Q With wildlife in mind, I have left areas of the garden undisturbed, seedheads in place, and so forth – but I feel the garden now looks tatty. When is the right time for a clear-up? Sally Anne Porter, Newquay, Cornwall
A In the hollow, pithy interior of a split burdock stem, I’ve just found clusters of woodlice, earwigs, and a lively little spider. So leaving stems and cover really does encourage overwintering creepy crawlies, which are food for other creatures. Thickets and undisturbed areas are also vital for rodents, hedgehogs, and birds. None of us wants an infestation of mice, but the house mouse is only one of six native species, which, in addition to shrews and voles, provide food for owls and other predatory birds and animals.
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