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The Plot Thickens

Hi, I’m Karen Meadows. Thank you for visiting The Plot Thickens.

I’m lucky enough to be the tenant of one of fifty large allotment gardens in the middle of the small and beautiful stone town of Stamford in England’s East Midlands. The gardens were first created by Brownlow Cecil, 4th Marquess of Exeter in the mid 1800s and their layout has remained virtually unchanged. Between the plots we have some 200 old apple trees, many of them rare varieties, and in 2017 Natural England awarded the gardens heritage orchard status.

Over the centuries at least 500 people have worked these plots. Follow our quest to discover who they were, what they grew, and what shenanigans they got up to. Be prepared for numerous diversions and musings along the way about gardening life here in our quiet (and occasionally not so quiet) little corner of Stamford.

If you haven’t discovered our website yet, do head over to Waterfurlong Orchard Gardens, where you will find a wealth of information about our gardens and gardeners, past and present.

And now for the small print...

The Plot Thickens is a non-commercial blog. All recommendations are based on personal preference and my own or our other gardeners’ own experience. Payments or free goods are not accepted in return for reviews of products and services. If an exception is made this will be clearly stated.

All words and images, unless otherwise credited, are my own. If you would like to copy text or images, I’d kindly ask that The Plot Thickens gets a positive mention and a link back to this blog.

Recent Posts

Our Apple For July: Lane's Prince Albert

Lane's Prince Albert is one of the definitive English cooking apples and it grows in three of our gardens. The famous Victorian pomologist Dr Hogg rated it 'a marvellous bearer, [which] rarely fails to produce a crop'(1).

The original tree grew in the front garden of a wealthy Quaker gentleman by the name of Thomas Squire, who lived on Berkhamsted High Street. He planted the sapling around the time of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s visit to the Hertfordshire town on 26 July 1841, naming it Victoria and Albert after the royal couple.

The tree was spotted by successful local nurseryman, John

Lane. Lane was impressed by its compact shape,

handsome apples and heavy crops and began selling it around 1850 under the new name of Lane’s Prince Albert.

He exhibited it in 1857 at the newly-formed Britis