Welcome to Abbey Gardens, a community garden in West Ham
surrounding part of the ruins of a
12th century abbey.

There are free garden club sessions and new gardeners are always welcome. The garden is open to visitors from dawn till dusk.


In the garden:

  • October 21, 2014 1:00 pmGarden Club
  • October 23, 2014 4:00 pmGarden Club
  • October 25, 2014 10:00 amGarden Club
  • October 28, 2014 1:00 pmGarden Club
  • October 30, 2014 4:00 pmGarden Club
AEC v1.0.4 Click here to see full calendar


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Hamish’s horticulture update


In some ways Autumn really is the beginning of the new year for gardeners. Most work around now is preparation for next spring and summer and it’s the time to take stock and plan ahead.

Successes for this year include attractive fruits of squashes, bumper crops of massive potatoes, hot Saturday sessions eating peaches and nectarines, revitalising teas made from our own fresh picked herbs, store cupboards full of Gherkins with Czech marjoram spice mix and a diversity of shapes, colours, flavours and textures in the tomato beds.

Visitors and volunteers all have their personal preferences of plants, edible and ornamental, but most agree that the diversity of planting is one the appealing aspects of Abbey Gardens. We will be building on that by making some additions in the future. We’ll be planting more herbs including bay and ornamentals such as honeysuckle along some of our boundary fence.

We will also be growing more common vegetable types and experimenting with ways of growing carrots to increase quality and yield, although it won’t just be edibles we will be experimenting with but plants with other uses such as dye plants.

There is always a wide variety of activities to get involved with at Abbey Gardens, whether that’s getting your hands dirty or helping make those decisions for the future. The whole process of planning and evaluation is one thing that makes gardening such an interesting and engaging way to spend your time.

From garden club leader Hamish Liddle, pictured above with Nina Pope, one of the garden’s designers and a Trustee, and Alison Gibson, volunteer gardener and for several years, fundraiser.

Garden giving


People bring all sorts to our garden club sessions: energy, skills, ideas, even the odd comedy vegetable…

This Saturday we’ve had Dasha’s Abbey Gardens pumpkin soup, Vicki’s strategic know-how, Hamish’s gardening wisdom – and Loothfur nipped out of the horticulture meeting to harvest coriander for everyone.

What you can’t see in these pictures is the hard work shifting the enormous pile of compost at the other end of the garden onto raised beds being cleared of Summer crops. Here’s to the compost-shovellers!

And this week, we’ve waved off biologist Marleen to her new academic post in Florida – after she’d harvested the biggest potatoes of the season. Good luck, Marleen, and thank you for your bug knowledge.

The hard work goes on, in the garden and behind the scenes.

Interested in getting involved? Say hello at one of our garden club sessions, contact us if you’re interested in other volunteering opportunities and now you can even donate online.

Pumpkin Fest – a celebration of all things pumpkin


Cakes that looked like pumpkins. Cakes with pumpkins in them. Carved pumpkins. Pumpkin facts and stories. Cheffing with pumpkins. Pumpkins painted on faces. Pumpkin quizzes. Pumpkin cushions. The Pumpkinhead photo prop. Our gardeners dressed in pumpkin colours… It really has been all things pumpkin at the Pumpkinfest.

A massive Abbey Gardens thank-you to Vegan Peasant, the Regent Community Brass Band, our competition judges, our councillors and community police for giving out the prizes, all who gave prizes including the lovely Sawmill café, our workshop leaders, our stall and setup crews, our Chair, Mike, for MC duties, everyone who made and contributed products for the honesty stall including gherkins by Dasha, teas by Dasha and a team of teabag-filling volunteers, chutney by Freya, food stories cushions and pumpkin pun cards by Lydia and of course, Charlie’s amazing comfrey liquid, Hamish for sharing gardening know-how… and most importantly, our awesome events team.

Congratulations too to our competition and raffle prize winners.

And thank you to everyone who visited and made it another busy, cheerful event.

If you missed the Pumpkinfest, you can listen to it! Here’s a link to a radio feature by Pete Day from NuSound Radio 92FM for his Community Hour show. 


Pumpkin Fest! A free event for all ages Saturday 27th September 1pm-4pm


Abbey Gardens Pumpkin fest – a free event for all ages

Saturday 27 September 2014, 1pm-4pm
Abbey Gardens, Bakers Row, London E15 3NF

Celebrating all things pumpkin, the most expressive of the vegetables…

Come along for the free activities and enjoy the garden

  • Enter the pumpkin carving competition – bring your pumpkins already carved or decorated to the event
  • Bring your pumpkins, squashes or giant marrows to help us create a Pumpkin Exhibition – you may win a prize
  • Children’s pumpkin craft workshop
  • Delicious food created by Vegan Peasant
  • Pumpkin face painting
  • Get your photo taken as a Pumpkin Head
  • Enjoy music from Regent Community Brass Band
  • Learn the history of pumpkin carving
  • Buy fresh produce, as well as homemade pickles, jams and chutneys on our honesty stall
  • Garden tours from our garden leader, Hamish Liddle
  • Test your knowledge in our Vegetable Quiz
  • And our ever-popular tea and cake stall!

All activities are free. Drinks, food and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden.

Hamish with pumpkin_lo


School 21

School 21 teachers

Five teachers from School 21 (which is housed on the old Rockaby School site in Stratford) came by the garden today on their quest to explore local organisations in order to set up new links with the school and their students. Its always enjoyable to explain the garden, how it came about and how it all works and the conversations it triggers. The garden is a real manifestation of a collective effort with a strong ethos of sharing. The conversations are a welcome reminder of what we all have achieved over the years.
On another note, I am happy to officially confirm that four out of five visiting teachers passed the ‘smell the comfrey liquid challenge’ – an outstanding result.


Is it an allotment?


“Is it an allotment?” It’s the question we’re asked most often by visitors and passers-by. It looks like one. We grow things that allotmenteers grow. But we garden together at our three free garden club sessions a week run by garden club leader Hamish Liddle. The beauty of that is that anyone can come along, from people who’ve never gardened before to keen gardeners, there are energetic and delicate things to do, people can give as much or as little time as they can spare – and it’s sociable gardening. We harvest what’s ready, to share and for our community events (we ask visitors respectfullly not to harvest outside garden club sessions but if you’re interested in our produce do come along to our events and visit the honesty stall).

If you’d like to get involved, come along to one of our garden club sessions: Saturday 10am-4pm, Tuesday 1pm-3pm or Thursday 4pm-7pm, ask for Hamish and fill out a form. Children must be accompanied by a parent or carer.

If you’d like to visit first, the garden is open daily from dawn ’til dusk or come to our Pumpkinfest on Saturday 27 September from 1pm-4pm, a free event for all ages.

Our “Ooh, look at that!” moments


Whatever you’re expecting from one of our gardening sessions, there’s always an “Ooh, look at that!” moment at some point. Today’s delights included tomatoes growing in a fan shape and biologist Marleen’s potato harvest uncovering a perfect section through a plant. So when we come and do some gardening, we take away more than our shared harvest, the pleasure of sociable gardening and the satisfaction of helping to make a lovely community space grow – we take a bit of knowledge home too.

Any Other Business


‘Any Other Business’. The extra bits of a meeting discussed at the end. Unless you’re at Abbey Gardens, when AOB quite often arrives at the beginning, with veteran innovator Charlie, in the form of an invention or an idea that he will explain at the end. Or in the middle, if there are any hesitations long enough.

This thing of upcycled marvellousness is a prototype watering device, turning waste plastic and clothing into a way to move water straight to the deepest part of a raised bed, where roots need it. Charlie and Luu are ready to test it. We’ll let you know how they get on.

Would you like gherkins with that?

bottled cucumbers_low

Food. It’s what brings the 20 plus nationalities gardening at Abbey Gardens together. A conversation by a veg, fruit or herb plant, discussion of the gardening session’s harvest – you’ll hear as many recipes as you see people. Gherkins, bottled with proper Czech know-how by Dasha, are back on the menu this year. We’re looking forward to them and there may be some on the honesty stall at our Pumpkin Fest on Saturday 27 September 1pm-4pm. If our garden volunteers haven’t got there first (they’re very good indeed)…

A nice cup of tea

Dasha's dried herbs

It’s thirsty work, gardening. Handy, then, that many of our herbs also make refreshing tea – and that they’ve had a great growing season. Dasha has been harvesting and drying to make blends for our Pumpkin Fest on 27 September (1pm-4pm). Pictured: camomile, milk thistle and mint. Come along and visit our lovely honesty stall.