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

People and species: valiant volunteers and colourful wildlife at Abbey Gardens

In the weeks of heatwave, we’ve been hoping that a good burst of rain could give the garden a proper soaking… and it’s all come at once, a classic British summer in a day, soaking our valiant corporate volunteers from UBS. A big Abbey Gardens thank you for doing a wonderful job, clearing and tidying two of our biggest raised beds. The gloves were still drying out at our Saturday session…

The wildlife at the garden has been busy too. Marie’s sunflowers, newly-open, are attracting bees. In the strawberry bed, we’ve spotted the astonishing fluorescent yellow spider pictured above. Looking it up, we think it’s a crab spider. But if you know your spiders and can tell us more, do get in touch.

Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens, Saturday 18th August
The wonderful Triangle Market stallholders are coming to the garden for another community market on Saturday 18th August, 12 noon to 4pm. Buy produce and crafts from local businesses, listen to some live music, enjoy the garden – and this time, there’s a chance to have a go at poetry (12 noon to 3pm) and help start a history society (3pm to 4pm)!

And there will be our usual drop-in community gardening session from 11am to 4pm.

Our free 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! Tools and gloves are provided. New gardeners are always welcome.

Made by our community

Who’s gardening? At our drop-in gardening sessions, we garden and harvest together, giving as much or as little time as we can spare. A plant sown or donated by one person is watered by another, people spot a task that could do with second pair of hands and offer to help, new gardeners tackle a task alongside people who know how it’s done. We share the harvest at each session, putting any surplus on the honestly stall. Sometimes, the harvest comes back, as jam, or chutney, to share again.

This week, we’ve marvelled at our West Ham grapes – too sharp to eat but most of us have never seen grapes ripen before or looked at the clever fronds they use to climb. We’ve pinched out and tied in the tomatoes, to give them support and space to ripen. A bouquet of flowers has been gathered as a thank-you. We’ve seen neat sowing by two generations of gardeners coming up as Summer seedlings. We’ve harvested tomatoes, gathered windfall apples and netted two rows of cabbages to protect them. Our brambles have been full of blackberries. And we’ve done a lot of watering, focusing on the thirstiest crops.

Our free 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! Tools and gloves are provided. New gardeners are always welcome.

The next Triangle Market at the garden will be on Saturday 18 August, from 12 noon to 4pm.

Wonky veg, wisdom, food, fashion, music and face-painting: Triangle Market at Abbey Gardens

In a new collaboration with Triangle Market, we’ve had some amazing stalls arrive at Abbey Gardens for the first of our Summer events:

  • Wonky veg – colourful bags of fresh salad, root veg, leafy greens and fruit and, if you like the look of the produce but aren’t sure how to cook it, recipes to take away
  • Delicious Turkish food
  • Fabulous fashion for kids
  • Live caricature drawing
  • Face painting

We’ve had health workshops from Daljit Kaur and Talking Therapies. We’ve had a community lunch, with dishes made and brought by neighbours. And there’s been music from the lovely Lucy May Walker.

Triangle Market will be at the garden again on Saturday 28 July 12 noon – 4pm, this time, it’s all about health and history and there’s something for all ages:

  • Buy lovely things from traders with interesting stories
  • Enjoy some live music
  • Sign up for our Healing Food and Healing Mind workshops (booking required)
  • Join in with costume making for a history walk.

Meanwhile, we have our usual 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!

Local knowledge – horticulture and history in the garden

Our community garden is made by its people. Each person who comes to the garden brings something with them – plants, seeds, curiosity, skills, energy for getting things done, ideas, cake… and knowledge.

Today we had a visit from neighbours who told us about a fruit market that used to be nearby. Nancy’s know-how has given us our first batch of compost of the season from our own garden waste. And we had a rare and precious visit from veteran gardener Charlie, who left with sea kale and artichokes from plants given a strong start by his expert care – and a couple of freshly-baked rock buns to have with his tea.

One of the joys of gardening in this space is the variety of people that it brings together. It’s rare to walk out of the garden without learning something that you didn’t know when you came in.

Fancy joining us? 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. 

Fruitful gardening

Propagating, sowing, planting, weeding… for months in the garden, it’s all about preparation. Then, suddenly, crops are setting, fruiting, growing skywards and ready for supports (thanks, Cath, for the Bakers Row bamboo). Nothing goes to waste: clippings go to compost and crops finished and cleared to make space for new seedlings go onto the honesty stall. On a warm gardening day, there’s been iced mint tea made by garden club leader Alison. And thanks to trustee Marie, the cabin is all neat and tidy for our next flurry of Summer gardening.

Fancy joining us to help maintain this lovely green space, get active, discover new ingredients, swap gardening tips and meet the neighbours? 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. 

 

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. 

Working the land

Our gardeners are purposeful people: they turn up, often with seedlings or other garden goodies, and they get stuck in. Raised beds are dug over, compost tended, there’s planting, weeding and watering, help given where jobs need more than two hands… and there’s laughter and chat. Neighbours drop in to see how it’s going and this Saturday, there was a birthday picnic.

This week, Marie has planted marigolds among the runner beans to keep pests away, we have black cherry tomato seedlings propagated from Abbey Gardens saved seed, we’ve planted our first borlotti beans, borage has gone in for the bees, Ami has been thinning-out radishes, compost queen Nancy has been nurturing the stores of compost that have made such a difference to the soil in our raised beds and garden club leader Alison has been doing lots (and lots) of watering. No matter what time you come by, there’s something to do – a neighbour popping in at the end of the session set to with some weeding.

It’s a lovely way to spend a sunny Saturday or take a break during the week, it’s full of food and flower discoveries, it helps maintain this beautiful urban green space and, we agreed this Saturday, it’s great exercise.

If you’d like to join us for some community gardening, our free, drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Stay for the whole session, pop in for an hour, ask us about the garden or just come and enjoy the peaceful urban green space. 

New arrivals and old friends

Gardens: you turn round and suddenly, flowers are out, fruits are forming and there are signs of early Summer.

We’ve seen our first ripe strawberries this week, spinach has been cleared before it goes to seed and in its place are new seedlings, grown off-site by our busy band of volunteers. More new varieties of food crop are making their way into the garden, this week mooli and a spinach-like plant that grows red and turns green when cooked.

And there are old friends too: poppies and aquilegia. Aquilegia was in our first year’s planting plan by artists Somewhere, who designed the garden. Each year, it self-seeds and these delicate little flowers cheer us all over again.

If you’d like to join us for some community gardening, our free, drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Stay for the whole session, pop in for an hour, ask us about the garden or just come and enjoy the peaceful urban green space. 

Sunshine, teamwork and random parsnips

 

It takes teamwork to tend a community garden – and on a hot, blue sky Saturday we’ve had a good turnout, clearing around the fruit trees, tidying the raised beds and planting new seeds. Rows of mizuna have gone in and this year, we’re trying okra for the first time. Also new this year is our grapevine, making its way along the hot back wall. Not new but astonishing have been the random parsnips popping up all over the garden… we had no idea that they were so good at self-seeding! There’s colour in the garden too, from vigorous orange calendula plants and vivid pink allium.

Fancy joining us? It’s a wonderful time of year to enjoy the garden.

Our free, drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Stay for the whole session, pop in for an hour, come and say hello if you’d like to find out more about the garden – or just come and enjoy the peaceful green space. 

How’s it growing? Seeing and sorting in the Spring garden

With Summer temperatures in April, it’s felt as though the garden has been making up for lost time. We’re getting active too, sorting seeds, turning over the compost and finding spaces for sowings of Summer crops.

While our greenhouse awaits repairs, some of our gardeners are sowing seeds off-site that are started-off in pots or trays. The seedlings will be brought to the garden for planting.

And we’re looking forward to welcoming more corporate volunteers to the garden this season, tackling some of our team tasks.

Fancy joining us for some community gardening? Our free, drop-in sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Stay for the whole session, pop in for an hour, come and say hello if you’d like to find out more about the garden – or just come and enjoy the peaceful green space.