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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

March in the Gardens: Hens are Hanging On and Pheasants are Revolting

Our cover-girl for March is 'Hanging On', so named by Jude and Flora after mum Jo rescued the poor little hen and her friend 'Tough Guy' from the hell of a battery farm. The new arrivals are beginning to gain the confidence to explore Jo's lovely garden, but need the protection of woolly tank tops whilst their feathers grow.

Jo's existing flock - Penny, Perry, Katie and Lily - have kept our honesty-box going through the lean months and Andrea's beautiful potted primroses, grape hyacinths and euphorbias are now brightening up the stall. Do pop along if you're in the area - we're hoping to add fresh organic carrots to this week's bounty.

Meanwhile, Bruce's daffodils have been a pool of gold in the spring sunshine.

Whilst many shrubs and saplings are in a poor state after last year's extreme weather and the RSPB sadly reports song-bird fledglings were decimated by the drought, other plants and animals seem to have benefited (or at least recovered) during the recent mild wet winter. It's years since I saw so many butterflies this early and lots of peacocks and tortoiseshells have managed to overwinter. It's not a great year for narcissi but the damp-loving violets and periwinkle are putting on a gorgeous display.

Keen vegetable gardener Graham planted his first potatoes on Saturday - always a sign that spring has well and truly sprung, and we're all seeking cunning ways of protecting our pea and bean seedlings from the ravages of pheasants. Well-meaning walkers have taken to feeding these gorgeous but infuriating birds, some of which are now almost the size of turkeys, but it doesn't diminish their appetite - they've even decimated Liz's new lavender path.

Who knows what the gardening year will bring, but we're all so glad it's finally here again!

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