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

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.

 

 

Spud Saturday: bringing in the potato harvest

Potatoes. Useful, versatile, even – but you probably wouldn’t put ‘potatoes’ and ‘fun’ in the same sentence… unless you’ve had a go at growing them. Lifting potatoes is like digging-up treasure: one plant can have an astonishing variety of spud sizes, from enormous right down to pearl-sized. And then there are the comedy veg (this year, we give you duck potatoes). Harvest done, the soil is in lovely condition and the tops have been chopped-up for compost. Our Saturday gardeners have had potatoes to take home and we’ve had plenty left for the honesty stall. If you’re passing the garden, take a bag and put a donation in the coin slot.

So, what’ll it be? Jacket potato, roasties, chunky chips, mash or salad?

If you’d like to join in with our food growing and find out how to grow your own, join us at our free drop-in gardening sessions: Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm.

Twirly carrots, snail hangouts and a haircut for the tomatoes

Tomato hairdressing, anyone? Fancy discovering where snails hang out? Or are twirly carrots your thing? We’ve had all of that at our Saturday drop-in gardening session, with friends dropping in to garden, family gardening and some visitors keen to pick our brains for their startup growing space.

The garden is lush after the week’s showers so we’ve been giving our tomatoes some space to ripen. We’ve had our best-ever carrot harvest. More poppy seed heads have been prepared for decorations. We’ve been clearing the broad bean and pea plants ready for the next crops to go in – and the clearings will become compost to go back into the raised beds.

Join in, enjoy the space, come along and ask us things… our free, drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm, Thursdays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. 

Busy as bees

Gardening stuff; creative stuff; connecting with the community stuff… there’s always something to do at the garden. Thirsty tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins, beans and squash have been watered. Tomato plants have been tidied-up to give them space to fruit. Garden club leader Alison has been experimenting with turning our poppy seed heads into decorations. Nancy has been putting together bags of garden goodies for the honesty stall (this weekend: courgettes, onions, rosemary and mint – If you’d like one, come by, take a bag and leave a donation). And the bees have been busy on the sunflowers.

Fancy joining in? Our drop-in gardening 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.

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.