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For far too many years I’d been told, cadgolled, guilt-tripped and forced into trying to “maintain” my garden so it was neat – the grass was neat, there were no “weeds” whilst hedges and trees were to be trimmed into pleasing shapes.

A couple of years ago I said no more. The weed fabric was removed, the trees and bushes left to do as they see fit, the brambles and all their wonderful bee-feeding flowers allowed to spread and form a cover for my wonderful hedgehog visitors. The grasses long and blowing in the breeze, dandelions at all stages of their lives left to the creatures who need them – the birds and bees for a start.

I’ve been rewarded by a myriad of visitors from the tiniest of bugs to hedgehogs and voles. Blackbirds, robins, sparrows, greenfinches, goldfinches, jackdaws, rooks, crows, magpies, jays, yellowhammers, sparrowhawks, thrushes, starlings, chaffinches, dunnocks, bats, doves, wood pigeons, chiffchaffs, woodpeckers, long tailed tits, great tits, coal tits, blue tits, I’ve been blessed to watch them all visit.

I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle though. Whilst I can allow nature to do its thing, other people’s actions still impact on this safe space. The neighbour’s cats predating the fledglings and voles. The careless driving causing the death of one of the hedgehogs I released in the garden after my friend painstakingly nursed them back to health.

This is why I’m so passionate about reconnecting people with the nature around them. I wish they could see what they’re missing so that they too will do what they can to protect it. It’s up to all of us.