Just back from a visit to Garden Organic's Ryton Gardens just outside Coventry.
It's properly awesome and it's everything I want to be doing - lawns aren't cut too low and a lot of grass is left to grow long with shorter cut paths through the middle:
Seed heads/stems are left over winter to provide insect cover, protect the crown of the plant and provide seeds for birds as well as interest for humans. So Phlomis, Verbascum, Silene, even Aquilegia which has long since finished flowering is left in a strange skeletal state over winter:
That's the nectar garden which is just jam-packed full of, er, nectar.
There's a mixture of exotic plants and native spiecies, cultivated varieties and not, different heights of herbaceous plants, groundcover, green manures which all help to create a diverse habitat to cater for as much wildlife as possible. I'm reading in Wildlife of a Garden: A 30 Year Study about how it's this rich variety of different plants co-existing that gives gardens that potential to be a valuable habitat for wildlife: in a state of permanent succession, the author calls it. And I love the way Ryton just lets every plant have its way for the whole year and then, I assume, everything is cut back again once new growth begins.
I'd love to see it a bit earlier in the season as even with summer over I saw a wren catch a butterfly, red admirals feeding on rotting plums and a whole host of bees, hoverflies and butterflies that move too fast to identify.
Right on, Ryton Gardens. Really, really inspiring.