Mapping. You wouldn’t think that was part of gardening but there are a lot of raised beds at Abbey Gardens and this time of year, we’re noting what we’re planting as we go. And we’ve powered through the planting this Saturday – broad beans, carrots, parsnips, spinach, herbs, the dahlias we divided last weekend and more besides. There’s lots of weeding too at this time of year, to reveal the lovely Spring flowers showing their colours. But it’s not all gardening at Abbey Gardens… we’ve had a couple of visitors come in to take pictures and a journalism student filming a short interview about the garden.
Whether we’re on your way somewhere or you’d like to come and garden, whether you’ve only got a bit of time, you want to get stuck in or you’d like to ask us about the garden, we’re always happy to see regulars and new people. Our free, drop-in gardening sessions are on Saturdays from 11am-4pm, Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm and Thursdays from 4pm-7pm.
Spring! A bit of warm sunshine has brought new gardeners, old friends and visitors into Abbey Gardens. We’ve been mapping what’s there, clearing ready for Spring planting, preparing raised beds for sowing, thinning young plants and enjoying the pop of colour from Spring bulbs. We’ve marvelled at the number of tubers one dahlia can produce, paused to watch butterflies and bees and put some teamwork into lifting stubborn hyssop roots.
Fancy joining us? Whether you’re new to gardening or an old hand, you’ll be very welcome. Our free, drop-in gardening sessions are on Saturdays from 11am-4pm, Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm and Thursdays from 4pm-7pm. Tools and gloves provided, no experience necessary.
We’re starting our new gardening season with our Saturday drop-in session on 4 March – with a new time of 11am – 4pm. Our weekday sessions are Tuesdays 1pm – 3pm and Thursdays 4pm – 7pm.
We garden and harvest together: join in for as much or as little time as you can spare, get stuck in with some spadework or do one of the delicate jobs. New gardeners are always welcome – no experience necessary. Or just come and say hello and enjoy the peaceful green space.
Our AGM will take place on Sunday 5 March at 2pm, at School 21, London E15 4RZ. It’s a great opportunity to find out more about the running of the garden and volunteer your organisational or practical skills for the behind-the-scenes work that helps make the garden grow. Please arrive promptly at the back entrance of School 21 on New Mount Street. The main front gate and reception on Pitchford Street are closed at the weekend.
There are all sorts of ways to get involved in Abbey Gardens – whether you want to get active, learn about growing food and flowers, take pictures, meet the neighbours, catch up on local chat, join in with the maintenance, volunteer your skills behind the scenes – or just enjoy this peaceful urban green space.
We’re getting ready to start the spring season. Pictured top left, Alison Skeate is our garden club leader – a local resident who set up the Dirty Hands project, Alison has been busy getting to know the garden, seed collecting and experimenting with things we can make from the plants we grow. Designer Cath French, above left, has been taking pictures to show just how much new growth is in the garden, even in February. And there’ll be lots more going on, doing maintenance and planning planting.
Dates for your diary:
Our 2017 gardening season starts on Saturday 4 March from 11am to 4pm. Weekday sessions are on Tuesdays from 1pm to 3pm and on Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm. Our sessions are drop-in so you can stay for the whole session or pop in for as long as you have. We have monthly meetings on the first Saturday of the month at 2pm in the cabin (no meeting on 4th March because of the AGM the next day) – everyone is welcome who’s interested to hear garden news or help behind the scenes.
Our AGM will take place on Sunday 5 March at 2pm, at School 21, London E15 4RZ. Please arrive promptly at the back entrance of School 21 on New Mount Street. The main front gate and reception on Pitchford Street are closed at the weekend.
As the leaves fall and the nights draw in, we come to the end of our growing season and our weekly gardening sessions finish for the year.
But there will be a Winter gardening session, from 10am to 4pm, on Saturday 4 February. We’ll be collecting seeds, clearing, preparing the soil for next season and doing some maintenance. So whether you enjoy delicate jobs, fancy some energetic digging-over and compost-shovelling or are handy at helping with repairs, you’ll be very welcome.
There’s always plenty to help with behind the scenes too so if you’ve passed the garden on your way to the station and would like to find out more or volunteer your skills, get in touch – we’ll be happy to hear from you.
There’s colour everywhere you look at the garden this season: artichokes flowering like thistles, blazing Californian poppies, rich red amaranth, little tomatoes like boiled sweets and calendula, still flowering even as it sets seed for next season. There’s structure too as our architectural flowers shed their colours and reveal their shapes. So if you’re after some inspiration, come along: we’re open every day for visitors to enjoy.
But if you’re interested in getting outdoors, doing some practical tasks and even picking up some knowledge for your own gardening, there’s still plenty to do before the end of our gardening season – so pull on your gloves and join in with one of our gardening sessions. They’re on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm (with earlier finish as the evenings get darker) and Saturdays 10am-4pm. They’re free and you can drop in for as much or as little time as you can spare.
The last session of the season is on Saturday 5 November, when our monthly meeting from 2pm will be a discussion of the next season and beyond. So if you’d like to help shape the future of the garden, come along.
Abbey Gardens is a community garden where people garden and harvest communally at sessions held three times a week. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work too to make the garden grow. But in growing food and flowers, staging community events and just being there, it creates more than the sum of its parts.
There’s the delight and pride in tasting food we’ve grown ourselves. The food we share at the end of our sessions often has life beyond the plate (these strapping little squash were grown from saved seeds from portions of Abbey Gardens squash taken home to cook). Recipes from many parts of the world have been swapped at our sessions and events. Local workers come in to eat their lunch. Students visit on research. Companies send troupes of volunteers to take on a task for the day. Families picnic and children play. It’s been a simple walking goal for visitors building up strength after illness. It’s a place to get some exercise and a screen break. It’s an opportunity to meet the neighbours. People come researching local history or family history. Skills are offered and gained. And some people just turn up wanting to help.
There’s plenty of helping to do in October, the last month of our gardening year, with guest garden club leader Alison Skeate. And we’re also planning ahead, for the coming season and beyond.
What is the garden to you? What would you like it to be? Come along to our monthly meeting on Saturday 5 November at 2pm in the cabin and help plan the next season and beyond.
“It’s as though the plants know that Autumn is on its way”, said garden club leader Aisté. It’s taking quick work to keep on top of the clearing, harvesting and composting.
Thanks to Dasha’s social media shout-out, we’ve had new Saturday visitors to the garden in search of produce. We’ve told the story of the garden, offered cooking tips and gained helpers.
If you’re interested in community gardening but aren’t sure what it involves, or you’re new to the neighbourhood and have been wondering what the garden is, come and say hello during one of our gardening sessions.
Find yourself a bargain & enjoy the garden in our 10th anniversary year!
Summer Market Sunday 17th July 2pm-5pm
A free event for all ages
Joining Friends of Abbey Gardens are two incredible teams of young people, representing NCS The Challenge
Experience an eclectic range of stalls and activities! Something for everyone!
Plentiful produce from the garden on our Honesty Stall
Visit our ever-popular tea and cake stall
Plus live musical entertainment to be confirmed
All proceeds from market stalls, drinks, food & honesty stall will be donated to the garden.