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

Saturday planting

We have a planting plan! We have seedlings! We have people! It’s been all go at the garden this Saturday, preparing raised beds for planting, adding compost and getting in some of this year’s crops.

There’s a job for everyone, from junior gardeners to grown-ups, delicate jobs, expert jobs, hefty jobs (compost shovelling, anyone?), some people pop in for a short time and some stay for the whole session.

Our free community gardening sessions are on Saturdays, from 1pm to 5pm, tools and gloves provided. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener without a plot to tend, new to the neighbourhood or you’ve often walked past and wondered what we do, drop by and say hello. You’ll be very welcome.

Meet Rosie, our new gardening session leader

Meet our new garden session leader, Rosie Jackson!

Rosie, who also works at the wonderful Organiclea, brings horticulture and food knowledge to the garden and has a particular interest in food-growing.

Our free, drop in community gardening sessions are on Saturdays this year, from 1pm – 5pm. So whether you’re a regular gardener or new to the garden, drop by and join in. Rosie is keen to hear what we enjoy about community gardening and what we would like to grow this season.

We’re starting the season later than usual this year. So a shout-out to neighbours growing food and flower seedlings in their gardens, allotments or on balconies: if you have a few spare seedlings you can donate, we’ll be delighted to have them! Bring them along to one of our Saturday gardening sessions. You might even be in time for a cup of tea and a bun!

 

Saturday gardening sessions from 4th May

Come and join us for some community gardening, from Saturday 4th May!

Our gardening sessions are on Saturdays, from 1pm-5pm. Drop in at any time during the session or stay for the afternoon.

Sessions are free, tools and gloves are provided, no experience necessary. Children are welcome to come along and garden with their parents or carers.

Abbey Gardens Annual General Meeting on Weds 24, 6:30pm-8:30pm at Manor Primary School

Abbey Gardens Annual General Meeting
On Wednesday 24 April
6:30pm-8:30pm at Manor Primary School, E15, meeting room entrance from Leywick Street

There’s lots to discuss at this year’s Annual General Meeting: new trustees, partnership opportunities, the 2019 gardening season and plenty more. Come along, hear the latest and find out how you can get involved. We will:

1 – Report on the garden in 2018.
2 – Elect new trustees as Torange Khonsari is stepping down. We have 2 new nominees.
3 – Go through finances to date and projected budget for 2019.
4 – Hear about projected developments for 2019 and key dates.

Start the season 2019

Got the gardening bug after the recent burst of Spring? Come and help get the garden ready for the season at our FREE volunteer-run community gardening sessions on Saturdays 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 March, 1pm-3pm. Come along for the whole session or drop in when you can. No experience necessary; tools and gloves provided. Children are welcome if gardening with a parent or carer.

Planning for a fruitful garden

Fruit tree pruning is highly technical stuff. It’s also strategic – you have to think about where you want the tree to go. So Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope from Somewhere, who designed the garden, followed our visioning meeting by applying some strategy to the espalier-trained fruit trees along the back wall.

It’s also been a pleasure to welcome new neighbours to our meeting, keen to get involved and bring their own stories and skills to the garden.

If you’re looking forward to getting outdoors for some Spring gardening, there will be informal Saturday volunteering sessions every Saturday in March from 1pm to 4pm, with trustee Marie Helson.

Pictured: Karen Guthrie. Nina Pope and founder member of Friends of Abbey Gardens Andreas Lang.

 

Future Vision of the Garden: a workshop on Saturday 2 February

Abbey Gardens has now been running successfully for 11 years. This is incredible, especially on limited resources. The garden has been managed primarily by volunteers since its conception and like any organisation, it needs to have a new life to be fit for the future.

We are hosting a visioning workshop session on:
Saturday 2 February 2019
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Abbey Gardens Cabin – Bakers Row – E15 

This is open to all members, but we would very much like to have input from actively involved gardeners and behind the scenes volunteers.

Book your place by emailing Torange at:
Mail@abbeygardens.org

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.

Old friends, new friends: a sociable Saturday at Abbey Gardens

Our garden is for visitors as well as volunteers. The exchange of knowledge and news helps bring together our neighbourhood and our community of gardeners.

Veteran gardener, inventor and thinker Charlie has been involved with Abbey Gardens right from the beginning. Our artichoke plants, our comfrey beds, our sea kale and our tomato knowledge are all his work. He doesn’t get to the garden so often these days so it’s a treat to welcome him back on a visit, this time sporting an aubergine beanie hat. Daljit has brought meditation sessions to Abbey Gardens and new ways to use the herbs we grow for teas – and she drops by our community gardening sessions to help out. Garden club leader Alison introduces new visitors to the garden as well as running our drop-in gardening sessions.

There are always people working away on gardening task too: Lorna has been looking after the mint, George has tended and harvested garlic chives and spring onions, to share with the day’s gardeners and there’s been clearing of plants that are finished for the season and dead-heading of the calendula flowers to encourage the plants to keep on flowering.

Our free drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Come along at any point during the session and give as much or as little time as you can spare. The garden is open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk.

Pictured top right, left to right: Charlie, Daljit and Alison; bottom left: Lorna.
The flowers are chilli flowers.

 

Local knowledge – horticulture and history in the garden

Our community garden is made by its people. Each person who comes to the garden brings something with them – plants, seeds, curiosity, skills, energy for getting things done, ideas, cake… and knowledge.

Today we had a visit from neighbours who told us about a fruit market that used to be nearby. Nancy’s know-how has given us our first batch of compost of the season from our own garden waste. And we had a rare and precious visit from veteran gardener Charlie, who left with sea kale and artichokes from plants given a strong start by his expert care – and a couple of freshly-baked rock buns to have with his tea.

One of the joys of gardening in this space is the variety of people that it brings together. It’s rare to walk out of the garden without learning something that you didn’t know when you came in.

Fancy joining us? Our free, friendly drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Tools and gloves are provided; no gardening experience necessary. Stay for the whole session, pop in to help for a short while or just come and enjoy the peaceful urban green space.