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.


In the garden:

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Gardening sessions take place on
Tuesdays 1pm-3pm
Thursdays 4pm-7pm
Saturdays 10am-4pm


School 21

School 21 teachers

Five teachers from School 21 (which is housed on the old Rockaby School site in Stratford) came by the garden today on their quest to explore local organisations in order to set up new links with the school and their students. Its always enjoyable to explain the garden, how it came about and how it all works and the conversations it triggers. The garden is a real manifestation of a collective effort with a strong ethos of sharing. The conversations are a welcome reminder of what we all have achieved over the years.
On another note, I am happy to officially confirm that four out of five visiting teachers passed the ‘smell the comfrey liquid challenge’ – an outstanding result.


Mobile Work-Shop designed for Abbey Gardens by students from The Cass wins RIBA NWLSA student award


Students from Undergraduate Studio 3 at The Cass, part of London Metropolitan University, have won a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) North West Society of Architects (NWSLA) student award for their mobile Work-Shop designed for Abbey Gardens.

Undergraduate Studio 3 is a live projects studio which explores new ways of looking at the role of the architect within social projects in the city.

The students learnt how to set up and initiate a community governed public project by studying Abbey Gardens. To immerse themselves in our community of gardeners and build a relationship with us, the students created ‘conversation kits’ – products using the garden as a source of knowledge. The conversations led to the students working with Friends of Abbey Gardens to redefine and redesign a previous structure built by studio 3 students in 2008 which, by 2013 was run down and useless.

The trailer meets the need at the garden for a dual-purpose workshop and product display space. Its first use at Abbey Gardens has been for a tiny top hat workshop at our history-themed Vintage Summer Party.

Learning from the process and community at Abbey Gardens, the students took the trailer to Hayes, where they had been asked by the local authority to initiate community run gardens in the Austin Housing Estate. The students set up events to find key players who would be interested to engage with such a community project. Identifying local partners such as Grow Heathrow and Hillingdon play association the students used their conversation kits again to discuss how a productive landscape can nurture ecological products to sell and educational workshops.

The project will be on show at RIBA in November. Meanwhile, visitors and gardeners can see the trailer on site at Abbey Gardens.

Students: Weon Young Choi, 
Ludovica Cirillo
, Gerald Darling, 
Errol Houston
, Riam Ibrahem
, Hongjae Kim
Fadwa Mezughi
, Haneen Shames
, Mirko Solinas, 
Halil Yorel
, Valerie Ziregbe

Tutors: Torange Khonsari and Sandra Denicke-Polcher

More about the project and The Cass here

More about the NWSLA here

Bright ideas at our Spring event

Bright Ideas_blog

Lab, workshop, exhibition space… Abbey Gardens was buzzing with bright ideas at our Spring event. Visitors could hear all about the birdbox project and the new ecoshed, have a go at paper making, get involved in the building of our new weather station, visit the greenhouse to find out about Experiments in Household Knowledge and take a (very) close look at our plant species and bugs.

A huge proud-to-know-you-all thank you to Amanda and colleague from the bird box project, biologists Marleen and Anna, Torange and students from London Metropolitan University, Andreas, Charlie and the French brothers. Ideas being hungry and thirsty work, our appreciation to all bakers and servers for our busy cake stall. Thanks too for warm welcomes at the greeting table and garden chat at the honesty stall. A round of applause to the events team, our Chair Erwan, who now has a donated lectern for his announcements… and after a late start to the growing season, a salute to Growing PlaceE16 in Canning Town for helping to stock our honesty stall for the day, our gardeners and a generous visitor with three fruit trees.

To all of our visitors, thank you for coming along on a glorious Saturday afternoon. We look forward to seeing you again at our garden club sessions and events.


Bright Ideas: explore science, innovation and design in the garden at our Spring Event, Saturday 20 April 2-5pm



Explore science, innovation and design in the garden at our FREE event for all ages
on Saturday 20 April from 2-5pm

The launch of our new Eco-Shed designed by students from London Metropolitan University
Adventures in Household Knowledge with Public Works and our veteran innovator Charlie
A plant science safari
Find out about the new bird box project
Have a go at one of our innovation activities
Q&A with garden club leader Hamish
Goodies on the honesty stall
Visit our refreshment tent for tea, coffee and home made cake

All activities are free. Tea, cake and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden. 

Season’s greetings and a look ahead

Whether you’re celebrating a festival or hibernating until the days are longer and the new shoots appear, greetings from Abbey Gardens and a look forward to our early 2013 meetings:

Monthly meeting Saturday 12 January at 2pm in the cabin. We’ll also see the latest on the London Metropolitan University students’ project looking at the back boundary of the garden

AGM Saturday 9 February at 2pm, venue to be confirmed – and if one of your New Year’s resolutions is getting more exercise, come and help with the big garden tidy-up from 10am!


Friends of Abbey Gardens awarded ‘outstanding’ in RHS London In Bloom It’s Your Neighbourhood

We’re very proud to have done even better than last year’s ‘Thriving’ award in RHS London In Bloom It’s Your Neighbourhood: This year, Friends of Abbey Gardens was among the groups that received the highest grade of “Outstanding”, with 86 points out of 100 for community participation, environmental responsibility and gardening achievement. At the ceremony we were presented with a certificate which Charlie received on behalf of all members of FOAG.

The judge’s comments on her assessment report after her visit in July praised FOAG as a “very enthusiastic and dedicated group which is very reflective of the community”; its “Passionate head gardener and team who are maintaining this garden to high horticultural standards”; its planning, planting, maintenance, presentation and management, the selling of produce and the self-made greenhouse. There was even a mention for the classic Abbey Gardens rock bun, our Saturday gardening snack! The report concluded: “This garden certainly enhances the area and makes great use of an open site to promote gardening. An excellent community resource which is reflected in the award received.”

Did we rest on our laurels this Saturday? Well, we paused for a photo-opportunity with the framed certificate (and a rock bun or two) but with the sun shining, there was gardening to be done: beans to clear, beds to tidy, chinese leaves, beetroot and greens to harvest and garlic to plant. We also had a presentation of prototypes from a group of London Metropolitan University architecture students working on a project about the back space of the garden and the eco-shed.

Garden Club Sessions, Apple Tasting and Strategic Conversations

The cold winter is behind us and it is with great pleasure that we can confirm that the Gardening Club will restart on Saturdays from this Saturday 5 th March from 10am to 3pm.

Hamish Liddle, our Garden Club Leader, will be running the sessions this year again.

The Gardening Club sessions will be held on Saturdays only for the time being, but we are hoping to restart sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays as soon as possible. We will let you know when funding is secured.

Please join us for this great new gardening season!

Also – This Saturday, as previously announced, there will be a focus group with postgraduate student Poppy Nichol on Apple quality and access taking place in the cabin at 12pm. Everyone is welcome.

Last but not least, Saturday the 5th of March will will be our monthly meeting. It will start at 1PM in the Cabin to allow time for our an in depth ‘Strategy’ discussion. The meeting will focus on the objectives of the Friend’s Group, how do we see it and the garden evolve in the short, medium, long term, what do we need to get there, how much more/ less are we hoping/willing to contribute to the garden.

See you all on Saturday

somewhere presenting Abbey Gardens at the RCA

Nina and Karen from somewhere presented What Will the Harvest be? at the Sustain Talks held at the Royal College of Art in November 2010. You can now watch it on the RCA website.

Click here to view the video of the presentation

Here is a little info on the Sustain Talks series:

Sustainable art and design at the Royal College of Art
Sustain is a showcase for the work, issues and arguments that relate to the ever-more-complex arena of sustainability within the Royal College of Art. The RCA offers a unique forum: we can open up and explore issues without the pressure solely to present solutions; and we bring the ‘systems’-thinking creativity of cross-disciplinary discussion to the presentation and discussion of sustainable practice in art and design disciplines.

Sustainability represents a key emerging institutional need across the creative and cultural industries. Our goal at the RCA is to inspire and challenge a new creative generation across the UK to embrace and address sustainability in their work, demonstrating how principles of sustainability and responsibility can fuel innovation, and support and enhance real-world strategies for change.