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

Garden

Mulch sacks and mince pies – Winter gardening at Abbey Gardens

Leaf mulch sacks – filled and put on the raised beds, they’ll turn our fallen leaves into leaf mould and thanks to Dasha, we’re trying them out for the first time this year. But who’d have thought that they’d also make a good sofa for a well-earned break after clearing, bulb planting and harvesting? All this, mince pies, warming drinks and garden discoveries… welcome to our Winter gardening sessions.

Our next Winter gardening Saturday will be on 16 January, 11am-4pm. Come and join us to welcome in the new gardening year.

Meanwhile, we wish all of our gardeners, behind the scenes volunteers, friends, neighbours and supporters a lovely festive season.

Winter gardening sessions

Though our three gardening sessions a week are finished for the 2017 season, there’s plenty still to do over the Winter. So come along to our Winter gardening sessions and help with planting, composting, harvesting and maintenance:

Saturday 2nd December 11am-4pm (with hot drinks and mince pies for volunteers)
Saturday 13th January 11am-4pm
Saturday 3rd February 11am-4pm

Image: garlic planting, picture (and planting) by Dasha French

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.

 

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).

 

Mindfulness and tomato maintenance: the quiet rhythm of community gardening

Mindfulness and tomato maintenance. It’s an odd combination but chatting over a garden clearing job, we agreed that the quiet rhythm of gardening is a meditative thing. So just as we give the tomatoes space to ripen, we can give ourselves space to let ideas flow, enjoy the peace of the garden, be amongst nature and get some mental refreshment. All while helping maintain this beautiful urban green space and being part of a community of gardeners.

On the honesty stall this Saturday: chard and cherry tomatoes.

Fancy joining us? Our free, drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm, Thursdays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. We also hold regular community events: watch this space for details of our Harvest Festival on Saturday 30th September.

 

 

Spud Saturday: bringing in the potato harvest

Potatoes. Useful, versatile, even – but you probably wouldn’t put ‘potatoes’ and ‘fun’ in the same sentence… unless you’ve had a go at growing them. Lifting potatoes is like digging-up treasure: one plant can have an astonishing variety of spud sizes, from enormous right down to pearl-sized. And then there are the comedy veg (this year, we give you duck potatoes). Harvest done, the soil is in lovely condition and the tops have been chopped-up for compost. Our Saturday gardeners have had potatoes to take home and we’ve had plenty left for the honesty stall. If you’re passing the garden, take a bag and put a donation in the coin slot.

So, what’ll it be? Jacket potato, roasties, chunky chips, mash or salad?

If you’d like to join in with our food growing and find out how to grow your own, join us at our free drop-in gardening sessions: Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm.

Twirly carrots, snail hangouts and a haircut for the tomatoes

Tomato hairdressing, anyone? Fancy discovering where snails hang out? Or are twirly carrots your thing? We’ve had all of that at our Saturday drop-in gardening session, with friends dropping in to garden, family gardening and some visitors keen to pick our brains for their startup growing space.

The garden is lush after the week’s showers so we’ve been giving our tomatoes some space to ripen. We’ve had our best-ever carrot harvest. More poppy seed heads have been prepared for decorations. We’ve been clearing the broad bean and pea plants ready for the next crops to go in – and the clearings will become compost to go back into the raised beds.

Join in, enjoy the space, come along and ask us things… our free, drop-in community gardening sessions are on Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm, Thursdays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. 

Sunflowers and rainy pruning

“It’s good for the garden!” We’ve had rain. Lots of it. Waterproofs all round, then, for a guest visit to the garden by Hamish Liddle to share his fruit tree pruning wisdom. And the odd dash to the cabin to share cake and shelter from the heaviest downpours. Our sunflowers, though, have brought their own sunshine and with all the warmth and water, Abbey Gardens is looking lush.

Whether you’d like to join in with some gardening, enjoy some peace in a lovely urban greenspace or meet the neighbours,  come along to our free drop-in gardening sessions on Tuesdays 1pm,-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. The garden is open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk. And look out for our community events – our Harvest Festival will be on Saturday September 30th.

 

 

Busy bees

We were busy as bees last weekend… then the bees showed us just how busy they’ve been! Just look at that pollen, captured by designer Cath French.

We grow a lot of bee-friendly plants at the garden so if you’d like to find out more, come and join us at one of our free drop-in garden club sessions: Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. The garden is open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk.

 

Busy as bees

Gardening stuff; creative stuff; connecting with the community stuff… there’s always something to do at the garden. Thirsty tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins, beans and squash have been watered. Tomato plants have been tidied-up to give them space to fruit. Garden club leader Alison has been experimenting with turning our poppy seed heads into decorations. Nancy has been putting together bags of garden goodies for the honesty stall (this weekend: courgettes, onions, rosemary and mint – If you’d like one, come by, take a bag and leave a donation). And the bees have been busy on the sunflowers.

Fancy joining in? Our drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. The garden is open to visitors every day from dawn ’til dusk.