Abbey Gardens viewed from the Webcam

Flowers-4-U this Saturday!

Flowers from our recent Big Lunch event
Flowers from our recent Big Lunch event

Join us for a fascinating workshop with Margot Cooper, an experienced floral lecturer and demonstrator from the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS). Margot sits on the board of Flower Arranger Magazine and is now Treasurer of the NAFAS Woodford branch in East London.

She will help workshop participants select and pick flowers and foliage from the gardens, going on to guide you through making your own take-home arrangement.

This event on Saturday is free, no booking neccessary!

Meet at Abbey Gardens at 12.00 - workshop ends at 4.00.

Feel free to make a day of it and also join us for the morning Garden Club Session too.

Topics: [Flowers] [Harvest]

Friday Night Forage

Tonight's Harvest
Tonight's Harvest

Note Goldie the lone yellow courgette - three years I've been trying to grow these and finally Abbey Gardens brings me success. We were there so late harvesting tonight a fox joined us.

Topics: [courgette] [Harvest]

Just to prove it didn't rain all day ...

This is the beautiful orchard at the Monastery of St. John the Baptist. I particularly liked the fact their scarecrows wore habits.

More photos of our trip are here.

Topics: [Garden] [monastery] [orchard]

Ritual Ride - One Monastery to another on a bike

Ritualride is a project by Artist Steve Ounanian and on Monday Tim Olden, Jon Arden and I cycled the first leg of the journey with Steve (50 + miles I'm sure !) from Abbey Gardens to the Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights, Essex ...

"Ritualride is a ridiculous journey into the outer limits of Great Britain. It will visit farms, solar panelled mosques, micro-climates, motorways, and McDonalds, to name a few. At each location, Steven and participants will ask the people involved in the “ecological site” to tell a story, and participants will be encouraged to tell stories and myths of their own, creating new narratives to be embedded into the environment. Participants are invited join on any leg of the journey -- you may ride your own bicycle, or have a seat on the tandem!"

Visit the project website and contact Steve if you'd like to join another leg of the journey ... I recommend the webclip that combines footage of Steve's tandem being blessed before the ride (!), and the launch 'poem' he read out in the drizzle on the monument at Abbey Gardens the night before we left.

Topics: [Art] [monastery] [ritualride]

Late July Harvest

Really nice day at the garden today, a new volunteer who did LOADS of weeding (Thanks Julie!), I met Kathy Taylor from Newham Heritage Services who'd been involved in the archaeological dig, Tim and I planted out most of the remaining seedlings AND we took home an actual 'harvest' of produce ...

Seen here leaf beet "Bull's Blood" (grown by Andreas), courgettes, my Wiltshire Ripple sweet peas and some "Royal Family", radish I sowed (can't remember the name), some cornflower "blackball" (a personal fav.) dwarf french beans and some marigolds - not bad if I do say so myself!

Topics: [Harvest]

Lovely Big Lunch

Stanislava's Bulgarian Pudding - VERY popular
Stanislava's Bulgarian Pudding - VERY popular

We had a great time at the Big Lunch with the Friends of Abbey Gardens ... kind of a launch for the garden too. There were about 50 people on the day and a big thanks to everyone who helped out and came along. For my money the best pudding prize was a close run thing between Karen's Summer Pudding (pictured on the Somewhere blog) and Stanislava's Bulgarian chocolate triangle (seen here) . More pictures from the day are on our Flickr Group and there's one for the whole nation wide Big Lunch project.

Topics: [Big Lunch] [food]

The Friends of Abbey Gardens Big Lunch

Andreas from FOAG at work
Andreas from FOAG at work

We are really pleased with all the progress made creating this year’s Harvest Garden. To celebrate all this hard work The Friends of Abbey Gardens are hosting a lunch in the garden:


This is just around the corner, so while all our salad crops are sprouting keep your fingers crossed that the weather will be on our side for the 19th so that we can enjoy a lunch together in Abbey Gardens.

The program of the day will be as follows:

• 10 - 12am – regular Gardening Club preparing the lunch!
• 12am - garden opens
• 1pm - a small ceremony to mark the completion of the garden including a musical performance by a local resident
• 1:15pm - lunch served, BBQ (provided by Friends), salads grown in Abbey Gardens, home-made bread
• Followed by pudding – this is going to be “Jacob’s Join” so please bring cakes, puddings or fruit to share.
• Anytime - stroll around the garden, check out how the plants are doing, chat and enjoy the day
• Kids can make mud pies or join the “tots drama circle”.
• 4pm - end of Big Lunch

If you are planning to join us for the Big Lunch we would like to ask you to let us know by sending a message to:
mail 'at ' by 13 July 2009 so that we have some idea of how big the Big Lunch will be!

Some practical notes:
• We would like to ask you to bring your own picnic stuff (plates, cutlery, cups) and a chair.
• Any donations of other food to share (aside from the puddings) will be welcome, but please can you let us know as part of the RSVP what you would like to make. Home grown produce would obviously go down well!
• The Friends will be supplying some soft drinks and beverages but again you are very welcome to supplement these with a bring your own bottle.
• Please feel welcome to bring any musical instruments for improvised musical entertainment.
• Be prepared for rain or sun – there isn’t much shade in the garden.

We are very excited about the Big Lunch and we hope that many of you will be able to join us on the day to celebrate all the progress we have made together.

Our Big Lunch will be part of a nationwide event – click here for more information

First Harvest & planting continues

Sweet Pea 'Wiltshire Ripple'
Sweet Pea 'Wiltshire Ripple'

First flowers from the new garden

We have harvested the first flowers from the site from my lovely 'Wiltshire Ripple' sweet peas ... having sat in 'loo roll pots' for months they have burst into flower now they are finally in the ground.

Work continues on the site despite soaring summer temperatures and this weekend will be a busy one for planting again:

The 4th & 5th of July the site will be open 10 - 5 again for both Saturday and Sunday planting sessions on the final beds. Karen, Chris and I will all be there on Saturday and FOAG will be over seeing the planting on Sunday, with Chris joining in the afternoon.

As from next week the site will be open 3 times a week for the garden club sessions at the following times:

Free Garden Club Sessions (June - Nov 2009)
Saturdays 10.00 am - 2.00 pm
Tuesdays 10.00 - 1.00 pm
Thursdays 5.00 pm - dusk

These sessions run right through the summer but once FOAG have an official site lease from the council the site will also be open each day for people to enjoy, we anticipate this starting in August.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped out so far.

The Bark Mulch Brothers

Michael & Tim, Tim & Louis
Michael & Tim, Tim & Louis

Last Sunday we made a start on mulching all the garden paths ... with two 'teams'. Thanks to the Oldens (left) and French brothers.

Last weekend's helpers

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