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

Progress

Hello July!

It’s Summer in the garden and after a good watering from the week’s showers, we’ve been wrenching out bindweed and delving into the rapidly-growing tomatoes to give the flowers some space. New seedlings have gone in, seeds have been sown and we’ve had time to admire the echinacea, watch the wildlife and share some cake. And did we mention artichoke antlers? There were artichoke antlers, from maintenance cutting back our huge and very productive artichoke plants for their next season.

There are so many different ways to join in with our free drop-in gardening sessions: hefty jobs, dainty jobs, sociable jobs, solo jobs – and just enjoying the beauty and peace of this lovely urban green space. If you fancy a go or you’ve always wondered what this garden is, our sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. The garden is open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk.

 

Teamwork and tomatoes

Clearing the raised bed – and enjoying the fragrance from the lavender
Composting and digging it over
Counting the seedlings so that we know how many supports they need
Building the framework of tomato supports
Planting the seedlings
Watering them in
…that’s just one of the week’s tasks, done in a relay of people working together and helping each other when jobs were done, with tools from our beautifully-tidied cabin (Thank you, Moody’s corporate volunteers!).

A community, gardening.

On the honesty stall this weekend: artichokes. Come by; take a bag; leave a small donation.

Join us on Saturday 17 June for The Big Lunch and our Summer Fair: 12 noon – 3pm
Bring a dish to share, have a lovely lunch, meet the neighbours and enjoy the garden.
Plentiful produce from the garden on our honesty stall
Our ever-popular tea and cake stall
Plus live musical entertainment to be confirmed

More details to follow very soon…

Meanwhile, there are our free drop-in gardening sessions on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm.

All the colours of the garden

It’s been a week for weeding, watering, planning and planting-out, compost queen Nancy has been taking on the mountain of Spring clearings and on the honesty stall we have bags of garden produce. Come by, take one and leave a small donation for the garden.

Paintbox-bright, the garden has distractions at every turn this week: vivid poppies against rich purple allium and iris, blue comfrey and borage flowers, cheery yellow and white fried egg plant…

Come and enjoy the garden with us on Saturday 17th June, for The Big Lunch and our Summer Fair. Watch this space for details or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Meanwhile, our free drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays from 1pm to 3pm, Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm and Saturdays from 11am to 4pm.

Busy gardeners, busy wildlife

It’s a great growing season and there’s been lots going on in the garden this week. Crops sown earlier in the season have been thinned-out, seedlings have gone in, plants that are finished have been cleared, the compost has been tended, fruit trees are being looked-after and there’s always weeding and watering to help with. Young families coming to garden together have been using our mini watering cans and gloves for little gardeners. And veteran gardener Charlie has dropped by, full of knowledge and ideas – he’s had us picking sea kale to try.

The wildlife is busy too: the comfrey and borage are attracting bees, we’re seeing butterflies and there are ladybirds everywhere.

On the honesty stall by the gate this weekend: red orach (it’s like spinach) and bunches of marigolds from some clearings.

Fancy joining us? We have drop-in gardening sessions on Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm, Thursdays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. Or just come and enjoy the lovely colours and peaceful green space – we’re open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk.

On the radio, in the garden and on the street

It’s gorgeous in the garden this week – and our very own garden club leader, Alison Skeat, has been telling Robert Elms all about it on BBC Radio London. Hear it again here [go to 01:42:10].

In our Saturday session, we’ve been watering, weeding and tidying. There’s been family gardening – people of all ages get involved in helping the garden grow. We’ve been stocking the honesty stall by the gate, where passers-by can take surplus produce for a small donation.

We’ve had a visitor come along just to enjoy the colours. And a cheery group walking the Capital Ring dropped by, visiting to see the site of the walk leader’s childhood home.

Fancy joining us? We have drop-in gardening sessions on Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm, Thursdays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. Or just come and enjoy the peaceful green space – we’re open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk.

 

Many hands and lots of ideas

A mythical monster. A tent. A scarecrow. A house, maybe… There have been all sorts of suggestions for what we might make with the strange, spine-like stalks of our purple sprouting broccoli. They’re big plants and they’re ready for the compost so on a day when we have a good group of gardeners, we’ve made light, sociable work of the job of chopping them up. That’s one of the joys of community gardening – we garden and harvest together.

In other gardening news, there’s fantastic colour on the way from our allium, the herbs are looking luscious and the honesty plants are already producing their flat seed pods.

Fancy joining us? Our free drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. We’re also open to visitors every day from dawn’til dusk.

 

Keeping up with Spring

Weeding, watering, watering, weeding… it’s a race to keep up with the seedlings in a great growing season! We’ve been looking after our new crops, seeing what’s self-seeded and giving plants room to breathe. But it’s not all gardening in our lovely green space. We’ve paused to chat with a neighbour wanting to bring us a plant, had a break for tea and rock buns, greeted neighbours visiting with family – and for one little visitor, it was all about finding the daisies that were pink around the edges.

Come and join us at our regular free drop-in gardening sessions: Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. We’re also open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk.

Community, gardening

A gift of a Mother’s Day plant too big to stay in a mum’s flat. Chinese potato-planting methods debated by a young gardener and her dad. Our own nettle plant feed made by compost queen Nancy. Veteran gardener Charlie’s sea kale in fine fettle. Garden club leader Alison planning a weed patch for educational use. Dasha moving a donated aloe vera plant. Me, the blogger, popping over on a working Saturday with rock buns, still warm from the oven, and an hour later, potatoes planted, radishes sown and a hand given with lifting and shifting, heading back to a screen. Our community makes the garden.

If you’d like to join us, our free gardening sessions are on Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm, Thursdays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. Or just come and enjoy the peaceful green space: we’re open every day from dawn ’til dusk.

Planting seeds and swapping knowledge

One week, there’s the odd tulip – the next, the whole garden is springing into life! We’ve had a busy week…

We’ve discovered that rosemary beetles (pests that munch their way through rosemary and lavender leaves) are also astonishingly-beautiful. We’ve said hello to the ladybirds. We’ve planted violet basil, beetroot and purple carrots. We’ve found out about lai pau, small salad leaves with edible flowers. We’ve done some clearing to give the fruit trees room to thrive. We’ve been introduced to edible weeds. We’ve harvested purple sprouting broccoli before it flowers. And that was just the Saturday session!

Our very own garden club leader Alison Skeat has been on BBC Radio London this week too, phoning-in about planting she’s proud of and Abbey Gardens. You can hear Alison here while the recording is available [drag cursor to 02:35:30].

Fancy joining us? Our free drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. New gardeners are always welcome.

Looking after our future

Turning a patch of waste ground into a thriving community garden; bringing people together from all walks of life; our unusual mix of growing space, park and history; connecting neighbours; our community events – there’s a lot we’re proud of at Abbey Gardens.

On a glorious Spring Saturday, we’ve been celebrating that and looking to the future at a workshop run by Kate Swade from Shared Assets. With cake (we do like our gardening snacks). And photography breaks.

And when we were done – well, it’s always so hard to leave the garden just when the light is at its loveliest. So an hour later, we’d watered, weeded, planted raspberry canes and harvested some spinach to share.

If you’d like to come and garden with us or help behind the scenes, our free drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. We garden and harvest together. Or just come and enjoy the garden – we’re open every day from dawn ’til dusk.