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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January 3, 2019

With the short, dark days and the bustle of Christmas, not much gardening tends to happen in December and this winter's heavy rain hasn't helped matters. But there are honourable exceptions. A few gardeners have been valiantly double-digging their plots...

December 21, 2018

 Photograph kind courtesy of Alan Buckingham © All rights reserved.

'I love the crackle of winter. The snap of dry twigs underfoot, boots crunching on frozen grass, a fire spitting in the hearth, ice thawing on a pond. The innate crispness of the season appeals to me, l...

December 3, 2018

What an amazing autumn it's been for fruits and berries. Just look at these glowing red crab apples on Malus Comtesse de Paris.

Knowing that a surfeit of berries usually signals a hard winter, we checked out David King of Weather Without Technology's latest update...

November 22, 2018

Which gardener doesn't share the perverse joy expressed by Robert Smith Surtees in 1843? Once the bedraggled remnants of this year's garden are cleared away, it's so much easier to start planning for next.

Photographer unknown

November 16, 2018

 'November is the pearl-grey month, the changeling between warm crimson October and cold white December, the month when the leaves fall in slow drifting whirls, and the shapes of the trees are revealed, when the earth imperceptibly wakes, and stretches her bare limbs a...

August 31, 2018

Rarely has there been such a month of contrast in the gardens. Whilst tiny parched apples dropped from the trees in bushels, runner beans belied their name and stopped dead in their tracks and the grass was bleached so blonde we could have been in Provence, tomatoes, p...

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