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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.

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September In The Gardens: Harvest And The First Frost

If August was a quiet month in the gardens, September saw us all in 'back to school' mode, using precious golden days to harvest, dig, plant, clear and tidy. It's difficult to believe that in the blink of an eye we went from searing heat to the first frosts.

Heritage apple Irish Peach courtesy of © Copyright R V Roger

On 22nd we held our annual Waterfurlong Apple Day and were joined once again by local apple guru, Denis Smith. Despite the miserable weather we explored five more gardens, recorded another 40 old trees and discovered a further seven heritage varieties to add to our list: Calville Blanc d'Hiver, Irish Peach, Margil, Merton Beauty, Mère de Ménage, Northern Greening and Worcester Pearmain. Irish Peach was a particularly intriguing find: this rare and unusual old variety was reputed to have been growing at County Sligo's Longford House as far back as 1500.

The day also gave us a chance to snap more photos for our 'Meet Today's Gardeners' feature: