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

Architecture

Floating Cinema launched with Abbey Gardens garland

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It’s traditional to launch a barge with beer and a garland. So artists Somewhere, part of The Floating Cinema and designers of Abbey Gardens as project What Will the Harvest Be? decked-out the Duggan Morris-designed 2013 Floating Cinema with Abbey Gardens flowers and greenery for its launch at Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick.

A triumph of an evening, with cinema-gorgeous light. Our best wishes to Somewhere, Up Projects and everyone involved for a wonderful Summer of film, knowledge and canal adventures. The Floating Cinema 2013 programme is here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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.

 

Welcome to a new gardening year!

Happy New Year! We’re looking forward to the new gardening season.

Saturday 12 January has our first monthly meeting of the season at 2pm. But that’s not all…

If your new year’s resolution was to get more exercise, come and join in with the big shed clearout from 10am.

We’ll also be hearing the latest from the London Metropolitan University students on their design project looking at the back boundary.

This will be a special Winter session at the garden – there will be another on Saturday 9 February before our AGM. The garden club season will start in March: keep an eye on the blog for details.

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!

 

Making sunshine at the Winter Chill

It took some neighbourly help in heavy rain to get the marquee up and lit for our Winter Chill event. But our visitors made their own sunshine: festive tunes by members of All Saints Chorus; candle-making with founding FOAG member Torange Khonsari’s London Metropolitan University students – there were architectural models on display from their project looking at the garden’s back boundary – and wrapping paper printing with Lydia in our cabin, lit by its own solar and wind power. Warming Winter drinks and baked goods kept out the cold… and when we say our events are for all ages, they really are: young Millie, aged two, had fun with some wrapping paper making and leaflets were out for an Experiments in household knowledge walking tour featuring our veteran innovator Charlie Seber.

Many thanks to all who braved the weather to set up, help and visit!

Next up: our EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) on Saturday 1 December at 2pm in the cabin. Garden club leader Hamish will be running a special garden club session that day.

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.

Venice

What Will The Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens had the pleasure to be part of this years 13th Venice Architecture Biennial. The Hands on Urbanism exhibition curated By Elke Krasny which was originally shown in Vienna, a reduced version of the show made it to Venice where it can be seen over the next three month in the International Pavilion in the Giardini.

Hands on Urbanism shared a space with some old friends from Paris. AAA (Studio for Self Managed Architecture) came to visit Abbey Gardens very early on to show their ECHO BOX film about the development of a community garden in Paris. It was one of the first events before we had access to the site.

Torange enjoying a moment of Abbey Gardens glory in Venice