Abbey Gardens viewed from the Webcam

Friends AGM

If you are interested in getting involved with Abbey Gardens and What Will The Harvest Be? come along to the Friends of Abbey Gardens AGM this coming Saturday ...

Please join the Friends of Abbey Gardens (FOAG) at our Annual General Meeting on Saturday the 18th of October 2008 from 11:00am at the Salvation Army, Paul Street, E15.

Abbey Gardens is a new green space opposite Bakers Row, E15. The Friends of Abbey Gardens are a voluntary group of local residents. Our aim is to improve Abbey Gardens and turn it into a thriving community garden.

We would like to invite everyone who is interested in improving our local area and is curious about gardening to come along to the Annual General Meeting. We will be talking about recent developments, giving an update on the arts commission for the garden and recruiting new members for next year’s gardening season.

In particular we would like to invite new “friends” to join our Management Committee. New members of the Management Committee will be voted into their posts at the Annual General Meeting.

The artists Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie from will be present to introduce their ideas for the site. Their project is called What Will The Harvest Be? and next year will focus on a ‘Harvest Garden’ designed to encourage local people to get involved – from total beginners to experienced gardeners. We are already looking for anyone who wants to get involved in hands preparation for the Harvest Garden.

We will have wild flower seeds from the garden to ditribute as well as Abbey Gardens produce, Light refreshments, tea and coffee will be provided. There will also be a play area for small children.

If you have any questions before the meeting please feel free to contact us via email on mail 'at'

Community Spaces Application

Proof of postage!
Proof of postage!

Photo: Andreas Lang

It's in ...

With the Friends of Abbey Gardens we've submitted our first funding application for the Harvest Garden ... it's to the Community Spaces Scheme managed by Groundworks. There's a slightly odd first stage procedure where you email the form but then have to post your signature on the final page within 5 days or it doesn't go forward. I nagged Andreas about it so much he emailed this photo as proof of postage!

Know your apples ...

The Abbey Gardens Apples have been identified:

Dear Ms Pope

Your Fruit has been examined with the following result:

"The sample is a dark red form of JONAGOLD and probably the form known as
JONAGORED. This is a modern apple and the tree would have been planted
comparatively recently. It is a vigorous variety, usually crops well and would have
become weeping under the weight of crops."

Thank you for using our service.

Brogdale Collections

Harvest Helper

Small harvest helper with wild flower name tattoos
Small harvest helper with wild flower name tattoos

Photo: Nina Pope

We had a very successful wildflower seed harvest on Saturday with unseasonal warm weather. We gathered so many that we weren't able to process them all on the day, although we did make a start. The stamping kit we use for the the plant names on the packets proved very popular with the kids there ...

The photos are up on Flickr here

Wild Flower Mix

Annual wildflowers currently growing on the site
Annual wildflowers currently growing on the site

Photos: Nina Pope

Before the seed collecting day at the weekend I asked Sharon Swift (from Urban Design who managed the site this year) to send us the list of plants that had been sown to see if we could locate them all ... Here's what we have:

An annual mix (approx. 40%) of White Campion, Corn Cockle, Cornflower, Corn
Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Field Poppy and Scentless Mayweed.

Along with a 'Butterfly' meadow mix consisting of 80% grass and 20% perennial
wildflowers (approx. 60%) including Birds foot trefoil, Red and white
campion, Chicory, Red Clover, Oxeye Daisy, Dandelion, Hemp-agrimony,
Common and greater Knapweed, Wild Marjoram, Black Medick, Yellow
Melilot, Wild Mignonette, Garlic mustard, Devil-bit Scabious, Selfheal,
Soapwort, Wild Teasel, Red valerian, Common vetch and vipers bugloss.

The annuals were sown to create an instant show this summer and are mainly
the ones that flowered this year. The meadow mix is there to create grassland and a more long term meadow just in case site remains undeveloped for anther year.

I think we'll be able to keep wild flowers at either end of the site alongside the Harvest Garden next year. We managed to find almost all the annuals to collect seed from - although I only found one lone White Campion.

Brogdale Bounty

An apple orchard at Brogdale farm
An apple orchard at Brogdale farm

Photo: Nina Pope

This is one of the many orchards at Brogdale farm which I visited on Sunday - as you can see Abbey Gardens isn't the only place with an excess of fruit problem!

I left the apples from our tree to be identified (to my slight disappointment as it was a 'modern' variety they were unable to do an 'on the spot' positive ID!) and went to a really interesting talk on grafting. We're hoping to perhaps run a grafting workshop at Abbey Gardens this spring, so that if we do finally loose our apple tree it may live on through new trees grafted from the existing one. I found the whole business of grafting different tree 'tops' onto a variety of root stocks fascinating, I was so eagerly taking notes on the 'whip & tongue' method, cleft & saddle grafts etc. that the odd phrases written in haste looked really odd afterwards - "essential must have good hygiene to avoid canker". To my surprise you can even graft yourself a 'family' apple tree with many varieties on the one truck - that way you can have early and late varieties, cookers & eating apples all on the one tree.

We're on the Grapevine

The Stratford Grapevine II
The Stratford Grapevine II

With Dasha's article about the garden

Anyone who travels through Stratford station (East London) may have already seen the feature about Abbey Gardens in the 'Stratford Grapevine' last week ... if you missed it you can read about it here. The newspaper is a project by artist Lucy Harrison who's become a 'friend of' the project through our shared research into the area. The sort of spider drawing on the front shows how all the people who have contributed to the paper are linked together, and is a nice map of the connections made, it's interesting to see how the 'spider' grows each issue and who else we know in common.

Apple ID

Having 'illegally' pruned and cared for the lonesome apple tree on the site (before we had official access), the Friends of Abbey Gardens are now enjoying the fruits of their labours with an amazing harvest of eating apples from a tree we once thought to be crab apple!

You can see some photos of their labours and the produce they've made on our Flickr group.

In the meantime we sent off some fruit to the amazing service at Brogdale to try and identify the tree. In our enthusiasm we sent the apples too soon, but this Sunday I'm going there in person for the cider open day and taking three new examples along ...

ID to follow.

The first anecdote

One of the things we want to try with the garden is making some links between the real space and the website via links embedded in the final 'signage' and plant labels. The idea is to try and collect recent history and record how the the garden (literally) grows rather than just focussing on its medieval past. While I was away on holiday Dasha (from Baker's Row) sent me this first story ...

... As you may know we have a garden full of oversized plants. I have been dreaming of offloading them to Abbey Gardens for some time. I know we that are not meant to dig and that there are future design plans. But I thought it would be OK to move just one plant in a pot. It was the Buddleia. Coincidentally there used to be a lot of these on site in the wilderness days and I thought it might be symbolic to bring one back.

Poor plant did not like the move from our shady garden to the sunny patch across the road very much. It's leaves withered but I thought if I keep it watered it would survive and come back in full bloom next year.

However ... the contractors that came to cut the grass on Monday must have thought that somebody just dumped the old, dead plant there. So they tipped it out and took my ceramic pot away!

Nevermind the pot... I decided I had to rescue the plant. So I pruned it quite a lot and planted in fresh soil back in our garden. I hope it will come back. It is a symbolic plant that Tom got from his great grandparents when he was born. They did not know that
Buddleia is a weed of East London.


Mugwort to Physalis

Walkers Chris & Gordon consider Mugwort
Walkers Chris & Gordon consider Mugwort

With this in your shoes you can apparently go for miles

The Urban Seed Day went really well, and a big thanks goes out to Roy Vickery for his excellent contribution. The idea was to gather or sow some seeds for next year's Harvest Garden and to talk more about our long term proposals for the garden. Botanist Roy (of South London Botanical Institute) joined us for the afternoon and led a great walk around the garden looking at wildflowers that have been imported, blown onto or deliberately planted on the site. Besides just identifying an amazing range of plants from Mugwort & Corn Cockle to tomatoes & Physalis (!) Roy was also able to reveal some fascinating folklore about the different plants. Karen then gave a master-class on seed propagation, with some hands on volunteers sewing seeds of plants to be used next year.

Latest | Archive :

Topics :

Contributors :

website design & build by dorian @ the useful arts organisation