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

volunteers

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. 

 

The generosity of gardeners

People have been arriving at our gardening sessions carrying mysterious bags and boxes of plants…

Our greenhouse is awaiting repairs this season so our gardeners have been propagating plants in their own spaces, sourcing new things for us to grow and bringing us their spare seedlings. This welcome generosity is bringing with it edible crops and flowers as varied as our volunteers. And because we garden and harvest together, there’s plenty of help with choosing spaces, planting and watering-in.

The garden is giving back, as gardens do: this week, perfectly-formed mounds of healthy green herbs so lovely that we can’t resist stroking them like pets and big drifts of colour from the irises joining the allium in flower.

A date for your diary:
June volunteers’ meeting
Saturday 2 June, 12 noon at the garden 
Come along to hear about and discuss the latest on news, plans and progress.
There will also be our usual Saturday gardening session from 11am-4pm.

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, ask us about the garden or just come and enjoy the peaceful green space. 

 

Spring is springing at Abbey Gardens

The fruit trees are in blossom, buds are bursting into leaf everywhere, ladybirds are out and about… there’s so much to see in Spring. Even the snails are fascinating close up.

We’ve been busy moving plants from the raised beds that’ll be first for repairs, weeding and tidying to give overwintered crops and herbs some space and chatting with garden visitors curious to know what we do.

Our free, drop-in gardening sessions led by our garden club leader Alison Skeat are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm or Saturdays 11am-4pm. Unlike an allotment, we garden and harvest together. Tools and gloves are provided. Come for the whole session or just drop in for as long as you have. There are energetic jobs, gentle jobs or if you just want to come and enjoy the peaceful green space of the garden, that’s fine too.

We also welcome corporate volunteers, clubs, school groups, visitors from other community and gardening projects and academic researchers. If you’re interested in organising a session, visit, workshop or activity with us, contact us to find out more.

The Abbey Gardens AGM

Our Annual General Meeting will be on Saturday 3 March, 2-4pm at The Bowling Club, Stratford Park, London E15. If you’re interested in how the garden works or would like to find out how to get involved, join us to look back at the 2017 gardening season and discuss 2018 plans.

And with the first of the Spring bulbs starting to flower, it’s time to look forward to the new gardening season. Our free drop-in gardening sessions will be starting again soon. Check back here and on social media for news. Whether you’re a new gardener or an old hand, our sessions are a great way to get outdoors, get active, meet the neighbours, pick up some new gardening skills or just enjoy a peaceful green space in the city.

Hardy perennials at our second Winter gardening session

It takes hardy gardeners to rock up on a cold, rainy Sunday to help get the garden ready for Spring. But the rewards are pops of colour that we only spot when we’re gardening. Little irises, bright with raindrops, rich red sedum, new growth at the bases of plants that just look like sticks from a distance – and then there’s Marie’s guerrilla hyacinth.

Look out for news on the starting date for our regular free drop-in gardening sessions. Whether you’re an old hand or new to the neighbourhood, it’s a great way to get active, enjoy some time outdoors, discover new plants and skills and meet the neighbours.

Meanwhile, our Annual General Meeting will be on Sat 3 March, 2-4pm at The Bowling Club, Stratford Park, London E15. If you’re interested in how the garden works or would like to find out how to get involved, join us to look back at the 2017 gardening season and discuss 2018 plans.

A round of applause for our garden community

With nights drawing-in, leaves on the ground and overwintering plants in for next Spring, it’s time to say thank you to all of the people in our community who give so generously of their time, energy, skill and talent:

Our volunteer gardeners of all ages, from all corners of our community – whether you come along several times a week or just once in a while, you make the garden grow
Torange, our Chair, and our board of trustees, who put in time on strategy and fundraising
Dasha, treasurer and organiser of our Chilli Festival
Kate, who takes the minutes at our meetings
Tim, Louis, Mike and everyone who’s helped out on infrastructure and tech this year
Cath, who donates design time for our event posters and flyers and runs our Twitter and Instagram feeds
Everyone who bakes and cooks for our events
Everyone who’s had an idea and run with it (step forward, compost queen Nancy and mulching marvel Marie)
Old garden friends who come back to help us with their specialist knowledge (thank you, Hamish)
Veteran gardener, innovator and thinker Charlie, who’s been directing operations on our second greenhouse, built, like the first, to his design

And a special mention for our welcoming and fearless garden club leader Alison, our one paid worker, who cheerily goes beyond the call of duty coming up with ideas for things we can make with the plants we grow.

Our community made this garden and the garden has made a community. Thank you, everyone.

Our last drop-in gardening session of the season is on Saturday 4 November 11am-4pm, with our garden meeting at 2pm to catch up on news and discuss plans. See you next season and meanwhile, look out for any special sessions or gatherings over the Winter.

 

Maria’s mulching marvel

It’s hard work, clearing. You’re not just wrenching plants out of the raised beds; there’s an awful lot of chopping to do to get them ready for the compost. So when volunteer Maria turned gardening superhero this Saturday, announcing that she had got a great deal on hire of a mulching machine and friend-funded the cost, we were very happy indeed.

But superheroes just don’t stop… several barrowloads of clearing later, as if by magic, magnificent bouquets had appeared, made from cutting flowers and garden clearings.

The machine is booked for Saturday 23rd September – so if you fancy joining us to feed it, come along to the gardening session (11am-4pm).

Thank you, Maria!

Our drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thorsdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm.

Corporate volunteers and the horseradish challenge

There are tasks around the garden that groups of volunteers can make light work of – and that’s where our corporate volunteers come in. They maintain paths, chop up cleared plants ready for compost, shift materials around for build projects, set up supports ready for climbing plants, do epic amounts of weeding… they’re made of tough, cheery stuff.

But then, garden club leader Alison throws down [pause for drum roll] the horseradish challenge. We have a raised bed full of the stuff and it’s a beast to pull up. So take a bow, all who’ve stepped forward and emerged victorious with this toughest of roots!

Pictured above, the marvellous team from HSBC who came to us via ELBA (East London Business Alliance) and their horseradish challengers.

And a big Abbey Gardens thank-you to all of our corporate volunteers – including teams from Mace Group, Morgan McKinley, MJ Mapp and via Benefacto. You make a massive difference to our lovely community garden.

To find out more about corporate volunteering at the garden, contact ELBA, Benefacto, get in touch with us or drop by one of our community gardening sessions (Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm).