I have a great deal of sympathy with James Alexander-Sinclair's latest thoughts on the environmental movement: "I do worry that it has all become a bit evangelical and I really do not like being preached at: it makes me want to go and burn a huge pile of tyres on a raft in the middle of an unsullied lagoon full of rare creatures." Mea culpa. It's really hard to hit the right tone while trying to get a clear message across. Haranguing one's audience is only one pitfall; there's also a real danger of lapsing into a kind of environmental puritanism. Wildlife gardening is about making people happy, and not about creating and running a nature reserve.
And what better way to remind me of that than to visit Clive Farrell's Dorset home. Clive is the man behind Butterfly World; a lifelong lepidopterist with the money to back his dreams. His own estate is a really inspiring mix of the utilitarian and the whimsical, where painstakingly planned wildlife gardening meets fantastical design on a grand scale. Around every corner is a new and unexpected joy, and the rich mosaic of habitat types he has created brings with it not just a stunning variety of fauna but a good deal of his own brand of fun. Here be dragons and dormice, Water Buffalo and the Small Blue. Fab.