No water - let them eat cabbage

2016-02-03 06:00

SEVERAL months ago council “embarked on a beautification project to improve the aesthetics of the city”. Council took a novel approach to this project planting flowers and vegetables together. Along with everyone I admired their handy work. It is truly an attractive sight. My admiration for the project was short-lived.

I was incensed when I noticed it spread to all corners of the city. I was annoyed by letters of admiration and favourable reporting on this project. Why would a thing of beauty elicit such a reaction? Well, it’s because I’m a practical person. This project was a great idea as a novelty to showcase future possibilities for a well administered city with like-minded citizens. When I look around the city, that’s not what I see and this project is vindication for my assertions.

Ideally, people would not litter, but the reality is that we do. The streets are strewn with litter. The verges are often overgrown. Gutters are full of eroded soil with weeds growing in them. The parks are unkempt and fall short of what a park should resemble. Parks are places where aesthetic beauty should be cultivated not roadsides and intersections. Vacant plots and parks are nurseries for invasive alien plants (IAP). Some of these invasive alien plant nurseries are allowed to flourish into jungles.

My first-hand experience of such a situation is an area in the cul-de-sac in Vale Avenue in Prestbury. When family moved there in 1997 it was a well maintained park where children could safely play for hours within an earshot’s distance from home.

In response to repeated pleas to the relevant department of council, the resident was accused of being delusional to claim that the “IAP jungle” was once a park. Whereas there is little hope of council restoring this once beautiful park to its former glory, surely it must be aware of the dangers of allowing IAPs to flourish.

Flower gardens require regular weeding and watering, yes watering. What is the source for this water to irrigate these flowers? I’ve seen potable water been used for this purpose in the middle of the day, when temperatures are in their mid-30s. Any sensible person knows that for plants to get any benefit from watering, it is best done between dusk and dawn. Aren’t we in the midst of a drought? When will we take the reality of the drought seriously - when our leaking taps stop leaking without us effecting the necessary repairs?

The Witness of 9 November, 2015 featured a sensible report by Valerie Payn titled, “How to withstand drought”. The report advised on the virtues of indigenous plants, especially in relation to water conservation. Indigenous gardens can also be aesthetically pleasing with much less needless long-term effort. Indigenous plants are hardy and obviously have greater longevity than vegetables and annuals.


Clive Robson Lynnfield Park

Garden project was a great idea as a novelty to showcase future possibilities for a well administered city with like-minded citizens. When I look around the city now, that’s not what I see

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