Abbey Gardens viewed from the Webcam


Gets everywhere but nice Blue flowers ... these are Chris's seedlings

Eurovision Seed Contest

UK & CZ entries
UK & CZ entries

I think CZ currently have the lead

In the Eurovision spirit of friendly competition towards a shared end game (!) obviously there has been a little bit of light seed growing competition going on in preparation for the big planting at Abbey Gardens. As you can see from the UK entry on the left I have a rather less picturesque growing conditions than the Czech contingent ... Come on Germany where are you!

Any other growers for the garden out there please do email me your seedling pictures and I will of course add them to the Blog (after careful scrutiny!)

Wild Flower Rescue

Thanks to everyone who came along to help on Saturday. As we hope to be on the cusp of change at the site (fingers crossed for the latest soil report!!) we decided to rescue some of the wild flowers to bring back post-remediation. This is me today with a final bunch to cycle over to my allotment, the rest are all in temporary accommodation on Baker's Row!

Garden Club Leader

Chris - our new Garden Club Leader
Chris - our new Garden Club Leader

A very warm welcome to our new Garden Club Leader for the project Chris Cavalier.

He's already jumped in at the deep end planting up seeds with the local primary school.
His next job will be drumming up all the volunteers we need to construct the raised beds at the start of June!

Seed Sunday

Coming along nicely Aquilegia
Coming along nicely Aquilegia

We made a very productive start to the Harvest Garden year on Sunday with the support of Chiltern Seeds who very kindly provided us with masses of free veg. and flower seeds. The list below barely made a dent on our supplies SO if you would like to bring on some seedlings at home to plant out in our Harvest Garden early June email us your address and I'll post you some out ... most requests can probably be supplied.

Also big thanks to Louise Joly for all her help and advice with the planting ... she's very worried about lots of 'leggy' seedlings coming back so email support may be available for the concerned!

Whilst waiting for our lovely new WWTHB website and plant data-base I will have to make do with blogging a list of our efforts. More pictures for the curious on Flickr.

Cath French: Chrysanthemum, Annual carinatum 'Merry Mixture'

Torange Khonsari: Clarkia elegans Variety
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Goldilocks’,
Courgette ‘Black Beauty Dark Fog’
Pumpkin 'Rouge Vif d'Etampes' (Heirloom Variety)

Ali & Ozzadeh Tajalli:
Leek 'Musselburgh' (Heirloom Variety)
Sweet corn Northern Xtra Sweet
Dwarf French Beans
Beetroot 'Golden'
Parsley 'Champion Moss Curled'

Tim French: Kale or Borecole 'Dwarf Green Curled' (Heirloom Variety)

Dasha French: (Kohl Rabi apparently v. big in CZ!)
Kohl Rabi 'Delicacy Purple'
Kohl Rabi 'Delicacy White'

Liugi Callegari: Calendula officinalis 'Pacific Beauty' Mixed

Louis French: Broccoli 'Early Romanesco' (Heirloom Variety)

Jack Wyer & Chris Crook: Nigella damascena flore pleno Full Double, Mixed Colours

Nikki Fowler:
Rhubarb Chard/Ruby Chard
Courgette 'All Green Bush'

Andreas Lang:
Bean, Dwarf French ‘Golden Teepee’
Cosmos bipinnatus 'Dazzler'
Cosmos sulphureus 'Crest Lemon'
Beetroot Leaf (Bull's Blood) 'Blood Red'

Mr & Mrs Duke (Cath’s Mum & Dad):
Basil 'Fino Verde'
Basil 'Spicy Globe'
Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'
Kale or Borecole ‘Nero de Toscana’ (Heirloom Variety)
Scabiosa Mixed Giant Hybrids
Nicotiana affinis
Lavatera trimestris 'Mont Blanc'

Helen Dickinson:
Broccoli 'Nine Star Perennial' (Heirloom Variety)
Vegetable Spaghetti Heirloom Variety

Helena price:
Beetroot 'Boltardy'
Pumpkin ‘Atlantic Giant’

Lydia Thornley:
Basil, Lemon
Gourd ‘Jack be Little’
Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue'

Jim Stone: Tropaeolum majus 'Glorious Gleam' Double hybrids
Callendula officinalis

Ashley McCormick & Alex:
Cosmos (Lidl finest!)
More Sweetcorn
Squash (type TBC)

Also potted up Aquilegia (mixed unknown - lots of) Brussels Sprout 'Evesham special' & Cauliflower 'All year round' as seen opposite.

Start of the season ...

Lawrence & his seeds ...
Lawrence & his seeds ...

Apparently he keeps watching the tray!

We had an good meeting to sow some seeds at the site last weekend, followed by an excellent walk around the Three Mills Loop (thanks Gordon). It would be great to see more new potential members for the Friends of Abbey Gardens at our next meet up, so if you're in the East End of London and fancy cultivating part of an amazing new plot do come along:

Become a Friend of Abbey Gardens

FOAG (Friends of Abbey Gardens) will meet onsite on Sunday 26 April from 11.30am.

This meeting will begin with a progress update from me (!) and a chance to learn about gardening at Abbey Gardens. Information about the history of the site and the activities at the garden over the coming months will be covered. This will be followed by a hands on session planting trays of seeds to grow on at home and bring back to the garden in June.
Weather permitting the meeting will be followed by a picnic. Feel free to bring some food along, refreshments will be available.

New members are very welcome to join the group at this session. Abbey Gardens is directly opposite Bakers Row, E15 3NF.

This event has been supported by “Chiltern Seeds”.

RIP Apple Tree?

Emergency apple tree package
Emergency apple tree package

There is currently one remaining apple tree on the site, and although it's not a fancy variety (it's a dark red form of JONAGOLD probably the form known as JONAGORED) everyone locally (including us!) has become very fond of it. Sadly through the remediation report for the site we've been advised not to eat the fruit as the tree's roots go down into the soil on site which has been found to be polluted.

As the cost of testing the actual fruit will be about £2000 this seems to much to risk (as we may well be told not to eat the apples) and it seems very likely that the tree will have to be removed when the site is remediated next month.

HOWEVER in a last minute dash to try and create something of a 'family legacy' for the tree Karen and I contacted Brogdale (the fruit tree experts) to see if it was too late to try and graft some scions from our apple onto new root stock and make some new trees for the garden. Having thought we might try this 'at home' we were advised by the super helpful David Morris that grafting this late in the year is quite an art and that we should immediately package up the scions we'd cut (which we were keeping in my fridge to hold growth back!) and send them to Brogdale where he would try to work with them.

So fingers crossed, they arrived last week and David thinks they might still work ... all may not be lost!

What WILL The Harvest Be?

A small spring intervention spotted on the current site!
A small spring intervention spotted on the current site!

Spring waits for no commissioning process and just in the nick of time it seems that all the pieces of the laborious Abbey Gardens funding and permissions process are slipping into place. SO we are delighted to announce two up and coming events for those who would like to visit the site (before it all changes) and find out more about becoming involved:

Meet the artists: Join the artists and Friends of Abbey Gardens on site.
We will be at Abbey Gardens from 11.30 to 13.00 on Sunday April 5th. We'll have the site plans with us and free seeds to give away to anyone keen to start growing plants for the Harvest Garden - instructions given for gardening newbies!

You are also welcome to join us on the ‘Three Mills Loop’ walk (led by Gordon Joly) which immediately follows the meeting and will take walkers across the Olympic site ending at Three Mills.

Friends of Abbey Gardens Meeting: FOAG will be meeting at the site on Sunday April 26th at 11.30 am, this meeting will provide a progress update for members and a chance to sign up for activities at the garden over the next few months. New members are welcome. Free seeds available.

London logs

A mere fragment of Leaside Wood Recycling
A mere fragment of Leaside Wood Recycling

Many thanks to Danny of City Wood Services who gave us a fascinating tour of Leaside Wood Recycling Project on Saturday. I've often passed this strange facility on the side of a busy London road and wondered what lay behind their hand painted facade - now I know!

Beyond the fence is a fascinating and seemingly endless collection of wood 'harvested' from London and beyond, all ready to be recycled. The wood can come from a variety of sources - anything from fallen trees to 'art waste' from galleries, basically they process and store it and can then cut and supply it to clients. Considering Abbey Gardens is a stone's throw away it would be really interesting to see if we can collaborate on the project. Danny also gave me some very helpful advice regarding working with untreated (ie. non-toxic) woods and how long each might last.

I like the idea that we might re-use 'gallery art' on the ground.

Sowing the seeds for guerrilla gardening

As mentioned below progress with What Will The Harvest Be? is proving VERY slow at present, so l really enjoyed catching Richard Reynold's talk at Broadway Bookshop this week. Seeing the very immediate and fresh efforts of other gardeners who are in contact with him from around the globe was quite uplifting.

If all else fails with Abbey Gardens perhaps the residents should just adopt the Guerrilla approach and get on with it!

In return for the free sunflower seeds he gave us (which personally I've never been keen on but I can see they are ideal for this type of gardening) I just emailed a link to the Plaistow Landgrabbers (who inspired our project) and of course offered some of our own wild flower seeds gathered last summer.

His book,website and seed packets all look great so you won't be surprised to hear that his 'day job' is in advertising!

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