Douglas Shire Council will enhance and dedicate a small garden in honour of tireless volunteer James Watson as part of an overhaul of the Nautilus St nature strip in Port Douglas.
Mr Watson contributed hundreds of hours to beautifying the nature strip in recent years but has had to retire his Nautilus St community gardening gloves for health reasons.
Council invited expressions of interest from community groups or individuals interested in assisting to maintain the extensive Nautilus St gardens but received no response.
General Manager Operations Paul Hoye said Council will take control of the Nautilus St nature strip due to the lack of community involvement.
“Council acknowledges James’ many years of hard work and dedication on the gardens but without community support the gardens cannot be maintained in their present condition,” Mr Hoye said.
“Council intends to enhance and dedicate a small garden in honour of James around the already installed plaque in his honour on the western end of the nature strip.
“While the core of the gardens will be retained, the garden beds will be reduced in size to allow for easier maintenance and access, with turf areas increased.”
Work will begin soon to remove weeds and unsuitable plants including Moses in a Cradle (Tradescantia spathacea), Purple Joyweed (Alternanthera brasiliana), Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sanseveria trifasciata), Travellers Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis), Singapore Daisy (Sphagneticola triflobata), Fish Bone Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia), Red Ivy (Hemigraphis colorata) and Arrowhead Vine (Syngonium podophyllum).
Mr Hoye said the original approval for the community gardens was for native species only to be planted and it is Council’s intention to implement this theme in the long term for the Nautilus St nature strip.
“A proportion – which is yet to be finalised – of the Nautilus St gardens will be removed of weeds and unsuitable species with fresh native plantings utilised,” he said.
“Existing unsuitable beds will be cleared by Council next week and remaining beds prepared for new plantings.
“Council cannot maintain the gardens in their current size with unsuitable plants and weeds as this would place a significant strain on Council’s resources which would detract from other nature areas our Open and Public Spaces crews maintain.
“As James can no longer tend the gardens and as there is no community desire to assist in their maintenance, the only other option is to leave the road reserve unattended, to become an overgrown jungle.”