Sign for Cooks River Valley Garden.  To the left you can see new bitumen has been laid alongside the Fig trees from the car park

Sign for Cooks River Valley Garden. To the left you can see new bitumen has been laid alongside the Fig trees all the way to the car park

"Gathering area' in the Cooks River Valley Garden

“Gathering area’ in the Cooks River Valley Garden.

The view of the Cooks River Valley Garden from the new 'gathering area.'

The view of the Cooks River Valley Garden from the new ‘gathering area.’

Marrickville Council has completed Stage One of the Cooks River Valley Garden upgrade & they have done some very nice things.

Council’s Press Release said that the Cooks River Valley Garden, created in 2001, was inspired by the book, ‘Missing Jigsaw Pieces:  The Bushplants of the Cooks River Valley.’    Money for the upgrade came from a Greenspace Grant of $35,000 which was matched by Council – a total of $70,000.

The first thing I noticed were the new trees.  These are all around 1.8 – 2 metres tall & already make a positive impact.  Once grown, they should provide much needed shade.

At the western entrance, a large amount of grass has been removed in an arc-shape.  This area has been mulched with woodchip & planted with 6 new trees.   Hopefully the woodchip acts as a deterrent to people going near the trees while they are young, as this area of Tempe Reserve has a history of trees being vandalized to death.

Two other trees have been planted in the remaining fenced tree spaces of which there were once seven.  I can understand Council not replacing the other five until they see whether the users of the park allow these new trees to live.   I hope these are replaced eventually.

There is now an attractive sign at the entrance of the Cooks River Valley Garden, which instantly shows that this is a special place.  Again, this may help lessen or stop vandalism completely.  I hope so.

New bin holders, which will prevent bins being removed & tossed into the Cooks River.

New bin holders, which will prevent bins being removed & tossed into the Cooks River.

Woodchip has been laid between the Cooks River Valley Garden & the barbeque area providing a border to the garden.  It looks considerably neater than previously.  Quite a few dead & dying trees have been removed.

I was very pleased to see that concrete had not been laid between the picnic kiosks & the garden as I interpreted from the plans.  In my opinion, this is a too large area to concrete.  Grass is much more attractive than concrete, softer to the eyes & the feet, as well as not heat attracting/retaining.  It gets very hot here & concrete would have only made this area hotter.

Close up of part of the new sign

Close up of part of the new sign

At the lower section of the Garden, Council has created a central gathering area constructed of sandstone, which looks nice.  It follows the same design as the others that have been placed along Marrickville’s section of the river.

Beside this & just inside in the garden is an delightful sandstone sculpture of Banksia flowers.  It is child height, so I imagine would be exciting for kids to discover.  This is a great way of including passive education regarding the environment.

Another smaller gathering place, also in the same sandstone design has been installed at the far end of the Cooks River Valley Garden.  I have no doubt that people will enjoy being able to sit in these places that offer a nice view over the garden, as well as the opportunity for peace.  Quiet contemplative spaces are important in parks.

I think Marrickville Council has done well with the upgrade & thank them for this.

New trees & mulched areas at the entrance on the western side of Tempe Reserve

New concrete, trees & mulched areas at the entrance on the western side of Tempe Reserve

Another view

Another view

The smaller 'gathering area.'

The smaller ‘gathering area.’

Two trees replaced in front of the picnic kiosks.

Two trees replaced in front of the picnic kiosks.

I am glad this whole area was not concreted as I understood was in the plans.

I am glad this whole area was not concreted as I understood was in the plans.

The banksia sculpture in the Garden.

The banksia sculpture in the Garden.

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