Fox Hollow Golf Course
Diary of a Professional Water Gardener
by Joseph V. Tomocik
Associate Director and Water Gardens Curator
Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado USA
Click images to enlarge
Golf Goes Green II
The abundance of lovely yet barren ponds presents a rich opportunity
to beautify golf courses, to attract wildlife and to lead in
sustainability. Aquatic plants also play a vital role by removing
pollutants from water. They are used effectively in that capacity
at municipal water treatment facilities.
To be highly commended is Audubon International for stepping
forward in bringing to the forefront sustainable practices at
Hundreds and even thousands of ponds are waiting and begging
to be adorned with sparkling, magical regal waterlilies.
Waterlilies not new to golf courses
The Isle of Man, located in the center of the Irish Sea between
Ireland and Great Britain, boasts one of the top 100 greatest
golf courses; its Castleton Golf Links is steeped in conservation.
Between breadth-taking cliffs and the golf course a delightful
bog features buttercups, rushes and white waterlilies. It attracts
dazzling damselflies and adds to the habitats diversity.
With a history going way back to 1928, Golf Club Patriziale
is one of the most popular and beautiful golf courses in Switzerland.
Ascona is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Switzerland,
the Italian-speaking Ticino. A picturesque pond off the 17th
hole beams with sparkling waterlilies.
Lush tropical Sri Lanka boasts some of the finest golf courses
in Asia. It is said golf in Sri Lanka dates back to Dutch occupation
in 1656. The popular Sri Lanka Amateur Golf Championship traces
back to 1891. Founded in 1879, the Royal Columbo Golf Club is
the oldest in Sri Lanka. Situated in urban Columbo, a special
calm of waterlily-laden ponds adds a special touch to the golfers
A four-hour drive from Johannesburg, South Africa, the Bosch
Hoek Golf Course in the KwaZulu Midlands is praised for its challenging
holes and picturesque landscapes. Waterlilies flourish in the
courses many lakes.
Magic at Fox Hollow
Joe McBurney honored
In a most picturesque setting amongst the foothills on the
Rocky Mountains, Homestead and Fox Hollow golf courses in Lakewood,
Colorado, continue to lead
better serving golfers, children
and the community. Of special note is the exceptional work of
Course Superintendent Bruce Nelson and Maintenance Specialist
Joe McBurney at Fox Hollow.
Joe has expanded his already miraculous dedication and success
in naturalizing waterlilies. An additional prized cultivar, Nymphaea
James Brydon (Dreer Nurseries) donated by Denver
Botanic Gardens, has rooted. Joe has high hopes for it and other
exciting new cultivars.
Lakes and ponds attract
exciting picturesque wildlife,
Joe was challenged last year by hungry beavers that reduced
the stands of N. Joey Tomocik (Strawn) and
N. Mayla (Strawn). Persistence ruled and a
multitude of fiery flowers is expected again this year. Working
respectfully with state wildlife and other officials is a must
when dealing with such challenges. Joe was a featured presenter
at the annual Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Conference in
December, 2009, detailing his work with waterlilies at Fox Hollow.
Joe is quite a celebrity and the signature waterlily-laden
14th hole is enshrined thanks to his remarkable achievements.
Commemorating Joe for his outstanding achievements, he was presented
with a coveted Sustainability Award at City Hall, Lakewood, Colorado,
on April 12, 2010.
Ever so kind, Fox Hollow assisted Denver Botanic Gardens in
June 2009 by providing additional Berkeley Lake waterlilies for
our popular, award-winning summer display.
N. 'Mayla' at Fow
More on naturalizing waterlilies
I vividly remember seeing impressive stands of beaming naturalized
hardy waterlilies at the nursery of the late Kirk Strawn in College
Station, Texas, and in cemetery ponds maintained by Walter Pagels
in San Diego, California. With vigorous rhizomatous root systems,
hardy waterlilies make great candidates for naturalizing and
beautifying ponds at golf courses, cemeteries and parks.
Check with local nurseries to see which selections are best
for you; be willing to experiment as Joe does at Fox Hollow.
An excellent time to plant is when waterlilies are coming
out of dormancy; this is April in Denver. May is a good month,
A good planting depth is three to four feet (0.9 to1.2 meters).
Planting in shallow water could cause losses in winter because
of freezing. Planting in water too deep makes the plants work
too hard and also makes it difficult if you wish to cut flowers.
Push into the soil healthy, six inch (15 centimeter) rhizome
sections. Stabilize rhizomes by covering with a half brick or
rock, being careful not to cover growing points. A five foot
(1.5 meter) planting interval between plants is recommended.
Monitor carefully after planting. Canada geese, beavers, muskrats
and turtles find waterlilies tasty. Chicken-wire cages may be
needed to protect the plants. Once established, waterlilies will
thrive for many years, growing in numbers and impact.
Waterlilies ready for planting
Berkeley Lake white waterlily
The Berkeley Lake white waterlily that has naturalized marvelously
at Fox Hollow golf course was christened N. Bea Taplin
at a special dedication at Denver Botanic Gardens on July 28,
2009. Mayor John Hickenlooper and other dignitaries attended
the ceremony. Bea, one of the Gardens most ardent and cherished
supporters, was presented with an exquisite botanical illustration
created by Annie Reiser.
N. Bea Taplin has proven to be a beautiful
and vigorous waterlily especially adapted to naturalizing in
Colorado ponds. It will be registered in the summer of 2010.
It has flourished in Denvers Berkeley Lake for sixty years.
See you at poolside,
< N. 'Bea Taplin' at Fox Hollow