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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October 26, 2018


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 24, 2018

                        Photograph © Copyright Blue.Tardis via Flickr

In August gardener Huw set us a new challenge - growing our own saffron.

It is the purple autumn-flowering crocus (crocus sativus) that...

October 16, 2018

Photograph © Alan Buckingham

If you fancy a trip out this Saturday, why not head to the picturesque market town of Southwell near Nottingham for its annual Bramley Apple Festival?

Bramley’s Seedling has a remarkable history which began in 1809 when young Mary Anne Brails...

October 14, 2018


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 8, 2018

Tonight or any autumn evening look for the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen lighting up the northeast sky. As night deepens Cassiopeia swings above Polaris, the North Star, and by dawn she is found in the northwest.

Cassiopeia has the distinctive s...

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...

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