Abkhazi Garden bursts into bloom thanks to dozens of volunteers

Abkhazi Garden bursts into bloom thanks to dozens of volunteers

Every Tuesday, you can find Sue Hara digging in the dirt — re-potting plants and starting new seedlings at Victoria’s world-famous Abkhazi Garden.

“It feels very creative because you get something from nothing, really, from a seed to a little seedling to a full-grown plant,” the senior says.

Sue’s been volunteering at Abkhazi Garden for 18 years and she absolutely loves it.

“All my life, I’ve gardened, and I had a garden until recently, so it’s good to feel really connected to a garden — even if it’s not your own,” Sue says.

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Abkhazi Garden is the garden that love built, created by Prince Nicolas Abkhazi and Princess Peggy Abkhazi after the Second World War.

It’s a story that Sue shares with visitors when she volunteers as a docent on Thursdays.

“I find that the story of the garden, of the love affair as they call it, it helps with the appreciation of the garden because it’s not just a beautiful garden, do you know what I mean?” she says. “It’s a garden that was built by real people with real devotion.”

That devotion continues — carried on by dozens of dedicated volunteers doing all kinds of different jobs to help this garden thrive.

“We have over 60 volunteers, and they’re all very good, and they all contribute, and we’re really happy to have so many,” says Abkhazi Garden site manager and volunteer manager  Cherie Miltimore. They help operate and run this place. We just couldn’t manage the garden without them.”

More volunteers are always needed — especially greeters, gardeners, and docents.

“It’s an artistic place that the prince and princess created after they were both interned during the war, and it’s also a garden of peace and healing, and we’re just very fortunate to have this place,” Cherie says. “It was saved by the Land Conservancy of BC with community support, and it’s just a wonderful garden to have.”

For Sue, who helps grow many of the beautiful plants that are sold at the gate and at fundraisers to keep the garden going, being a part of Abkhazi’s story is an incredibly rewarding experience.

“I feel like I can help the garden financially with what I do here, so it just feels really good that a lot of my effort goes into financing the garden that I love.”

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