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:

  • April 28, 2015 1:00 pmGarden Club
  • April 30, 2015 4:00 pmGarden Club
  • May 2, 2015 10:00 amGarden Club
  • May 2, 2015 2:00 pmFriends of Abbey Garden Monthly Meeting
  • May 5, 2015 1:00 pmGarden Club
AEC v1.0.4 Click here to see full calendar


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“I think we’re going to need a bigger barrow…”


Artichokes. They’re enormous! Giving them a bit of a haircut to clear dead leaves and reveal space for other planting makes a very big barrow-load of trimmings for compost. In just seven days since we planted the seeds, we have sweetcorn seedlings, which we hope will grow very tall indeed. And we’ve been delighted to have School 21 bringing some students to the garden to do a problem-solving task, working out the dimensions of the raised beds for a maths-design project.

An active day in the garden


It’s a satisfying thing when we get a lot done in a garden club session. Here we have Janice sowing peas, ornamental sorghum ready for potting-on, Lu chopping up green manure, delicious Spring cabbage to share (we garden and harvest communally) and Charlie harvesting some coriander. This session we’ve also sown sweetcorn, potatoes and beetroot, watered – and still had time to chat and eat some rock buns. Well, we are a community garden, after all!

A seed’s eye view of Abbey Gardens


There’s a surprising amount going on inside the seeds that we plant. The first in our new series of workshops has given a fascinating insight into what happens when a seed germinates and what it needs to thrive.

Out in the garden, six varieties of potatoes are in, with more planned. And thanks to veteran gardener Charlie’s sense of adventure we’re trying-out two South American tubers, Oca and Tropaeolum Tuberosa, which has small, nasturtium-like flowers.

Anyone interested in the history of decorative arts, keep an eye on our Acanthus seedlings to see how the leaves develop – Acanthus leaves have been a popular motif through the centuries in carving, illuminated manuscripts and textiles.

Look out for news of our next workshops: we’ll be posting information here and on facebook and Twitter.

Gardening our way around the world


We have no idea what it’s called. But if you can imagine an adze, only bigger, with a thinner blade and a bamboo handle, this surprisingly-light, curved gardening tool from Bangladesh is perfect for the job of breaking-up lumpy soil in London. And here’s regular garden volunteer Loothfur, who brought it to us, showing us how it’s done. Bringing another country into the mix, we’ve been sowing two varieties of chard… and how about some more forget-me-nots, while we’re at it?

Talking of which, (thank you for that link, Cath) a reminder of our FREE propagation workshop:
Propagation from seed in unheated greenhouses or windowsills
Saturday 11th April 11.30am – approx.12.30pm
followed by a practical session in the afternoon. Get some new gardening skills, meet the neighbours and enjoy the garden.


Sowing, growing and NEW workshops for 2015


Walk into the garden and it’s a different walk every day: seeds sown, seedlings up, little pops of colour… there’s always something that wasn’t there last time we visited. This week we have newly-constructed greenhouse shelves as well (thanks, infrastructure volunteers), ready for seed trays.

NEW for 2015:
We’re piloting a programme of themed talks and hands-on workshops in the Garden this season. The programme will be part of our free Saturday ‘drop-in’ gardening sessions, which run from 10am-4pm.

Our first workshop in the series:
Propagation from seed in unheated greenhouses or windowsills
Saturday 11th April at 11.30am
Hamish, our Garden Club Leader will lead the workshop, which will last for approximately one hour. The workshop session will be followed by a practical/ hands-on session in the afternoon.

We are very keen to hear from you about subjects or themes that you would like to see as part of the programme. Please email admin@abbeygardens.org



Digging it


On The Big Dig day, the garden is full of promise…. Moved for repair, the side of a raised bed reveals what worms and all manner of other creepy-crawlies have been up to. A raised bed with a mound along the middle is ready for potato-planting and the salad crops that we grow until the potatoes are ready for earthing-up. The raking-over is preparing for sowing green manure to add extra goodness for the next crop. There’s a first burst of colour from daffodils and early wallflowers.. Our infrastructure volunteers are planning their build projects. Our propagation will start when the new greenhouse shelves are up. Spring: we’re ready!

Big dig!


This Saturday, it’s The Big Dig – a day for encouraging people into their local gardens to help get them ready for the new season. And we like a bit of spadework at Abbey Gardens, whether it’s preparing our raised beds, clearing ready for the next crop, maintaining the paths or repairing and cleaning the garden tools. There’s plenty else to do too, including Spring planting. So if you’d like to try community gardening or just to say hello and find out more, come and join us at our garden club session from 10am-4pm (you can help at any point in the session). You don’t need to be an experienced gardener – just bring your enthusiasm!

Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

Shovelling, composting, sharing and planning: it’s the new season


Spring – and suddenly there’s lots to do. Our healthy little broad bean seedlings are looking all smart after mulching. We’ve been chopping up cleared plants for compost (2015 is International Year of Soils, highlighting the vital importance of healthy soil in food production). We’ve shared the first harvest of the season, of purple sprouting broccoli. And behind the scenes there’s fundraising, event planning and we’re making links with new groups of gardeners.

Love plants but no garden? Keen to have a go but no idea where to start? Fancy some active volunteering in a beautiful space? Come and say hello at our garden club sessions: Tuesdays 1pm-3pm; Thursdays 4pm-7pm; and Saturdays 10am-4pm.

This year we’ll be running a series of regular workshops and talks at the garden. Watch this space for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for news.

Spring into action! (It’s the start of our 2015 garden club season)


Sociable gardening, a bit of outdoors, getting away from a screen, putting something back into the community… people get involved in the garden for all sorts of reasons. And for many of our gardeners and visitors, it’s all about the horticulture. Healthy plants, new growth and the first Spring flowers are cheery sights on a sunny day.

Whatever gets you into gardening our 2015 garden club season starts (pause for drum roll) on Saturday 7 March! Garden club session from 10am-4pm and our monthly meeting at 2pm.

Garden Chair

garden Chair 2

When the board of trustees has a Chair and the garden committee has a Chair, how do you distinguish between the two? We decided that the committee should have a Garden Chair…

Friends of Abbey Gardens has a tradition of official posts rotating so that work and ideas can be shared and members who would like to get involved are encouraged to step forward. So, following our Annual General Meeting we welcome our new Garden Chair, Torange Khonsari and give a big round of applause to our 2014 Chair Michael Grant.

Torange has been involved in Abbey Gardens from the very start. One of the group of local residents who set up the project, she was its first Chair, raising funds to get the garden started. Since then, Torange has led the ecoshed project and co-ran the events group for several years. Torange also brings her professional experience as part of art and architecture practice Public Works and will be the connection between the work of the gardening volunteers and the trustees.

We owe Michael a massive thank-you, first for stepping in as interim Chair when he had only recently moved in to the neighbourhood and then for taking on the post officially. Michael has led and volunteered on our recent infrastructure successes including the composting toilet, improved watering system and plans for a new, bigger greenhouse. Michael has also worked hard to build stronger links with our wider community and brought his IT expertise to our communications.

The green chair, by the way, happened to be in the middle of our meeting, holding the box of rock buns. Which had all been eaten by the time the photograph was taken. We like our cake…

If you’d like to get involved in a practical way, our first garden club session of the season is on Saturday 7 March from 10am to 4pm. We’ll see you there!