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

New arrivals and old friends

Gardens: you turn round and suddenly, flowers are out, fruits are forming and there are signs of early Summer.

We’ve seen our first ripe strawberries this week, spinach has been cleared before it goes to seed and in its place are new seedlings, grown off-site by our busy band of volunteers. More new varieties of food crop are making their way into the garden, this week mooli and a spinach-like plant that grows red and turns green when cooked.

And there are old friends too: poppies and aquilegia. Aquilegia was in our first year’s planting plan by artists Somewhere, who designed the garden. Each year, it self-seeds and these delicate little flowers cheer us all over again.

If you’d like to join us for some community gardening, our free, drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Stay for the whole session, pop in for an hour, ask us about the garden or just come and enjoy the peaceful urban green space. 

The generosity of gardeners

People have been arriving at our gardening sessions carrying mysterious bags and boxes of plants…

Our greenhouse is awaiting repairs this season so our gardeners have been propagating plants in their own spaces, sourcing new things for us to grow and bringing us their spare seedlings. This welcome generosity is bringing with it edible crops and flowers as varied as our volunteers. And because we garden and harvest together, there’s plenty of help with choosing spaces, planting and watering-in.

The garden is giving back, as gardens do: this week, perfectly-formed mounds of healthy green herbs so lovely that we can’t resist stroking them like pets and big drifts of colour from the irises joining the allium in flower.

A date for your diary:
June volunteers’ meeting
Saturday 2 June, 12 noon at the garden 
Come along to hear about and discuss the latest on news, plans and progress.
There will also be our usual Saturday gardening session from 11am-4pm.

Our free, drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Stay for the whole session, pop in for an hour, ask us about the garden or just come and enjoy the peaceful green space. 

 

Sunshine, teamwork and random parsnips

 

It takes teamwork to tend a community garden – and on a hot, blue sky Saturday we’ve had a good turnout, clearing around the fruit trees, tidying the raised beds and planting new seeds. Rows of mizuna have gone in and this year, we’re trying okra for the first time. Also new this year is our grapevine, making its way along the hot back wall. Not new but astonishing have been the random parsnips popping up all over the garden… we had no idea that they were so good at self-seeding! There’s colour in the garden too, from vigorous orange calendula plants and vivid pink allium.

Fancy joining us? It’s a wonderful time of year to enjoy the garden.

Our free, drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Stay for the whole session, pop in for an hour, come and say hello if you’d like to find out more about the garden – or just come and enjoy the peaceful green space. 

Stand by your beds! We’re ready for repairs…

Our raised beds have done solid service. They were designed by artists Somewhere to last three years and they’ve withstood many years more of digging, composting and planting.

Now, it’s time for repairs – and that’s where our wider community comes in. Take a bow, FCA corporate volunteers! In one April-showers day, this energetic team of volunteers, brought to us by ELBA, dug out and cleared two raised beds.

Repaired, those raised beds will do more than grow plants: they’ll grow connections and knowledge. People from different walks of life will chat over the weeding. Neighbours from different parts of the world will swap recipes while harvesting. Little kids gardening with their families will marvel over minibeasts in the soil.

So thank you, all of you – our corporate volunteers really do make a massive difference.

If you’d like to get stuck in to some community gardening, there are many ways to get involved. Our free, drop-in sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Stay for the whole session, pop in for an hour, come and say hello if you’d like to find out more about the garden – or just come and enjoy the peaceful green space. We welcome corporate volunteers – if you’d like to know more, get in touch. And if you have skills to volunteer, come and say hello. 

Spring is springing at Abbey Gardens

The fruit trees are in blossom, buds are bursting into leaf everywhere, ladybirds are out and about… there’s so much to see in Spring. Even the snails are fascinating close up.

We’ve been busy moving plants from the raised beds that’ll be first for repairs, weeding and tidying to give overwintered crops and herbs some space and chatting with garden visitors curious to know what we do.

Our free, drop-in gardening sessions led by our garden club leader Alison Skeat are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm or Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Tools and gloves are provided. Come for the whole session or just drop in for as long as you have. There are energetic jobs, gentle jobs or if you just want to come and enjoy the peaceful green space of the garden, that’s fine too.

We also welcome corporate volunteers, clubs, school groups, visitors from other community and gardening projects and academic researchers. If you’re interested in organising a session, visit, workshop or activity with us, contact us to find out more.

Lifting and shifting for running repairs

Hardy things, our raised beds: originally designed to last three years, they’ve done sterling service for many more (thank you, artists Somewhere!). But it’s time for some structural repairs. To enable this to happen, we’re working on blocks of raised beds, shifting the soil from each raised bed onto the next, to go back again after repair.

It’s a hefty job so if you fancy getting stuck in to some shovelling, come along to one of our drop-in gardening sessions on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm or Saturdays 11am-4pm. Or if you have a team of corporate or club volunteers that would like to help, we’d love to hear from you!

At the other end of the garden, we’re into planting and sowing season so there are plenty of tasks to get involved with. We garden and harvest together so whether you’re an old hand or completely new to gardening, you’ll be welcome. Or just visit the garden, say hello and enjoy the peaceful green space.

Spring colour, new seedlings and garden friends

In Spring, there’s a lot to do now and plenty to plan for. We’ve been chopping up more of the green manure to add goodness to the soil in the raised beds, planting up a new strawberry bed and tending young plants overwintered from Autumn sowing.

And we’ve had the help of returning garden friend Russ, who’s made a magnificent job of clearing the greenhouse ready for Spring seedlings. We’ve had a four-legged visitor to our Saturday session too, joining us for our all-important tea break.

With tulips and daffodils to enjoy and new Spring growth everywhere, it’s a lovely time to be back in the garden.

Our free, drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. You can drop in at any time during the session. We garden and harvest together; tools and gloves are provided.

 

The Abbey Gardens AGM

Our Annual General Meeting will be on Saturday 3 March, 2-4pm at The Bowling Club, Stratford Park, London E15. If you’re interested in how the garden works or would like to find out how to get involved, join us to look back at the 2017 gardening season and discuss 2018 plans.

And with the first of the Spring bulbs starting to flower, it’s time to look forward to the new gardening season. Our free drop-in gardening sessions will be starting again soon. Check back here and on social media for news. Whether you’re a new gardener or an old hand, our sessions are a great way to get outdoors, get active, meet the neighbours, pick up some new gardening skills or just enjoy a peaceful green space in the city.

Hardy perennials at our second Winter gardening session

It takes hardy gardeners to rock up on a cold, rainy Sunday to help get the garden ready for Spring. But the rewards are pops of colour that we only spot when we’re gardening. Little irises, bright with raindrops, rich red sedum, new growth at the bases of plants that just look like sticks from a distance – and then there’s Marie’s guerrilla hyacinth.

Look out for news on the starting date for our regular free drop-in gardening sessions. Whether you’re an old hand or new to the neighbourhood, it’s a great way to get active, enjoy some time outdoors, discover new plants and skills and meet the neighbours.

Meanwhile, our Annual General Meeting will be on Sat 3 March, 2-4pm at The Bowling Club, Stratford Park, London E15. If you’re interested in how the garden works or would like to find out how to get involved, join us to look back at the 2017 gardening season and discuss 2018 plans.

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.