We have recently been commissioned by Newham Council to work with the Friends of Abbey Gardens to re-vision the site opposite their houses on Bakers Row in Stratford. The scheme will take several years to complete and we are currently making proposals for a series of events and projects during this time.
Our current thinking is around the cosmopolitan social and commercial hub that medieval abbeys - such as that which once occupied the site - would have been. We plan to relate historic influences (including the more recent history of the site) to East London today and the needs of both the local and commuter communities. We are committed to using the site to produce food or other distributable products, and to raising community engagement in this endeavour via a long term scheme of events. These objectives will be also be embedded into the permanent design scheme by working with the Council's landscape architect on the planting and layout of the garden.
The Council are currently rolling out an interim scheme of sowing a wildflower seed mix onto imported topsoil, bringing colour and wildlife to the area over summer 2008.
To retain a small area of 'original' soil for observation, we have been constructing an area which mirrors the shape of the nearby archaelogical remains on the site. The soil in this section will be left uncultivated, and its natural seedbank allowed to germinate and grow. After three days of hard digging we finally achieved the modest aim of protecting the shape from the seeds about to go down!
You can see more photos of the area and a large version of this one on our new Flickr Group for Abbey Gardens/Bakers Row.