Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring at Abkhazi Gardens in Victoria

Photo: detail and vista in Abkhazi, Carol Tulpar
During World War II, both Peggy and her future husband, Prince Abkhazi, were prisoners of war.

Peggy Pemberton, born in Shanghai to British parents in 1905 and orphaned at an early age, was adopted and raised in England. Travelling with her stepmother, she met the exiled Georgian prince Nicholas Abkhazi in Paris.

The couple were separated when Peggy returned to Shanghai with her adoptive mother. Mrs. Pemberton, a widow, died in 1938, leaving her daughter financially independent. Between 1943 and 1945, Peggy was interned by the Japanese in Lunghua prison camp. At the same time, Nicolas was imprisoned in Germany.

After the war, Peggy moved to Victoria and married Prince Nicholas Abkhazi. Together they planned and established the gorgeous Abkhazi Gardens at their home on the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Foul Bay Road. Nicolas died in 1987 and Peggy in 1994. Today The Land Conservancy owns the property. The rhododendron garden is described on the University of Victoria website as "internationally renowned."

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