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

Harvest

Late season sunshine

Our main growing season is drawing to a close – but just look at the colour on a sunny Autumn day! We’ve been doing a late-season harvest for the honesty stall and to share, sowing green manure to put goodness back into the soil for next season and clearing away plant supports.

There’s still plenty to do in the garden: overwintering crops to sow, flowers to dead-head, seeds to collect, pruning and clearing. We’ll be running our regular Tuesday 1pm-3pm, Thursday 4pm-7pm and Saturday 11am-4pm drop-in sessions until the end of October: look out for details of the end of our gardening season and Winter maintenance days.

 

A late harvest and new arrivals

In the early Autumn warmth, we’ve carried on with some late tomato harvesting and saved the green tomatoes unlikely to ripen. (Chutney, anyone?)

And we’ve had some new arrivals in the garden: looking these up, we think they’re Southern Green Shield Bug nymphs – but if you know your bugs and you think they’re a different species, we’d love to hear from you.

There’s plenty to do as we work towards the end of this year’s gardening season so join us for drop-in community gardening sessions until the end of October, on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. And look out for news of our Winter garden maintenance  days and volunteers’ meetings.

Pictures kindly supplied by garden club leader Alison Skeat.

A fine festival at Abbey Gardens

Brilliant sunshine, fabulous Triangle Market stalls, delicious food, live music, face painting, families playing, volunteers gardening… it’s been a grand day out for all ages! And we’ve planted our new apple tree, carefully chosen for its location and soil.

A massive Abbey Gardens thank-you to the stallholders and organisers, to our wonderful musicians Natasha Kirke and Alex Dobson, to our publicity volunteers and to everyone who pitched up on a Saturday morning to put up gazebos, arrange tables, cut flowers and hang bunting.

And a special Harvest Festival thank-you to all of our gardeners who give their time every week to weed, water, plant, sow, dig, compost and harvest.

Fancy joining us? Our free, drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Drop in when you can and stay for as long as you can spare. We garden and harvest together; all tools and gloves are provided. And we’re also delighted to hear from people who have behind-the-scenes skills to volunteer.

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.

 

Clearing, tending and swapping stories: Saturday at the garden

Food stories have been swapped, tomatoes tended, horseradish harvested (it’s a challenge…), three generations of a family have come to look after the seedlings they planted, a new gardener from the tower blocks has popped in to check on a chilli plant, compost queen Nancy’s mini incinerator has made light work of a pile of garden clearings – there’s been a lot of clearing and tidying – and the bees have been busy around the flowers. Did we mention rock buns? There were rock buns, baked to share. Just another Saturday drop-in gardening session at Abbey Gardens.

Fancy joining us? 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. We have energetic jobs and light jobs for gardeners of all ages and abilities.

In the garden: how our community gardening sessions work

We’ve had a number of people ask us at our Triangle Market events how the garden works.

So meet Manoj, one of our community gardeners.

Manoj and his family live in a flat with no garden. He loves gardening but his work involves being on-call. So our drop-in community gardening sessions, where unlike an allotment site, we garden and harvest together with our garden club leader Alison, are perfect for coming along when he can and staying for as long as he can spare. In that time, he’s had amazing success bringing new varieties of edible plants to the garden, including okra, as well as growing familiar favourites. At our Triangle Market, he has picked a harvest to share with other volunteers at the end of the session; surplus has been packed into paper bags and put on the honesty stall by the gate. Manoj’s family visit regularly to admire progress – and gardening skills and food knowledge are being passed to the next generation.

At each session, we also have surprises. This week, our local community police officer and another garden friend turned out to be the perfect people to identify the mystery climbing plant at the back of the garden: Clematis vitalba, which you’ll recognise later in the year as Old Man’s Beard. And pointing our macro lens at a wallflower seed pod that we’d taken apart, we discovered not just how beautiful it was but that it had a lot of seeds, so it’s now on our list for seed-saving.

Our free, friendly drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays, 11am-4pm. Help grow food and flowers, get outdoors, get active, enjoy the beautiful urban green space and meet the neighbours!

Fourth row of pictures by kind permission of Manoj Kumar.

Music, stalls, making and tasting: Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens

Guitar music, figs grown right here in the garden, pretty-as-a-picture cakes, delicious Turkish food, tropical drinks, aloe vera products, tutoring, making mediaeval hats and Ayurvedic tea tasting: it’s been variety all the way at our second Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens!

Thank you to all of the Triangle Market stallholders, to Daljit Kaur for her fascinating workshop, Eugenio Morgillo – Flat 26 – for fabulous guitar playing and to Hanna and Torange for organising

There’s another Triangle Market coming up on Saturday 18 August from 12 noon to 4pm and this time we’ll have…

  • The wonderful Triangle Market stalls
  • Poetry and gardening
  • A local history session – help start a history society!
  • Live music

Enjoy tasty food, help support local businesses, try something new and find out more about the neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, we have our usual free drop-in community gardening sessions on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays, 11am-4pm. Help grow food and flowers, get outdoors, get active, enjoy the beautiful urban green space and meet the neighbours!

And Daljit is running free meditation sessions in the garden every Sunday at 11 o’clock, weather permitting (no session if it’s raining).

So there’s lots to come to the garden for this Summer! We hope to see you soon.

 

Planning, planting, harvesting, collecting

June! Time for planning Summer events, collaborations, activities and repairs at our volunteers’ meeting. We’ve been planting more seeds and seedlings donated by our volunteers – this week, bee-friendly flower mix and pumpkins – and seeing crops planted earlier in the season doing well. In our harvest for the day’s volunteers has been a surprise haul of new potatoes, self-seeded among other crops (we only harvest in gardening sessions or for our events, so that we harvest at the right time and can keep track of the crops we grow). And we’ve been collecting information, to build up a picture of activity over the season. And there’s been epic composting.

More events news soon…

Meanwhile, if you’d like to join us for some community gardening, 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. 

Our honesty stall: a bit of countryside in West Ham

Honesty stalls. They’re common in the countryside but a bit of a treat to find tucked-away in an urban neighbourhood.

Our very first honesty stall was when the garden was still an overgrown patch of wasteland. Local resident and one of the founders of the project Andreas put up a stall for apples from the tree on the site.

Now we have a purpose-built stall and on it goes the surplus produce harvested at our community gardening sessions. We like to make a mixture of produce – and the variety of veg and fruits that we grow often offers a chance to try something new. The best times to look out for produce are after our free drop-in gardening sessions: Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm.

So if you live in the neighbourhood, commute from Abbey Road DLR station or you’re just visiting, come by, take a bag and leave a donation. Or even a note! (Thank you, neighbours!)

Mindfulness and tomato maintenance: the quiet rhythm of community gardening

Mindfulness and tomato maintenance. It’s an odd combination but chatting over a garden clearing job, we agreed that the quiet rhythm of gardening is a meditative thing. So just as we give the tomatoes space to ripen, we can give ourselves space to let ideas flow, enjoy the peace of the garden, be amongst nature and get some mental refreshment. All while helping maintain this beautiful urban green space and being part of a community of gardeners.

On the honesty stall this Saturday: chard and cherry tomatoes.

Fancy joining us? Our free, drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm, Thursdays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. We also hold regular community events: watch this space for details of our Harvest Festival on Saturday 30th September.