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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Logs For Burning

December 13, 2018

 

Beech-wood fires burn bright and clear

If the logs are kept a year;

Store your beech for Christmastide

With new-cut holly laid beside;

Chestnut's only good, they say,

If for years 'tis stored away;

Birch and fir-wood burn too fast

Blaze too bright and do not last;

Flames from larch will shoot up high,

Dangerously the sparks will fly;

But ash-wood green and ash-wood brown

Are fit for a Queen with a golden crown.

 

Oaken logs, if dry and old,

Keep away the winter's cold;

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,

Fills your eyes and makes you choke;

Elm-wood burns like churchyard mould,

E'en the very flames are cold;

Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread -

So it is in Ireland said;

Apple-wood will scent the room,

Pear-wood smells like flowers in bloom;

But ash-wood wet and ash-wood dry

A King may warm his slippers by.

 

 

Sometimes called The Firewood Poem, the rhyme was written in 1922 by Lady Celia Congreve, wife of the World War I hero, Sir Walter Norris Congreve. Lady Congreve used as her source traditional English lore passed down through the centuries. It remains useful and accurate and may well explain the number of ash trees growing in Waterfurlong - not a variety generally associated with orchards. 

 

 

Photographer unknown.

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