The blades came out at Abkhazi Garden on Labour Day during a lawn mower showdown.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps skillfully commandeered a 2019 Honda while Konstantine Kavtaradze, ambassador of Georgia, took on a steaming, smoking 1951 Atco mower.
Judged on the stripes, straight lines, noise level, speed, maneuverability, length of grass and evenness of the cut, Helps was awarded a blue ribbon for the winning mower, to which both participants admitted may not have been entirely fair due to the nearly 70 year gap between the two mowers.
The event was a celebration of the garden’s two-decade ownership by non-profit organization The Land Conservancy of BC (THC), which took over the property in 2000 when it was threatened by development.
“We had Nicholas Abkhazi’s 1951 original lawn mower still stored here,” said Cathy Armstrong, TLC executive director. “One of our volunteers managed to get it running so we thought, what fun it would be to compete the two.”
The garden, known as “the garden that love built,” is maintained by about 50 volunteers, Armstrong said. The event was hosted on Sept. 7 because it is the anniversary of Prince Nicholas and Princess Peggy Abkhazi. Nicholas, the last surviving son of an ancient line of Abkhazia kings, married Peggy in the late 1940s before the pair settled in Victoria. The couple improved and developed the gardens together over 40 years.
“We just welcome everyone to come,” Armstrong added. “Admission is by donation. Give what you can, we understand not everyone has the means but we really want to welcome everyone to come to the garden and enjoy.”
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