As some of you might know The Weekend Tourist’s travel companion, Tom, is by trade a horticulturalist (that’s gardener to you and I). As such, I’ve realised we’ve visited quite a few gardens this summer – and last weekend was no different! This time rather than copious floral displays, Ryton Organic Gardens offers something different – an alternative gardening style teaching visitors what it means to be truly ‘organic’. (Gwyneth’s Goop would be proud – try ‘Why eating Organic matters’!)
If you’re going to take organic gardening seriously that means letting go of Round up weed killer and chemical plant food. Instead organic gardeners embrace methods like making their own comfrey feed (a liquid fertilser using richly nutrient comfrey leaves). You can even attend courses at the gardens to make your own compost toilet!
What’s nice about Ryton Organic Gardens is that it offers realistic inspiration for what you can do in your own back yard. My favourite part was the Latin American inspired vegetable patch, were beds grew all the essential ingredients for pizza toppings and pasta dishes.
Most of the produce from Ryton ends up in the Vegan Café, Fusca, which serves a delicious menu of slightly more unusual creations (which all seemed to be served with yoghurt?) – I’d recommend the spinach and courgette pakoras.
Ryton was the brain child of Lawrence D Hills, who founded the charity Garden Organic in 1958. Lawrence wanted a showcase organic garden that could inspire gardeners and the general public and after a mammoth task of getting a paddock in Coventry ready as an open garden, Ryton opened in 1986.
Things to know about visiting Ryton Organic Gardens
• You’ll need about two hours to take in the 10 acres at a leisurely pace.
• It’s definitely worth checking out the Garden’s weekend activities, especially if you are looking for something to do with children in the hols.
• RHS Members get in free.
• Gardens shut at 4pm at the weekend and the café, Fusca, shuts at 5pm.