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

insects

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.

Bug Hotel

There is much to do at Abbey gardens at the moment: planting, watering, making compost and much more,  even with all these gardening tasks to do, last saturday we decided to take some time to make a bug hotel, this is a collection of objects neatly put together to provide places for various insects to live and hibernate. We built ours under the guidance of Petra, who is a biologist who volunteers at the garden. The finished article looks fantastic we will be monitoring the bug hotel over the season to see what bugs are checking in.

Over the next few weeks we will be planting many types of beans, courgettes, cucumbers, squashes and probably a lot more as well, this will be happening during the weekday gardening  sessions (Tuesday 1pm-3pm, Thursday 4pm-7pm) and the Saturday gardening session (10am-3pm) Other tasks we will be doing are weeding the wildflower strip, weeding the paths between the beds, regularly checking over the fruit trees and bushes for pests, thinning out leafy crops, herbs and beetroot sown earlier in the year and we will be harvesting radishes and mustard greens, so there’s something for everyone down at Abbey Gardens.  

Hamish Liddle (Garden Club Leader)

The finished bug hotel_1_lo

Butterflies in your Bedroom?

I have a new bad habit: before going to the Gardens, I stop by a Polish café in Stratford for some greasy breakfast.  Two weeks ago, Ashley and I fortified ourselves with sausages, eggs and toast, and this past Saturday I roped Kevin and our friend Vicky into joining me for a tray of forbidden fried foods (Vicky discovered the Gardens on the last Harvest Festival and was immediately enchanted.)  I tell myself that I need to clog my arteries with some good grease in order to get through all the digging, mulching and wheel-barrowing… or maybe it’s just the dawning of chilly winter days that’s making me crave hibernation foods.

Saturday Soup

This past Saturday, despite the English Breakfast sitting in my stomach, I found some space to taste Dasha’s delicious veggie soup after getting some soil turned and rye grass seeds sowed to protect the beds during the winter. Some of the engineers working on the soon-to-open Abbey Road station donated gloves for the Garden’s workers (I predict they’ll soon be in there with us, pulling out weeds), some decisions were made on fundraising for the Garden’s future, some of the children ran back and forth collecting autumn leaves in wheel barrows and dropping them in the compost boxes, and a guided walk was held by Hamish through the beds to highlight ideas for next year’s planting.

During the guided walk, one of the gardners – a man with long white hair tied in a pony tail (apologies for not knowing your name yet!) – told us how he collected white cabbage caterpillars so he could leave them in his grandchildren’s bedroom. Why? So that their bedrooms could be filled with butterflies when they all came out of their cocoons. Another tale confounded us: a visitor to the Gardens had collected all the potato leaves and taken them home to use for a dish. But aren’t potato leaves poisonous, some of us asked ourselves. The consensus seemed to be that yes, they are – but maybe there was a particular way of using them for this dish that side-stepped the poison. Can’t be worse though than an English Breakfast every Saturday!

Lots of Bees

d-bee

c-bee

b-bee

a-bee

e-bee

These pictures of bees were snapped around the garden today. It seems we have quite a few around and they love the flowers, particularly the borage. It would be great to get some bee hives !