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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AEC v1.0.4 Click here to see full calendar


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


On the radio, in the garden and on the street

It’s gorgeous in the garden this week – and our very own garden club leader, Alison Skeat, has been telling Robert Elms all about it on BBC Radio London. Hear it again here [go to 01:42:10].

In our Saturday session, we’ve been watering, weeding and tidying. There’s been family gardening – people of all ages get involved in helping the garden grow. We’ve been stocking the honesty stall by the gate, where passers-by can take surplus produce for a small donation.

We’ve had a visitor come along just to enjoy the colours. And a cheery group walking the Capital Ring dropped by, visiting to see the site of the walk leader’s childhood home.

Fancy joining us? We have drop-in gardening sessions on Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm, Thursdays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. Or just come and enjoy the peaceful green space – we’re open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk.


Abbey Gardens in print

Read all about us! We’re in the Summer issue of the RHS Growing Communities magazine, with an article written by our very own Alison Gibson. You can download the Summer issue here.

Events Calendar 2012

A busy year ahead – have a look at all the wonderful events taking place at Abbey Gardens this year. You can download a pdf version of the events calendar here.

Also visit our Online Calendar for a quick overview of all events taken place, Garden Club Sessions, FOAG meetings and all other events included.

(You can find the calendar in the ‘Events’ section on the website)

Hands-on Urbanism 1850 – 2012

Abbey Gardens is included in an interesting exhibition about Hands-on urbanism which will open in Vienna at the Architecture Centre on the 14th of March 2012. If you are around please drop in, have a look and let us know what you think. (address below)

”Hands-on / practical, involving action, based on active participation
Urbanism / urbanization; the culture and way of life of urban dwellers

Hands-on urbanism, bottom-up urbanism and irregular urbanization are not the exception to the rule – they are driving forces behind the urban development and often behind changes in urban policy. From the onset of industrialization, first in Europe and North America and then in the Southern hemisphere, to today’s neoliberal, developer-driven global city, the history of urban transformation processes unfolds as a sequence of critical situations. Gardening and informal settling are indicative of these crises. Taking root from below, these self-organized, self-help practices are dynamic and inspiring agencies of change” (Elke Krasny, curator)

In conjunction with the exhibition a book is published in German with Turia + Kant Verlag, Vienna and in English with MCCM Creations, Hongkong. The book contains 26 essays, including new texts, but also reprints of texts by Jane Addams and John F.C. Turner 356 pages, 300 photographs. Hopefully you can find a copy of the book in the Abbey Gardens library very soon.

Also accompanying the exhibition is a very interesting programme of events.
You can download the PDF flyer here.

Architekturzentrum Wien
Museumsplatz 1 im
1070 Wien, Österreich
T +43 1 522 31 15
F +43 1 522 31 17

Abbey Gardens on Radio 4

Listen to Broadcasting House on Radio 4, Sunday 25 September at 9am to hear Paul Mason talking to one of the garden’s founders, Torange and visiting Friends Of Abbey Gardens member Charlie at his front garden. The broadcast is about London Borough of Newham encouraging residents to tidy their front gardens in the run-up to next year’s Games.


The Ecologist just published a list of their 10 favourite gardening blogs and Abbey Gardens gets a top billing. Thanks to the Ecologist and thanks to all the past and future bloggers.

On this note I also want to give a big THANK YOU to Dorian Frazer Moore from The Useful Arts who – until last month – has been hosting the Abbey Gardens blog. This massive in kind contribution did not only extend to free server space but to countless hours of bug fixing, answering monthly requests about forgotten passwords and not to mention near endless advice and patience for the Abbey Garden Web Cam. If you want to see some of Dorians work you don’t have to look far either. He is behind the WHAT WILL THE HARVEST BE? website and PLANT DATABASE as well as the AVANT GARDENING site which is just below Abbey Gardens in the top 10 of the Ecologist. I recommend browsing the extensive list of fantastic sites in The Useful Arts portfolio … and while you do have a look at the International Village Shop which also features the Abbey Gardens honesty stall.

Weaveing culture and community into regeneration

Matilda Lee from The Ecologist wrote a short piece on Abbey Gardens What Will The Harvest Be? and the friends group. Click here to view the article


Plot number 79

Capital Growth website Jan 2010

We are featured on the home page of the Capital Growth website with a nice link to the ‘What Will the Harvest be?” site.

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


“…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.