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.

Please reload


September 25, 2018


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 21, 2018

                      Photograph of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter by Sally J Smith © Copyright.

Today on the autumnal equinox we have a special sight in the night sky if the clouds clear - Venus at her most brilliant. Look for...

September 20, 2018

                     Lepus © Copyright Karen Davis. All rights reserved.

For many years I have loved Wiltshire-based artist Karen Davis's magical blog, Moonlight and Hares. She has kindly given me permission to shar...

September 17, 2018

                                   Photograph © Copyright Alan Buckingham

Ellison’s Orange is a connoisseur's mid-season eating apple, described as 'once tasted, never forgotten' on acc...

September 13, 2018

Tyler Knott Gregson is a poet, author and photographer based in Helena, Montana. His brilliant first poetry book 'Chasers of the Light' became a top ten bestseller of non fiction within a fortnight of publication. When I approached Tyler for permission to copy his poem...

September 11, 2018

Since they arrived on our shores 200 years ago, dahlias have been in and out of fashion more than almost any other plant. At the moment, they’re one of the chicest of cut flowers and many of our Waterfurlong gardeners grow them - in my case in a bed in the vegetable pl...

September 9, 2018


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...

September 7, 2018

From Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee 

Please reload

Contact Us

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Pinterest - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle