n a small residential close in Willingdon, near Eastbourne on the southeast coast, Peter Birchall shares his humble 50ft-by-30ft garden with 180 native plant species, a fox, and many other animals. “My neighbours just have lawn. There’s no biodiversity, their gardens are devoid of life. My garden is a haven for creatures,” he says.

When Birchall moved into his house 36 years ago, he inherited one pond, a lawn, a vegetable patch and flowerbeds. He’s since squeezed in 45 ponds, no bigger than washing up bowls, in which he keeps his plants.

“There’s all sorts of different creatures in there,” he says. “Each one is a different environment.”

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