THE theft of plants valued at hundreds of dollars has disheartened volunteers who spend hours beautifying Sale Botanic Gardens, and prompted the installation of security cameras.
Friends of Sale Botanic Gardens member Peta Hose said the plants had disappeared over a couple of months, after they were planted in the sensory gardens area to revitalise it.
“There’s hundreds of dollars of plants — all gone,” she said.
“It’s so frustrating.
“There’s hours and hours of work that goes into it.
“We work our butts off, and guess what we get?”
Ms Hose said plants were always going missing in the garden, but this time a whole garden bed was now bare.
She said the sensory garden was established about 2001 and had needed tidying up, with volunteers adding new plants and a watering system.
With spring coming up, they had been looking forward to seeing it flourish, but now those hopes have wilted.
The sensory garden has been much appreciated by school groups and visiting residents from local aged care homes, and featured plants people could taste, touch, smell and simply enjoy looking at.
Ms Hose said the volunteer group had wanted to plant out another garden area, but now disheartened, was reconsidering.
The plants which have been removed had been supplied by council.
“Ratepayers pay for them,” Ms Hose said.
“People like the gardens — they bring in a lot of tourists.”
Wellington Shire Council built and natural environment general manger Chris Hastie said council was disappointed that dozens of newly planted shrubs had been stolen in recent months.
“We have been working hard to maintain and develop the Sale Botanic Gardens over many years, and we work closely with the Friends of the Gardens who assist council with a large range of activities, including planting,” he said.
“The thefts have been reported to local police, and council has installed surveillance cameras in the gardens.
“If any thefts occur in the future, evidence can be collected from the cameras to assist with prosecution.”