It may sound daunting to take care of all the landscape on the 36 acres at Scissortail Park, especially when it comes to dealing with Oklahoma weather. But the man in charge at the park calls it a "dream job" and has been getting the park ready for opening weekend.
What a vision it will be here at Scissortail Park. Now, it's not quite there yet but soon there will be native prairie grass, lush flower gardens and tree-lined walkways.
The pressure is no problem for Lance Swearengin. The Midwest City native is the Director of Horticulture and Grounds at Scissortail Park.
"It's not very often that you get this chance to build a new park in an urban center like Oklahoma City," said Swearengin. "I grew up here, and so it's really a great thing to see this grow right from the heart of the city and just be a part of it."
"The whole park is meant to be loved and to be touched and felt and to experience it," he said.
And the beauty of Scissortail Park is the native landscape.
"You're going to see lots of blooming perennials that will support pollinators and water-conserving landscapes that will help to save water in times of drought here in Oklahoma City," Swearengin said. "We planted over 1,000 trees in the upper park, and we're almost finished with that at this point. There are over 43 species of trees that we've put into the landscape and, overall, over 200 species in the final landscape design. Two of the most numerous trees in Oklahoma, Post Oak and the Blackjack. We have Live Oak, Bur Oaks, Chinkapins, all those real famous oak trees that you'll see out in your native landscapes along with Bluestem, Little Bluestem, all our native grasses, things that we can really enjoy and are meant to thrive here in Oklahoma with our climate."
And the pressure has been on to get everything established for the grand opening.
"We have a total of eight horticulturists and arborists on staff to manage the landscape," he said. "Only eight people, and that's 36 acres for this upper park, so you could do the math on how many people that is per acre."
Swearengin said the best is yet to come.
"I think next spring is when you're really going to see the major impact of the gardens after everything gets a full season and gets established and starts blooming this next spring," he said. "That's when you're really going to see our gardens bloom here at Scissortail. I'm expecting to see people throwing the frisbee on the great lawn, families coming together, people with their dogs down here and people just out enjoying nature right in the heart of our thriving city."
The Scissortail Horticulture Department will be debuting its main event next month with a Farmer's Market held at the park every Saturday in October.