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

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.

 

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.

Gathering in

AGblog_storing and making

We grow things… and then there’s the gathering-in: the harvest, the storage and the knowledge.

We’ve packed our potatoes away out of the light and put tomatoes out to ripen. Some of us have been at the garden and others out to the Newham Community Gardens Network event at the lovely East Ham Nature Reserve, where we’ve compared notes with people from other garden projects and taken part in a Cordwainers Grow flax workshop.

So what’s next? To help shape our plans for the future, come along to our monthly meeting on Saturday 7 November at 2pm. And there’s our Winter celebration on Saturday 5 December – more information coming soon.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty of gardening still to do, with garden club sessions continuing through the month. So come along, get active and help prepare and plant for our next gardening year.

Busy bees, a duck potato and courgette plumbing: just another Saturday at Abbey Gardens

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Our volunteers help on all sorts of tasks at our gardening sessions, whether it’s delicate thinning-out or the big digging jobs. And there’s plenty to watch, marvel at and enjoy. So what have we seen this week?

The week’s comedy vegetable: ladies and gents, we present the duck potato
Bees still finding plenty of pollen in the dahlias
The visible ‘plumbing’ in a courgette stalk
The reason why we built such a large cage to protect the purple sprouting broccoli plants (they’re huge)

And we’ve shared a magnificent harvest of beetroot.

A date for your diary: our Winter celebration on Saturday 5 December. Join a festive wreath-making workshop, enjoy the fairylit Winter garden and warm up with soups and hot drinks. More details soon.

Harvest Festival East: Saturday 26 September

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Harvest Festival East
Saturday 26th September 2015 1pm-4pm
Abbey Gardens, Bakers Row, London E15 3NF (next to Abbey Road DLR station)
A free event for all ages

Come and enjoy a celebration of the year’s gardening, with contributions from all corners of our community:

Young people from the National Citizen Service, Team Perham, will be leading apple dunking and other activities

Think you’ve got the perfect apple tart recipe? Show us your finest in the apple tart competition!

Tour the garden with garden club leader Hamish Liddle and find out about some of the experimental crops we’ve been growing this year

Enjoy home-baked goodies at our ever-popular tea and cake stall

Quirky Nature will present a quirky gang of tasty fresh-pressed juices using organic ingredients mostly from Abbey Gardens. Come and meet Peter Green, Jack Ginger, Mary Roots among other unique personified recipes

Buy fresh produce on our honesty stall

Music, dancing and a fun workshop will be provided by Bollywood Dance Group, Tridhara

Enjoy seasonal food made by Tom Fletcher of Rejuce using harvest from the garden

All activities are free. Food, drink and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden.

Event graphics kindly donated by Catherine French.