Pluto or Gromit? We can’t decide. Either way, finding comedy vegetables in the harvest is one of the fun bits in growing your own.
There are stories too and saving Honesty seeds Chris got us chatting about grandparents who always seemed to have a vase of dried Honesty in their homes.
And each session, there’s always a plant we see that we’ve looked at many times but never noticed something beautiful about and this week, it’s Charlie’s comfrey. We love the elegant, forked stem.
Curious about how the garden grows? Next Saturday at 2pm it’s our monthly meeting, where you can find out what goes on behind the scenes. And of course, there’s our usual garden club session from 10am – 2pm.
Save the date: our Harvest Festival, Saturday 26 September 1pm – 4pm. Watch this space for more information…
Sunhats at the ready, the first task this Saturday has been – er – to look at the compost… But this is speedy compost! We’re very excited about the success in just a few days from our hard work last Saturday chopping up and layering.
There’s been hard work in the abbey gatehouse ruin too: a team of corporate volunteers from the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has revealed the outlines in crisp detail – so if you’re a history buff, now’s a great time to come and have a look. Thank-you, volunteers!
We’ve had visitors: gardener and inventor Charlie swung by with some sprout seedlings (if you’ve been enjoying the vivid purple Morning Glory flowers along the fence, Charlie planted them); Russ, former Abbey Gardens volunteer, gardening pro and part of First Avenue Urban Wilderness cycled in for a chat and we’ve had new visitors come and say hello.
And just as we were clearing-away, a spectacular winged visitor: a Silver Y moth.
Gardening is full of surprises.
Compost. It’s not the most glamorous stuff. But it’s a wonderful thing that cleared plants can break down into goodness to go back onto the raised beds. With our three compost bins in constant use, we have to make space for the next cleared plants to go in. So garden club leader Hamish and our volunteers have been transferring compost that’s almost ready into one bin and then chopping up what’s left and our clearings for the day to put into an empty bin in layers, watered and prepared to break down quickly.
Volunteering, we learn things along the way. From helping out, we’ve had an active and sociable day, harvested veg to share and those of us with compost bins at home are all clued-up for our own composting!
Fancy a go? Come along to one of our garden club sessions and say hello! They’re on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm. Complete beginners are welcome as well as experienced gardeners, we have gardeners of all ages (children must be accompanied by an adult) and you can give as much or as little time as you can spare.
It’s nice when a grand day out comes straight from the neighbourhood. We’ve had delicious food made from our produce by Vegan Peasant. Our very own brass player, Cath French, has brought along along Regent Community Brass and friends. We’ve had stories from the land: writer Neil Fraser has read from his book Over The Border: The Other East End. We’ve had a cabin-full of local history to delve into. Our volunteers and neighbours have been baking for our tea and cake stall and contributing quiz questions. There’s been a treasure hunt around the garden (enjoyed so much by our young gardeners and visitors that they wanted to do it all again). There’s been portrait drawing by illustrator Fred Apps. And we’ve had a cheery group of Newham Volunteers helping on our stalls.
A big Abbey Gardens thank-you to everyone who’s given time and brought talents, to all of our regular gardeners and behind-the-scenes volunteers who make the space beautiful and productive, a round of applause for our administrator, fundraiser and ideas person Vicki Lewis, who organised the event – and a wave to everyone who came along to enjoy the day.
Abbey Gardens Summer Fete – a free event for all ages on Saturday 25 July 2015 from 1pm – 4pm
Come along to try an array of activities and enjoy the garden:
- Talk by Neil Fraser, author of Over the Border: The Other East End
- Exhibition of archive images from the garden
- Enjoy music from the Regent Community Brass Band
- Buy fresh produce, as well as homemade pickles, jams and chutneys on our honesty stall
- Children’s activities, including a Treasure Hunt and a potato and spoon race
- Delicious food created by Vegan Peasant
- And our ever-popular tea and cake stall All activities are free. Drinks, food and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden.
A perfect day for Pétanque, some seasoned players, some newcomers… and our very happy young winners!
Thank you to Jen and Erwan for organising and to Erwan, Dasha and our lemonade stall team for providing cold drinks.
The next Abbey Gardens event will be our Summer Fair on Saturday 25th July, 1pm-4pm. Look out for details here, like us on facebook or follow us on Twitter for more information.
We would like to announce the Second Annual Abbey Gardens Pétanque Tournament, on Saturday 27 June at 3pm in the garden.
Enter now to win the “Bernstein cup” and to help raise funds for the weekly gardening sessions.
Pétanque is the fun, popular summer game (similar to boules) where teams of two throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to the “piglet” (a small wooden ball).
Teams and individuals (who will be paired with other interested parties) can register for the tournament by email. Teams can also be registered in person on the day of the tournament (by 2:30pm).
Entry fee is only £2 per person and all proceeds will go to running the Abbey Gardens weekly gardening sessions. There will also be beverages for sale on the day with proceeds benefiting the garden.
Be the pétanque champion of Abbey Gardens!
Graphics kindly supplied by Catherine French
Many of our volunteers spend more time in the garden than they’d planned – just because Abbey Gardens is a lovely place to be. So come and enjoy the garden with us on Saturday 13 June, the first day of Open Garden Squares Weekend. If you visit between 10am and 4pm you can see our Saturday garden club session in action, chat with our volunteers and get expert insight and information from garden club leader Hamish Liddle.
Please note that there will be resurfacing works along Bakers Row. The nearest parking is on Bridge Road with access to the garden via footpath. Otherwise, we’re right next to Abbey Road DLR station and walking distance from bus stops along West Ham Lane and Manor Road. The Transport for London website gives weekend travel information.
The lovely thing about The Big Lunch is that lunch just somehow assembles itself, with just the right mix of dishes for the grill, bakes, salads and sweet things. People wander in: volunteers, friends, neighbours, that too with the variety of the table: all ages, many nationalities and all walks of life.
Our team of young judges (with clipboards, which they insisted-on) for the tastiest and best-presented food gave their awards to Margaret and friends for raising the bar on display and to a first-time Big Lunch visitor to the garden who brought a delicious lemon drizzle cake.
A big thank-you to our judges, to Erwan for manning the grill, to everyone who helped set up and clear up, to Sawmill café for voucher prizes and to our administrator Vicki for spreading the word and organising on the day.
Have a lovely lunch, enjoy the garden and meet the neighbours!
Bring a dish to share, whether it’s something to go on the BBQ, a salad or savoury for the table, a pudding or a cake. There’ll be prizes for the tastiest food. We’ll provide the soft drinks.
And there’ll be food for thought as well as goodies for the table: a talk on container planting by volunteer gardener and innovator Charlie Seber, who designed our greenhouse.
More on The Big Lunch here.