My own Wild Lookout

This may not look like heaven to many people, but this is my patch of wild paradise in the centre of urban sprawl.
Birds on a feeder

Ellie Sherlock

Still a work in progress, and perhaps something that will never be finished (really I don’t think anyone’s garden is ever finished) this is where I come most evenings to unwind after wrestling my way through the notorious inner-city traffic.

When we first moved into our apartment, our balcony was an unloved space that clearly hadn’t been used for much more than storage in a long while – really it left very little to the imagination.

We knew that to truly feel at home here, the balcony needed some TLC. Some of the plants from our old apartment had survived the move while many more basically wilted and we never managed to persuade them back to life, a garden centre visit was well overdue.

Our new, north-facing balcony gets the best of the evening sunshine lending itself to many a happy evening, watching the world go by. We overlook the River Irwell and to my amazement, nearby traffic from Manchester’s city centre is wonderfully dappled with the happy tweets and peeps of birds living in the treeline, the soundtrack of My Wild City.

Before the new plants, bird feeders and furnishings it was just us, stood looking out from our balcony, our wild lookout. Magpies announced themselves early on, bobbing about the rooftops and a couple of times now a heron has swooped by, its long legs trailing behind. In the evenings we have a regular bat visitor that darts back and forth in quick flashes before disappearing off into the night and very occasionally a butterfly or bee has come to check out our plant survivors.

It’s taken a lot of patience, some fresh foliage and a couple of bird feeders to tempt more wildlife in but we have already had some wonderful encounters.

Two very sweet little finches have stopped by to visit us. They haven’t been spotted on the feeder yet, I’m half tempted to go and point it out when I do see them but in time they will figure it out – our urban wildlife certainly has their street smarts.

It’s wonderful to be able to enjoy wildlife from my home in the city and I can’t wait to spot even more wildlife or to harvest my first crops. Any space, no matter how small, can be turned into a space for you and nature to enjoy.

This is why we have launched our My Wild City campaign. We want to help reconnect people with their gardens and local green spaces. By working together, we can create a nature-rich city that puts wildlife right on our doorsteps, giving everyone the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife every day.