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.


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In the garden:

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Gardening sessions take place on
Tuesdays 1pm-3pm
Thursdays 4pm-7pm
Saturdays 10am-4pm

The Abbey Gardens AGM

Our Annual General Meeting will be on Saturday 3 March, 2-4pm at The Bowling Club, Stratford Park, London E15. If you’re interested in how the garden works or would like to find out how to get involved, join us to look back at the 2017 gardening season and discuss 2018 plans.

And with the first of the Spring bulbs starting to flower, it’s time to look forward to the new gardening season. Our free drop-in gardening sessions will be starting again soon. Check back here and on social media for news. Whether you’re a new gardener or an old hand, our sessions are a great way to get outdoors, get active, meet the neighbours, pick up some new gardening skills or just enjoy a peaceful green space in the city.

Hardy perennials at our second Winter gardening session

It takes hardy gardeners to rock up on a cold, rainy Sunday to help get the garden ready for Spring. But the rewards are pops of colour that we only spot when we’re gardening. Little irises, bright with raindrops, rich red sedum, new growth at the bases of plants that just look like sticks from a distance – and then there’s Marie’s guerrilla hyacinth.

Look out for news on the starting date for our regular free drop-in gardening sessions. Whether you’re an old hand or new to the neighbourhood, it’s a great way to get active, enjoy some time outdoors, discover new plants and skills and meet the neighbours.

Meanwhile, our Annual General Meeting will be on Sat 3 March, 2-4pm at The Bowling Club, Stratford Park, London E15. If you’re interested in how the garden works or would like to find out how to get involved, join us to look back at the 2017 gardening season and discuss 2018 plans.

Hello 2018!

Winter. It doesn’t look as though there’s much going on in the garden… but look again and there’s a surprising amount to see. We’ve found the last bright, fiery little chillis to harvest. The banana palm has shed leaves in tumbles of ringlets. The onions are up. And there are new green shoots everywhere.

We’ve had an energetic Winter gardening session of clearing and composting ready for the season ahead, we’ve dead-headed the marigolds to keep the flowers coming and we’ve planted new rows of garlic. And we’ve had the first of the year’s rock buns to share (we like our snack breaks).

There’s another Winter gardening session on Saturday 3 February, 11am – 4pm.

Our regular Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday sessions will be back in March. Follow us on facebook, Twitter or Instagram for news.

 

Mulch sacks and mince pies – Winter gardening at Abbey Gardens

Leaf mulch sacks – filled and put on the raised beds, they’ll turn our fallen leaves into leaf mould and thanks to Dasha, we’re trying them out for the first time this year. But who’d have thought that they’d also make a good sofa for a well-earned break after clearing, bulb planting and harvesting? All this, mince pies, warming drinks and garden discoveries… welcome to our Winter gardening sessions.

Our next Winter gardening Saturday will be on 13 January, 11am-4pm. Come and join us to welcome in the new gardening year.

Meanwhile, we wish all of our gardeners, behind the scenes volunteers, friends, neighbours and supporters a lovely festive season.

Winter gardening sessions

Though our three gardening sessions a week are finished for the 2017 season, there’s plenty still to do over the Winter. So come along to our Winter gardening sessions and help with planting, composting, harvesting and maintenance:

Saturday 2nd December 11am-4pm (with hot drinks and mince pies for volunteers)
Saturday 13th January 11am-4pm
Saturday 3rd February 11am-4pm

Image: garlic planting, picture (and planting) by Dasha French

A round of applause for our garden community

With nights drawing-in, leaves on the ground and overwintering plants in for next Spring, it’s time to say thank you to all of the people in our community who give so generously of their time, energy, skill and talent:

Our volunteer gardeners of all ages, from all corners of our community – whether you come along several times a week or just once in a while, you make the garden grow
Torange, our Chair, and our board of trustees, who put in time on strategy and fundraising
Dasha, treasurer and organiser of our Chilli Festival
Kate, who takes the minutes at our meetings
Tim, Louis, Mike and everyone who’s helped out on infrastructure and tech this year
Cath, who donates design time for our event posters and flyers and runs our Twitter and Instagram feeds
Everyone who bakes and cooks for our events
Everyone who’s had an idea and run with it (step forward, compost queen Nancy and mulching marvel Marie)
Old garden friends who come back to help us with their specialist knowledge (thank you, Hamish)
Veteran gardener, innovator and thinker Charlie, who’s been directing operations on our second greenhouse, built, like the first, to his design

And a special mention for our welcoming and fearless garden club leader Alison, our one paid worker, who cheerily goes beyond the call of duty coming up with ideas for things we can make with the plants we grow.

Our community made this garden and the garden has made a community. Thank you, everyone.

Our last drop-in gardening session of the season is on Saturday 4 November 11am-4pm, with our garden meeting at 2pm to catch up on news and discuss plans. See you next season and meanwhile, look out for any special sessions or gatherings over the Winter.

 

Our honesty stall: a bit of countryside in West Ham

Honesty stalls. They’re common in the countryside but a bit of a treat to find tucked-away in an urban neighbourhood.

Our very first honesty stall was when the garden was still an overgrown patch of wasteland. Local resident and one of the founders of the project Andreas put up a stall for apples from the tree on the site.

Now we have a purpose-built stall and on it goes the surplus produce harvested at our community gardening sessions. We like to make a mixture of produce – and the variety of veg and fruits that we grow often offers a chance to try something new. The best times to look out for produce are after our free drop-in gardening sessions: Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm.

So if you live in the neighbourhood, commute from Abbey Road DLR station or you’re just visiting, come by, take a bag and leave a donation. Or even a note! (Thank you, neighbours!)

Community fun at the Chilli Festival

What a turnout for the Chilli Festival! It’s been lovely to see old friends and new friends from all corners of our community trying delicious cakes, bakes and savouries, making mini chilli hats and listening to mellow music. And our fashion-fabulous scarecrow costume winner got a garden goodie bag to fill up.

A massive Abbey Gardens thank-you to singer Anna Aarons and guitarist James Tony Bennett. Applause, too, to all of our event volunteers, lending their time, energy and skills to organisation, cooking, publicity, activities, setting up and clearing up.

If you’ve visited the event and would like to join in with our free drop-in gardening sessions, there’s still plenty to do before the end of the season. Sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Drop by at any point in the session; tools and gloves are provided.

Pictures: Cath French and Lydia Thornley

Abbey Gardens Chilli Festival, Saturday 7th October

Abbey Gardens Chilli Festival
Saturday 7th October 12 noon – 3pm

An event for all ages

Taste chilli dishes from all corners of our community
Make a chilli hat
Chilli pattern face painting
Come as a scarecrow for our Scarecrow Fashion Show competition
Know your food? Find out in our nutrition quiz
Live music
And our ever-popular tea and cake stall… with some extra chilli flavours!

Teas, coffees, cakes and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden

A community effort

At Abbey Gardens, we garden together and we harvest together at our drop-in community gardening sessions. This Saturday, we’ve had gardeners of all ages joining in – a little’un finding a potato shaped like a snowman, compost queen Nancy turning waterer for the day, cheery yellow tomatoes picked by Lorna and our young helpers, coriander thinnings gathered by Dasha and the first parsnip lifted by garden club leader Alison.

We’ve had our garden meeting where we’ve discussed latest news, plans and ideas. Everyone interested in the garden is welcome – the next one will be on Saturday 4 November at 2pm in the garden

And there’s been time to enjoy the flowers: just right for the sunshine, we’ve spotted some beautiful ice cream coloured blooms.

On the honesty stall this week: bags of tomatoes, artichokes and chard for donations.

Dates for your diary:

Saturday 23 September: Mulching day! We have a munching machine for the day so come along and help prepare cleared plants for compost at our drop-in gardening session 11am-4pm.

Saturday 7 October: The Abbey Gardens Chilli Festival – look out for more information here and on facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Our free, drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. You don’t have to stay for the whole session – stay for as much or as little time as you can spare.

The garden is open to visitors from dawn ’til dusk. If you’d like to try the food that we grow, look out for produce for donations on our honesty stall, come to our events or join us for some community gardening.

If you’d like to get involved in helping with organisation, admin, events or as a trustee, let us know.There are many people and skills that help to make our garden grow.