A GARDENING group planted new flowers near their homes this week after the council ripped out their roses without telling them.

The Friends of Elmhurst Gardens (FEG) meet once a month to maintain the trees, plants and shrubs in the park in South Woodford.

They also invite children from nearby schools Oakdale and Churchfields to plant crocuses in the gardens every autumn, so they can see the blossom in the spring.

This year children from Oakdale planted their crocuses around the existing rose bushes in Elmhurst Gardens on October 3.

But in the week that followed, chairman Kathie Teahan got an email from the council's park managers Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure to say the roses had gone.

Ms Teahan, a Gordon Road resident of 20 years, said: “They said they had taken away the roses and were going to replace them with two cherry trees and some border plants because they’re easier to maintain.

“When we looked for ourselves, we were puzzled and upset to see they were right.

“Contractors had come and taken them away without telling us.

“They just left a hole in the middle of where the children planted their bulbs.”

The FEG chairman said she was disappointed Vision, the council-run charity that manages Redbridge’s green spaces, had not consulted her.

She added: “They know we are a very active group – they should have told us.

“I even went to a meeting with them in September and they said nothing about it.”

Roding ward Cllr Gwyneth Deakins branded Vision’s lack of communication an “absolute disgrace”.

She said: “I understand cuts have to be made to save money.

“But when I went to a board meeting with Vision a few months ago, I specifically said to the chief executive that groups like FEG must be consulted.

“They put a hell of a lot of their own money and energy into maintaining that land.

“They are lucky they have managed to negotiate putting replacement plants in – but they are bang out of order.”

Ms Teahan contacted the Wanstead & Woodford Guardian after she read about a similar rose bush incident that happened in Mayfair Gardens in Woodford Green.

She said: “I hope they are not going to just grass over every rose bush they pull out in the borough.

“We are lucky we got something else planted – but they’re probably going to get rid of those rose bushes now, which is a shame.

“Children get so much more out of green space if they can see flowers growing.

“And getting rid of the roses will only worsen the shortage of bees and butterflies in the area.”

Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure has been contacted for comment.