Sarina Dellinger column: Goodbye summer, hello fall

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 13, 2020

By Sarina Dellinger
For the Salisbury Post

While the autumnal equinox isn’t until Sept. 22, I am fully into the fall mindset. Those cooler temperatures with less humidity cannot come fast enough! The change of seasons presents a time of reflection and preparation for gardeners.

Speaking of preparation, it’s time to start thinking about the spring flowering bulbs you are wanting to add to your garden. We are preparing an order for our annual tulip bulb display in the entrance garden to be planted in late October or early November. This month is the perfect time to divide any spring flowering bulbs (daffodils, irises, etc.), as well as peony tubers.

At Hurley Park, we will remove the foliage from our garden peonies to prevent any fungal diseases that may be present from overwintering in the soil. Dividing and cutting back helps to prepare for a lush bloom come next spring. While we are pruning back herbaceous perennials, it is not a good time for pruning trees or shrubs. It can be tempting to do so when you see all the untamed new growth from the summer but pruning in the fall encourages woody plants to send another flush of new growth that may be damaged by frost. While pruning woody plants is a garden chore to save for the winter, planting new perennials in the landscape is a great fall task.

At the park, you will likely see new trees and shrubs popping up in the coming month. Fall is great for this because it gives your new plant time to establish roots in the soil before winter and prepare itself for the dog days of next summer. This means happier plants and less watering for the gardener who plants in the fall.

While we are preparing for fall behind the scenes, there’s still a lot of action at Hurley Park. The Black-eyed Susan blooms are still going strong, with seed heads forming to feed the American Goldfinches. We still have blooms on the passionflower vines in the fragrance garden, providing nectar for carpenter bees. There’s plenty of interesting mushrooms popping up thanks to all the rain. The Hearts-a-Bustin’ fruit is coming into its red color and letting us see where its unique common name comes from. The Japanese Anemone is blooming now in the Lib and Ed Taylor Garden. Check out these blooms and more before they fade into fall. See you at the park!

If you have questions about the park or what is in bloom, give us a call at 704-638-5298 or contact us on Facebook or Instagram @HurleyParkNC. If you would like to donate to Hurley Park, go to

Sarina Dellinger is the assistant manager at Hurley Park.

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