this plant before.

A vine from Tasmania climbed up a post covered with purple seed pods. We’d never this plant before.

The few carefully placed wooden sculptures added a human scale to the garden.

The few carefully placed wooden sculptures added a human scale to the garden.

We enjoyed pointing out little details to each other – seed pods, leaf shapes, colors, pruning techniques.

We enjoyed pointing out little details to each other – seed pods, leaf shapes, colors, pruning techniques.

The story of the Abkhazis fascinated us and so did the garden. The photos we took that day only gave a glimpse of the little garden details. The bigger picture escaped us due to our photography limitations. It’s definitely worth seeing the sweeping views of the garden – which, sadly, we could not photograph – on your next visit to Victoria.

 

July 2015

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Canada - Vancouver Island and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Sometimes it’s best to be satisfied with the little things

  1. Leave it to you to find more than just one garden in Victoria worth visiting! Happy travels – Susan

  2. Nigel Gordon says:

    Yes, it’s a wonderful garden and a most romantic, emotional story. I’m a singer/song-writer, so the garden naturally led to a song, “Abkhazi Garden of Love”, which can be found on my web site, http://www.NigelGordonSings.com .

  3. What a beautiful story. I’m so glad they found happiness together.

  4. Bernice Rowe says:

    So interesting. A place I have not seen (yet)

  5. Bec J. H. says:

    That really is an amazing story, I’m so pleased it had a happy ending!

  6. icelandpenny says:

    So happy to see this! My partner & I visited this garden while in Victoria last year — and he then wrote a song about it, which he has now donated to the garden. It is a beautiful garden, a moving story, a wonderful place. Thank you for the return visit.

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