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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Our Apple for March: Lord Suffield


Usually Waterfurlong's first apple of the year to blossom, Lord Suffield was rated a superb early cooker by Victorian gardeners, receiving more votes than any other at the 1883 RHS congress.

It was raised by Mancunian hand-loom weaver Thomas Thorpe at Boardman Lane, Middleton, where Edward Harbord, Lord Suffield had an estate, and was first exhibited in 1836 or 1837.

Lord Suffield used to be widely grown in kitchen gardens and for market and was also recommended for the shrubbery on account of its small size and attractive pink blossom.

Over the years it has been known by several different names, including Suffield, Livesley's Imperial and Lady Sutherland.

The fruit is large and of the typical long codlin shape. The skin is smooth and pale green, turning to pale yellow, sometimes with a tinge of red on the side that catches the sun. The flesh is white and firm, very juicy and ‘briskly’ flavoured. Lord Suffield cooks down quickly to a sharp, white purée and is ideal for sauces and desserts like the Victorian favourite, apple snow.

The tree is a prolific bearer, which means it tends to run out of steam and be comparatively short-lived. Its early flowering means spring frosts can be a problem. Good pollinators include Keswick Codlin and Manx Codlin.

For more information on Lord Suffield see our website.

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018


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