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

Late season sunshine

Our main growing season is drawing to a close – but just look at the colour on a sunny Autumn day! We’ve been doing a late-season harvest for the honesty stall and to share, sowing green manure to put goodness back into the soil for next season and clearing away plant supports.

There’s still plenty to do in the garden: overwintering crops to sow, flowers to dead-head, seeds to collect, pruning and clearing. We’ll be running our regular Tuesday 1pm-3pm, Thursday 4pm-7pm and Saturday 11am-4pm drop-in sessions until the end of October: look out for details of the end of our gardening season and Winter maintenance days.

 

A late harvest and new arrivals

In the early Autumn warmth, we’ve carried on with some late tomato harvesting and saved the green tomatoes unlikely to ripen. (Chutney, anyone?)

And we’ve had some new arrivals in the garden: looking these up, we think they’re Southern Green Shield Bug nymphs – but if you know your bugs and you think they’re a different species, we’d love to hear from you.

There’s plenty to do as we work towards the end of this year’s gardening season so join us for drop-in community gardening sessions until the end of October, on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. And look out for news of our Winter garden maintenance  days and volunteers’ meetings.

Pictures kindly supplied by garden club leader Alison Skeat.

The men on the cabin: the story of the Plaistow Landgrabbers

There’s a picture on our cabin of a row of men. Visitors are often curious to know who they are.

The Plaistow Landgrabbers were unemployed men who occupied a piece of land to grow food. We’ve met two descendants of the councillor who joined the protest, pictured front left. The picture is dated 1906.

We give visitors a potted history of the Plaistow Landgrabbers, whose protest was one of the influences in artists Somewhere’s design of the garden.

Now, thanks to the E7 Now and Then blog, there’s a much more detailed account of this dramatic piece of direct action. Read the first of two articles here. Our thanks to John Walker for the link.

For more on the design of the garden, as project What Will the Harvest Be?, visit Somewhere’s website here.

Abbey Gardens is a community garden where we grow and harvest together. There are three free drop-in gardening sessions a week, on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm; tools and gloves are provided. No gardening experience is necessary and new gardeners and behind-the-scenes volunteers are always welcome.

A fine festival at Abbey Gardens

Brilliant sunshine, fabulous Triangle Market stalls, delicious food, live music, face painting, families playing, volunteers gardening… it’s been a grand day out for all ages! And we’ve planted our new apple tree, carefully chosen for its location and soil.

A massive Abbey Gardens thank-you to the stallholders and organisers, to our wonderful musicians Natasha Kirke and Alex Dobson, to our publicity volunteers and to everyone who pitched up on a Saturday morning to put up gazebos, arrange tables, cut flowers and hang bunting.

And a special Harvest Festival thank-you to all of our gardeners who give their time every week to weed, water, plant, sow, dig, compost and harvest.

Fancy joining us? Our free, drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Drop in when you can and stay for as long as you can spare. We garden and harvest together; all tools and gloves are provided. And we’re also delighted to hear from people who have behind-the-scenes skills to volunteer.

Coming up: our Harvest Festival!

Abbey Gardens Harvest Festival
Saturday 29th September
12 noon – 4pm

Triangle Market is back at Abbey Gardens with a fresh produce, food and craft market from 12 noon-4pm.

Meet some of the stallholders…

Nina Magdziak Nayeem and Zara Nayeem – Zara’s bead creations
Mother and daughter Nina and Zara sell beautiful, intricate and colorful hama bead creations. Everything from fridge magnets, keychains, earrings to art pieces.

Denzil Coleman – tropical fruits
Denzil is a familiar friendly face selling coconuts, mangoes and sugarcane on West Ham Lane – and we’re delighted that for a second time, he’s coming to Abbey Gardens.

Kina Legg – knitwear
Kina started selling at Triangle Market last Christmas at its first ever market in the square. Her beautiful knits were at our last Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens and we can’t wait to see what’s new.

Ana Ramos – Alternating stitches
A colourful blend of different things: see Ana to upgrade your jewellery collection, look for playful accessories or buy one of her collectors’ comic books.

Manzoor Ahmed – Fusion Foods
Manzoor sells delicious and healthy food with his daughter and son – he’s a Newham markets veteran and he can also be found giving out food to the homeless in Stratford Centre.

Milly Grant and Christine – Dolls’ clothes and accessories
Milly and her friend Christine are accessory makers extraordinaire – handmade dolls’ clothes and an array of stitched goodies, from brooches to tote bags.

Cara Turpin and daughter
Cara’s daughter makes and sells bespoke frames.

Stephanie Joslin – Forest Bake
Stephanie sells cakes, including vegan and gluten-free options, as well as chocolate truffles.

Arlene Dunkley-Wood – Honey and bread
Bread and honey, a snack right there on one stall!

Munira Ebrahim – Hennarize
Indian gifts, glitter tattoos and henna tattoos.

Chris Spanton and Arjun Goswami, East London NHS Foundation Trust, Talking Therapies
Chris and Arjun are returning to the garden with a stall about their free workshops on mindfulness, stress handling and confidence building.

Manzoor Ahmed – Fusion Foods
Delicious and healthy Indian street food.

Peter Payne – cartoonist
Peter will be live drawing caricatures – buy your very own caricature to take away!

Busra Uz – Turkish food
Busra will be back at Abbey Gardens with her super-tasty Turkish salads and bakes.

Workshops – free activities from 1pm-3pm

Knit a vegetable
with our fabulous knitwear stallholder Kina Legg. Knitting needles and yarn provided.

Heritage walk
With huge developments and changes in Stratford and West Ham, the area is under threat of losing its historical heritage. The walk will map some existing historical buildings, discuss with residents their historical importance and come back to Abbey Gardens where Torange Khonsari, a resident and an Abbey Gardens member, will run a workshop on how communities can list buildings.

Live music

Natasha Kirke
Natasha is coming back to the garden after her epic performance at our last Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens!

Alex Dobson
An exciting new talent, Alex has played at Triangle Market and now we’ll get to hear him at the garden.

And you can tour the garden and find out how you can get involved, from volunteering your skills behind the scenes to joining in with our free drop-in community gardening sessions: Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm.

Old friends, new friends: a sociable Saturday at Abbey Gardens

Our garden is for visitors as well as volunteers. The exchange of knowledge and news helps bring together our neighbourhood and our community of gardeners.

Veteran gardener, inventor and thinker Charlie has been involved with Abbey Gardens right from the beginning. Our artichoke plants, our comfrey beds, our sea kale and our tomato knowledge are all his work. He doesn’t get to the garden so often these days so it’s a treat to welcome him back on a visit, this time sporting an aubergine beanie hat. Daljit has brought meditation sessions to Abbey Gardens and new ways to use the herbs we grow for teas – and she drops by our community gardening sessions to help out. Garden club leader Alison introduces new visitors to the garden as well as running our drop-in gardening sessions.

There are always people working away on gardening task too: Lorna has been looking after the mint, George has tended and harvested garlic chives and spring onions, to share with the day’s gardeners and there’s been clearing of plants that are finished for the season and dead-heading of the calendula flowers to encourage the plants to keep on flowering.

Our free drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Come along at any point during the session and give as much or as little time as you can spare. The garden is open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk.

Pictured top right, left to right: Charlie, Daljit and Alison; bottom left: Lorna.
The flowers are chilli flowers.

 

Clearing, tending and swapping stories: Saturday at the garden

Food stories have been swapped, tomatoes tended, horseradish harvested (it’s a challenge…), three generations of a family have come to look after the seedlings they planted, a new gardener from the tower blocks has popped in to check on a chilli plant, compost queen Nancy’s mini incinerator has made light work of a pile of garden clearings – there’s been a lot of clearing and tidying – and the bees have been busy around the flowers. Did we mention rock buns? There were rock buns, baked to share. Just another Saturday drop-in gardening session at Abbey Gardens.

Fancy joining us? Our free drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Come along at any point during the session and give as much or as little time as you can spare. We have energetic jobs and light jobs for gardeners of all ages and abilities.

In the garden: how our community gardening sessions work

We’ve had a number of people ask us at our Triangle Market events how the garden works.

So meet Manoj, one of our community gardeners.

Manoj and his family live in a flat with no garden. He loves gardening but his work involves being on-call. So our drop-in community gardening sessions, where unlike an allotment site, we garden and harvest together with our garden club leader Alison, are perfect for coming along when he can and staying for as long as he can spare. In that time, he’s had amazing success bringing new varieties of edible plants to the garden, including okra, as well as growing familiar favourites. At our Triangle Market, he has picked a harvest to share with other volunteers at the end of the session; surplus has been packed into paper bags and put on the honesty stall by the gate. Manoj’s family visit regularly to admire progress – and gardening skills and food knowledge are being passed to the next generation.

At each session, we also have surprises. This week, our local community police officer and another garden friend turned out to be the perfect people to identify the mystery climbing plant at the back of the garden: Clematis vitalba, which you’ll recognise later in the year as Old Man’s Beard. And pointing our macro lens at a wallflower seed pod that we’d taken apart, we discovered not just how beautiful it was but that it had a lot of seeds, so it’s now on our list for seed-saving.

Our free, friendly drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays, 11am-4pm. Help grow food and flowers, get outdoors, get active, enjoy the beautiful urban green space and meet the neighbours!

Fourth row of pictures by kind permission of Manoj Kumar.

Market, garden: our third Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens

Goodies galore, colourful crafts, delicious food, history, poetry and live music from Natasha Kirke – our third Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens has been full of wonderful things. Thank you to everyone who took part, to the Triangle Market crew, to the history and poetry activity leaders and to everyone who came along, shopped, explored and discovered. We’ve made new garden friends and discovered new potential collaborations.

Follow Triangle Market here for news of its next market.

If you’d like to get involved in more poetry with Newham Poetry Group, its Meetup page is here.

And our friendly drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays, 11am-4pm. Help grow food and flowers, get outdoors, get active, enjoy the beautiful urban green space and meet the neighbours!

Top picture by kind permission of Hugh Preedy.

Local history and people’s poetry: free activities on Saturday 18 August

Local history session Saturday 18 August 1pm – 2pm – help start a local history society
Hear about local history in the setting of Abbey Gardens, which is itself a historical site containing the ruin of the Stratford Langthorne Abbey Gatehouse. Local history enthusiasts Marieta and Gareth will tell some local history stories and share their experience of setting up a volunteer-run history society.

Poetry in the garden with Newham Poetry Society: Saturday 18 August, workshop 2pm-3pm using the garden as inspiration, open mic 3pm-4pm
Newham Poetry Society has been organising free, accessible weekly poetry sessions at Stratford Library for the past two years. Participants have shown that there is huge enthusiasm locally to read, listen, share, learn and perform poetry as an expression of lived experience. Members come from a wide range of ages, abilities, cultures and social and educational backgrounds. Members are energetic, ambitious, generous in sharing ideas and experiences and continue in conversation beyond the group settings. Newham Poetry Society has been branching out to local events and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to the garden.

Join in, try something new and enjoy community market Triangle Market, which will be at the garden from 12 noon to 4pm.

Our usual drop-in community gardening session will also be running, from 11am to 4pm, so come and join us or ask us about the garden and how you can get involved.