Abkhazi Garden, my favorite garden in Victoria, BC

When people think of gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, they immediately think of Butchart Gardens ( see my recent post ). My favorite, though, is very much the opposite: small, intimate, and quiet. No surprise, seeing how it started as a private garden, reflecting only the preferences of its original owners instead of a corporate business plan. I’m talking about Abkhazi Garden, located in the Greater Victoria neighborhood of Fairfield. You could walk through the garden and thoroughly enjoy it without knowing a thing about its history—and I suppose people do. However, once you know who created the garden and how it came about, you’ll be able to appreciate it on a entirely new level. I shared the history of Abkhazi Garden in this 2016 post , and it bears repeating here. Some may not be willing to admit it, but all but the grinchiest among us enjoy a good love story. And a good love story gets even better when it plays out against the backdrop of war. Our story starts in 1922 in Pari

Butchart Gardens in early June

For many garden lovers, Victoria, British Columbia is synonymous with Butchart Gardens . With over a million visitors per year, it’s one of the biggest horticultural attractions in North America and routinely included in global “best of” lists. As beloved Butchart Gardens may be, it has its share of detractors. It’s often compared to Disneyland because of its emphasis on high drama and (floral) perfection. As is the case at Disneyland, every facet of the operation is tightly controlled and managed, resulting in what some perceive as artifice and sterility. Of course similar comments are made about many highly popular attractions so they may involve a dose of snobbishness and envy. Personally, I’d compare Butchart Gardens to Andrew Lloyd Webber , ABBA , or Cadbury Creme Eggs . Whether you like them or not, they cannot be denied. Me, I’ve given up trying to resist the siren call. I visit Butchart Gardens every time I’m in Victoria, and I let myself be seduced by the over-the-top spectacl