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

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.

 

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!

cathmontage_600

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.