Wednesday, August 24, 2011

100 Day War


Back in the day. No this isn't one those stories your dad told you about when you were young. You know, walked 3 miles to school every day and mostly in a blazing snow blizzard with holes in your boots. And you've got it so easy compared to what I had. Right story? I'm sure I am guilty also. Remember party lines? Anyways I digress.

Back in the day, some twenty years ago my profession was a golf course superintendent. I worked for a municipal golf course in a town of 50,000 in Oklahoma. I did what some people said was the thing to do. Make you hobby your job.  I loved to play golf, so being on a golf course every day sounded great! It was by far the most difficult and consuming job I every had. Talk about multitasking. These are the hats you had to wear. Human resources (hiring), accounting (budget), agronomy (soil science-native soils and putting green soils), entomologist (insect ID and controls), turf grass pathologist (disease ID and controls), environmentalist (native wildlife protection), irrigation specialist (design systems and repair diagnostics), administrator, knowledge of golf rules, politician (city government), husband father (balance personal life),  meteorologist (track storms for irrigation controls-not to over-water or underwater), mechanic ( very specialized equipment), equipment operator, spray technician ( pesticide knowledge and calibration), lawyer ( need to know federal and state statutes), engineer (construction design and implementation), landscape contractor (seeding, sodding, and landscape construction), hazardous material administrator and manager, and overall good ole boy to the golfers who love to  pat you on the back (yeah right).
Anyways I digress. (see a pattern here?)
San Antonio Botanical Gardens
 The 100 day war. During the dog days of summer the golf course staff and I would develop a war plan for 100 days. That is, our plan was to survive until Labor Day weekend. Normally that weekend would signal the end to heat and the arrival of a cold front. Growing bent grass greens in hot Oklahoma meant you had to have a plan to help the greens survive until Labor Day, and usually the heat and humidity would be stifling for 100 days.
Today I was reminded of how much effort and worry it takes to make it. And today the temperature is one oh fregeeden six with 40% humidity. Yikes. Enough already. Pay the fiddler. I can't imagine what these golf course guys are going through. It must be a 200 day war this year.

All you people in Oklahoma and Texas take heart, it's almost Labor Day. Hopefully your war plan has worked!
San Antonio Botanical Gardens


28 comments:

  1. 'fraid I'm a hopeless planner and I didn't have one for this record setting summer--and it shows. But I am busy formulating some kind of plan for next year and it involves a lot more rock!

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  2. I hear you. It's the worst I've experienced in my life. I'm also thinking ahead for next year since they (whoever they are) are saying we will see the same. I think it's a real shame when you look forward to winter, but please NOT a horrible winter like last winter. :)
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  3. Here's a plan; hoist the white flag, run for the air conditioning, and reemerge in Fall to see what has survived. It's worked for me so far this summer.

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  4. Is that your garden, in the one oh six degrees?? Wow..it looks great.
    We live on a golf course. I'm seeing what they have to do to keep it going. They're already out there mowing and taking care of things, when I head out to do some watering. And, the superintendent is the last to leave.
    Most grass around here is fried and brown. So, the relative green of the golf course is a relief.
    We hanging in here.
    Stay cool...

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  5. Yes, we are all a little battle weary down here, but fighting to garden another day! I have a new found respect for some of the plants in my garden that in the past I might have had a marginal fondness for. When I see them looking great even in the midst of yet another 100-degree day, I stand in amazement. I appreciate them, and I will be incorporating more of them in my garden this fall when, Lord willing, the war will downgrade to a "little spat." Chalking it all up to experience and hopefully a little wisdom for the future. Survival of the fittest. BTW, I had NO IDEA golf course superintendents wore so many hats -- my hat is off to you.

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  6. Never thought about facing the season as a 100 day war, but you're right - it's a war!!!

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  7. Dear Greggo, If the first two pictures are of your garden, then you are most certainly winning the war! P.

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  8. Your photos are amazing. And I so enjoyed reading the story of the 100 day war. Seems everywhere across the country has had record weather--temps, storms, tornadoes, etc...this year. Except the Pacific Northwest. And I'm thankful for that, and hope for relief for all those places that need some.

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  9. And we battle onward! I have learned a lot in my garden this summer. Some plants have thrived in the heat and surpassed my highest expectations while others have lost the battle. I like the 100 days approach but dang that is a long time! Personally I do the rain dance everyday but apparently I do it poorly because yet another day has gone by without rain. Super photos!

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  10. Greggo, you are most definitely winning the war. We're merely surviving. Thanks for sharing your fabulous photos.

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  11. Now the season shifts. Outside is an incredible storm raging and I read the worse is yet to come with Irene coming up the coastline. Your 100 year war story was very interesting and a really different way to look at summer gardening.

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  12. Amazing the work that goes into being a golf course superintendent! I had no idea. Broke the all time record for 100+ temps today! 70 days so far with no end in sight. Moving our daughter into the dorm tomorrow, fortunately she is a light packer! Like so many others, my plan for next year is already formulating and it includes more lantana, esperanza and cuphea. The ginger looks pretty good too. Your garden is looking really good - it has beautiful textures.

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  13. As a person whose back yard faces a golf course, I read this post with big interest. I had no idea what a golf course superintendent needs to know! Several days ago, our superintendent was fired, unfortunately. And it has nothing to do with the weather...

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  14. You have had one heck of a summer, amigio. I will gladly send you our hurricane! I'm not a golfer and had no idea a golf course super. was that involved. Gardening definitely involves a battle plan, esp. when Mother Nature's in a nasty mood. Your garden shots are gorgeous.

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  15. So many blogs are commenting on lack of rain and we have one torrential downpour after another. The system is inefficient :-).

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  16. Hello Greggo, glad to know more about you, haha. I remember in our graduate class in Environmental Science when there are projects for groups to do Environmental Impact Assessment, nobody wants to choose the golf course. That's because managements in golf courses entails leachates harmful to the environment, and as students we have very idealistic things in our heads. So it might not be easy to protect the environment while protecting the turf. But maybe it's different in your country. At any rate, i love your photos of that with cactus.

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  17. Twój ogród świetnie sobie z tą wojną poradził, jak widać na zdjęciach. Motyl jest przepiękny. Pozdrawiam ciepło

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  18. Well, you certainly make it LOOK easy! I happened to be away during a record breakking heat wave and drought this summer - I missed a major battle and the damage was done.... Your butterfly shot is stunning!

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  19. If the top two gardens are yours...well then you are certainly winning the 100 day war! Also a magnifient photo of the butterfly-than you for sharing. We are facing a hurricane here in the northeast. It's just a waiting game now and hopefully the gardens will survive. It's our two day war and I hope we win it!

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  20. Hi Greggo---
    I've been planning for 7 years and it still wasn't enough. But I'm still better off than most. Are those first 2 images from your garden?
    Wow! Beautiful plants and flowers!
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

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  21. Making your favourite hobby your job, naw, nothing left to look forward to. Your garden shots look great in spite of the heat, you could send some of it our way.

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  22. wow an extreme form of groundsman. Will shut up here about too much rain

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  23. In a former life I worked for a gated resort in SC known for its golf courses, so I know what it takes to keep them looking good. Fortunately for my wallet, I was never bitten by the golf bug, but I did enjoy clandestine bike rides on the cart paths before and after hours.

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Thanks for leaving any comments, they are always welcomed. Sorry I had to add word verification as spam was becoming a huge problem. Greggo,