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


Abbey Gardens calendar out now

Out now: the first Abbey Gardens calendar with pictures voted-for by Friends of Abbey Gardens.

The calendar is A5 (148mm wide x 210 deep) with wire binding and a hanger. All of the pictures were taken by volunteers, all of the artwork services were donated and the printers very kindly gave us a discount.

You can have your very own copy in exchange for a donation of £5. The proceeds will go towards the upkeep of the garden.

To order a copy, please email us.

For a sneak preview you can download a low resolution PDF of the calendar here.

Winter Celebration Saturday 27 November

FREE entry
Abbey Gardens, Bakers Row, London E15 3NF

Take part in a bird-feeding workshop and learn how to make feeders for Abbey Gardens and your own outside space this winter. Enjoy home-made vegetable soup with bread, and festive treats such as mince pies. See the garden lit with fairy lights.  Browse the Honesty Stall with its selection of handcrafted cards made with pressed flowers from the garden. Pick up an Abbey Gardens Calendar 2011 with the favourite photographs of the gardening year.

2.30pm: event opens

3pm: bird-feeding workshop

5pm-5.15pm and 5.45pm-6pm: choir singing

6pm: event closes

All activities are free of charge. Food, drink, cards and calendars are available for donations. Cake, tea, coffee and other refreshments will be served throughout the event. Soup will be served from 3.30pm – how long it will be available will depend on appetites!

Things to make and do

Abbey Gardens card making session

If youd like to get creative, join our card making workshop on Saturday 6 November from 11am-12noon. Well be using pressed flowers and other garden-related things.

Call-out for calendar pictures

Were producing our first ever calendar so send us your favourite pictures of Abbey Gardens. Funny vegetable sculptures, wonderful wildlife, comedy carrots – pictures that tell the story of our gardening year. Please email your high-resolution JPEGs to a href=mailto:lydia@thornley.co.uk Lydia/a by 3 November. And if your pictures contain people, please make sure that theyre people you know and can contact so that they (or if theyre children, their parents) can give us written permission to use their picture. Well put pictures up in the cabin on 6 November for votes at the monthly meeting.

Monthly meeting

Our monthly meeting will be on 6 November at 2pm in the cabin. Or if were feeling particularly-hardy, outside.

Our winter event

Look out for news of our winter event in late November – date to be confirmed soon.

All the fun of the Fair


The sun shone, the bunting fluttered, our fabulous new honesty stall designed by Public Works made its debut stocked with artichokes, broad beans and flowers and we had enough delicious home-made cakes to feed the neighbourhood several times over. Even our wildflowers made an appearance for the occasion. A big thank-you to everyone who helped, baked and visited, to the manufacturers and contractors for our new gate and honesty stall – and of course, to Community Spaces, London Borough of Newham and all of our other funders and supporters.

Local Produce and Local Dissemination



The idea for the workshop is to brainstorm and develop new objects/items/goods that derive from the context of Abbey Gardens a collective urban food growing site. The brief is open and will be developed collectively and in reference to specific aspects of Abbey Gardens, such as collective gardening and harvesting, urban food production, social and historical aspects of the site, etc.

The aim for the two day workshop is to develop a brief for one or a number of new products, and if possible, to assemble first prototypes. The new items can be anything: from food or tools to plants or processes and of a real or digital nature.

The products may later be used at Abbey Gardens and distributed locally through the Abbey Gardens’ new honesty box and mobile stall. The honesty box, conceived as part of
What Will The Harvest Be? is part of a wider network of cultural trading activities and platforms called the International Village Shop, where the new products for Abbey Gardens can become part of a growing collection of locally informed and produced goods.

Fri 26th March

10.00 Meeting at Abbey Gardens
Introduction of all participants and their different interests in being involved.
Mapping session of local resources/narratives/skills/appreciations/conflicts within Abbey Gardens and its proximity which could inform the new products.
13.00 Lunch at Abbey Gardens
14.00 – 17.00 Further mapping and group session brainstorming and sketching first ideas for a new
19.00 Friday Session_39 – an informal discussion at public works studio, 1-5 Vyner Street, London E2 9DG

With presentations by
Nina Pope from Somewhere on What Will the Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens in Stratford
Celine Condorelli talking about commons and things in common
Cristina Cerutti about the Crokkes-Walkley Transition group in Sheffield
Nolwenn Marchand from aaa on Le 56 ECOintersice in Paris
Followed by discussion and food and drinks.

Sat 27th March
10.00 Production workshop at Abbey Gardens, aiming towards a brief and first prototypes for new products.
12.30 Informal lunch and internal presentation of workshop results.
13.30 Further sketching/prototyping/building
15.00 Tea and cakes followed by presenting results to the public
15.30 Discussion about the different values involved in making and trading the new product
within the context of the Abbey Gardens Honesty Box and the International Village Shop
16.30 Finish

Who Will Take Part?
The workshop is organised collaboratively by the Friends of Abbey Gardens, Somewhere and public works it takes place within the context of an EU cultural project called RHYZOM.

Members of Abbey Gardens are invited to join. To reserve a place for the workshop email us – mail@abbeygardens.org – or Contact Andreas on 07866566162 Please not that places are limited and reservation is needed.


The writing on the wall …… is looking great!

The writing on the wall.

The brand new sign alone is worth a trip down to the garden. You can’t miss it!
Installed by Andy with support from Nina, produced by Formet.

What will the planting be?


If you want to get a taste for next years harvest you can have a look at the planting plan for 2010.
The document is best viewed by downloading it and viewing it in a pdf viewer.
Download the planting plan here -> Planting Plan 2010

PRESS RELEASE NOV 2009 – What Will the Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens


wwthb_portacabin_lowres.jpg photo: Nina Pope

To download the latest press release click here -> Press Release Nov 2009
If you have further questions of require full resolution images please email us

Press release
for immediate release

Volunteers invited to plant our fruit wall Sat Jan. 16th, 10.30am – 3.30pm
Friends of Abbey Gardens and artists Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope invite you to join them for their first gardening event of 2010 – the planting of 30 young fruit trees in their East London public garden as part of the visionary project What Will the Harvest Be?

The wall-trained trees are the crowning glory of this unique open-access ‘harvest garden’ where literally anyone may learn about, grow and harvest fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers.

What Will the Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens, West Ham is a communally-gardened vegetable and flower garden initiated by Friends of Abbey Gardens, a dynamic group of local residents living on the adjacent Baker’s Row, a stone’s throw from the 2012 Olympic site. The residents challenged London Borough of Newham (LBN) to halt the neglect of the overgrown third of an acre / 1600 sq m plot, protected from development by its notable historic ruins, to which English Heritage has awarded Scheduled Ancient Monument status. The remains span from those of a 12th C Cistercian abbey gatehouse to the foundations of terraced homes of the late 19th C and are a prominent feature within the new garden. London Borough of Newham rose to the challenge and provided both funding and active support from its Engagement Officer and West Ham Councillors.

The What Will the Harvest Be? project was designed by artists Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope of Somewhere, commissioned to come up with how both plants and people could grow together. The artists, who are both garden enthusiasts, designed bespoke raised beds in a formal, triangular layout inspired by the local ‘Plaistow Landgrabbers’, an early 20th century land squatter group whose ‘Triangle Camp’ picture is emblazoned life-size on the Abbey Gardens shed. The artists also recruited Chris Cavalier, a young performing arts graduate and gardener who has led free garden club sessions at the site since April.

Event details
Abbey Gardens, Bakers Row, London E15 3NF
Volunteers are advised to bring lunch and to wear stout shoes and warm clothes including gloves.
Tools are provided. New participants for 2010 are always welcome.

E mail@abbeygardens.org
High-resolution pictures available from somewhere.org.uk
E artists@somewhere.org.uk

Notes to editors
Though garden landscaping finished only in June 09, the project’s highlights this year included:
– the participation of more than 100 Londoners of all ages in regular free garden club sessions led by leader Chris Cavalier
– a packed Harvest Festival in September, where Observer Food award-winning restauranteur Sam Clark of Moro cooked fresh garden produce for over 150 visitors
– an innovative website showing the more than 150 vegetable and flower varieties planted and harvested by participants, including some brand-new tomato cultivars bred by a volunteer

Plans for the open-access site in 2010 include hosting cookery and social events, growing an experimental tropical fruit selection outdoors, work with local mental health charities and schoolchildren, and distributing excess fresh produce to local groups and businesses.

To date What Will the Harvest Be? has been funded by London Development Agency, London Borough of
Newham, Arts Council England and supported by Chiltern Seeds. In Autumn this year the Friends of Abbey Gardens group made a successful bid to the Community Spaces programme to support on-going development of the garden. The Community Spaces grants programme is being managed by Groundwork UK as an Award Partner to the Big Lottery Fund. Community Spaces is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces initiative.

Community Spaces
Community Spaces is a £50 million open grants programme that is managed by Groundwork UK as an award partner to the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces initiative. The programme helps community groups create or improve green and open spaces so that the quality of life in neighbourhoods across England is enhanced. Only community groups in England are eligible to apply to Community Spaces – a full eligibility criteria is available at www.community-spaces.org.uk. The programme has been open for small and medium grants (£10,000 – £49,999) since March 2008 and will remain open for these sizes of grants until 2011.

Groundwork UK
Groundwork supports communities in need, working with partners to help improve the quality of people’s lives, their prospects and potential and the places where they live, work and play. Our vision is of a society of sustainable communities which are vibrant, healthy and safe, which respect the local and global environment and where individuals and enterprise prosper. For further information visit: www.groundwork.org.uk

Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme was launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments. The programme is funding a range of activities from local food schemes and farmers markets, to education projects teaching people about the environment. Groundwork UK was appointed as a Changing Spaces award partner, responsible for distributing £50 million through its Community Spaces scheme.

The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888 Out of hours: 07867 500 572
Public enquiries line: 08454 102030 Textphone: 08456 021 659
Full details of the work of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk


Abbey Gardens web presence is growing


Somewhere.org.uk who’s project ‘What Will the harvest be?’ helped us to transform the site and establish the harvest garden, have launched a brand new website dedicated to the project. It features among other thing a wonderful plant database which, thanks to Chris, is steadily growing.

The website was programmed by Dorian Moore @ the useful arts

“…learn a thing about blogging’

Our humble Abbey Gardens blog is listed as a shining example for the TalkTalk digital heroes award on the Groundworks UK website.