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Danelle Cutting column: Planning for planting

By Danelle Cutting
For the Salisbury Post

Every year about this time, gardeners start receiving the elaborate, vibrant and simply magnificent seed/plant catalogs. They truly make every gardener want to buy two of everything whether it is bulbs, seeds, plants or trees. For Hurley Park, we enjoy this time since it helps us decide what we want to do for our entrance beds.

Last year, Hurley Park decided to start growing most of its own annuals to have different plants that you may not always see in the stores. It helped us since we decided about three years ago to start doing themes in the entrance garden. The various themes seemed to resonate with our visitors and many have asked us each year what is our theme or what have we come up with next. So for this year’s theme, we are going to use colors from “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh. We are not going to recreate his masterpiece but we felt his beautiful colors would make an exquisite garden display.

We have already purchased many of our seeds to start and will help fill in the rest of the bed with additional annuals we plan to purchase from our local garden centers. Some of the seeds require a considerable amount of time to grow so that they will be mature enough to bloom for our demonstration. We have to time everything just right so that after our tulips are finished blooming and we have enough time to install our annuals. Doing this we should expect to have a wonderful color throughout the rest of the spring, summer and into the fall.

For new gardeners looking for advice on how to do something similar, here are some of our recommendations:

  • First select a site that has at least 6-8 hours of sunlight. Most of our flowering plants require this at a minimum to have the optimal amount of flowering. Soil tests are a second and that will at least let you know what you are working with and what you will need to amend before planting.
  • Think about the timing you want the most blooms. You should calculate how many days you have from now till around that bloom timeframe so that you give yourself enough time to get started.
  • Scour through the gorgeous catalogs and select the plants that will do the best in your area. If you are unsure of what will do best, give a call to your local Cooperative Extension Office and they can help you.
  • Last but not least, get started and have fun watching your plants grow till they are ready to plant after the frost or direct seed.

We cannot wait for you all to see what we have in store for this year and hope you will visit Hurley Park soon. 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 the manager of Hurley Park.

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