The following is a genuine experience I had earlier this week. I was busy in the garden, minding my own business, when I heard a woman's voice, loud and clear, the other side of the hedge.

"Aren't they big and lovely?!" she said.

"Huge!" said a man's voice.

"It's because they're in a sunny position."

Ah. Now I twigged. They were talking about my sunflowers!

I've got so much to do to sort out my new garden that the sunflowers were a way of doing something quick and simple in a bare border alongside the garage. The hope was to provide nectar and pollen for bumblebees, and then homegrown food for birds (to complement my cornfield plot at the other end of the garden).

The bumblebees are indeed loving them, and it is nice to see that passers-by are getting pleasure from them, too.

And talking of overheard conversations, the very next day, a mother and her two small children were admiring the Red Admiral butterfly nectaring on the buddleia in my front hedge. "See!" said the mother, "We'd get lots of lovely butterflies and bumblebees if you stopped picking our flowers all the time."

"Hooraayyyyyyyyy," said the little girl excitedly at the prospect.

As David Attenborough said to Barrack Obama (and I paraphrase), the mystery is not how people come to be interested in wildlife; it's how they lose it. Well, that family hadn't lost it, and that is so encouraging to hear