Traffic island gardens on the verge of making a comeback
Council on the verge of heeding calls to restart waterthirsty project
WIDESPREAD calls for traffic island flower and vegetable gardens to make a comeback has been heard by the municipality.
The gardens that brightened up everyone’s daily commute through the city have been nonexistent for a while now and no one really knew why. All we knew was that our “Harvest Fridays” and neat gardens greeting those sitting in traffic have turned to views of overgrown bush, dried leaves and branches filtering onto the roads and a web of weeds.
There was talk that the city’s horticulturist, Mbulaheni Tshivase, abandoned the municipality and moved to greener pastures in another city, but those rumours were doused by Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha last week. Mafumbatha said Tshivase is still employed by the municipality and they were all in talks to relaunch the gardens project.
Witness Warriors’ readers were all for the gardens to return when we posted a picture of the once immaculate traffic island outside Northdale Hospital.
Mervin Arthur Naidoo said the garden project was “absolutely brilliant”.
“It brought smiles to our faces to see the beauty of these gardens on a daily basis. Everything looks old and broken now. The streets are filthy and manholes overflowing,” he said.
Michelle Masson said it was a pleasure to see the environment being taken care of, but it was “shortlived”.
“It was such a pleasure to see the traffic islands bursting with colour and the odd quirky figurines made me laugh out loud,” said Elize van Jaarsveld.
Hereen Godley Pyle reminisced about the time she first moved to Pietermaritzburg. Pyle said the city was “flowerfilled” and she fondly remembered the striking azaleas that lined the streets.
“It was quite spectacular in Townbush Road along Settlers Park, now destroyed since the arrival of the taxi rank opposite Grey’s Hospital,” Pyle said. She also mentioned the lush lawns of the Mayoral Gardens in Alexandra Park. “Now that space leaves a lot to be desired,” Pyle said. Other readers questioned whether the garden project was feasible considering the city found itself in deep trouble with the drought hitting the city hard. “Frankly the vegetable patches were not a sustainable solution for the Pietermaritzburg verges. The labour cost and time spent should have been used to plant waterwise plants and rockeries so the unsightly weeds would not be a problem now,” said Ramona ReddyMaduray.
Kate Watts raised the issue that with the terrible drought, the gardens were not sustainable.
Mafumbatha confirmed the project was suspended due to the drought. She said the city managers had to make the decision to supply the water to the residents rather than the plants.
But since we now find ourselves a little out of the danger zone, the city is looking at restarting the garden project.
With all the uneasiness about tariff increases, salary glitches, power outages and just complete loss of faith in the municipality, the citizens of Msunduzi need the gardens to return.
Our city should not be a failing one, and if beautiful gardens can pick up the residents’ spirits even a little, why not?
The once beautiful and wellkept vegetable and flower gardens planted by horticulturist Mbulaheni Tshivase.