Leave plant planting to pros

2015-05-21 06:00

A SHORT time ago I was pleased to see that a row of palms had been planted on the unattractive grass verge bordering the R102 across Oribi Plaza in Port Shepstone.

However, my next observation was that the palms, although planted as a formal row, were unevenly spaced and that they had not been watered after planting and were wilting. I then noticed that many of the palms were planted in such a way that watering them would have been a difficult, wasteful and time-consuming task.

Instead of being planted in depressions in the shape of saucers to hold water and distribute it at the bases of their trunks, which is the standard way of planting, many of them were set too high, some on mounds, which obviously would cause water to run off, away from the roots of the newly planted palms. Another question that arises is, why plant at the beginning of the dry season?

None of this would seem to be of any consequence, because whoever planted these palms apparently does not know that plants of virtually any description newly planted need to be watered regularly until they have established a viable root system in their new environment.

We so desperately need to present the South Coast as an attractive subtropical seaside holiday destination and, in spite of the grumblings of the “indigenous only” brigade, palms are the symbols of seaside resorts. We have our own palms, one of the last 100-year-old iLalas having been pointlessly and illegally destroyed not long ago by our municipality in Commercial Road, Umtentweni, but of the five natives, only two are found in this area, and these are, respectively, very slow-growing and unsuitable for this verge in question. Therefore, exotic palms suited to this environment would have been a good choice. The Archontophoenix Cunninghamiana that were planted were not the best choice.

My question to HCM is, why pay someone incompetent and irresponsible to botch landscaping, destroy plants and waste money, when we do have capable people here who could help beautify our urban landscape probably at reduced cost? The unsightly facade of our town, with the hideous electric billboard replacing a thriving coconut palm (a valuable plant that disappeared instead of being relocated on the same site) is now punctuated with rows of dead plants as though to broadcast the stupidly of our administration and those it employs.

The most humble, lowly paid nursery workers have more knowledge of plants than our municipality’s landscaper. I trust that in the interest of it’s much-vaunted policy of transparancy the HCM will now reveal what it pays for the work on this important verge that is the face of our town, and why it has not contracted someone capable and responsible to do the job.


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