top of page

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


After six weeks, pressure from everyone who has signed our petition, and letters from Tom Pursglove MP, and Stamford Town Council, Strutt & Parker has finally responded to our request for an explanation:

“I can confirm that the Landowner took this difficult decision following reports from a number of local residents and gardeners who raised serious concerns about your conduct and behaviour towards them and others, which was affecting their quiet enjoyment of their property.”

Strutt & Parker has provided no further details of these vague, damaging, and frankly bizarre allegations, which are news to us. We have written back asking for proper information, supporting evidence, and the reason we were never told about these ‘serious concerns’ or given a warning.

We have reminded Strutt & Parker of incidents involving other tenants that included violence, physical threats and/or police involvement and asked:

- What on earth we can have done that involved worse ‘conduct and behaviour’.

- Why no-one else has ever been evicted.

- Why we have been given a full year’s notice when we supposedly represent such a threat to others.

My daughter and I are two 5’ tall women with unblemished personal and professional reputations. Neither of us has even had a speeding fine. The wonderfully supportive (and often outraged) comments from signatories who know us speak for themselves.

We have been shocked to hear similar stories from up and down the country: allotment tenants (often female) evicted without explanation, eventually told it was because of their ‘disruptive’ behaviour, then bullied and intimidated until they were too scared to remain. In almost all these cases the plot that had been lovingly transformed was handed over to a friend of someone with influence or sold off for housing development.

This is feeble, Strutt & Parker. Your parent company’s published values include fairness, transparency, openness, and promptness. So do the right thing and provide full details of these supposed allegations, explain why they warrant eviction, and grant us an appeal. It can’t be that difficult.


bottom of page