Spanning the globe with frequent and once in a while readers. I am interested in collecting, propagating plants, landscape management practices, ecology, environment, flora/fauna, in essence Nature. This blog is written in a blunt, abrasive fashion with consistent critical views on these subjects and others that may be related...or not.

domingo, 12 de julio de 2009


YOU probably noticed that our garden, its four cardinal points, is surrounded by concrete on the ground and the walls. In Santurce, many decades ago, became fashionable to pour concrete on every possible space in the backyard and
around the houses. Just to avoid the weeding. Many houses pretty or not, made out of concrete or cinder blocks.

If the house is over ten feet high as ours, you are fortunate to receive some ventilation during the day/night, if there is any, or is not blocked by higher structures. Otherwise,you better get a fan/air conditioning if you have
the resources. For the buying and the monthly billing. Otherwise think positive, how
many people have a full house sauna?

To fight concrete refracting heat and noise, I have chosen
different plants for the different areas with the same principles. I am not going to
spend my spare time pruning/trimming silly hedges. Instead I will plant the chosen
ones in such a way that when reaching adulthood the height will create a wall to stop others from looking and viceversa for privacy.

It is necessary to point that concrete is also the worst medium for acoustics. It increases the resonance, particularly of bass sounds. Every structure becomes a resonance chamber. One can hear the shitty common place music all the way up,
children/adolescents hollering, Mah, reminding me of a cow, conversations and else.

In the front of the house or west side, Murraya Paniculata. This bush can grow up to
twenty feet. It has small dark shiny leaves. White flowers, red seeds,
great for birds. The soft fragrance of the flowers is similar to: lemon, gardenia and Frangipani in its subtlety, contrary to the overwhelming sweet of Nerius oleander and Ilan-Ilan.

The ones I planted are about 3/4 feet tall, about a year old, and grow slowly. These bushes with a singular beauty fell in disgrace when plant propagators/garden installers decided to plant a TREE,
Ficus of any kind, but most popular is Benjamina, for hedges! This stupidity makes
YOU property owner who does your own gardening a hedge slave for life. Or your
finances will suffer, paying gardeners for hire. All because the Murraya grows slowly.

My plan is to let them grow straight or be substituted by other submisive cousins without any pruning ever. I want a natural wall with their tendency to round tops,
when left alone. I noticed that the populace believe that pruning whatever comes growing of the ground is MANDATORY.

For this reason in Puerto Rico, USA, and that fifty states country, you see the same
wasteful habit. It is pathetic to see the natural shape of a Calistemon/Bottle brush, nice wild/rebelious growing Pleomeles, or any other tree/bush with weeping tendencies growth become an ice cream cone. In this godforsakenisle is also common to see Arecas, those stupid looking palms, become a topiary!

Now back with the Murrayas, they will provide shade, fragrance, privacy decreasing the noise from the street. There is a wait some years but I am not in a rush. In gardening, waiting patiently is one of the virtues that one can get, learn, or refine at
least in the garden.

North/South sides of the garden, check the pictures in the right side of the blog if you
may, there are different vines, mentioned before. Also one Murraya, two Bouganvilleas, fast growers. There is one over ten feet high in 18 months in the west. These will also provide, shade, noise reduction and lots of color.

Finally the east side, perhaps my favorite side since it has the most of the bare ground in the house. There are 3 species of Frangipani, between twelve inches and seven feet tall. They are white, yellow and yellow/pink/white. Guaiacum, Arica papayas, Dracaena, Cadillo, Polyscia fruticosa and Hibiscus. Of the last two there are tree species of each. In essence the same principles are in mind. Privacy, fragance and quiet.

One thing to consider when planting along walls is future growth habits. In Puerto
Rico, machete yielding neighbors will dismember your vegetation without a blink.
I wil make certain that the branches grow in the direction of the driveway. With the vines on the fence, the risk is the same, but I do not worry. A vine can not be mutilated unles is one of those developing hard wood with time. In the tropics
Petreas come to mind.

And the environment, biodiversity, habitat, where are they exactly is it in this picture? Jaha, bilingual laugh. Contrary to isle crusaders of the third kind, every stone is in place in my granite tower. Everything mentioned so far, plus the other eighty species, help spiders, lizards, birds, bees that visit my garden daily or live in the ground:
centipedes and earth worms.

Now is time to go. Thanks for dropping by. Until next.

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