Voices of The Air at the Abkhazi Garden

Their garden became the focus of their own artistic creativity.  Working with a magnificent site, they chose to explore its possibilities; not be stifled by its limitations…  Later in life Peggy would admit that “the garden became our child.The Land Conservancy

The Abkhazi Garden is known as The Garden that Love Built. 

The Abkhazi Garden, Victoria, British Columbia

The story of how Peggy Pemberton-Carter met Prince Nicholas Abkhazi, in Paris in 1922 is recorded in The Legacy on the website The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden.  

After a long separation Prince Abkhazi and Peggy Pemberton-Carter met in New York and married in November 1946. The Prince and Princess chose Victoria as the city that would become their home. 

Together the Abkhazis created a garden, meticulously choosing plants that would enhance the natural beauty of their location.  Their love for gardening was demonstrated in their dedication to experimentation and constant refinement. The Land Conservancy preserves the Garden and honours the legacy of the Abkhazis.

Peggy Pemberton-Carter and her mother lived for a time in New Zealand, which prompted me to chose Katherine Mansfield’s poem “Voices of the Air” to recite by the pond that overlooks the garden.

Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp was a New Zealander poet, essayist, short story writer, and journalist from the Modernist movement.  Her writings explore complex issues that allow us to reflect upon the essentials of life. Her stories and poetry are celebrated across the world, and have been published in 25 languages

The Abkhazi Garden, Victoria, British Columbia

Please join me virtually at the Abkhazi Garden to recite Katherine Mansfield’s poem, Voices of the Air.

But then there comes that moment rare
When, for no cause that I can find,
The little voices of the air
Sound above all the sea and wind.

The sea and wind do then obey
And sighing, sighing double notes
Of double basses, content to play
A droning chord for the little throats—

The little throats that sing and rise
Up into the light with lovely ease
And a kind of magical, sweet surprise
To hear and know themselves for these—

For these little voices: the bee, the fly,
The leaf that taps, the pod that breaks,
The breeze on the grass-tops bending by,
The shrill quick sound that the insect makes.

The Abkhazi Garden, Victoria, British Columbia

Correction: The Video indicates the poem is entitled “Voices in the Air”. The correct title is “Voices of the Air.”

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

41 thoughts on “Voices of The Air at the Abkhazi Garden

    1. Oh Colleen, you would love to walk through this garden, which is quite different because of the dramatic glaciated rocky slopes found on the property. It has a unusual energy that is specific to West Coast design that include conifers, Japanese maples and rhododendrons with carpets of naturalized bulbs.

      Thank you for your visit and your lovely comments. We DO need more gardens and more poetry.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks Dave for joining me virtually at the Abkhazi Garden and for your lovely comments. It is a lovely place that welcomes visitor from near and far. After the death of the Abkhazis the Garden changed hands until February 2000, when The Land Conservancy purchased the property. Without their intervention, the property would have become a townhouse development. Now, the house still stands and serves a delicious High Tea, which I have never experienced. Reservations must be made in advance.

      I love the poetry of Katherine Mansfield!

      Liked by 3 people

  1. You find the most wonderful places to visit and share with us, Rebecca! I enjoyed the video respite. I know Katherine Mansfield as a short story writer. It’s good to know she was a poet as well.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I just read “A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendship of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf” by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney. Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield have generally been portrayed as bitter foes, when in reality, they enjoyed a complex friendship. It seems they recognised each other’s literary prowess: Woolf claimed that Mansfield’s was the only prose to have made her jealous, and Mansfield said that reading Woolf made her proud. I find reading the back story of authors adds to my reading experience.

      I am delighted that you joined me at the Abkhazi Garden. It was a lovely spring day.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. I had been wanting to visit the Abkhazi Gardens for some time, but never had the opportunity the last time we were in Victoria in 2019. Can you imagine how wonderful it was for them to spend 40 years together working on this garden. What a love story!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. So sweet, Rebecca; both Katherine Mansfield’s poem and your beautiful reading.
    I especially loved the last verse. Her description of the voices of nature, as we can all attest, was and is so true and touching!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good morning, dear Rebecca,
    thanks for sharing this poem by Katherine Mansfield. She was a student of Gurdjieff. She lived at his place in Fountainbleau and died there quite dramatically.
    Wishing you a wonderful week
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am so glad that you mentioned Gurdjieff, Klausbernd. I have been very interested in this time in Katherine Mansfield’s life, which I know very little about. I understand that she was under the care of Olgivanna Lazovitch Hinzenburg (who later married Frank Lloyd Wright). Katherine’s mentor was Alfred Richard Orage. There are so many connections that are linked to Gurdjieff. I continue to learn and learn and learn. It must have been a great comfort for Katherine to be with this company in her final days. Sending thanks along with hugs and love to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dear Rebecca
        Catherine Mansfield lived in that house with all the others of original Gurdjieff group but she was separated in a room above a cow shed. That was seen as healing tuberculosis.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. These little voices of the beautiful music of nature; and this gorgeous scene of trees in the rhyme of a beautiful poem. I can even smell the fresh air. Thank you, dear Rebecca, for this glorious trip.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you could smell the fresh air and hear the little voices of the air through the WIFI. When I return to Victoria there are more gardens to explore. The Finnerty Gardens on the edge of the University of Victoria campus is a woodland garden that contains over 4,000 different trees and shrubs. The Harley Park Gardens, which used to belong to the Dunsmuir family (that is another story) and in now a part of Royal Roads University Campus. Many thanks for your visit and comments!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I learned something yestoday, Shey. When I make up the videos, they are very large files. When I upload the video files to Vimeo, some condensing occurs, but I have a feeling that I should condense the files before I upload which will reduce the buffering. Many thanks for your insight comment in that regard. I am delighted that you joined me in the garden that “love built.” I always enjoy our conversations and your company!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No No, we have a terrible signal here and when it rains as heavily as it did today, the net flickers and takes ages to load things. So your lovely words kept stopping and the loading button kept going round and round. But I was not for not waiting. And well worth it, it was too. Mansfield was epic.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. How lucky that you were able to have high tea at the Abkhazi Garden, Marian. It is very popular with the locals so reservations are a must. I took a peak inside and saw the wonderful presentations. Next time, I’ll be certain to make reservations. Many thanks for your visit and comments – very much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am delighted you joined me at the Abkhazi Garden, Deborah. What came to me as I walked through the pathways was how legacies are passed on to new generations. It would have been very easy to turn this property into a condo development, but someone saw the need for this garden to continue. Many thanks for your visit and comments!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for reciting this lovely poem, including about the little ones so very well introduced! A few words from an author recognized all over the world, the words are so very well chosen. The beautiful view of trees and vegetation chosen for the background is very enjoyable, a part of beautiful Victoria and the gardens. I have commented elsewhere, as well, but want you to know that the music, the lovely background greenery and flowers made my morning. This is a lovely post! ! !

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I can very much understand the passion for gardening and at the same time be surrounded by animals, which are spoiling me with their concerts. Many thanks, dear Rebecca for your absolutely lovely presentation:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for joining me virtually at the Abkhazi Garden, Martina. I love reciting poetry in nature because the words come more easily when surrounded by flowers, trees and the sounds of the “little throats.” Recently, I read an article that said that gardening has experienced a resurgence during the pandemic. Gardens allow us moments of tranquility. Your comments and visit are very much appreciated. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Poetry has a way of engaging our deepest emotions. I am delighted that you joined me at the Abkhazi Garden, Resa. Love leaves a rich legacy, doesn’t it? Many thanks for your comment – I love our conversations.

      Liked by 2 people

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