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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mornin' Glory - GBBD

I have two stories to tell this day. Whenever I hear the term Morning Glory it reminds of two gentlemen that influenced my life. One gentleman used to come into a business I worked at and always said "Morning Glory!", with much inspiration and positivity. He always made me smile and always lifted people up in a spiritual way.
The second gentlemen I met just recently. John loved to talk to people and had the gift of hospitality. Him and his wonderful wife ran a bed and breakfast in town. He also liked to paint signs which he would install  in his outside gardens. You know the country signs with slogans and verses. He liked to quote scripture most of all. But the one sign I always remember is "Mornin Glory" that he installed on the back fence. He would see the sign every morning when he looked out the kitchen window or back door. John passed away a little over a year ago after struggling with cancer. I miss him and his gracious smile and grandiose humor.  Mornin Glory!
Gallardia aristata - common blanket flower
 Achillea millefolium 'Teracotta'
Salvia fairnacea, Achillea, and Schizachm scoparium 'the Blues'
Top Left to Bottom Left: Echinacea 'White Swan', Asclepias tuberosa, Rudebeckia 'goldstrum' with Miscanthus variegatus, Salvia guaranitica 'black and blue' with Alcea leaves.
Left Top to Left Bottom: Bougainvilla, Lagerstromea, Alcea, and Bouainvilla with Sedum.
Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue'

Join others in the world at Carol At May Dreams Garden to view other bloogers blooms. 

 And Mornin' Glory to you!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tribulation on the Thirteenth-A Rocket that Didn't Get Off the Ground

Photo Courtesy of Westwood Gardens Blog
Or a Languishing Ligularia

Pick your own title. Every 13th of the month, Professor Rush @ Garden Musings will have a garden blog get- together dealing with tribulation in the garden. Join him in sharing about boo-boo's in your garden. In that vein I bring you Ligularia stenocephaia 'the Rocket". While gleaning through the perennial section in a upscale nursery in Wichita, I came upon this shade torlerant beast called the Rocket. It was grown by Greenleaf Wholesale Nursery in Oklahoma and looked very sturdy and had many blossoms ready to bloom. I needed a shade tolerant species to fill an area in back of the shade border. Eureka, I thought! Brought it home. Planted it under the Red Oak tree and went on my merry way. : ) :) (This was early summer) Yes that's two smiles that day. I noticed the next morning the Rocket was wilting. No beg deal I thought, new plant, more water. That afternoon: wilt. Hmmm. This ain't good. Next day, same thing.
 You know the story from here. Love the plant hate the sin. Just won't give it up. I believe the technical term is that it has a higher evapo-transpiration rate than the roots ability to keep up with in this planting zone.  Arghhhh. However I wouldn't give up, watered it every morning and night. Flagged it so I wouldn't forget.

Even bought some sister varieties of Ligularia -photos above-to keep it company during the 100 degree days of July and August. Ha...nothing staved off the inevitable-photo below.
 Notice the stake and flag? Marking the plant for watering and a soaker hose to run 1/2 day. As they say on the NFL football TV show: COME ON MAN!!!!!!! Dead, never to be tried again!!!! A thousand gallons later.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Brown State of Mind (Texas Version)

 Its been one whole week since we came back from our visit to our son in San Antonio. Texas is in such a brown state of mind. That is: it's smokin! As in DRY and BROWN. Feel sorry for the Texas gardeners. It is the worst I've ever seen it, and I lived there during the last long drought in the late 90's. (that sounds weird, 90's). Of course you know what follows a drought-a flood.
 The dove didn't seem to mind the heat.
This is the newest irrigation technology developed by Texas A&M: the hose goes to a porta-johnny. I heard it will save thousands of gallons of water.
My next post will expound on my visit to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.