New Hurley Park assistant has a passion for plants

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 17, 2020

Back in October, our Hurley Park assistant manager took a new position and we were left short on staff. We were lucky in the fact that fall and winter are usually less hectic seasons and we had just finished all of our major events. However, I now have good news to report! We have a new Assistant Hurley Park Manager that I would like to introduce to our Hurley Park readers and fans.

Our new assistant manager is Sarina Dellinger. I asked her a few questions so our readers can get to know her better.

Q: What is your background (where you are from, interests, etc.)?

A: I grew up just down the road in Kannapolis. I went to UNC-Charlotte (Go Niners!) and majored in biology with a minor in chemistry. I was not sure what I wanted to do after school until I did an internship at Highlands Biological Station in the mountains of North Carolina. While there, I learned about native plants and discovered a passion for ecology and horticulture. I began pursuing my interests further through volunteering at the UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens. After graduation, I landed an internship at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. I knew I wanted to move back home for the BBQ, Cheerwine and of course, my family. I was so lucky to find a job right here in Salisbury.

Q: What interested you in the position at Hurley Park?

A: While at Longwood Gardens, the position came open at Hurley Park and I knew I had to apply. I was really hoping to land a horticulture job in the area, and this position sounded perfect! Hurley Park contains a broad range of different plants, memorializes so many citizen’s loved ones and is a very special park within the city of Salisbury. Anyone would be lucky to be a part of its continued legacy in the community.

Q: What do you hope to gain, and what do you hope to give back while working for Hurley Park?

A: I am really looking forward to expanding my horticultural knowledge and skills while at Hurley Park. It has been so much fun so far getting to know all the cultivars that are planted throughout the garden. I am also really excited to give back to the Salisbury community through working at Hurley Park via the maintenance of the park and the public events that are held here.

Q: What is your favorite thing about gardening?

A: It sounds very cliché, but being outside. I love being able to appreciate the changes that come with each season and enjoying being in the presence of the plants and wildlife.

Q: Did you have something that inspired you to take up gardening/horticulture/etc.?

A: I spent a lot of summers playing around and in my grandparents’ garden. Whether I knew it or not at the time, my grandma’s flower gardens inspired me to love the outdoors, getting my hands dirty, and catching lots of critters. Looking back, I am so thankful to have been able to explore nature as a young kid. That’s what really inspired me to love and pursue biology and then ultimately horticulture.

Q: What is one thing that you would like to share with the public about yourself?

A: That while I love gardening itself, I also love educating people, too. I love sharing the things I’ve learned over the past few years and helping people to gain a deeper appreciation for the ecosystem around them. I hope that if anyone sees me out at Hurley Park to say hello and ask any questions they may have about the park or gardening.

Q: And of course, what is your favorite flower, season, and why?

A: My favorite season is spring. I love watching the landscape wake up and change day by day. I often say “anything native is my favorite flower,” but for now, the Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) takes the cake. It’s an easily recognizable perennial wildflower that provides beautiful blooms throughout the summer that feed our pollinators. It also is a great cut flower, provides fall/winter interest via the seed heads, and is a good winter food source for songbirds. No matter your gardening interests, what’s not to love about Purple Coneflowers?

We are thankful to have Sarina join our team, and we hope you all will welcome her to our park and city. Be sure to like us on Facebook and Instagram to see updates on the park and Sarina.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Hurley Park foundation, visit If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please call us at 704-638-4459.