Our volunteers help on all sorts of tasks at our gardening sessions, whether it’s delicate thinning-out or the big digging jobs. And there’s plenty to watch, marvel at and enjoy. So what have we seen this week?
The week’s comedy vegetable: ladies and gents, we present the duck potato
Bees still finding plenty of pollen in the dahlias
The visible ‘plumbing’ in a courgette stalk
The reason why we built such a large cage to protect the purple sprouting broccoli plants (they’re huge)
And we’ve shared a magnificent harvest of beetroot.
A date for your diary: our Winter celebration on Saturday 5 December. Join a festive wreath-making workshop, enjoy the fairylit Winter garden and warm up with soups and hot drinks. More details soon.
All corners of the community have got involved in this year’s Harvest Festival East. We’ve had dance group Tridhara, led by Showmi Das, showing us harvest dances from Bangladesh, Bollywood dances and getting visitors involved in their workshops. Young people from the National Citizen Service Team Perham have led apple dunking, egg and spoon races – and been first up to join the dancing. Quirky Nature have made their fresh-pressed juices. And congratulations to Freya for winning the apple tart competition!
A big Abbey Gardens thank you to our volunteer chefs, who made delicious quiches, soup and salads, to our bakers and helpers, to Cath French for publicity, to former volunteer Emma for bringing home-grown apples, to garden club leader Hamish for being on hand with gardening wisdom and to all of our garden and behind-the-scenes volunteers who work so hard to make Abbey Gardens the beautiful place it is.
Our next event will be our Winter Celebration on Saturday 5 December.
Harvest Festival East
Saturday 26th September 2015 1pm-4pm
Abbey Gardens, Bakers Row, London E15 3NF (next to Abbey Road DLR station)
A free event for all ages
Come and enjoy a celebration of the year’s gardening, with contributions from all corners of our community:
Young people from the National Citizen Service, Team Perham, will be leading apple dunking and other activities
Think you’ve got the perfect apple tart recipe? Show us your finest in the apple tart competition!
Tour the garden with garden club leader Hamish Liddle and find out about some of the experimental crops we’ve been growing this year
Enjoy home-baked goodies at our ever-popular tea and cake stall
Quirky Nature will present a quirky gang of tasty fresh-pressed juices using organic ingredients mostly from Abbey Gardens. Come and meet Peter Green, Jack Ginger, Mary Roots among other unique personified recipes
Buy fresh produce on our honesty stall
Music, dancing and a fun workshop will be provided by Bollywood Dance Group, Tridhara
Enjoy seasonal food made by Tom Fletcher of Rejuce using harvest from the garden
All activities are free. Food, drink and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden.
Event graphics kindly donated by Catherine French.
Horseradish. It’s something you don’t really think about as a plant if you’re used to buying it in jars of sauce. But that’s community gardening for you, full of curiosities. This year, we’ve grown an upright variety of red amaranth, a sort of short-haired version of the glorious trailing dreadlocks of Amaranthus Caudatus. And our black tomatoes, strange fruit to start with, are giving us all sorts of novelty shapes. Teapot in need of a handle or cartoon character’s head? We can’t quite decide.
Thinking of growing your own? Community gardening is a great way to gather skills and ideas. Come and see us on Edible Gardens Open Day, Saturday 19 September. Our garden club session will be running from 10am to 4pm so you can see us in action and find out how to get involved.
Our next event: Harvest Festival East, Saturday 26 September, 1pm-4pm. Save the date for a celebration of all things grown and local, a free event for all ages. It’s part of Urban Food Fortnight. More information soon!
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.