Sarina Dellinger: Gardening in the winter

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 19, 2022

By Sarina Dellinger
For the Salisbury Post

Finally, we are seeing temperatures where it certainly feels like we are more than halfway through November. It also sounds like it too with a near-constant hum of leaf blowers and mowers in the distance, holiday music on the radio and squirrels rustling through the leaves to collect their winter sustenance.

Hurley Park was designed to have interest in all seasons so we definitely encourage folks to continue visiting us on nice days in the late fall and winter. Right now the sasanqua camellias are adding pops of color across the park. My personal favorite is the Yuletide variety located in the Reamer-Sned Garden. One of our signature trees, the Bloodgood Japanese maples, have not hit their peak red color yet but are getting close. The leaves on this cultivar will turn bright red before they drop for the winter. The Earl Bullard Holly Collection will be beautiful all winter long with glossy evergreen leaves and bright red berries.

We are often asked, “What do you do in the winter?” The answer is — a lot of things! Through the end of the year, we work on weeding, cleaning up garden beds, leaves, mulching and other large projects. During the late winter months, we prune trees and shrubs while awaiting the spring. I often see homeowners and landscapers pruning in the fall, but it’s optimal to wait until late January through early March. This can prevent disease from attacking the wounds created by pruning and late new growth which will be hurt by frost.

The winter is also a great time to plan for next year’s garden. It’s helpful to order seeds early in the winter to avoid the dreaded “out of stock” message after carefully selecting your choice seeds from the colorful magazines that start arriving. Additionally, you can still add shrubs and trees to the landscape until the ground gets to around 50 degrees, so don’t count out those late fall plantings. North Carolina is a great place to keep growing through the winter. Our entrance display of annuals includes ornamental cabbage, kale and Swiss chard. These plants will happily chug along through the winter. For the home garden, I especially like the addition of this greenery to planters to give a pop of color all winter long.

If you have questions about Hurley Park or want to know how to book events, please give us a call at 704-638-5298. Stay up to date with what’s happening at Hurley Park by following us on Facebook or Instagram @HurleyParkNC. To view a map or donate to Hurley Park, visit our website at salisburync.gov/hurleypark. Happy gardening!

Sarina Dellinger is public garden manager for Salisbury Parks and Recreation.

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