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Enjoy wildflowers in Hurley Park

By Karen Busby
Master Gardener Volunteer
SALISBURY — Since the first day of spring has officially arrived, it is time to take a stroll outside and appreciate all of the beauty nature has begun to provide once again with the opening of the blossoms on the trees and the eruption of dainty woodland flowers.
Our own Hurley Park is a favorite destination for many of us to witness nature’s presents to us during this delightful season.
One of the most outstanding specimens is the “Elizabeth” magnolia located close to the corner of Confederate Avenue on Lake Drive. It is a gorgeous deciduous magnolia with stunning yellow, slightly fragrant blooms on its bare branches at this time of year.
The pink “tulip” magnolia (M. Liliiflora) and white blooming “star” magnolia (M. Stellata) are in full bloom at this time as well. The cherry trees are sporting their blossoms as are the mahonias and the heavily laden branches of the white spirea. Redbuds are beginning to show their rich color before bursting open shortly. Only one azalea was spotted trying to show off some early color, as well.
Native trillium is present throughout the park primarily because it was actually abundant in the area before the park was developed. Alongside much of the trillium is the white flowering bloodroot. It is so named because it has an orange-colored rhizome which will get colored juice on your hands when you handle it.
The wild bleeding heart plants (Dicentra) are up with their lacy-looking leaves but are not yet in bloom. New fern fronds are beginning to dramatically unfurl their delicate fronds in many of the gardens.
Little white flowers of the partridgeberry are also decorating the woodland grounds. Pulmonaria (lungwort) are displaying beautiful shades of flowers which range from white to deep purple. The delicate columbines are out of the ground and in bud.
More familiar bulbs such as narcissus (double flowering), jonquils and daffodils are abundant. Muscari or grape hyacinths are plentiful in many of the beds. Pink tulips have emerged at the main entrance to the park. The groundcover green and gold has also begun blooming, as has blue phlox.
Many of the winter blooming hellebores are still nodding their little heads. Gardeners sometimes refer to them as a Christmas rose or Lenten rose but hellebores are not members of the rose family.
How fortunate we are that the Hurley family chose to construct and maintain this beautifully planned park with such an interesting selection of plantings for the public to enjoy. Meander around the park and take notes so you can visit your local garden shop and add some of your favorites to your own garden this spring.
Karen Busby is a Master Gardener volunteer with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities on Facebook or website at www.rowanextension.com.

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