Garden habits you need to break in order to help wildlife
Conservationist Chris Packham gives his advice on breaking five common gardening habits to encourage more wildlife into your garden.
There are many ways to help wildlife in your garden. Putting in a pond is the single most effective way of improving your garden as a wildlife resource, and it doesn't matter whether it's a puddle or a lake. If you leave areas of long grass, perhaps around the compost bin, bumblebees will nest in holes in the ground.
Ivy provides essential nectar for many overwintering insects, followed by berries, which sustain birds in the cold, short days of December. Growing nectar-rich flowers for as long as possible so that nectar is available throughout the year. And put up nest boxes - you can never have too many.
While there are things you can add, there are also things you should stop doing. The one thing traditional gardeners could do to help wildlife is to allow a little more tolerance into their lives, plans, practices and gardens.
Here are five gardening habits you should aim to break in order to encourage wildlife.
Don't burn anything
Don't burn anything you've cut in your garden. Don't release that carbon - allow the natural forces of decomposition to play their role. Make sure everything (with the exception of diseased plants) goes for composting. Find out how to make compost.
Don't over-tidy your space. Don't fret about a stray dead branch, leave a tuft of dock for the finches to eat, let the moss have a little space in your lawn.
Don't over-clear the pond
If you're maintaining your pond, don't drag out the entire contents in one go - you'll kill all the overwintering animals and destroy its ecology. Simply do half the pond one year and the other half the next. Leave any debris by the side for a while so that creatures can crawl back in.
Leave the chainsaw
Don't buy or pick up a chainsaw just for the hell of it. It's the most sickening sound that emanates from a garden because it spells destruction - once you start you just can't stop. Prune carefully at the right time of year.
Clean your bird feeder
Don't forget to clean your bird feeder. There are some horrible diseases that can wipe out your garden visitors and they are transmitted by feeders and drinking bowls. Read our advice on cleaning a bird feeder. Then keep it well stocked - birds will get used to it and will have wasted energy if they find it empty.