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.

martes, 20 de abril de 2010


OF ALL THE CREDIT hours taken in the NY Botanical Garden for the Commercial Horticulture Landscape Management Certificate, 18, to approve the Turf Management course, were the most exasperating or enlightening. The text book:
'Turf Management Handbook,' by Charles B. Schroeder and Howard B. Sprague could not be more boring and dull. Even if the information is useful the photos and format lack imagination.

If you are the type of inquisitive gardener/person, you could not help but wonder how much stupidity regarding, lawns, grass, turf , planting and management has dominated the whole world for the last 100 years.

Think of turf or lawns, playing fields and parks, golf courses, private residences all around you. I accept that some sports require/demand turf: baseball and cricket to name two. Besides that, I can not tolerate the waste of resources, energy and money required to keep up grass, unless by goats, sheep, cows or horses. Or perhaps a push mower.

Turf management involves growth, health, diseases, insects, shade, sun, heat, cold, soil acidity and liming, fertilizers, weeds, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and irrigation. The majority of these activities require fossil fuels, gas/oil/diesel, propane or electricity. That means pollution and C02, ( Global warming comes to mind), smoke and the annoying irritating noise of trimmers, blowers and lawnmowers.

Is there something more senseless than using drinkable water to irrigate anything, grass on top of it? Imagine for one second the billions of gallons of water wasted in turf, golf courses around the world. In Nevada, USA, a desert, there are 35 golf courses! These are the people, crying wolf for lacking water for development. Now they are trying to divert/rob water from the environment and communities one, two hundred miles away to waste in residential turf, new housing projects.

The opposite of turf, weeds are often seen as a hindrance rather than enhancing. Weed are defined in this context most of the time. A nuisance, unsightly and unwanted. I have embraced some in my collection for their beauty, being uncommon or rare, in the garden, aesthetics. But also for pragmatic reasons, since I keep the connection between fauna/flora when I plant.

Many, lots of creatures depend on weeds. They provide food, shelter and protection to many species, besides protecting the soil against erosion. Some weeds grow in the most unimaginable places, including cracks in concrete, rocks, asphalt.. There are seeds
and grasses for everyone. Is there anything more attractive, stimulating than watching a bird balancing on tall weeds against the wind to grasp some seeds?


Commelina elegans
with elegant intense
blue indigo flowers,
a favorite of chickens
and rabbitts

Datura stramonium
Jathropha gossypifolia
Merremia quinquefolia
Clitorea ternatea
Trimezia caribea
Urena lobata

Dipterantun prostratus with one
of the most attractive pure white flowers in the Caribbean wild.
I learned the botanical name from a fellow blogger in India,
'In art lies my life'
who happens to own similar plants in his collection.
I have also a light purple variety. Discovered while
taking Diva, our pet in residence to her fetch training.

These plants have a funny habit for self seeding.
In the afternoons, when I irrigate the collection I can
hear them popping, cracking open, when the water
hit the seeds, a real trip.

Enhance your garden. I have vines, trees/bushes, plants and climbers
Embrace the weeds...Time to go...

domingo, 18 de abril de 2010


For the last week, I was noticing this intense
feeling in the sweet subtle side of attractive fragrance.

Could not figure it out, until today. I look up, and there
it was, the yellow flowering Pterocarpus in Sagrado Corazon property.
Another fragrance
in the top five.

THERE IS A LOT, to go through. If you are in a rush move on. Lets start with Feisbuk,
with the Spanish, pronunciation. Taco the Clown, a contemporary character from Savarona. He grew up among Baptists, while yours truly was a Catholic crusader.
Taco shot from the hip recently in that forum. As some readers may have noticed, I do not have much reluctance to express my views, mostly on environmental issues, the whole court, if I may.

PAYASO TACO, somehow thought/expressed that I should not throw pearls to the hogs, in that forum. Considering the line of work/vocation I follow, and I am willing
to accept any duel with words, sword, fist, sticks as in EL TIO LA VARA, a new superhero from Spain. I found the comment irritating and unnecessary since every hog deserves an opportunity.

To end this subject, I wondered if HIS hogs, went to some refinement school or academy, considering that he does try to educate with his out of context inspirational quotes from esoteric philosophy, budism, and god knows which other sources. This is for you: Throwing pearls to hogs may/may not be useful as some figure of speech. But check this out mate, if you throw them pearls to some Iberian Hogs, the result could not be surpassed. The best probable ham on earth.

Moving to more terrestrial things.

Guerrillagardening activities.

After a pleasant trip to Fajardo City, a couple of purple Bouganvillea
stems were collected, along some Thespesia populnea seeds.
The ten Thespesias were planted in the former Hospital San Carlos
Guerrilla theater on Ponce de Leon Avenue.


\Pumpkins 2
Cosmus sulphureous 10
Suculents 2
Tabebuias 2
Tartago 1
from Thailand,
sweet Tamarindus indica 10

Most are planted from seeds except
Tabebuia, Sanseveria, Agavacea. Alive and kicking.

If you are to practice guerrilla in Puerco Rico, USA
do not plant anything not resistant to heat/drought
particularly if not available to irrigate. Plant what is
available in the surroundings, do not buy crap from

Arboles de Puerto Rico
Boricuas identificando y reconociendo
Arboles de Puerto Rico
Mercado Ecologico de San Juan
and my favorites

To all the above I wish you the best.. and character
to take what I will certainly will say from my observations and what I may have said/written already.
If not mentioned, do not worry, I will
keep you posted, later.

Critics criticize...


Perhaps you remember that I mentioned in an old post
how Phd Alberto Areces Mallea and Gabriela Ocampo,
those yellow bellies trash, children of beaches stole some rooting
hormones from my storage area, some time ago when I was
a trend setting groundskeeper with
the Luis Munhoz Marin Foundation.

I did not have the chance to propagate with hormones since then.
Well, I just got some rooting gel in the mail. It is much better than the previous
dust rooting ones. Four stems of Guaicum officinale,
six of yellow and orange Hibiscus, collected in the UPR and calle
Sagrado Corazon and the two from Fajardo mentioned in the beginning
have been planted.

That is that..Time to go...

jueves, 15 de abril de 2010


WE undertake to restore indigenous communities and ecosystem function in the face of great uncertainty. We do not know very much about how natural systems work, and we do not even have all the component pieces.
The concept of restoration, taken literally, might presume that we can replace missing parts or remove added ones. But while we can eliminate invasive alien species on a specific site, we cannot necessarily take away all new elements. How does the restorationist, for example remove the large amounts of nitrogen raining down the landscape from air pollution, seriously modifying one of the most basic processes, the nitrogen cycle?
Not is it any easier to add the lost pieces. Where do we find the huge flocks of migratory passenger pigeons whose numbers collapsed from billions to extinction with the first great wave of deforestation or the once numerous but now extinct Carolina parakeets of the eastern forest?
We simply do not know enough about our ecosystems; nor are we yet
able to modify our lifestyles and land use to recreate those conditions necessarily to truly restore a prior state, extinctions aside.

The management of complex living systems necessarily involves many
interrelated natural processes and functions. Some of these natural processes and functions we may seek to replace or emulate; others we may try to rehabilitate or reestablish. The cumulative result is intended
to more toward restoration. This is a heuristic process in which we will
learn as we go along. If we are committed to sustaining indigenous plants and animals, we will, over time, discover new approaches and techniques that cannot be implemented or even imagined, today.

We have written this guide book primarily as a stimulus to those individuals and groups who want to do something constructive about our deteriorating forest patches. We hope it will assist in this restoration process providing an approach for assessing each site, guidelines for determining management goals and an overview of appropriate management and restoration techniques. The objective
is to provide a framework for action rooted in the idea that those who use and care for a landscape should be responsible for sustaining its value over time. The goal is to develop programs to ensure that most of our actions will be restorative and not destructive. We have set ourselves on a critical path and the direction will be shaped by our goals.

The Once and Future Forest
Leslie Jones Sauer


Perhaps now that once again the horses have been taken to the water stream, they will taste the water. Maybe not in Puercorico USA, but in your country far away, things will be put in the correct perspective. Every jerk/jerkette bored to death decides to 'restore', plant, reforest,
save this or that in this concrete/asphalt isle.

The result is tens or hundreds of ignorant fools with good intentions, without information, credentials or experience doing at will, what they think is correct or helpful to the environment.
In the case of Alberto Areces Mallea and Gabriela Ocampo is the contrary, people with college
degrees making the most stupid mistakes in the name of the "species in danger of extinction" or
endemic ones. They are not the only ones, the municipalities, government agencies: 007 Recursos Naturales, Fideicomiso and Parques Nacionales are under the direction of ignorant
fools, with similar employees destroying with foolish management practices the whole environment, but with futile attempts to protect, save, enhance it. Even worse, spending such
amount of money as in Parque Donha Ines, is a real waste considering that soil, Flora and Fauna was totally destroyed without any serious inventory, soil analysis, plan, or vision to protect the land and living creatures. That is that.


I want to inform that the Calliandra has officially
survived the relocation, the Guaicaum officinale is still
under observation, but not in danger of passing away.

The Malpighia is also doing great, not mentioned before.
This one went from a pot in the north side to the ground
in the south.

miércoles, 14 de abril de 2010


Human induced disturbances to the landscape are now of such great scope and scale that they overshadow the patterns of natural disturbances. Natural disturbance is,
of course, part of a natural cycle, the result of climatic extremes, fire, the death of a tree, a flood, or countless other phenomena. Indeed, these cyclical events are a vital
stimulus to change and integral to sustaining regional diversity within great forest
expanses. What most distinguishes natural disturbance from human induced disturbance is the extent to which it falls within the historic range of its occurrence.
Events at the limit of the natural range shape the landscape profoundly, such as the
blowdown of 1938 in New England or the fire of 1963 in the Pine Barrens of the New
Jersey. Events that extend well beyond their naturally occurring variability, however, exceed the recoverability of many plant and animal communities.
Complex, long established ecosystems are collapsing after repeated disturbance.
For example, repeated clearcutting inflicts far more serious and long term impact
of natural forest regeneration than was previously recognized. At the same time,
a few supercompetitive and generalist species are thriving at the expense of almost all others in the landscapes created by human settlement. Now unchecked suburbanization and resource extraction are consuming ever more of the remaining wild and rural lands. The living systems around us are losing their
richness and resilience, and we sense the implications for own lives.

Few of us can fully imagine or appreciate the grandeur and intricacy of the original forest encountered by the first settlers. But mos of us remember a forest we knew once that we have watched decline or disappeared all together. The lands we saved for their rich landscapes are changing before our eyes as the impacts of the last few centuries become more visible.

While park users and land managers are becoming more aware of the urgency of the problem, they are hampered by lack of information and experience in dealing with the management and restoration of disturbed landscapes. Natural resource
managers typically study intact ecosystems and may have little experience with disturbed landscapes, and horticulturalists are usually inadequately trained
in large scale natural systems. Ecologists and biologists in the past often devoted
relatively little energy to solving on the ground management problems and sought
instead to find and document the most pristine sites. Today the scientific community is shifting its focus toward restoration, but there is are no consistent policies or proven methodologies that reliably result in restoration. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of all is that restoration is a long term effort requiring a high degree of expertise and commitment rather than a quick fix.

Despite the challenges facing them, many landscape managers are attempting forest restoration and getting some good results for their efforts. These concerned
managers are developing the art and science of caring for fragmented forests by monitoring, studying, maintaining, replanting, and experimenting in woodlands and forests. They are aware that restoration is an going job and that natural systems are often so compromised we cannot expect them to recover if they are simply left on their own. Progress is not necessarily smooth and transformation
are not instantaneous, but these landscape managers are monitoring the landscape, limiting further impacts, and initiating improvement in the management of the natural systems under their care.

I will leave it here. There is one more part of the introduction left. In Puercorico USA, any jerk
with/without academic titles, politicians, community leaders, and jerks/jerkettes, opportunists of all kinds, banks, public/private agencies believe that taking care/respecting the environment is just: collecting garbage, recycling, or digging holes like mentally retarded without supervision and planting trees without much else, any
thought about maintenance. That is my stance. and that is that....

martes, 13 de abril de 2010


SOMETIMES, I wonder when will this prevailing anger, intolerance at the insular feeble mindedness will subside. Now in Feisbuk, there are some
environmental DUNE SAVERS, in Isabela. The ignorant savers announced
with great fanfare their great endeavor, but I noticed a remarkable error.

Dunes need something to grab, hold the sand in place. Ground covers and/or grass. Their selection? Cocos Nucifera. The retarded ones, instead
of doing research, under erosion, sand, decided to plant palm trees where there were none. These not only will not stop/decrease the erosion, the DUNE SAVERS fucked up the landscape scenery/view, obstructing it with the vertical barriers. JERKS!

The tittle of the post is also a must have book. If you are into the offering unsolicited opinions as I do, you have to read and have references available for the ignorants, illiterates, and Phd's, as ALBERTO ARECES MALLEA, and his aboriginal Mexican Olmec wife. If they had taken the time to read the essential chapters on forest/habitat restoration, the eco-environmental crimes against FLORA/FAUNA/WATER/SOIL, committed in Parque Donha Ines, would not have taken place.

The Once and Future Forest
Leslie Jones Sauer
Andropogon Associates
Island Press, 1998

For many of us, urban and suburban forests are the closest we can come to nature. Sadly, these beloved places are deteriorating throughout the country. Some forests are destroyed in a moment--cut over and built upon. Others, especially urban parks and remnant woodlands, die more slowly, their destruction is caused not by a single act but by an accumulation of daily assaults--by public use of the landscape as well as by the public agencies responsible for their care.

Protection of the land has not necessarily protected the landscape. We all contribute to this deterioration--from the mountain biker gouging a
rutted trail up a steep slope to the birder who steps of the path for a better view. Damage occurs when a police car, for example, compacts the soil on either side of a woodland trail meant only for pedestrians or when uncontrolled stormwater careens downslope, eroding the forest floor. Less visible but no less serious is the damage done daily by atmospheric pollutants from vehicles, industry and other energy

For many species of wildlife, these forest fragments are habitat vital to their survival. In our sprawling, developed landscapes, every patch of green has become an increasingly important remnant in an ever more tattered fabric. Today
those responsible for the care of protected landscapes are expressing growing concern about the accelerating deterioration of this resource. The negative impacts of use and abuse, already apparent in urban parks, are becoming more visible in suburban and rural areas as well. For millions of people, contact with
the natural world is a progressively diminished experience. Our own observations
confirm the gravity of our environmental condition: We are losing the rich variety
of native plants and animals that once typified our regional landscapes. The biodiversity crisis is here in our backyards and parks.

Biodiversity is the variety of forms of life. In addition to the 30 million or more species of plants and animals on Earth, the term "biodiversity" embraces highly specialized subspecies which may be far more numerous as well as more suited to
a world that is becoming increasingly homogenized. Indigenous species, those that were native to an area before the European settlement in this hemisphere, are
dying our at about the same rate that exotic or alien species, those introduced by
people to a region, are establishing themselves.

to be continued...

Back to this world..If you want to do something about this, verify, or prepare your own rebuttal, go to Facebook, under SEARCH, go to Luis Munoz Marin Foundation, give them a call 787-755-4506 or 787-755-7979. Or do something better by writing: info@flmm.org.

Ask for the inventory of FLORA/FAUNA before the works in Parque Donha Ines started and after the destruction of all vegetation and soil. You may also REQUEST the botanical list of ANYTHING that has been planted in Parque Donha Ines. Talk to Zuleika Vallenilla or Julio Quiros Suazo your hosts down there. That is that.

sábado, 10 de abril de 2010


IF YOU COVER the whole horticultural court, once in a while you will have the chance to practice it with expected results. There is no more difficult task in gardening than Ball and Burlap. IF you are successful, not with digging or pulling out,
but with survival stats, WELCOME, you are now in the Big Leagues. If you do not, bear up.

My B/B training lasted for six hours, during 2002, in the New York Botanical Garden as a requirement for the certificate, under the supervision of an expert, Mike Ruggiero.

Ball and Burlap consists on digging around the trunk of a tree to the necessary depth to find surrounding roots supporting the patient to be removed/relocated without harm.

You need a taper mouth spade, trowel and a hand pruner. I will not get into much detail except that in the tropics, if you know what you are doing, it does not matter if the root ball brakes or not. That is why no burlap was involved here. However, let the record show that I am writing about Guiacum officinale and Calliandra haematocephala even if the theory is correct for any species. Be aware that many trees will just pass away, it is not in their spirit to be removed. Research if in doubt.

Guaicum oficcinale

This beautiful tree, was a gift from a former co-worker at four inches tall, seven years ago. It is
about six feet and a four inches diameter. It was planted in the south side, not foo far from the

Lets get to the digging. Since the space was tight, I started digging with a trowel, not a problem
in mostly sand soils. When I reached eight inches, I noticed a couple of roots the as thick as my
index finger. I cut carefully and kept digging, finding only some adventitious roots. I moved the trunk and gave away some. Proceeded with the spade to go around, deeper as in an oval to make sure no other roots were left. Once I was certain there was nothing left I pulled out the patient.

It was placed immediately in a three feet tall, two feet diameter plastic pot with my secret soil and compost formula. One third of the pot was filled. When I placed the tree it was too low. I added
some more soil, making sure it did not go over the previous depth. Watered it and put a thick string around the canopy to avoid too much movement as a tutor would.

Calliandra haemathocephala

You probably saw the picture here and read some anecdotes of insects and hummingbirds previously about this tree. I brought it from the Luis Munhoz Marin Foundation. I was probably eight inches tall then, now is six feet tall, but not as wide as the Guayacan. Like the first, it spent most of its life in pots. Both have been in the ground for the last two years.

Unlike the first, white flies and some pyramid shaped insects have been a problem, but not a headache. The roots of this tree were deeper in the ground, thin and spread evenly. It was easier to dig around, there is much more room than in the first case.

The Calliandra was dug and placed eight feet from the original spot to make room for the Guaicum. The hole was about twice the size of the roots, in diameter. Remember the depth
has to be the same or higher, otherwise it may pass away by drowning. I put some of my compost/soil at the bottom, and filling the rest with the sandy ground. A string was tied around
the trunk (not too tight) for support and around the canopy for two days.

Why now? May wonder the inquisitive reader. If you live in the tropics, the perfect time to do Ball/Burlap is after it has rained for a day or two, if in sandy soil. The ball has less chance to brake, the digging is easier. In clay is another story. However, the most important reason, is that much less stress will be inflicted in the patient.

If you have transplanted anything in your gardening life, you may have noticed that most plants look as if in agony after the trauma. With these trees was no different. The Guaicum looks like crap, but not the Calliandra. Their leaves have turned yellowish, but look healthy and recovering. The second is showing flower buds in their in their infancy, a sign of sure recovery.

Make sure you water profusely after planting. Good luck in your projects. If your trees are
taller than those here, get some help, it will make it easier for you and the tree. Time to go.


about the subject


in Youtube.com
Ball and Burlap

jueves, 8 de abril de 2010



I DROPPED by perhaps the dullest park under the umbrella of beyond feeble minded, PARQUES NACIONALES, Parque Luis Munhoz Marin,
on Pinhero Avenue. There are trees, but so sparse, that one can not write
about shade. Just grass, poorly kept, poodles, bare ground and a jerk,
illiterate with a stupid looking face in charge of the nursery.

William the illiterate, poor soul, had told el Nuevo Dia, that 3 of the employees had been fired, and he was 'alone' working in the shitty nursery with '25,000' plants. Your
humble servant left a message to work as a volunteer about a month ago...The hick almost freaked out when questioned about the number. Said that maybe it refer to the whole park.

I insisted that the article mentioned the nursery not the park.. William, a little stressed by now, indicated that maybe '8,000' plants hang out in the nursery. After looking carefully there are not even 1,000 in the whole park but such is life in Puercorico. The blind leading the blind.

The bonus does not stop here.. I found some seeds from a not particularly attractive
tree, never seen before in books, catalogs or live. I asked three employees, including
the mentally retarded William, if they knew the name of it. NO ONE KNEW. That is the reality in every context, regarding plants, trees, and else in the public/private sector. A bunch of followers of those words, Ignorance is bliss. Sorry, the burlap
for the next time. Time to go....