Sarina Dellinger: Winter interest at Hurley Park

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 4, 2021

As the landscape appears to become barer every day, the beauty at Hurley Park can still be found with a careful eye. The absence of leaves makes the bark textures become more visible.

The bark of the Crape Myrtles shine in the winter and can be viewed all across the park. The form and shape of the different Japanese Maples, along with the bark, are better appreciated without their leaves. With the right outlook, the bark form and the shape of the various shrubs and trees are more easily observed in the winter.

Evergreen plants are able to take the stage once the leaves fall. Hurley Park has a beautiful mature collection of hollies and magnolias that maintain structure and give the landscape a year round green hue. If you look a little closer to the ground you can find our native wild ginger (Asarum canadense) which forms a groundcover and usually stays green well into the winter here. An especially graceful evergreen shrub that you’ll find at Hurley Park is the Poet’s Laurel (Danae racemosa). It has glossy green foliage with an arching habit and orange-red berries that stand out against the winter landscape. You can look for it in the Annandale entrance gardens underneath the large Ash tree.

Shrubs that retain their berries are celebrated by humans and birds alike. The winterberry hollies near the hospital add a cheerful red pop of color and provide food for the winter birds. Across the park while looking for fruits you can find various viburnum berries, a few beautyberries with their signature purple shine, and crabapples. These give winter interest and provide food for many different critters in the winter.

Moreover, when something blooms in the winter it is more likely to be noticed and appreciated. Some winter blooms you may see around Hurley Park right now are the Japanese camellias in various colors, along with the Hellebores or Lenten Roses later in the season.

As for projects in the park? Those are still plentiful as well. We will be trimming, tidying, repairing, and weeding all through the winter. Even during the colder winter months the landscape is still changing and needing attention. It also gives us a chance to tackle projects such as mulching and composting which are much more fun in the cold than in the sweltering summer heat. We hope you will visit and check out the winter landscape.

If you have questions about Hurley Park, how to book events, or what is going on, call 704-638-4459, or contact us on Facebook or Instagram @HurleyParkNC. If you would like to donate to Hurley Park, visit our website at

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