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.

viernes, 30 de octubre de 2009


SOME character somewhere described this blog as boring. I added to his observation, that is also poorly written. I do not mind criticism of that kind, since I certainly despise
without much humility people concerned about surface, cosmetic issues. Happiness for your humble servant is a word, concept or idea when finishing reading.

Tito Collazo, the graphic artist with whom I have worked in a couple of projects, pruning, leveling his front yard, the photos for our calendar has a neighbor, Farrukito.
This character dresses, gestures and speaks like a pimp without the fur, since we are
in the tropics.

In Farrukito's rented apartment yard, there is a twenty feet tall, Cocos nucifera, growing exactly against the concrete fence separating the properties. In consequence, some coconuts fall in Tito's back yard, but so do the fronds.

I bet many readers from cold, template climates have never tasted the water or the soft/hard insides of this fruit. Or people from hot climates. I confess that I am not
so crazy about them, have never bought one while hanging by the beach, will not bother to peel one, a hard, difficult task. But some people think coconuts are so great and cool. It seems that mixing it with whiskey is palatable and fashionable in some

The fronds are twenty feet long, at least. Flat on the ground, they remind me of
a huge fish skeleton. They take a lot of room, are difficult to handle. Fronds may have some uses, as the coconut skins, but in Puerto Rico , people just throw them in the sidewalk, where they hang for a week, or months until the garbage men take them home to the city dumpster.

If I had a neighbor with such nuisance, believe me there would be no palm tree making my life miserable. Palms are fine, but not in ANY urban context. Unless one
happens to live in the Canary Islands and those hot places in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, in this isle, a pandemic of 'ornamental' palms have spread all over for the last ten years. PEOPLE in the 'Green Industry", landscaping maintenance and installing, with their accomplices in the grass/palms
nurseries/farms have inundated the whole island. It is visual contamination, as ugly
as those spaces with billboards in every square, period.

Not only that. The palm tree fans, landscape scumbags, forget that many species are intolerant of salty breezes. If you follow this blog, and I ask, where do you think thousands of palms have been planted? Exactly fifty/hundred meters from the sea shore. The leaves
look burned soon afterwards, but it does not matter since the landscape people got
their money, and in Puerto Rico there are no arborists working in the government.
Nor is there the intellectual, human, ecological interest necessary to plan a systematic maintenance program.

The problem is relevant. Palms/grass create too much organic waste, hard to handle. In Guaynabo City, organic waste is 22% of the total in the city dump. Most of it
is grass clippings not composted by residents or people in the industry.

By now you have the correct impression, I am against the use of any palm tree in urban landscape installations. Too many of them. Even well known Raymond Jungles, from Florida, a disciple of the great late Roberto Burle Marx, abuses the damn palms in installations that would be perfect, except for that aberrant infatuation. Time to go.

miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2009


THIS MAY seem a rant, so may be it. In February of the current, I presented a complaint against who else? UNIVERSIDAD SAGRADO CORAZON, for the unbearable noise from their air conditioning feeders. A grinding humming 24/7, with the Junta de Calidad Ambiental, the native agency dealing with pollution of all kinds.

These poor souls have TWO inspectors for hundreds of complaints regarding all types
of environmental problems. The first failed attempt was in June. I refused
since there were no classes at the public hindrance university, feeders were off.

August came, tired of the waiting, I visited the office of the OMBUDSMAN, the hero
agency dealing with government agencies not doing the job getting paid for. In this agency the employees are reluctant to respond to EMAILS, it is as if emails are ignored, do not exist.

I had to walk three miles round trip to visit our heroes in Miramar, since they do not
respond to the correspondence. I had a chat with the blue blooded one leg crippled
lady. The office resolved with the people in the Junta a visit to the premises, our residence to measure the noise from the god damned university. It was too low. However, I noticed that on measurement day the feeders were not on, as if a little angel informed the dean, of the visit from ADA, the technician. This tree letter named
lady was the one confusing a Valencia orange with a pumpkin.

This is October now. Today ADA called at 6:00 AM, when your humble servant was asleep. I left a message at seven, got a response at 8:39. The defense is that she is in Aguas Buenas a hick town in the neck of the 'woods'. Once again yours truly
is screwed with impunity by the agencies of the state.


The following have changed location, from pots to beds.
It is like graduation day if you may.
Hibiscus rosa sinensis
Pseuderantemum reticulatum
Polyscia fruticosa
Catartus roseus
Asparagus sprengeri
Turnera subulata

the end is near

Finally I have to inform my fans/foes alike not to
plant Ipomoea quamoclit. This vine has beautiful
red, star shaped flowers, cypress like leaves with an
ugly habit. After a while it dries up as in going dormant
or whatever, looking like crap. Later it comes back or not.
Leaving your garden with vine skeletons nice for Halloween
but not much else.

Fire, fire in the wire, wire

A humongous fire took place in some refinery down here, not far
from the ocean, swamps, acquifiers and such. When this type
of disaster takes place, it is necessary to find culprits, to place the
blame. In my opinion, not so humble lately, and getting angrier
somewhat more misanthropic I declare that if cow chew grass
they can not be mistaken. I live among idiots, without vision.

This reminds me of Jose, a good neighbor and blind fellow or VI, visually impaired.
I have to ask him if it makes a difference since he can not see, what

he is referred to. I met a blind idiot in one futile attempt to work
as a volunteer with the house of jerkettes FONDITA DE JESUS, some
time ago.

The blind fellow did not resemble a blind one, Jose Feliciano, Ray Charles o Stevie
Wonder. I made a mistake
asking him where la Fondita was, stating he was going that way
and he would lead me.

We started to walk while he kept asking, do you see a sign saying this and
that...I kept saying no, I do not. Two hundred meters later, I asked
a couple of blond, blue eyes girls if they knew where this agency was.
It happened that the blind idiot was walking south instead of north.
Believe it or not.

Editors note

I asked Jose, who is a steady, strong swimming competitor if he had a
sense of direction, responding in the affirmative while we took
a short stroll one morning. Telling him the funny anecdote.
Time to go.

jueves, 22 de octubre de 2009


I TOOK THE TRAIN from Santurce, to Rio Piedras, it is clean, cool, quiet and efficient. I was not certain about the public transportation in minibuses as I knew it once, since
I have not used it in two decades. When I was a college student there were at least
sixty of this classical third world minibuses, loud radios, shitty music, no air conditioning, 16 people instead of twelve and so on ... There were none, at least
at 8AM. I waited for twenty minutes, exchanging sentences with an ancient fellow, for the big bus. Not bad for $1.50, no music, nice air conditioning not overcrowded and clean.

The trip took almost forty minutes. It was like metal, concrete/asphalt stabs to my eyes, left and right down the road with an irritating bright annoying sun. The trees many, many on both sides have disappeared. Only in the memory they remain. Inside the bus there was only one complaint,
the old farts using their cellulars as if in a live conversation, in their living rooms. I hate phones, particularly in elevators, cars, offices, close to me period. God damned

CAGUAS, my former hometown, is clean, quiet, like a ghost town. I found Juan Garcia, by the corner of the CATHEDRAL, still around on his sidewalk cafeteria. We went to Jose de Diego elementary during 1959/1963. Where were you then?

After a few sentences of greetings, I hit the road on the deserted sidewalks by Betances street, the landmark drugstore is still around in the same spot. A few steps to the right I had the ecotourist pleasure of entering the Museo de Artes Populares
or whatever in the corner of Padial St. A wonderful building with a long history
that I will skip and a professional restoration. Excellent conversation with RITA,
the person in charge.

It happens that RITA, grew up in the SANTURCE area where I know live. We exchanged anecdotes, mine are recent, hers are ancient. I crossed the street to the opposite corner to visit the oasis. I had one and one. One with a chaser, leaving
quickly thanks to the noise of the one arm bandits loud corny music.

Crossed the street again to Padial, enjoying greatly the MUSEO DEL TABACO HERMINIO TORRES GRILLO. Got the change of checking a couple of seniors
rolling cigars, a real trip that I got to see as a child for a brief period and moons
later, where else? IN NEW YORK, Cubans and Dominicans have their shops where
you can watch them and buy those according to your budget, taste, knowledge.
In Caguas, you may a bunch for twenty five bucks, excellent gift for the aficionados.

In both museums in that concrete/asphalt valley, one can relax, go back in time briefly, with care not to fall in the heavy nostalgia lane. Caguas is only a faded,
memory of beautiful buildings destroyed by avarice. Or the PLAZA, with huge
trees destroyed by the illiterate fools yielding machetes, pruning for decades
the Ficus and else...Destroying the relation crown/root.

A couple of more good news in the botanical segment of our show.


Antigonon leptopus

Petrea volubilis

Bauhinia tomentosa

The first came after the 5th attempt from seeds, after I had forgotten. A couple
of days ago while doing our early routine with DIVA, I noticed the flowers. One
of the earliest botanical memories in my life.

Petrea volubilis, was the second or third attempt from cut stems. Today
while irrigating I got the great pleasure of seeing the first leaves in two
branches. If you have no idea of what this climber look like, check under
Wisteria to have an idea. The later is prettier but it does not grow in tropics.

Last but not least. This Bauhinia is rare because the bone white flower
does not look at all like an orchid, as many of these species. This one
is just one of twenty seeds planted and forgotten.

Editors note

Some prefer to use rooting hormones to accelerate
or improve the chances of success with cut stems, I do not.
But is not a bad idea.

sábado, 17 de octubre de 2009


AFTER AN early morning visit to LA DEFENSA, a pub, cafetin or colmado, on San Antonio St., not far from that enemy of the community, a 24/7 noise/pollution factory, UNIVERSIDAD SAGRADO CORAZON, I decided to check on my
recent guerrilla plantation.

At 12:15, under the infernal bright, hot Caribbean sun, I slowly walked towards the train station. The plague of automobiles in every corner, moving as
fast as they can, (not as in what would seem natural in an isle of 100 miles), but as if the drivers were going in a hurry
from Bundaberg to Carnarvon or Brisbane to Perth in that beautiful distant island continent down under.

I waited for the right of way, crossing the Ponce de Leon and the next, Munhoz Rivera Avenues, careful not be run over by the scum bags, anxiety ridden borricuas at the wheels. I got closer to the location where
my opus guerrilla child had been planted. Frightened as hell, noticing the visit of the municipal weed whackers squad. They had cut the native grasses predominant in the site, I expected the worst.

From that angle, in the above paragraph I could not see the tree * and Maguey still. Thank God, as I got closer I found, all Albizias had been destroyed and my DK Tree, alive and kicking against all odds in my
thirty years experience and expectations in gardening installations. A miracle! I would exclaim if believing in such fiction.

Editors Note *

The tree in question is the tenth picture
from top to bottom.


HOURS LATER..... A mile to the right of the Martin Penha Bridge, there is
a new huge one, reminder of those structures built during the Soviets.
Big, ugly and ordinary, with the intention of hiding the G8 vicinity from the
view of drivers. Why? The inhabitants built their houses on mangroove
land/water many decades ago. The Building Developers, Bankers, with Government
accomplices are in the slow, never ending mood to relocate these 14,000 residents, since
there is no more cheap land to develop, due to saturation in every
other San Juan metro spaces.

The end is near

While crossing this ugly bridge on BARBOSA AVENUE, Cantera neighborhood,
I stopped to check the raw sewage waters, after observing a beautiful trio of birds, Martinetes
with their impressive orange beak, playing and relaxing. I kept on looking, noticing
a bunch of black fish with white stripes by the gills, one turtle and some insects
looking for food.

NATURE IS really forgiving. Considering the amount of garbage thrown in
this ecosystem, in addition to the raw sewage, this is certainly a MIRACLE,
to see such amount of fauna from thirty feet high. I felt happy, twice, for the
first guerrilla story and this one.

Unfortunately, is time to write that I offered to work with the JERKS
of the G8 and ENLACE community considering I got a little to offer,
but since they are blindfolded JERKS; they remained deaf, mute, blind,
So long....


I WOULD APPRECIATE if any reader
from the 66 countries visiting this blog once in a while, one half/one third of the readers could send a message to
these addresses:


I need to have my space, garden collection, air space, respected, to enjoy
our property. The noise from the air conditioner feeders
could be ameliorated. The cafeteria closed. It is a pain in the ass to enjoy
our backyard thanks to the constant noises, smell of roasted
pig, chicken, pepper when I go out, or even inside our residence.

Put yourself in my place, elaborate.
How would you feel when trying to relax, enjoy your
little token of nature in your own backyard, with the constant night and day grinding humming from
these air conditioning feeders and the callousness of UNIVERSIDAD SAGRADO CORAZON?

miércoles, 14 de octubre de 2009


is celebrating!

Our first 2010 calendar, mentioned some time ago is ready. Under the graphic artistry of Tito Collazo and some stars from my collection.. It is in a 5" by 7" card format. The white on green lizard, the Bouret Horticultural Society logo, in the left
top side. With seven flowers in the clock wise trend. Turnera ulmifolia, Plumerias pink, yellow pink, Turnera subulata, Bethelhem Star, Capsicum and Cosmos sulphureos in front calendar in the back. Another trend may have been set, time will tell. IF interested leave your email address in the comments, for instructions. It is a collectors item, well done in my opinion and a gardening fan.


TITO COLLAZO is in the process of painting the house. Today after previous conversations, the corrective pruning of his Thevetia peruviana, a messy but beautiful, twenty years old, multi trunk
tree, the restoration of the shitty garden started.

I started by leveling the ground in the left side by the wall in front of the house. That way the
painting will look even, when the time to plant arrives. I used a gardening pick ax, a narrow rake,
shovel, hand pruner and a broom. It was a nice work out of ninety minutes.

The ground is fluffy and dark, a sign of organic matter. His two dogs fertilize daily, a condition
to take into consideration when planting anything. The Crotons will depart permanently since
the resident is not into hedges, or has the time for this silly enterprise of cutting anything every
x amount of days to keep it even.

I suggested to my neighbor to take some pictures for the before and after, we will see if he remembers, since I am not into reminding people things more than once. If it happens I will
share this interesting project with the readers.

Align Center
After many failed attempts of propagating Mesquite, I am
fortunate. These were seeds from my most recent trip to Guanica.
At around four inches tall, these bushes/trees are famous in
some dry/desert regions of USA, used for barbecue, thanks to the great smoking
qualities of the wood, besides the slow burning.

In Puerto Rico they are abundant in the dry south. I have always
admire Mesquites, for their umbrella shaped top and slow
growth. I got three.

In the grafted fruit tree department, I have been able to make the
first gallon of lemon juice from a tree that has been at home for a
year. The oranges, are still in the process. This kind has the texture
and color of some pumpkins.

Recently an employee from the Board of Environmental Quality in
our residence to measure the god damned humming noise, originatingt from the air conditioning feeders, from the god damned
muscle, since they have no heart, thought they were that, pumpkins.

This tell you how deep and wide is the ignorance regarding
flora, fauna, nature, in brief.

Confusing and orange with a pumpkin.
Only in Puerto Rico USA.
Time to go.

lunes, 12 de octubre de 2009


IT IS DIFFICULT TO accept it, but our world over there and down here is really
out of track. As a gardener with intense critical views, regarding the practice of
landscape management and installations, when I sit down to read about the subject
it is very irritating how in this case what matter is not the drought, the difficulties
it creates to humans, flora and fauna, but the impossibility of making a PROFIT.

An article by Ron Hall, of the leading magazine of the Green Industry, Landscape
Management of September of the current, "A Texas-sized Water Challenge" leaves
no doubts as to the focus and perspective of people in the landscape maintenance

"The visibility of the Green Industry is water use and the the perception it's wasting
water (justified in many instances) guarantee it will be one of the first industries
dramatically altered or sacrificed in the name of conservation".

What is relevant is not that there has been no significant rain for the last three years in Texas, but the need to improve IRRIGATION. That is the position of people in the Green Industry. At this time one can irrigate once a week, however, according to the article, some spaces are so big, that they can not be irrigated in twenty four hours. Believe it or not.

In endemismo my stance has been consistent for some time now. TURF ELIMINATION.
If you practice gardening seriously, It may be necessary to change your views about
the plants chosen for your garden since many will certainly pass away the way
things are going in nature. In my garden, perhaps over fifty percent of my inventory
will die if I stop watering every now and then.

I understand that possibility. Even when I have selected plants resistant to salt breeze, sun and heat. But in times of drought why should I worry when there are flora, fauna, people,
affected to such a degree that many have nothing to eat or water to drink. One thing to consider
in Puerto Rico, is the possibility of similar problems even without such severity, thanks to the broken pipes all over the island leaking millions of gallons of water daily without repairs.

The other view from the NY TIMES, 8 September 2009, an article by Jeffrey Gettleman,
'As Lush land Dries up Hopes wither in Kenya'.

"Even in a good year life here is extremely precarious but this year malnutrition rates among
the Turkama have soared way past emergency thresholds. Turkama children, dressed in little
more than a sheet, are hiking twenty miles for a GALLON of water".

I have taken these two paragraphs to demonstrate that water is not a resource that should be
wasted in lawns or any trivial gardening activity. When one looks at the face of starving people,
or animals in those far away lands, for lack of water, it is very annoying to see
that in our world, with fresh water, the waste and lack of appreciation seems
to be the majority rule.

In the case of Kenya, the incapable government is also responsible for the situation, since every
one in power see the best way to rip off their constituents and the state, without much concern for the affected population.

In USA, housing developers are the culprits creating most of the water usage problems. The habit of planting TURF in every imaginable space seems an unnecessary infatuation without cure. Why would anyone plant turf in deserts Utah or Nevada?

At any rate, the people in Kenya have no choices but to live they way they can. In USA there are
many options. The water waste in those desert areas in USA is very difficult to understand.
It violates logic.

But the reality is there. Drought is killing people, flora and fauna in many geographic areas.
The destruction of flora and fauna is USA is no different. However, too many people are concerned about making a profit with irrigation systems, better irrigation, when the intelligent alternative is to ELIMINATE plants with water needs unable to survive. The time to move towards Xeryscaping, native grasses, plants, trees and bushes tolerant to dry conditions in the private/public sector is now.

I still can not understand why, with a drought such as this, three years without a drop, any
JERK, can come with irrigation as a solution for green areas. TIME to go.....

lunes, 5 de octubre de 2009


ONCE IN a while a change of pace is just and necessary.

Fair movies in Puerto Rico are scarce, since what we get is most of the trash/rubbish from HOLLYWOOD.

This one is rare, it grabs you from the credits. If you are into watching movies with a critical view, I strongly suggest THE INFORMANT, with Matt Damon and others. The music, photography, dialogues,
speed, plot, acting in this one is what movies should be like. Hollywood produces so much garbage
with ridiculous special effects, bombs, shots, car crashes and blood, that one has to remain at home an watch the worn out movies shown on television. I feel it is a conspiracy.


If you like to buy books and have twenty bucks or so, enjoy history and architecture,
here is one I truly enjoyed.

Puerto Rico Then and Now
Thunder Bay Press, California
Salamander Books 2009

Is a good book for a coffee table, has excellent photos, good paper
and is manageable. JORGE RIGAU, the author, is still around and has relatives
also involved in architecture. I have mentioned that if you are into criticism,
particularly regarding garden installations, one has to understand composition,
use of space, light, purpose of the space. These are some elements, also part, an important one in architecture. On the other hand, the reader has a chance to remember
buildings that once surrounded our childhood now gone forever.

I do not know what to think about nostalgia. But when taste, good taste
is lost for money, concrete and functionality with erased aesthetics, life
gets dull and predictable. Looking at the beauty of these buildings
what Puerto Rico was and lost, some surviving in good condition, others
not so fortunate, leave a sour sensation in the spirit, often present between lines. What was
destroyed, and what we got in turn.


I look at lots of books and magazines but rarely I recommend any
unless they are significant from my perspective. As a collector, by the way,
in the last month I have 'discovered' 2 species of Passiflora and
a vine with beautiful white flowers on my strolls. If you are into
this bag, one
needs good books to identify what you have or what is found.

W. Arthur Whisler
Timber Press 2000

At a price of thirty five bucks, I suggest to buy it used for nine or so. After
all is a reference book, not for show. This work has wonderful photos,
a large, wide selection of many not so common ornamentals with their
botanical names, in some cases whole families of species are shown.
This type of information, excellent bibliography and references are
not common, in my humble, always looking for something opinion.
Nice paper and ease to manage, even at bed.

Far away readers.

Align Center
AUDUBON ZOO, the song
'They all asked for you'

I had the great pleasure of watching Wynton Marsalis conduct
a jazz class for young children. Glisando, call and response,
every jazz concept was discussed, reinforced and demonstrated with
voice and instrument: range/pitch. One of those marvelous
musical experiences that will remain, since music, besides plants carry
a lot of weight in me life. CHECK that song if you may.
Time to go...Before I would mention Leon Redbone, David Bromberg and John Mooney as singer/quitar players in this wave. The Audubon Zoo, existed in New Orleans, that mecca of gastronomy and music, at least before Katrina.