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.

On reaching the garden gate, it is tantalising to wonder who was opening it 50 years ago, 150 years ago, possibly even 250 years ago ... Who planted the old apple trees? Who trimmed the hedges and dug the vegetable patch? Who drank lemonade in the summerhouse and played on the swing? 

 

Follow our quest to discover our gardening forebears, 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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July 12, 2019

 Rosa Dorothy Perkins - a favourite of Stamford nurseryman James Brown

THE LOST ROSE 'BEAUTY OF STAMFORD'

Our most famous Victorian Waterfurlong gardener, Thomas Laxton, is still known for the peas, strawberries and apples he introduced, but one of his forgotten hor...

July 2, 2019

Rosa Madame Alfred Carrière

Despite June's drenching rain, it's been a wonderful summer for roses here. Our gardeners grow many different types - wander along the Waterfurlong lanes and you might spot lovely old ramblers like Albertine and Madame Alfred Carrière scrambl...

June 17, 2019

'There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.'

                                              Mirabel Osler...

June 10, 2019

One of the ecclesiastical stone fragments found in the gardens.

If you're a regular reader of The Plot Thickens you'll know Waterfurlong lies near the lost hamlet of Bradcroft or Breadcroft. Very little is understood about the settlement and we have been working with hi...

June 3, 2019

Although summer is my favourite season, I feel a twinge of sadness when lovely May comes to an end. It will be another year before the world is as green, lush and full of birdsong again and I'm always reminded of Gerard Manley Hopkins's line 'After-comers cannot g...

May 30, 2019

One of my most magical childhood memories is finding a White Plume Moth on a leaf and believing it to be either a tiny angel or a fairy.

Dusk in early summer is the best time to see these delicate beauties, which are not uncommon in dry grassland and can sometimes...

May 26, 2019

THE DELIGHTS OF PARIS, A WEDDING, FIVE CHRISTENINGS,

AND SETTLING DOWN IN STAMFORD

Paris in the 1860s

1863

In 1863 I went for my holiday with my father & Mrs S No 2(TS's stepmother) to the Lake District - Windermere &c and had a very enjoyable trip, so much so that I made...

May 24, 2019

CYGNETS SAILING DOWN THE MILLSTREAM

'A pair of swans that have made their headquarters among the osiers at the bottom of Breadcroft gardens have lately attracted the attention of pedestrians by sailing down the Millstream freighted with three little cygnets.' Stamford M...

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