Sarina Dellinger: November Q&A from Hurley Park – Salisbury Post

Sarina Dellinger: November Q&A from Hurley Park – Salisbury Post

Sarina Dellinger: November Q&A from Hurley Park

Published at 12:00 AM Saturday, November 18, 2023

Written by Sarina Dellinger
For the Salisbury Post

a question: I’m curious about “leaving”, but I’m not sure where to start – do they decompose? How thick should it be? Will this hurt my perennials and shrubs?

Answer: Last year was the first year we noticeably dropped leaves around Hurley Park and we will continue to do so again this year. The primary focus when leaving leaves is to protect overwintering habitat for pollinators and other insects. Additional benefits range from free mulch to reduced weeds and adding nutrients back to your soil. The rate of collapse depends on the type of papers you have. Check the size and texture of your leaves to give you an idea of ​​how quickly you expect them to decompose. Oak leaves decompose very slowly as maple trees are mostly gone by the end of spring. It is not a good idea to chop leaves if you are trying to protect pollinators, so depending on the leaf type and location, you may choose to move the leaves to a better location.

The thickness really depends on the area where you are leaving it. In some areas of the garden we spread about 4 to 5 inches of leaves in and others just a light layer. It won’t hurt to accumulate anything on the leaves around tree rings, large canopied areas and forest edges as they continue to fall. In gardens with tender spring bulbs or evergreen perennials like creeping phlox, you don’t want to leave a thick layer of leaves. In our native gardens with perennials like trilliums, it wouldn’t hurt to leave a thicker layer of leaves because they are native to our forests where leaves have been falling for thousands of years. While you visit Hurley Park this fall, look closely for inspiration on how to leave leaves.

a question: Why is your camellia in full bloom already?

Answer: Camellias typically bloom in North Carolina from late October through March. Its species, cultivars, location, and environmental factors play a role in its flowering time. Many of the camellias in Hurley Park are Camellia sasanqua plants that bloom in late fall through winter, shortly before the Japanese camellias. Some notable specimens in Hurley Park include ‘Yuletide’ in Reamer-Sned Park, ‘Cleopatra’ in Gascogine Fern Glade, and ‘Mine-no-yuki’ in Collier Park.

a question: Will you replace the gazebo?

Answer: Yes! In case you missed it, our large gazebo on Annandale Street was crushed by a tree over the summer. We expect delivery of the gazebo at the end of November. Once delivered, assembly will begin. Come spring around Hurley Park will be decorated with a new gazebo designed to the previous style and specifications.

Final note – we have another program this year on Wednesday, December 6, from 5-7pm, which is open to anyone 13 or older. Register at to join us for an evening of making natural jewelry. Visit our Facebook or Instagram page @HurleyParkNC to see the creations from our latest nature decoration workshop. If you have any additional questions, please call us at 704-638-5298. Happy gardening!

Sarina Dellinger is a public park supervisor at Salisbury Parks and Rec.

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