We went to Tempe Reserve today after a long hiatus and it was a mix of feeling sad & happy. I was happy to see the excellent work by Sydney Water to save one of the glorious fig trees along the Alexandria Canal, but will write about this in a separate post. What made me feel sad was the unkempt nature of sections of the park.
Sadly, two 10-metre Banksia trees have fallen in the Cooks River Valley Garden. I assume they are causalities of the terrible winds & rain sodden ground of late. Over time I have noticed that any trees that fall or are removed in this garden are not replaced. I would estimate that 20 trees & shrubs have been removed in the last 5 years, though new trees were planted outside the garden near the picnic kiosks.
Work done by someone in the community to improve the barren outlook in the ‘Turpentine Forest’ has been almost destroyed. Long weedy grass has been allowed to invade the garden bed smothering all kinds of native plants, while a long line of Glyphosate has been sprayed at the perimeter. It feels like it was deliberate to allow the weedy grass to invade the garden & take over because the rest of this area is regularly stripped of weeds & grass, yet this section was left alone.
A scaevola that was almost a metre wide & constantly in flower has been smothered. Somehow it is still managing to flower. A small callistemon has a dead wattle tree leaning on it & pig face & Pinwheel hakea is also being smothered. Various other native plants & shrubs are also being smothered by long grass, which has been allowed to act as a saboteur.
In the newly planted areas connected to the Turpentine Forest a vine has smothered three trees. It won’t be too long before they too die.
Then we followed the path along the river bank & came upon the 2015 National Tree Day site. Thankfully the trees are still standing, but there is continuous tree/shrub death in the area next to this site. The trees are acacias & were planted when the park was established. Acacias are not long-lived & have come to the natural end of their lives.
The 2015 National Tree Day site also looks sad & I could not stop myself from comparing the National Tree Day sites at Sydney Park. If you compare the sites, they are like different planets. The planted areas in Sydney Park look terrific & people who helped plant there can immediately see the fruit of their efforts.
This is particularly powerful when it comes to children being able to see that their hard work has beautiful results & would hopefully instil a sense of pride & love for the environment that lasts well into adulthood. The site at Tempe Reserve looks like a desolation zone with weeds everywhere.
What is good is that mulch has been laid in the strip along the waterfront opposite the 2015 National Tree Day site. Fifty metres along, three Pig Face are growing in what looks to be newly laid mulch. These are tough plants, so should survive. One day they should cover the mulch adding green & seasonal hot pink flowers, which will be nice.
It seems that Council comes, does some planting & then leaves. Any further upkeep consists of mowing & spraying Glyphosate & the years pass until the next time they are given grant money from external sources. I wonder why the upkeep of this park is not a priority. The neglect is palpable.