Victoria’s Abkhazi Garden is a beautiful heritage garden that’s operated by The Land Conservancy which is a non-profit trust also known as the TLC.
GARDEN IS OPEN
Abkhazi Garden was closed temporarily in 2020 due to concerns about COVID-19. The gardens reopened in May of 2020, with safety measures that are still intact as of June 2021. Washrooms are not open to the public. Guests are encouraged to wear masks and reminded to maintain appropriate physical distancing (i.e., 2 metres away from other people).
For the most up-to-date details about the current status of the venue see The Land Conservancy‘s website.
This article contains the following information about Abkhazi Garden:
Victoria’s Abkhazi Garden
The former home and property of a prince and princess from Georgia in the Middle East, the garden was created starting in 1946 after the couple immigrated to Canada.
Abkhazi Garden is open currently to the public by donation. It’s one of the most beautiful gardens in a city that’s world-famous for gardens. If you’re in the area and you really like plants and flowers, then it’s worth checking out.
Location, Admission and Hours
Abkhazi Garden is located at 1964 Fairfield Road in Victoria not far from the municipality of Oak Bay.
Admission to the gardens is by donation with a suggested amount of $10, although they will accept any contribution.
Abkhazi Garden and its Teahouse are open every day from April to the end of September 2021. Its hours of operation are 11 am and 4 pm with the gates closing an hour later. From October to March it’s open Wednesday to Sunday but closed most statutory holidays. See the Abkhazi Garden website for exact details.
Abkhazi Garden is a fairly small but beautiful garden that has a number of areas. First, as you enter, there is the Rhododendron Woodland Garden which consists of a trail going through an area full of rhododendron plants that are full of large beautiful flowers of various colours in the spring.
Next is the South Lawn which is a small patch of manicured grass with an assortment of flowers, plants and trees around it. Further up is what they call the Yangtze River, which is actually a green lawn designed to look like a flowing stream. All around the area are flowers and bushes. Garry Oak trees, pathways, steps and a couple of small ponds are included too.
In the centre of the garden is the Summerhouse, which looks like a small home built in the 1940s. The prince and princess used the house while they planned and built both the garden and their permanent home. Today, people use it as the Teahouse for the gardens.
Abkhazi Garden is very much a West Coast-style garden overall, with its Garry Oaks, rugged rock and selection of plants. It also has influences from the prince’s homeland in Georgia (which is located between Russia, Armenia and Turkey). The princess herself was actually born in Shanghai and if you look around you’ll likely find a slight Asian flavour infused into the landscape as well.
The Teahouse overlooks the gardens and on its small outdoor terrace is where garden volunteers serve Afternoon Tea and light lunches. The house itself isn’t anything particularly notable – it just looks like a 1940’s house in the middle of a beautiful and well-manicured garden – but it still fits the setting surprisingly well.
Abkhazi Garden Video
The following video was taken in early August of 2020. As you’ll see, the garden is full of trails, pretty plants and beautiful scenery.
Accessibility at the Gardens
Parts of Abkhazi Garden (including The Teahouse terrace) are wheelchair accessible, but the place generally isn’t great for accessibility. Big pieces of rock surround the garden. However, the garden does include paved paths, gravel pathways and stairs.
A person in a wheelchair can access the terrace and from there see much of the gardens below, but far from all areas of the property are easily accessible.
Also note that the garden entrance is fairly discrete. It’s in an upscale residential neighbourhood and the garden isn’t obvious from the street. There is a small sign though at the entrance, but no place to park within the garden itself. There is a little bit of street parking right outside, and lots more throughout the neighbourhood.
Tips & Suggestions
Below are some things to keep in mind to help you make the most out of your visit.
TIP #1: If you’re lucky you might find a knowledgeable volunteer in the garden who can tell you a lot about the plants and the history of the garden. Some of the volunteers are impressively knowledgeable.
TIP #2: Just a 10-minute walk south of Abkhazi Garden down Foul Bay Road is Gonzales Bay. There, at the end of the road and down some steps, you’ll find a beautiful and usually very quiet sandy beach. It’s a great place to go for a stroll or a picnic and is especially nice at high tide. Dogs are permitted on the beach outside the summer months.
TIP #3: Abkhazi Garden is located on Fairfield Road which is part of a scenic drive route that winds through residential neighbourhoods and along the ocean through Victoria and Oak Bay.
After visiting the gardens continue east along Fairfield Road until it connects with Beach Drive or, even better, head down Foul Bay Road toward the water and Gonzales Bay and then turn left at Crescent Road. Crescent Road also leads into Beach Drive, but first passes a lookout by Trafalgar Park. You can park and admire the stunning views of the area at the lookout, including the ocean and the Olympic Mountains in Washington State across the water (or at least you can on a clear day).
Beach Drive then continues along the southern shore of Oak Bay, right through the middle of the Victoria Golf Club. From there it goes up Oak Bay’s eastern coastline through residential neighbourhoods past the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, Willows Beach and Cattle Point, and then on into Greater Victoria’s very swanky Uplands neighbourhood.
If you have time and a car, take the time to enjoy this wonderful scenic drive.
TIP #4: Abkhazi Garden is a pretty place any time of the year. Best times to visit, however, include weekends or in the summer (when you’re more likely to find a volunteer to chat with), in the late spring (when the flowers are at their peak) and any sunny clear day when it’s not raining.
The garden is also a great place to visit when you’re already in the area, or passing through on your way somewhere else.
TIP #5: Combine your visit to Abkhazi Garden with other top attractions in the area. Gonzales Bay Beach is just a few blocks away, for example, as are scenic Dallas Road and Beach Drive. Abkhazi Garden is also just a short drive from the Lieutenant Governor’s House and Craigdarroch Castle towards downtown, and about an equal distance to Oak Bay Village in the other direction.
For more information on the garden, see The Land Conservancy‘s website.
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