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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

This Week Around The Plots

What a fantastic week it's been at the gardens, weatherwise and otherwise.


On Bank Holiday Monday we launched our honesty box table. As we set up the table (kindly donated by Andrea and Alex, Plot 12) we had no idea whether people would buy or whether gardeners would contribute, particularly as it's a meagre year for so many crops. We needn't have worried. There's been all-round generosity and in 8 days we have made £50.48! The best sellers have been plums, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and Simon's crunchy red Lady Sudeley eating apples. So many dog-walkers have stopped us to say they love the scheme and our first, modest attempts to restore Waterfurlong to its former glory and are now bringing cash out with them on their walks. One even asked if we run a Riverford Organic-type vegetable box scheme!

On Sunday evening the stall was evidently noticed by local florist Miss Pickering, who gave us a mention on her popular Instagram page:

So, a big 'thank you' to all the gardeners who have so far contributed: Alex, Andrea & Doug (Plot 12), Liz and Debbie (Plot 14), Simon (Plot 22), John (Plot 7), Helena (Plot 4), Craig (Plot 33), Graham (Burghley Plot 9) and George and Lesley (Burghley Plot 8). If you have any spare produce it would be most gratefully received.

This month's takings will be used to buy native daffodil bulbs and ferns to brighten up the top lane for dog-walkers. Everyone who has contributed produce will then be invited to vote on our next goal - ideas so far have included buying a glass-fronted noticeboard, getting a skip and hiring a wood-chipper.