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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

Amazing Photo of John Swan's Premises

If you enjoyed our piece on Victorian gardener and local veterinary surgeon John Swan, you'll be interested in this fantastic photo of his Wharf Road premises, courtesy of Frank Newbon's History of Stamford Facebook page.

In 1880 John's home and surgery were devastated by the great July flood. He lost £150 in stock and his poor horse nearly drowned. John never really recovered financially and was still working at the age of 80, months before he died in Stamford's 1891 influenza epidemic.

Wharf Road was a busy part of the town in those days, with coal barges being unloaded at its quay and materials and goods transported to and from Blashfield's terracotta factory.

In this Victorian painting, we see not only John's property but also the cold frames in which he grew his prized melons and cucumbers. Nearby are some of Blashfield's kilns and in the distance is the old Albert Bridge and the East Station.

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