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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

Autumn Peace And A Starlight Hare

Lepus © Copyright Karen Davis. All rights reserved.

For many years I have loved Wiltshire-based artist Karen Davis's magical blog, Moonlight and Hares. She has kindly given me permission to share one of her pieces on the quietude of early autumn. You can find Karen's artwork,

including prints of Lepus (one of her Starlight Hares), on her Etsy site.

'Autumn always seems more peaceful somehow. Is it because things are winding down, giving in, getting tired, in preparation for winter's first touch of icy fingers? Things shine brighter in autumn: berries, dew covered apples, colours of changing leaves. There is more contrast; the skies seem bluer than blue against the blood red of the hawthorn berries.

Behind that peaceful exterior though is a busyness. Harvesting and storing quickly before the last of the runner beans wither, toughen and dry up. Before we hear the weatherman on our radios and televisions announce that temperatures will drop to a ground frost, while Jupiter shines in the fading year’s sky. I hear the slow ticking of Mother nature's clock, steady like a heart beat. Creatures stock up and indulge in extra sunny days before the big sleep, preparing and looking for possible places to spend those long cold months. A spider's web - a lace curtain in fairyland - catches the morning's sunlight sparkles.

Darkness comes early now. Time to restock the log pile, ring the chimney sweep, light the candles and buy those new slippers you've had your eye on. For some it will be their very first taste of autumn. A first taste of blackberries and first sharp smell of cold and frost in the air.'

© Karen Davis,, 18 September 2010

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