the San Juan Metro Area. There is a decent park, Stella Maris in a wealthy sector
of the city by El Condado. A nice variety of trees, a good sized lawn covered area
where there is evidence of children playing, scalped spots consequence of compacted
In Puerto Rico, USA, there is no one, anywhere, that I know of, with core aerators
to decompact the soil. This includes baseball parks, other sport grounds, except maybe in silly, wasteful, GOLF grounds. There are knife, spike and core aerators.
They have a cylinder with the mentioned possibilities cutting or making holes
in the soil to allow water and oxygen to penetrate the compacted surface.
Some are attached to a tractor, others are self propelled. Heavy, noisy, and polluting, as all tools using gas/oil for lawn maintenance are. Core aerators plugs out soil, about four inches long without compacting the soil. When you are finished, your lawn looks as if a heavy geese air attack has taken place. However with a rake or irrigation all is solved.
Compaction is one thing, thatch is another. If your lawn is cut properly, at 2" when it
reaches 3", and you finish with a rake instead of blower, you will not have this problem. The cut leaves left will decompose creating a source of
nutrition. However if you are the average, ignorant Joe six pack character in Puerto Rico with a lawn, you will cut it lawn at two when it reaches four or six inches, with the known results or the opposite, at the ground level.
When lawns/grass is cut at ground level, as if you are going to play golf, it stresses any plant, besides looking like crap/manure, take your pick. If not cut properly you build
a layer of thatch. It stops water from reaching the roots, decreasing the oxygen that should reach them. Grass is just another plant, it requires certain length to photosynthesize and grow. Why do you think GOLF is the greater polluter of our environment? Their lawns demand huge amounts of fertilizer, fungicide, herbicide and insecticide since their 'lush' lawns, are under abusive stress (length/frequent cuts) constantly needing increased performance drugs just like steroids for athletes . Where do you think all these pollutants land? Water streams, , lakes, aquifiers and the ocean? Correct!
Back to the studio. In Stella Maris there is a nice collection of trees: Delonix regia, Terminalia catappa, a huge Mahogany, Ficus and Ilan-Ilan. In the vine deparment there are maybe five Petreas, a wonderful vine reminder of Wisterias. However, in the few places one can find this impressive vine, there is the same problem. The square
spaces are too small for a healthy growth and compacted; therefore they look like crap since oxygen and water barely reaches them. As any other problem with vegetation here, custom and use.
There is a bronze bust of Miguel de Cervantes the one and only, placed in 1960. One
rarely finds sculptures in this kind of park. But not everything is good. A fountain,
is found. The type allowing children to cool off. This one is out of service and clogged.
It is now a mosquito cultivating pond, believe it or not. Fortunately there is no bathroom at all, considering my previous review on the water closets in Puerto Rico,
it is a plus, not a minus.
Moving to the right of the Stella Maris on Luchetti St, one finds nice, big houses, abandoned houses, in the over $700,000 range, built in the sixties and later. There
is also the intrusive overwhelming ugly, expensive condos and a real, rare, phenomenal, out of this world space! A DOG PARK!
This park not far from the Luchetti School is of a nice design, no shade, except some
sort of gazebo for maybe six people at a time. The lawn is well kept. NO sign of dog
poop evident at the time. However, even though there is a sign with huge letters
forbidding dogs without leashes, two were in sight. A gigantic great Dane and a seven month old puppy. In a country notorious for the treatment to pets in general, (abandoned with ease in any space) this is the only park to take one's dog for socializing and else for free.
Bonus for Native Islanders
On the way back, in a corner
at Ponce de Leon Avenue, by
1rst Bank, I felt a strange
fragrance out of the blue.
I moved back, look around and there.
A row of old Murrayas paniculatas in both
sides of this street all in bloom.
A nice surprise, unusual
around the concrete/asphalt.
The sweet subtle smell of this
forgotten, nice architecture,
put aside tree, was memorable. They
have been replaced by FICUS for hedges
by the cretins in the nursery and
landscape, gardening business.
If you think I exaggerate, put it in context yourself.
When I walk, no matter the direction, besides the everlasting, exhausting, ugliness,
there is stench of piss, garbage, greasy food, animal or
human waste, sewage and else, here and there,
but not perfume, not like this.
I am aware that Hawaii, Miami, Cancun, Marbella, Canary Islands, to name a few, have
had the same destructive experience with building developers.
Puerto Rico is not the only one, victim of avarice
and environmental destruction/pollution.
Time to go.