Cooks River Valley Garden in summer.  I have deliberately chosen photos from the warmer months as this is how the garden looks when the area has more people around.  The only difference is that in winter the grass becomes green.

Cooks River Valley Garden in summer. I have deliberately chosen photos from the warmer months as this is how the garden looks when the area has more people around. The only difference is that in winter the grass becomes green.

Cooks River Valley Garden near the picnic kiosks

Cooks River Valley Garden near the picnic kiosks

Excellent news. Marrickville Council is going to upgrade the long neglected Cooks River Valley Garden in Tempe Recreation Reserve. The money comes from a Metropolitan Greenspace grant of $35,000 that will be matched by Council.   The work will start in August & be completed by November 2014.

“The scope of the works is:

  • “Removing all dead wood/dying vegetation & a general site clean up.
  • Removing existing old signage.
  • Soil improvement to all garden beds, including addition of nutrients, rotary hoeing & mulching in preparation for the planting of a range of Cooks River Valley plant species commencing in Autumn 2015.
  • The construction of a main entry, including entry signage, paving & feature planting beds.
  • The construction of a central gathering area formed with sandstone walling & paving.
  • The construction of a minor gathering area highlighted with paving, feature planting & stone.
  • Installation of a traffic control bollard.
  • Installation of advanced tree planting.” ~ Council’s Press Release

The first time I saw the Cooks River Valley Garden I was pleasantly shocked at the beauty we had stumbled upon.  We had been to a Rock & Roll Market at the Jets Sports Club & wandered out the back to find a massive park & the Cooks River Valley Garden.  At the time the Garden was new & still had protective fencing around it.  It was lush with many of the shrubs & trees in flower.

This was the beginning of a love affair with Tempe Recreation Reserve.  Over the years it became increasingly sad & often distressing to see the Cooks River Valley Garden disintegrate, as well as the way people who came to use the picnic kiosks treated it.

I am very happy that this little patch will be upgraded. Hopefully it will be respected by those the use the area.

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that at one period I posted often about the trashing of this area of Tempe Reserve. Marrickville Council has made some vast improvements regarding the cleanliness of this area over the last twelve months (approximately).  Community Corrrections now occasionally clean up litter from the users of the park. Their involvement has resulted in a vast improvement in how the site looks & also prevented much litter from entering the Cooks River.

The edge of the upper section of the Cooks River Valley Garden

The edge of the upper section of the Cooks River Valley Garden closest to the Ring of Figs.

Council also hired a company to manage the garden at a cost (from memory) of $7,000 per month. These two actions have resulted in a significant improvement for those who use this section of Tempe Reserve.  Unfortunately, people still treat this area badly, but perhaps they will respect the place once it no longer looks neglected.

The idea of incorporating two ‘gathering areas’ means that people can interact with the garden more than previously & this may open their minds to the beauty of the garden. I suspect they will also create a great place for schools to visit to learn about the plants of the Cooks River.

My one & only concern is the traffic bollard.  Council did install two bollards at the entrance to the concrete footpath that ran through the lower end of the Cooks River Valley Garden in response to people driving their cars through this area. Judging by the damage, it appeared that they were checking out their car’s 4-wheel drive functions.

As there are already these bollards, my hope is that the other planned bollard will prevent cars from driving to the picnic kiosks directly next to the Cooks River Valley Garden.  If not, I hope that Marrickville Council will take this one further step to prevent this.

The presence of cars inside the park causes many problems, including damage to infrastructure. They seriously detract from the enjoyment of the park for others, so it would be nice to see them gone & for the park itself to be car-free.

I am personally very happy that work will be done to the Cooks River Valley Garden.  It was once an amazingly beautiful place & it will be wonderful to see this beauty restored.  It will be terrific for the wildlife too. Thank you Marrickville Council.

If you want to see the Plans, contact the Communications Team at Marrickville Council.

Later:

I’ve just noticed that Council intends to remove all dead wood from the Garden.  I missed this when I first read about their plans.   It is my understanding that Marrickville Council is now starting to put the trunks & large branches of public trees that were removed around parks to improve on biodiversity & add nutrients to the soil.  It would be a shame for the dead wood to be removed from the Cooks River Valley Garden.   I cannot see any reasons for doing this other than aesthetics.  The dead wood should remain to be of benefit to insects & other wildlife, as well as fungi & improving the soil.

Cooks River Valley Garden - upper side

Cooks River Valley Garden – upper side.

Area close to the bins

Area close to the bins.  The old Jets Sports Club can be seen in the background.

The Cooks River Valley Garden near the toilets

The Cooks River Valley Garden near the toilets

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