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

Our garden year

It’s that time when we look back at the gardening year and ahead to future plans. We’ve grown some amazing things in 2018’s hot summer (Grapes! In West Ham! Who knew?). The garden has brought together people from all corners of our community to grow food and flowers, swap gardening tips and tell their stories. We’ve seen some amazing wildlife. We’ve welcomed fantastic teams of corporate volunteers and Triangle Market’s organisers and stallholders. And we’ve grown new partnerships.

In early 2019 we’ll be swapping ideas and making plans for the season to come. Meanwhile, we wish all of our gardeners, behind the scenes volunteers, funders, visitors, project partners, corporate volunteers and friends a wonderful festive season and a happy New Year.

School 21 Christmas celebration of mindfulness at Abbey Gardens

School 21
Christmas celebration of mindfulness
WITH YEAR 7

Tuesday 18th December 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Abbey Gardens, Bakers Row, E15 3NF

Have an experience you will never forget!

WHAT?

We will calm your mind and body using all the senses. Enjoy mindful tasting and healthy snacks, join in mindful seeing and breathing meditations as well as other Christmas entertainment. Take away a mini indoor garden and see our mindful classroom designs.

WHY?

At School 21 we have decided to make people more aware of being mindful and centred. Our project aims to bring together the community in the beautiful Abbey Gardens.

Flyer design by School 21.

Thank you!

It’s that time of year again, when we say thank you to everyone who has helped make the garden grow.

Thank you to all of our gardeners and behind the scenes volunteers, to our trustees, to our funders, to everyone in the neighbourhood who piles in to help set up events and to the amazing teams of corporate volunteers who bring their energy to big garden tasks.

Thanks also to the Triangle Market team and stallholders for bringing the market  – and new visitors – to the garden this Summer.

And we’ll be saying farewell to our garden club leader Alison Skeat at our Winter gardening session on Saturday 1 December, 11am-3pm with a garden meeting at midday and festive treats for volunteers.

Look out for news of the 2019 garden season.

The great Abbey Gardens cabbage harvest

Cabbage. Half a raised bed of it. On the last weekly gardening session of the season, Marie has harvested the lot, Alison has transported them to the cabin by barrow and Nancy has set to composting the leavings (and plenty more cleared garden waste besides). The cabbages have been shared amongst the day’s volunteers, with plenty left over for the honesty stall. We’ll be eating our greens!

Our 2018 regular gardening sessions have now finished for the season. But there’ll be a Winter gardening day on Saturday 1 December from 11am-3pm, with a volunteers’ meeting at 12 noon. Join us to help out in the garden, hear garden news and plans for 2019 and to say farewell to garden club leader Alison. Check here and on social media for news of our 2019 AGM, when we’ll be looking back at the 2018 season and forward to the next year in the garden.

 

Clearing, sowing and wrapping-up: it’s Autumn in the garden, with news of our end-of-season sessions and Winter gardening

Autumn is full of variety at our community gardening sessions. On the approach to the garden, the morning glory planted by Charlie and dahlias planted by the garden’s designers Nina and Karen give a burst of colour. We’ve been doing so much end-of-season clearing that our compost queen Nancy needed helpers to haul it all into the store. A new gardener has has brought a meticulous approach to preparing cleared beds for green manure seed. Garden club leader Alison has gathered-in and shared-out all of the remaining green tomatoes for chutney, fried green tomatoes, soups and more. George has harvested other end of season crops to share. Lorna’s careful cutting back of the mint has enabled new growth to spring up between the Autumn leaves. And our new feathered garden visitor has been sighted again – we think she’s a female sparrowhawk. It’s a real treat to see her in our urban setting.

We’re coming up to the end of our 2018 gardening season:

Our regular weekly gardening sessions finish with our Tuesday session 30 October 1pm-3pm, our Thursday session 1 November 4pm until dusk and our Saturday session on 3 November from 11am-4pm.

Then there’s our Winter gardening session on Saturday December 1st, 11am – 3pm. which will be our final session for 2018. This will also be Alison’s last session as Garden Leader so please do come along for some festive treats and to say farewell and thank you to her! 

We will also have garden volunteer meetings on both Saturday November 3rd and Saturday December 1st, starting at 12noon.

A wild visitor at our drop-in gardening session

Drop-in just got a whole new meaning at our Thursday gardening session: we were joined by what we think was a female sparrowhawk, perching on the back wall and the wind turbine and swooping down to the raised beds. A very rare sight in the garden and a wildlife treat as we get towards the end of our gardening season.

Come and join us for our last regular gardening sessions of the season: Saturday 27 October 11am-4pm and Tuesday 30 October 1pm-3pm. There will also be a Saturday session on 3 November, 11am-4pm. And look out for news of special Winter gardening sessions.

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.