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Council neglect criticised

Garden designer Lyn Eglinton, left, with her two granddaughters Poppy, 10, and Georgie Delmonte, 7, and Janie Mahupuku watering plants in the Masterton Town Square. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Town square troubles: Balls ‘at death’s door’
Council welcomes public watering

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More than $30,000 worth of plants in Masterton’s town square are “at death’s door” after being neglected by the council, landscape designer Lyn Eglinton says.

Eglinton was instrumental in bringing Masterton’s town square into being, and on Sunday was busy watering 38 buxus globes at the front of the town hall.

She carted in 1000 litres of her own water from a bore on her Te Ore Ore property to water the plants, which she said were “gasping” for water and had not been watered for months.

She acknowledged Masterton had declared a total outdoor watering ban [which has now been lifted temporarily] but said the poor maintenance of the plants had been ongoing since the square was opened in
December 2013.

In 2016, trees were permanently removed from the square after failing to thrive.

Eglinton said this was because council planted them incorrectly.

“That cost the ratepayers $110,000 from memory. We went through more than 80 trees.

“These are the only things left from the town square,” she said, pointing to the 38 buxus globes which had browning leaves on Sunday.

“They are very valuable –they are worth somewhere around $800 each.

“You cannot buy buxus globes of this size.”

She said she could not “sit back and watch them die” as they were “too superb”.

“Officially we call them globes, but we also call them balls – I keep telling council I’m going to take their balls away.”

She said she would be returning with 1000l each day to water the plants “until we’re happy that they are going to survive”.

“This is a donation. Anything to do with the town square has always been at our own cost.

“We felt furious they hadn’t been watered.

“They haven’t even been mulched.

“Everything required to keep these plants doing well has not been done.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s just the way it is.”

A MDC spokesperson said the council did not generally water established gardens, on the basis that they had been designed to withstand climatic variations.

“The irrigation system in the square covers the lawn area and has not been used since the introduction of the council’s sprinkler ban.

“However, the council welcomes watering by a member of public, using water from an appropriate source, at no cost to the community.”


  1. The time came, some time ago, when we needed to start planting according to the (people powered) changing climate.
    In this case I agree with the Council decision to conserve water. Let’s not waste money or resources on lost causes. The whole town square concept was dubious at best.

  2. With climate change taking a firmer grip and a Wairarapa wide shortage of water perhaps plants that suited our summers should have been selected by the garden designers.

  3. Thank you Lyn, let’s hope that the council takes a cue. It is a council responsibility to ensure the town assets are cared for. There is no water shortage as Masterton has a plentiful rainfall but it all goes out to sea unused. Insanity.

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