Home and Garden: West End Garden

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 28, 2008

By Carole Massey
For The Salisbury Post
Spring is finally here. Not that the winter has been that bad. Gardeners are just anxious to get outside and see what Mother Nature has blessed us with the new season. It is a wonderful feeling to go poking around in a leafy covering, searching for those tender green shoots pushing their way through the damp, dark soil and having a “eureka” moment.
The Master Gardeners had Opening Day at the West End Park and Community Garden recently and everyone was so glad to be there.
There were bodies bent in contortions throughout the shade garden, finger raking the layer of mulch looking for those evasive woodland plants that only bloom in the early, early spring. The trillium were up, purple swirls ready to open.
Numerous native plants were peeking up, seeking the warming sun. The hellebores have been blooming for over a month, dependable clusters of varying shades of white, pink and purple. Also in the shade garden, the hostas and Solomon’s seal are twisting their foliage up from the earth, ready to glow with bands of green and white.
The main order of business on Fridays in the West End Garden is maintenance of the display gardens. Winter always brings clean up duties, removal of debris and the never-ending chore of weeding. But even weeding is a pleasure when the end results are appreciated.
The West End Park is a true City of Salisbury park, an official site of the Department of Parks and Recreation. As such, the public is welcome and encouraged to come and enjoy the efforts of the Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.
The display gardens and all of the educational workshops held in the park for the public are funded by a grant through the City of Salisbury’s Community Development Block Grant program.
Without the city’s support, both with the grant monies and manpower assistance through the Parks and Recreation Department, the quality of the program would not be the same. The West End Park is a unique place where the novice as well as the accomplished gardener can learn a thing or two.
The Master Gardener Class of 2008 is currently in the middle of its classroom instruction, taking time out on Fridays to come and assist current accredited Master Gardeners with the planning and maintenance of the West End gardens. With a shade garden, butterfly garden, compost demonstration area, raised beds, horticulture therapy area, perennial bed, bog garden, grape and asparagus trial beds, there is more than enough hands-on opportunities.
As the weather improves, the look of the West End will be ever-changing.
Perennials should be up and preparing to show their annual color or foliage.
The All-American selections will be available for planting. The test and trial plants grown out from seeds should be sturdy and strong enough to be set out in the raised beds.
Workshops and field days will be scheduled, all intended to encourage young and old alike to get out and garden. The invitation is an open one. Master Gardeners work the gardens of the West End Park on Brenner Avenue every Friday, weather and holidays permitting.
The first workshop of the year is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, April 18.
The Environmental Group from Rufty-Holmes Senior Center is coming to the garden for a composting demonstration. Come and join us and learn all about turning leaves and garden debris into black gold.
For further gardening questions, contact the Cooperative Extension Service 704-216-8970 or go to the Master Gardener Web page www.rowan mastergardener.com
Carole Massey is the Master Gardener coordinator and a Master Gardener from the class of 1998.