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

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.

 

Getting the gardening started

The daffs are ready and so are we. Welcome to the 2017 gardening season!

At the first of our regular sessions of the year, we’ve been looking after overwintered plants, harvesting, seed-saving, clearing and composting – and there’s been the all-important gardeners’ tea break.

And we’ve held our Annual General Meeting, looking back at the 2016 growing season and ahead at future plans. A big thank-you to the wonderful School 21 for hosting us.

If you’d like to get outdoors, get active and grow food and flowers with your neighbours, come along to one of our regular drop-in gardening sessions:

Saturday 11am-4pm
Tuesday 1pm-3pm
Thursday 4pm-7pm

New gardeners are always welcome, no experience necessary and tools and gloves are provided.

 

Fantastic frost and the 2017 gardening season

We couldn’t get into planning for the Spring season without showing you some more of Cath French’s frost pictures. Inspired? We get some wonderful light in the garden and it’s open to visitors from dawn to dusk.

If you look closely, you’ll see new growth popping up all over the garden so it’s a great time to discuss developments and plan the planting season.

There’s a Winter drop-in gardening session on Saturday 4 February from 10am to 4pm. The first garden meeting of the year will take place at 2pm in the cabin. We’ll be planning the planting for the season collaboratively so if you have ideas or would like to get involved, come and join us.

Our 2017 gardening season starts on Saturday 4 March from 11am to 4pm. Weekday sessions are on Tuesdays from 1pm to 3pm and on Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm.

New gardeners and behind-the-scenes volunteers are always welcome – or just come and say hello and enjoy the garden.

Our AGM will take place on Sunday 5 March at 2pm, at School 21, London E15 4RZ. Please arrive promptly at the back entrance of School 21 on New Mount Street. The main front gate and reception on Pitchford Street are closed at the weekend.

 

Hello 2017!

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Happy New Year and happy gardening!

We’ve had some fantastic frosty days in the garden (pics here by Cath French) and as the days get lighter and new shoots appear, we’ll be looking ahead to the Spring gardening season.

Our next Winter gardening session will be on Saturday 4 February from 10am to 4pm, with our monthly meeting at 2pm, when you can find out the latest news and get involved behind the scenes.

Our 2017 gardening season will start on Saturday 4 March – our drop-in Saturday sessions are from 11am to 4pm. Gardening sessions also take place on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm and Thursdays 4pm-7pm

Our AGM will take place on Sunday 5 March at 2pm, at School 21, London E15 4RZ. Please arrive promptly at the back entrance of School 21 on New Mount Street. The main front gate and reception on Pitchford Street are closed at the weekend.

 

 

Planting the seeds for 2017

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Jack Frost has visited the garden (thank you Cath French for these gorgeous pictures) and so can you!

Our last gardening session of the season is on Saturday 3rd December from 10am-3pm. Drop in, say hello and help look after this beautiful growing space.

The last garden meeting of the year will take place this Saturday 3rd December at 2pm in the cabin. We’ll be discussing the outcomes of the November meeting as well as planning the planting for the next season. Everyone who’s interested in the garden is welcome so if you’re new to the neighbourhood and would like to find out more or get involved, come along.

Or just come and enjoy the peaceful space of the winter garden.

Our regular gardening sessions will resume in the 2017 growing season.

Making, saving, tasting

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There are all sorts of ways to make the most of the harvest. Even Autumn clearings can find a new use.

Alison Skeate, who’s leading our gardening sessions, has been busy… Regular gardener Charlie’s request to lift the horseradish from the comfrey plot has become an opportunity to try out a horseradish sauce recipe. Calendula petals will go into an experiment in making calendula oil. Seeds have been saved in seed packets made by folding waste paper and used catalogue pages. And when we have this many colours of tomato, we just have to make a pattern out of them (but they’ll be used too – we all have our favourite ways of using up the last of the tomato harvest, from sauce to fried green tomatoes to chutney).

There’s looking-ahead to do too. Garlic, onions and shallots have been planted for next season and we’re starting to discuss planting plans. And at the last gardening session of the season on Saturday 5 November, our monthly meeting from 2pm will be a discussion of the next season and beyond. So if you’d like to help shape the future of the garden, come along.

More than a garden

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Abbey Gardens is a community garden where people garden and harvest communally at sessions held three times a week. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work too to make the garden grow. But in growing food and flowers, staging community events and just being there, it creates more than the sum of its parts.

There’s the delight and pride in tasting food we’ve grown ourselves. The food we share at the end of our sessions often has life beyond the plate (these strapping little squash were grown from saved seeds from portions of Abbey Gardens squash taken home to cook). Recipes from many parts of the world have been swapped at our sessions and events. Local workers come in to eat their lunch. Students visit on research. Companies send troupes of volunteers to take on a task for the day. Families picnic and children play. It’s been a simple walking goal for visitors building up strength after illness. It’s a place to get some exercise and a screen break. It’s an opportunity to meet the neighbours. People come researching local history or family history. Skills are offered and gained. And some people just turn up wanting to help.

There’s plenty of helping to do in October, the last month of our gardening year, with guest garden club leader Alison Skeate. And we’re also planning ahead, for the coming season and beyond.

What is the garden to you? What would you like it to be? Come along to our monthly meeting on Saturday 5 November at 2pm in the cabin and help plan the next season and beyond.

Social Permaculture Workshop

SOCIAL PERMACULTURE WORKSHOP
Saturday 24th September (1-4pm)
A FREE EVENT
 
The workshop will cover what we can learn about social connections by seeing them as natural ecosystems and part of a wider web of nature connections. This free workshop will be led by Ros Bedwell.
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Photo: Leeds Permaculture Network

Abbey Gardens Harvest Festival

Autumn is here, let’s get together to celebrate the harvest! Come and be part of this lovely community.

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Big Lunch – Sunday 12th June

Join us for the Big Lunch
Sunday 12th June
12 noon – 3pm

Join us to have a lovely bring-and-share lunch, meet the neighbours, our volunteers and enjoy the Garden!

See you there! x

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