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.
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!
In the depths of Winter, just when you think there’s nothing going on, up pop some seedlings: little bursts of gardening cheer, heralding the season to come. These are our overwintering broad beans – and the garlic is up too. So wrap up warm and join us for our first Spring gardening session on Saturday 7 March from 10am to 4pm. And for those interested in the running of the garden, our AGM is on Saturday 7 February, 2.30pm at the Rokeby Centre, 63 Rokeby Street, London E15 3NS (it’s a short walk from the garden).
I was interviewed in this article about Abbey Road.
“There were two girls wandering around, looking at maps, and one of them asked me ‘Where’s Abbey Road?’” says Michael Grant. “I smiled and pointed her to the sign, and she realised: ‘This is the wrong station, isn’t it?’”
NOTICE OF AGM
FIRST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF: FRIENDS OF ABBEY GARDENS CIO
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN OF AN ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF FRIENDS OF ABBEY GARDENS CIO ON SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2015 AT 2.30 PM AT THE ROKEBY CENTRE, 63 ROKEBY STREET, STRATFORD, LONDON E15 3NS
- CIO Members’ registration
- 2014 FOAG Annual Report
- 2014 FOAG Treasurer’s Report
- Election/ re-election of Trustees: Jen Currier; Torange Khonsari; Erwan Guillo Lohan; Andreas Lang; Seb Mayfield and Nina Pope
- Approval of accounts
2014 Annual report and Treasurer’s report can be downloaded here.
FRIENDS OF ABBEY GARDENS CIO TRUSTEES
As the first green shoots point from midwinter to the season ahead, we’ve taken a quick look back through our 2014 gardening season. And what a busy year we’ve had…
- Our composting toilet has been built by our volunteers;
- We’ve tried-out different potato varieties;
- Our Spring event has launched our Year of the Pumpkin – and brought us some some marvellous scarecrows;
- Part-time administrator Vicki has helped behind the scenes and brought new ideas to the garden;
- We’ve grown new varieties of tulip in the garden, including species tulips;
- Old friends and new neighbours have joined us for The Big Lunch;
- Our Summer Party has brought us knowledge on herbs and helpers from Newham Volunteers;
- Years of hard work on our fruit wall have paid-off in a hot summer with delicious crops of apricots and peaches;
- We’ve had our first watering workshop, to help our gardening volunteers to understand the different needs of our plants;
- There’s been tasty food, from lovely chefs Vegan Peasant, from our volunteer bakers and at garden tastings;
- We’ve grown our first black tomatoes and peach-skinned tomatoes;
- Runner beans have been grown on hoops and a netted cage built to protect leafy greens;
- We’ve joined-up seaside fun and gardening with Pumpkinhead (thanks Public Works!) launched at the Mayor’s Newham Show;
- Thanks to a lot of research and hard work by Dasha, we’ve made cucumbers into gherkins and herbs, roots and flowers into teas;
- Our ingredients have starred at the EastTwenty Local Feast;
- Our honesty stall has made an appearance at the Art Moves event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park;
- Our Pumpkin Fest has been our first event with special pre-planned planting (and some very inventive cakes);
- We’ve tried-out out larger-scale planting of overwintering crops;
- …and we’ve rounded off the year with a warming Winter gathering to the festive sounds of the Regent Community Brass Band.
And we couldn’t have done all of that without our trustees, our volunteers, our funders, our supporters and our garden club leader Hamish. A happy New Year to all of you and to our friends in other gardening projects. Here’s to a great 2015 gardening season.
If you can’t wait for our garden club sessions to resume in the Spring, two dates for your diary: the Winter garden club session on Saturday 10 January from 10am-4pm with our monthly meeting at 2pm and our AGM (Annual General Meeting) on Saturday 7 February (venue to be confirmed) with another special gardening session from 10am.
Thanks to the Bulbs for London initiative by The Metropolitan Public Gardens Association and Taylors Bulbs who donated us about 1,000 bulbs we are going to have flowers galore in the spring! The bulbs were planted mostly around the edge near the fence and some in the beds. There are also groups around the monument area. They sent us a mixture of Tulips, Allium, Narcissi, and Daffodils, and a mixture of varieties.
The air was crisp, the evening chilled and the music mellow… with cakes, hot drinks and a well-stocked honesty stall, our Winter Fair has been full of good cheer for gardening friends, neighbours and visitors.
A big seasonal thank you to Cath and members of the marvellous Regent Community Brass Band, to Louis and Tim French for the festive lighting, to Cath for publicity graphics, to all of our volunteer bakers, cooks and everyone who helped on the day, to Erwan for being MC – and to the events team for organising. If you missed the event, we’ll be at the Print House Christmas Market on Thursday December 11th from 5pm-10pm, 133 High Street, Stratford, E15 2RB, with some of our honesty stall goodies including gherkins and teas made from Abbey Gardens produce.
Finally a huge end of season round of applause to our garden club leader Hamish, whose skill and knowledge have given us another great growing year (and our newest garden visitor, Hamish and Helen’s baby daughter) and to Vicki, our part-time administrator and fundraiser, whose energy and enterprise have enabled us to tackle operational tasks and take up opportunities. Three cheers also to all of our volunteers – in the garden, on the board and behind the scenes.
Our regular garden club sessions have now finished for the season. We will have special gardening sessions through the winter, coinciding with our monthly meetings: the next session will be on Saturday 10th January 2015 from 10am-4pm.
Winter Fair, Saturday 6 December, 4 pm-6pm
Visit the garden in Winter and celebrate the season with us. There will be:
- Warming winter drinks
- Soup made from Abbey Gardens’ produce
- Christmas carol sing-along led by members of Regent Community Brass Band
- Cards and garden goodies on our honesty stall
- Lots of fairy lights
- And our ever-popular cake stall
Free entry. Drinks, food and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden. So come and join us for some festive fun.
For a perfect ending to your day, why not continue on to All Saints Chorus and Orchestra’s 20th anniversary concert. They will be performing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at West Ham Parish Church (All Saints), Church Street, E15 3HU. The concert starts at 6.30 p.m. Tickets are available on the door and are priced at £15, concessions £10.
And if you are keen to soak up some early Christmas atmosphere come and see us at The Printhouse Christmas Market on Thursday 11 December from 5pm-10pm. The Printhouse is located at 133 High Street, Stratford, E15 2RB.
From our events team
Publicity graphics kindly donated by Catherine French