Community angered by department's decision to poison 'Ed's Garden of Eden'

Del Dennis of Chatham alerted the community to the decision of the Department of Industry Lands to poison "Ed's Garden of Eden".
Del Dennis of Chatham alerted the community to the decision of the Department of Industry Lands to poison "Ed's Garden of Eden".

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Frustration, anger, disbelief and dismay are expressed by more than 100 people in response to the Department of Industry Lands’ decision to poison plants and order the removal of garden structures from a reserve in High Street, Taree.

The community has rallied to support the work of neighbouring resident, Mr Ed Rotgans, with 103 people acting to comment on the Facebook post of Del Dennis to the group, Thumbs Up Manning Valley.

“Thumbs down to NSW Lands Department for the heartless, thoughtless action taken by them to focus on a little plot of land beside the road near the Browns Creek / Crooked Creek roadway.

This little area of land has been tended to very lovingly by a resident living alongside the area with his beautiful white Labrador, Lucky for many years. 

Lucky has since died but motorists were familiar with the sight of this beautiful animal and his owner as they tended this little area. 

This man, Ed, by name, ensured that he only planted the correct plants within the correct borders close to the creek, but on the area close to the road he planted many and varied plants that he had sourced and that were gifted to him. He also created, from recycled timber little garden beds, he grew orchids on trees amidst much more. The result was a visual delight, evidence of what one generous hearted person could do without cost to anybody. It was Ed's Garden of Eden. 

Among other things this little patch of land was a great part of his life's work, he knew all the plants and the garden played a big part in his wellbeing. 

Now, with all the finesse of a rampaging elephant the Lands Department sent an insensitive letter telling him of their intention to get rid of it! It has now been sprayed with some pesticide that will no doubt be more damaging than the presence of some non native plant, and over the next few days it will turn yellow, then brown and all the little garden structures are to be removed!

Ed is bewildered and gutted! Good one Lands Department!”

Following is an edited selection of comments in response to the Facebook post. Visit Thumbs Up Manning Valley to read the 103 community comments:

Jennifer Kokany - “When no-one takes an interest in places like this, there's quick condemnation. When care is given and pride taken, poisoning takes place and a haughty letter. Someone needs an education as if this is the outcome why would any of us bother again?”

Nat Banister Tisdell – “How disappointing and disgraceful. An area of land that we as a community have had the pleasure of watching turn from a stinking sewage swamp to a beautifully loved and cared for piece of nature. Who can understand these fools placed in ‘power’?! Disgraceful!”

Lynette Tinson – “I am bewildered too. It has been wonderful to see Ed and his dog working away in the garden, a joyful sight and also loved seeing the garden grow.”

Tammy Taylor - “What a joke. They should take more notice of areas in NEED of tending rather than UNDOING an area that has been tended. Useless.”

David Freeman - “This man has done a wonderful job of caring for this small piece of, what was, weeds, lantana and blackberry - none of which were contributing to the quality of the water from the riparian zone. The whole of Browns Creek – Crooked Creek has been cared for by the community.”

Arona Gibbons - “This is disgusting! I have always loved seeing the beautiful garden he created and miss Lucky since his passing. Ed has always maintained that area beautifully. I am deeply saddened and only hope that as a community there is something we can do.”

Patricia Morrissey - “Ed thank you for the pride you took in our town. I loved your garden you made for all.”

Adam Johnson - “Do the lands department not remember what was there before this lovely garden was constructed, I'm assuming not as some peanut in Sydney, straight out of university probably made the decision. Absolute disgrace perhaps as a community we could organise to have this rebuilt once the poison wears off!”

Ed Rotgans is watching poison slowly kill plants and trees on a reserve in Taree that he has voluntarily weeded and mowed over eight years to transform into a garden.

Ed Rotgans is watching poison slowly kill plants and trees on a reserve in Taree that he has voluntarily weeded and mowed over eight years to transform into a garden.