Abbey Gardens viewed from the Webcam

h-a-y-s-t-a-c-k-s - t-h-a-n-k-s!

Thanks to everyone who came along to Abbey Gardens on a swelteringly hot Saturday afternoon, I really enjoyed the discussion and meeting folk with perspectives on shared gardens from so many different countires.

Haystacks anyone?

Haystack 03 run by Kathrin Böhm is happening this Saturday ...

With artist/film-maker Nina Pope (That's me! - Somewhere, London) and 
sociologist/garden activist Elisabeth Meyer-Renschhausen (Berlin). 
On 6th July at 4 pm at Abbey Gardens on Bakers Row in Stratford (map).

In her book 'The Porridge Quarrel – Ecology and Gender in the History of Food Cultures' Elisabeth describes a number of emancipatory movements which have shaped 
the way we eat and serve food collectively. From the shift of eating warm porridge to white bread, French post-revolutionary dinner tables, vegetarianism at the end of 
the 19th century and a social history of public houses.

'What Will the Harvest Be' is a community harvest garden built on a formerly derelict site at Abbey Gardens in Newham. The influences behind the project relate back to the original Cistercian Abbey where monks used the land as a site of great productivity. The intriguing 'Plaistow Landgrabbers' also inspired the artists and provided the project title.

Elisabeth and Nina are going to informally talk about these different movements and histories and relate them to current community garden initiatives and politics.

Elisabeth Meyer-Renschhausen is a Berlin based social historian and garden activist. 
Her research and writing includes gender studies with a focus on rural women and small holdings, food histories related to social and emancipatory movements, peasant movements and globalised agriculture. She is currently involved in the 'Allmende-Kontor' an urban gardening and networking project in Berlin.

Nina Pope together with Karen Guthrie are the artist/film-maker group Somewhere, who initiate and produce collaborative, multi-disciplinary projects. Following the initiative by the 'Friends of Abbey Gardens', to make the derelict site open for public use, 'Somewhere' as the invited artist team proposed a public-access 'harvest garden' of fruit, flowers and vegetables that literally anyone can use: 'What Will the Harvest Be'. The garden was launched in 2009 and is now run by the 'Friends of Abbey Gardens'.

Thank you to the 'Friends of Abbey Gardens' for being able to hosting Haystack 03 on their site.

Haystacks are monthly events to talk about rural practices, realities and links.

Nice press ...

Courtesy of Alison's wordsmithing, Hamish's know-how, Jen's photography and a bunch of FOAG members shivering in T-shirts on a chilly Spring day, there's FOAG watering wisdom in the July issue of Grow Your Own magazine, thanks to Lydia for passing on the news. 

Summer Event approaching fast!

Join us for some vintage Summer fun:

Hear about our history
Join a history walk around the neighbourhood
Enter our Victoria Sponge competition
‘Where did you get that hat?’ workshop for children
Story corner with our older gardeners
Collecting our garden’s history – gathering stories
of when gardeners and friends first discovered the garden
Have your portrait drawn as a character from our local history
Enjoy a lunch of traditional dishes from our communities
Live folk music from Theo Bard
Plant history tour with garden club leader Hamish
Goodies on the honesty stall
Visit our tea stall for tea, coffee and home made cake

All activities are free. Tea, cake, lunch and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden. Cake competition entries are to be prepared in advance and brought to the garden on the day.

We are also welcoming visitors as part of Open Garden Squares Weekend 10am-5pm 
and we are part of the 2013 Chelsea Fringe: Plant history tour starts 2.15pm

Spring Innovation ...

We can't do anything about the weather but we can offer a day out to look forward to - 

Explore science, innovation and design in the garden at our FREE event for all ages on Saturday 20 April from 2-5pm

The launch of our new Eco-Shed designed by students from London Metropolitan University
Adventures in Household Knowledge with Public Works and our veteran innovator Charlie
A plant science safari
Find out about the new bird box project
Have a go at one of our innovation activities
Q&A with garden club leader Hamish
Goodies on the honesty stall
Visit our refreshment tent for tea, coffee and home made cake

All activities are free. Tea, cake and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden.

As luck would have it....

I find myself in London very rarely at the weekend, but lo and behold it's the first 2013 Garden Club session Saturday March 2nd and I can be there! Even more incredibly, I will have my wellies with me for reasons best kept veiled.

I look forward to seeing old friends and new seeds!

Happy New Year ...

Photo: Jen Currier
Photo: Jen Currier

The Chiltern Seeds catalogue has arrived (always a winter joy!) and we’re looking forward to the new gardening season.

Saturday 12 January has our first monthly meeting of the season at 2pm. But that’s not all…

If your new year’s resolution was to get more exercise, come and join in with the big shed clearout from 10am.

We’ll also be hearing the latest from the London Metropolitan University students on their design project looking at the back boundary.

This will be a special Winter session at the garden – there will be another on Saturday 9 February before our AGM. The garden club season will start in March: keep an eye on the FOAG blog for details.

In the meantime here is one of my favorite pictures from last year at Charlie's mega-birthday celebration - courgette cake with nasturtium flowers.

Winter Chill

The nights are drawing in and it's time for our (now) annual winter event ... hot soup, tea and cake and this year you can make some VERY stylish wrapping paper with Lydia! Do come along.

Winter Chill - A free event for all ages
Saturday 24 November 4-6pm


Photo: Lydia Thornley
Photo: Lydia Thornley

Ages ago we were approached by the nice team from Metro Publications about a new book of London Gardens ... I'm gald to report that the book is now out and we are the 'W' feature! 

I had a great time at the launch event (at the Garden Museum) meeting other gardeners from the East End of London. 

The Annual Harvest Festival is tomorrow!

Help us celebrate our fourth gardening season with a traditional anniversary theme of fruit and flowers:

* Come and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Gary and Elisabetta from Abbey Gardens produce
* Listen to live jazz from Arch1 house band
* Enjoy the event workshops including flower arranging, chess, flower photography, drawing, and children’s crafts
* Explore the garden on one of our garden tours
* Find creepy crawlies in the bug hunt
* Watch a video and slideshow about the history of the garden
* Submit your masterpiece into our annual cake decorating or flower arranging competitions
* And there’s our ever-popular honesty stall and tea and cake stall!

All activities are free. Some activities are at set times including:

Flower arranging workshop – 2:30 – 3pm
Children’s Craft activity – 2:45 – 4pm
Flower photography workshop – 3:30 – 4pm
Bug Hunt – 4:15 – 4:45pm

For consideration in the competitions, entries should be submitted before 4pm.
Food, Tea, cake and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden.

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