Spent Sunday morning down at "our" allotment - it is officially "hers", but I'm slowly getting dragged in more and more - particularly as "she" is 6 months pregnant which I have to take some responsibility for. This combination of wet then hot then wet weather we've had recently, coupled with a couple of weeks of neglect from our part, gave both the crops and the weeds a real shot in the arm, so we had our work cut out hacking, hoeing and plucking.
I take a very pragmatic approach on days like this - focus on the tasks which will keep the 'allotment police' off our backs. Like many allotment associations, ours has a schism between those for whom a single blade of grass in a bed is a sin and those who take a live and let live approach provided plot holders keep within the rules. Fortunately for us, the latter seem to be in the ascendency, but I am told the battles can be bloody.
While our plot's scruffiness is mainly a product of us having other priorities - namely small children - there is an eco-element to our thinking. We want to encourage biodiversity, retain moisture, support soil structure etc, etc. In particular, many of our town birds suffer if there aren't enough invertebrates around for them to feed their young in the spring. Scruffiness is good for bugs and beasties.
One of the simplest environmental projects organisations can undertake is to set aside space (if they have it) for wildlife. This can have an immediate impact on biodiversity, provides a fantastic opportunity to get employees and other stakeholders involved in some worthwhile hands-on volunteering, gives employees an opportunity to enjoy nature during their breaks, and, whisper it, can cut the costs of grounds maintenance. But be prepared for the tidiness freaks to pop up - they are everywhere - my friends at EAE Ltd in Scotland have had to post signs saying "wildlife garden" virtually every 10 yards along their depot fence as they were getting complaints from those who think grass verges should be maintained like bowling greens.
Let's be scruffy and proud of our green and pleasant land!