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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November 5, 2018

ARREST FOR KICKING FIRE-BALL ON GUNPOWDER PLOT ANNIVERSARY

Cantankerous Austin Barnett was the archetypal neighbour from hell. Bigamist, pugilist and landlord of Church Street's Sun and Railway Inn, he gardened in Waterfurlong on and off for ten years during the late 19...

November 2, 2018

October is always a busy gardening month, with much to do before the winter weather sets in. This year it's been a race against time with temperatures plummeting thirty 

degrees in six weeks. The apple harvest has been early and just g...

October 26, 2018

NURSERY OWNER JAMES BROWN - 'STAMFORD'S OLDEST TRADESMAN' - DIED

Stamford High Street - Brown's was on the right next to Cheyne Lane

Many older Stamfordians remember Brown's High Street seed-merchant's shop with affection and nostalgia and the firm supplied some of the f...

October 14, 2018

MARY ANN WEDDELL - OUR FIRST FEMALE TENANT - DIED

Rock Terrace circa 1902

Female tenants seem to have been comparatively few and far between in the history of Waterfurlong. The earliest we have so far discovered is Mary Ann Weddell, who took over the family's p...

October 4, 2018

 Photographer unknown

Every year during the first week of September, just like clockwork, a distant honking in the skies signals the return of the migratory geese and swans. Throughout the following two months we down tools at dusk to watch...

September 25, 2018

PC JOHN HARRISON 'DISFIGURED BY STAMFORD VIRAGO'

Policeman John Harrison was one of the earliest and most long-standing of our Victorian Waterfurlong gardeners and was seemingly always on hand when trouble broke out. The following bizarre incident occurred jus...

September 9, 2018

THE ROMAN EMPEROR FLORIAN DIED

And what on earth does that have to do with Waterfurlong you may ask? Well, Waterfurlong follows the exact line of Roman Ermine Street and every mile along the route was marked by a milestone dedicated to the Emperor of the day. One milest...

August 28, 2018

NEW PROPERTIES ADVERTISED IN RUTLAND TERRACE

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August 27, 2018

Few trees offer such delicate bloom or as charming a fruit, dangling from the tree’s fine twigs in early autumn like dusty, violet-black bonbons.’ Nigel Slater (1)

Damsons are traditionally harvested around Michaelmas, which falls on 29 September, but this summer’s int...

August 16, 2018

Nowadays, we sometimes feel we’re fighting a losing battle against the Waterfurlong pigeons, rabbits, muntjac deer and sparrows but the biggest threat to our gardening ancestors’ produce came in human form. Children. 

The long summer holidays when school was o...

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