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


Digging it

Green manure. We sow it in the Autumn and in Spring it – well – springs up. Chopping it up and digging it in aren’t the most glamorous jobs in the garden. But mindful chopping of a whole raised bed of greenery is a wonderful thing in the midst of hectic city life. There’s space around you and big sky above. There’s satisfaction in leafy goodness dug in, ready for the season’s planting.

And did we mention the exercise? Getting stuck in to one of our more energetic tasks is a great way to get active. Just don’t say it’s too easy – or garden club leader Alison will put your name down for the Horseradish Challenge…

Our free, drop-in gardening sessions are on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm, Thursdays 4pm-7pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Come along at any time during the session. Tools and gloves are provided.


Our 2018 gardening season starts now!

Our free drop-in community gardening sessions are back for the 2018 season: Tuesday 1pm-3pm, Thursday 4pm-7pm and Saturday 11am-4pm. Join us at any time during the session. Sessions are run by our friendly garden club leader Alison Skeat. Tools and gloves are provided.

Whether you’re an old hand or you’ve never gardened before, one of our regulars or new to the neighbourhood, here for the whole session, dropping by for an hour or just popping in to say hello and find out how it all works, you’ll be very welcome. We garden and harvest together. There are energetic jobs, gentle jobs or just come by to enjoy our peaceful urban green space.

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.

Hello 2018!

Winter. It doesn’t look as though there’s much going on in the garden… but look again and there’s a surprising amount to see. We’ve found the last bright, fiery little chillis to harvest. The banana palm has shed leaves in tumbles of ringlets. The onions are up. And there are new green shoots everywhere.

We’ve had an energetic Winter gardening session of clearing and composting ready for the season ahead, we’ve dead-headed the marigolds to keep the flowers coming and we’ve planted new rows of garlic. And we’ve had the first of the year’s rock buns to share (we like our snack breaks).

There’s another Winter gardening session on Saturday 3 February, 11am – 4pm.

Our regular Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday sessions will be back in March. Follow us on facebook, Twitter or Instagram for news.


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 13 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.