What inspired me to make a “Wildlife Garden” Balcony?

I like gardening and I like nature. Having once had a large garden, a decade earlier,  I had managed to combine my love of both by creating a garden “wildlife reserve”, complete with wildlife pond, native species hedgerow, wild-flower meadows and a small army of native trees.

Driven by the knowledge that we lived in a world which was becoming dramatically less bio-diverse, each and every day, with insects , mammals and plant species being lost to us forever, my wildlife garden was an attempt at creating a small, green haven of defiant “un-decline”.  

King Canute had tried to hold back the sea with nothing more than  flailing arms  and outrageous hope. I, on the other hand, had tried  to resist the incoming “tide of extinction” with waney lap fencing and a trowel.

 I wasn’t completely unsuccessful, though.
 
My garden hummed with bees,
it croaked with frogs, it chirped with birds, it fluttered with butterflies.

Predatory dragonflies would deposit their vicious progeny in the pond, whilst foxes and hedgehogs would sip  from its edges. Bats would hunt midges just above it, whilst great diving beetles would give chase to tadpoles, just below it
Damselfly resting on water forget-me-not

It was war and peace, played out in a sprawling suburban jungle, where the undulating songs of hunting swallows were, in turn,  swallowed by the relentless drone of lawnmowers.

 A tussocky battleground, where the elegant poise of the resting damselfly would be quickly abandoned in the hungry pursuit of a passing , juicy midge.

And a beautiful, harsh oasis, where  even those poor froglets, who’d survived  the “aquatic warzone”, 

emerged from the pond only to endure the further perils of  pouncing, merciless cats.

And when dusk faded  into night,  the shrill, whining of electric strimmers would give way the blood curdling shrieks of love struck foxes

From laying in the summer meadow, with my eyes closed, listening to the myriad hums and buzzes swirling around my head, to watching Scandinavian waxwings eating winter fallen apples on the lawn  – it was a place of endless fascination for me and  provided sustenance for my soul just as much as it provided sustenance for the many creatures inhabiting it.

My block and the typical "half-moon" shaped balconies

Fast forward 10 years on and I was now living in small 1 bed flat in  Hulme, inner-city Manchester.

Even though I was in a very different place, I still yearned to grow things as well as actively create a space for nature.

Fortunately, I did have a balcony.

A very small balcony.

Nevertheless , for a  tiny space I could still see that it had potential.

Lots.

So. I had big ideas but only a small space in which to “shoe-horn” them into. 


Advertisements