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

Gardening and Horticulture

Thank you!

It’s that time of year again, when we say thank you to everyone who has helped make the garden grow.

Thank you to all of our gardeners and behind the scenes volunteers, to our trustees, to our funders, to everyone in the neighbourhood who piles in to help set up events and to the amazing teams of corporate volunteers who bring their energy to big garden tasks.

Thanks also to the Triangle Market team and stallholders for bringing the market  – and new visitors – to the garden this Summer.

And we’ll be saying farewell to our garden club leader Alison Skeat at our Winter gardening session on Saturday 1 December, 11am-3pm with a garden meeting at midday and festive treats for volunteers.

Look out for news of the 2019 garden season.

The great Abbey Gardens cabbage harvest

Cabbage. Half a raised bed of it. On the last weekly gardening session of the season, Marie has harvested the lot, Alison has transported them to the cabin by barrow and Nancy has set to composting the leavings (and plenty more cleared garden waste besides). The cabbages have been shared amongst the day’s volunteers, with plenty left over for the honesty stall. We’ll be eating our greens!

Our 2018 regular gardening sessions have now finished for the season. But there’ll be a Winter gardening day on Saturday 1 December from 11am-3pm, with a volunteers’ meeting at 12 noon. Join us to help out in the garden, hear garden news and plans for 2019 and to say farewell to garden club leader Alison. Check here and on social media for news of our 2019 AGM, when we’ll be looking back at the 2018 season and forward to the next year in the garden.

 

Clearing, sowing and wrapping-up: it’s Autumn in the garden, with news of our end-of-season sessions and Winter gardening

Autumn is full of variety at our community gardening sessions. On the approach to the garden, the morning glory planted by Charlie and dahlias planted by the garden’s designers Nina and Karen give a burst of colour. We’ve been doing so much end-of-season clearing that our compost queen Nancy needed helpers to haul it all into the store. A new gardener has has brought a meticulous approach to preparing cleared beds for green manure seed. Garden club leader Alison has gathered-in and shared-out all of the remaining green tomatoes for chutney, fried green tomatoes, soups and more. George has harvested other end of season crops to share. Lorna’s careful cutting back of the mint has enabled new growth to spring up between the Autumn leaves. And our new feathered garden visitor has been sighted again – we think she’s a female sparrowhawk. It’s a real treat to see her in our urban setting.

We’re coming up to the end of our 2018 gardening season:

Our regular weekly gardening sessions finish with our Tuesday session 30 October 1pm-3pm, our Thursday session 1 November 4pm until dusk and our Saturday session on 3 November from 11am-4pm.

Then there’s our Winter gardening session on Saturday December 1st, 11am – 3pm. which will be our final session for 2018. This will also be Alison’s last session as Garden Leader so please do come along for some festive treats and to say farewell and thank you to her! 

We will also have garden volunteer meetings on both Saturday November 3rd and Saturday December 1st, starting at 12noon.

A wild visitor at our drop-in gardening session

Drop-in just got a whole new meaning at our Thursday gardening session: we were joined by what we think was a female sparrowhawk, perching on the back wall and the wind turbine and swooping down to the raised beds. A very rare sight in the garden and a wildlife treat as we get towards the end of our gardening season.

Come and join us for our last regular gardening sessions of the season: Saturday 27 October 11am-4pm and Tuesday 30 October 1pm-3pm. There will also be a Saturday session on 3 November, 11am-4pm. And look out for news of special Winter gardening sessions.

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.

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.

Food, crafts, music, poetry, history: Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens, Saturday 18 August, 12 noon – 4pm

Triangle Market is back at Abbey Gardens on Saturday 18 August, 12 noon-4pm

There are even more stalls to explore and enjoy:

Busra and Kubra Uz – Food Stop
Food Stop sells delicious and healthy Turkish food, cooling watermelon drinks and beautiful upcycled handicrafts. Local residents and sisters Busra and Kubra set up their business this Summer through Triangle Market, up the road from the Abbey Gardens.

Carlotta Novella – Veg
A brand new food entrepreneur with her heart in Italian cuisine and good ingredients, Carlotta sells veg boxes that you can preorder, packed with matching recipes. Abbey Gardens is her first market so come and make some new food discoveries!

Deborah Lesforis – Rosa’s Treats
Deborah’s cakes are little works of art. You might have seen them at Woodgrange Market in Forest Gate and Triangle Market, where she is a regular stallholder – now her cake loveliness is coming to Abbey Gardens. And there are vegan, low sugar and no sugar alternatives!

Kina Legg – knitwear
Kina sells beautiful knitwear and started selling at Triangle Market last Christmas when it had its first ever market event in the square. We are very happy to welcome her to Abbey Gardens and can’t wait to see what her talented fingers have knitted since then.

Ellie Clarke – tote bags
Ellie sold for the first time with Triangle Market last Sunday 12 August. She makes beautiful tote bags in different fabrics, colours and sizes. Ellie has a bag for every style, mood and color palette.

Ana Ramos – Alternating Stitches (a colourful blend of different things)
Ana makes beautifully playful fabric card holders, wired hairbands, vinyl decal stickers, and lots of personalised items. See her to upgrade your jewellery collection, get a new makeup bag or buy one of her collectors’ comic books.

Lora Toma – Salliro (Soap etc.)
Lora is a soap and bath bomb magician making the most amazing and beautiful creations that add lovely scents and a touch of luxury to your life. She a market expert since she is the market coordinator for PYM, the Plaistow Youth market.

Nina Magdziak Nayeem and Zara Nayeem – Zaras bead creations (Hama bead items)
Nina and Zara are a mother and daughter selling beautiful, intricate and colorful hama bead creations. Everything from fridge magnets, keychains, earrings to art pieces. They are so colourful and fun that it’s impossible to buy just one thing.

You are so Jammy Jams
Homemade jam – traditional favourites and traditionals with a twist. Flavours inspired by cocktails desserts and sweets.

Sugar Rush & More – Homemade sweets
Sugar Rush & More is a family run business of three women based in East London. They make and sell sweets, treats and cakes all with vegan and vegetarian options.

Karen Philips  
Bespoke glass vases

Peter Payne
Cartoon portraits – Peter was with us at our first Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens

Izabella Wasowska
Crocheted products

Shofa Miah
Second hand and household items

Also at Abbey Gardens this Saturday, free activities:

Local history session 1pm – 2pm – help start a local history society
Hear about local history in the setting of Abbey Gardens, which is itself a historical site containing the ruin of the Stratford Langthorne Abbey Gatehouse. Local history enthusiasts Marieta and Gareth will tell some local history stories and share their experience of setting up a volunteer-run history society.

Poetry in the garden with Newham Poetry Society: workshop 2pm-3pm using the garden as inspiration, open mic 3pm-4pm
Newham Poetry Society has been organising free, accessible weekly poetry sessions at Stratford Library for the past two years. Participants have shown that there is huge enthusiasm locally to read, listen, share, learn and perform poetry as an expression of lived experience. Members come from a wide range of ages, abilities, cultures and social and educational backgrounds. Members are energetic, ambitious, generous in sharing ideas and experiences and continue in conversation beyond the group settings. Newham Poetry Society has been branching out to local events and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to the garden.

There will be live music to enjoy from Natasha Kirke, @LilacUnderworld

And you can come along and ask us about our friendly 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!