Fast forward to now, a few days before our contract runs out, and the balcony looks worse than it did when we took the house. My elaborate plans for it never materialised, and whilst the balcony has been a lovely spot to catch some evening rays, its wildlife value remains minimal.
Yes, those are traffic cones. We should probably give them back.
Despite my lack of intervention, last week I lifted up a large paving slab and found these two fantastic beetles sheltering underneath. Whether they'd been on the balcony for a while, or were simply waiting out a rain shower will remain a mystery, but whatever their origin it's surprising to see them utilise such a meagre patch of habitat. Hopefully their tenancy wasn't too uncomfortable!
Lesser Stag Beetle