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:

  • May 23, 2015 10:00 amGarden Club
  • May 26, 2015 1:00 pmGarden Club
  • May 28, 2015 4:00 pmGarden Club
  • May 30, 2015 10:00 amGarden Club
  • June 2, 2015 1:00 pmGarden Club
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The Big Lunch: Sunday 7 June, 12 noon – 3pm


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.

Planting for containers – and the Big Lunch


Materials, behaviour, light, height… garden club leader Hamish’s workshop on planting for containers even covered different weights of drainage material (something to think about if you’re planting for a balcony). New ideas, new knowledge and we hope, happy gardeners! Thank-you to everyone who came along.

If you missed it, come along to one of our garden club sessions, on Tuesdays 1pm – 3pm, Thursdays 4pm – 7pm or Saturdays 10am – 4pm. Our containers, window boxes and gardens all benefit from the things we learn at Abbey Gardens.

And there’ll be a container planting talk by Charlie Seber at The Abbey Gardens Big Lunch on Sunday 7 June, 12 noon – 3pm. 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.

Planting for containers: FREE workshop, Saturday 9th May 11.30am

Want to grow food but no space? Our workshop with garden club leader Hamish Liddle will show how you can grow tasty vegetables, fruits and herbs in patio containers, on a balcony or even on your windowsill. You’ll get tips on what to grow, how and when to plant and on watering.

Workshop lasts roughly one hour with a practical session in the afternoon.


“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.