Danelle Cutting column: Winter is approaching at Hurley Park

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 13, 2020

By Danelle Cutting
For the Salisbury Post

We haven’t made it to winter yet but the temperatures the last few weeks have really made us think it arrived early. We always get questions like this: What do you do during the cold months? Do you really have anything to do at the park since nothing is blooming? Visiting the park now is a great time to enjoy various blooms and from the looks of our park attendance we are still staying strong in visitations. It kind of reminds me of the song “Baby its Cold Outside,” but our park attendance has been on fire. I know, cheesy but I thought readers would like it!

There are lots of tasks to do during the cooler months such as leaf blowing, limb pickup, path repairs, structure repairs and yes, even weeding. Although the cooler months get a bad reputation with many people believing there is nothing of interest going on when it is really the opposite. Some of my favorite plants are in their prime right now and I am going to share a few with you.

One of my favorite plants of all time is witch hazel. It is not a plant that has a large bold flower but it actually has a curious bloom. The flowers are not very large but they can be a faint yellow to a deep gold and some varieties are blooming right now. With all of the different varieties of witch hazel you could have blooms from October to March. Even though most of the leaves have fallen they do have a beautiful fall color display as well.

A common plant that blooms in the cooler months is the camellia. We have our ‘Yuletide’ camellia blooming right now and perfect for the month of December. It has beautiful crimson colored petals with vibrant yellowish gold stamens. Their deep green glossy leaves also make nice additions to holiday wreaths as well. The camellia is a perfect specimen during the cool months. We have a few other camellias in the park that bloom pink and white but so far the ‘Yuletide’ is one of my favorites.

Crape myrtles and river birch are probably not what many think of during the cold months but they actually provide some interesting features. The river birch bark seems slightly flakey or resembles peeling but it provides some interest, especially when there is very little blooming. The crape myrtle bark has a reddish brown color and resembles peeling or shedding. It is completely natural and nothing to worry about — just to enjoy.

It may be cold outside but the beautiful scenery at Hurley Park will warm you up. I hope you will come visit to check out some of the winter interest. If you have any questions about the park or what is going on, please give us a call at 704-638-4459, or contact us on Facebook or Instagram @HurleyParkNC. If you would like to donate to Hurley Park, visit our website at salisburync.gov/hurleypark .

Danelle Cutting is manager of Hurley Park.