THE wife of Colchester’s MP has slammed guerrilla gardeners who planted flowers in council beds then left them to die.

Audrey Russell was shocked when she and husband Bob drove past tubs at Middleborough, which were filled with blooms last month by a duo posing as children’s TV characters Bill and Ben.

The pair, who were apeing the antics of Colchester’s Human Shrub, planted the flowers badly and they have now died.

Keen gardener Mrs Russell said: “If there is one thing worse than flowers not being planted, it is people who say they are interested in flowers allowing them to die through wilful neglect.”

Mrs Russell also criticised the Human Shrub, who was the first to plant flowers at Middleborough, for failing to water them enough.

She added: “I trust we will not have a repeat of the lack of floral displays which the town has enjoyed in previous years.

“I would welcome confirmation that councillors have instructed officers that there will be a full floral planting programme in future.”

The controversy over flowers and shrubs in Colchester began when council chiefs started work in the spring on grassing over a fifth of roadside beds to save money.

The authority backed down following protests led by the Shrub, who later continued his campaign by planting flowers around the town centre at night.