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Pollinators and summer blooming flowers are loving the heat

By Sarina Dellinger
Hurley Park

I’m sure you’ve noticed that summer is here in full swing. The midday humidity and temperatures can make it pretty miserable to be a gardener. However, the pollinators and summer blooming flowers are loving it.

Many of our native wildflowers thrive in the summer heat. One of my favorites is the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). In recent years, this particular perennial has exploded in popularity and is widely available at nurseries and garden centers. You may find cultivars or varieties in many colors and forms — not all of which are attractive to pollinators. I have found that it is easy to propagate this plant from seed but it will take a full year of growth before flowering. The purple coneflower can be found in the Murphy Garden alongside Annandale Avenue and across the park in various locations.

Another spectacular summer perennial is the Stoke’s Aster (Stokesia laevis). At Hurley Park, we have planted the cultivar ‘Peachie’s Pick’ which is around a foot tall, attracts many butterflies, and has purple blooms in the heat of summer and lasting through the fall with deadheading. Additionally, here in Salisbury, this perennial stays mostly evergreen and provides some winter interest. Check this plant out in the Lib and Ed Taylor Garden or the Ellen Ramsey Wilson Garden.

Finally, a native flower that anyone can grow, Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta). This short-lived perennial is an icon of summer in the south and will happily spread through a garden if allowed. The mass of yellow flowers enjoyed by pollinators give way to seed heads that are enjoyed by American Goldfinches in the fall. The leaves are prone to a fungal leaf spot, but this does not affect their flowering and can be lessened by tidy cleanup of leaves in the fall. There are many hybrids, cultivars, and varieties of this plant that are widely available to enjoy in your home garden. This plant can be found across many gardens of Hurley Park and in-mass in front of City Park Recreation Center.

All of the plants above enjoy full sun to partial shade and are drought resistant, once established. I hope that you will consider adding some, or all, of these perennials to your home garden.

If you have questions about Hurley Park, how to book events, 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.

Sarina Dellinger is assistant public garden manager of Hurley Park.

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