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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

St Filbert's Day

Today, 20 August, is St Philibert or Filbert's Day. Philibert was born into a wealthy Gascon family in 608 AD. He entered holy orders as a young man and in 654 received a gift of land from King Clovis II on which he founded Jumièges, arguably the greatest of the Norman abbeys.

As his Saint's Day coincided with the start of the Norman hazelnut harvest, local people began referring to hazelnuts as 'noix de philibert'. This was Anglicised as 'fylberd' and later 'filbert'.

Despite assertions that filberts are longer and more slender than hazel nuts, technically they are one and the same thing. To confuse matters further, English hazel or filbert trees are sometimes sold as 'cobs'. Most of these are cultivars of an old variety called Kentish Cob. Cobnuts are typically sold fresh rather than dried, which gives them a seasonal market and unique culinary uses.

Filbert, hazel or cob, there's a bumper crop this year and, with luck, there will be some left for us to enjoy after the squirrels have gorged themselves.

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018

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