Older gardeners could pick up some tips from a new generation of young horticulturists who have grown up with the eco-friendly, sustainability mentality.

So says TV gardener David Domoney, who is mentoring students from six UK horticultural colleges as they create gardens with a sustainability theme as part of the Ideal Young Gardener of the Year competition, in association with the Prince’s Foundation.

Young people are becoming much more aware of the importance of sustainable gardening, thanks to programmes such as Countryfile and other horticultural shows, he says.

He said: “Television has greatly influenced kids to an acceptance that wildlife is very important. There are a lot of little quirky designs in their gardens that really work.

“Kids today are working more with landcraft. Dry stone walling is immensely popular. When I was at college in the 1980s, things were very different.”

Youngsters have a different attitude to sustainability than previous generations, he argues.

David said: “In the past decade we’ve seen a huge change.

“Who would have thought 10 years ago we’d have been separating our rubbish inside our kitchens?”

So how can amateur gardeners make their own plots sustainable?

Domoney says: “There’s a huge amount of confusion about what is sustainable and what is natural, whether everything has to be indigenous species and aspects of chemicals, peat and landcraft.

“But for the general public who have their own gardens and like the feeling of sustainability, there are a few steps they can take to try to encourage that style of thinking.”

Attracting as much wildlife as possible into the garden is the first step any amateur gardener should take towards sustainability as part of an equal balance, he notes.

“That means attracting everything from wild birds — creating not only a feeding and water station year-round, putting up bird boxes and roosting pouches — to insects that visit the garden, not just bees.”