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.

sábado, 31 de enero de 2009


THIS MORNING, while monitoring in the front garden, Tony, one of those neighbors lacking
any virtues of our liking, stopped his pick up truck to chat about Farrukito, another neighbor
with more defects than the first, to complain about the increasing amount of cats of the second.
It had never happened before, were his words.

Farrukito, quite a picturesque character, walks his dog every morning and afternoon without the
common decency of picking after his pet, leaving the sidewalks plastered with dog poop. At any rate, his cats (that he feeds in huge bowls as most people would feed their hogs), are leaving their
refuse in increasing amounts on Tony's backyard.

The solution? A couple of hours later, he was back with it. A huge amount of cement bricks to cover the soil. Instead of looking for other options, more economic and/or intelligent.
Forgot to mention. One month ago, he decided that
the impressive fucshia Bouganvillea in front of his house, maybe twenty feet high, was a hindrance. Why? Leaves.

Down here most people refusing to exercise, to enjoy the outdoors with
a broom, get a machete by themselves or hire help to totally destroy and/or mutilate any kind
of bush/tree without much deliberation, a national occurrence. So, there went the flies....

I have the same problem with the cats. My solution was more environmentally friendly and cost effective to my pocket. I planted a bunch of Ruellias and Wedelias trilobatas. Now Mr. Tony will have more concrete to absorb heat,
more water to drain, plus the inevitable weeds that grow within the bricks. And so goes life down here in the concrete/asphalt isle. I on the contrary, will get more flowers, yellow/pink to enhance
the installation, stopping the cats from digging.

I am considering writing about the garden as rooms. Some television programs, gardening pundits, write about a garden just like the parts of a house, in similar compartments, according to their use. In my case, just one... To plant, propagate, collaborating with the ecology of the vecinity.

Perhaps the name of that virtual article should be DROWNING BY NUMBERS, just like that wild film that was popular AMONG artsy film buffs. Ian Dury, from the Blockheads, one of the protagonists. It is going to be intense. I debate if I should start now ... Maybe I will.

Maybe not. Why should I worn out the readers virtual or not, that ocassionally drop by?
After all, the plant inventory appeared recently. Entradas antiguas 19 August 2008, or
the updated version under "Party is over for the old".. on 31 December 2008.

Words to wonder. Why is it that career coaches, yoga fans, vegetarians, those that often talk about friendship,
virtues, the after life, are never connected with nature? All is out of context. Always the I, all
spinning around the I. Bury the ego...see what is around, for a change. The world, people do
not share your stress necessarily. Stress that is of your making, following constantly as a herd?
Stop, medidate, think. Set the trends, avoid the following.

viernes, 30 de enero de 2009


FOR SOME time now, I have been pondering about the evident
lack of caring from most people, too many, about ecology,horticulture and nature in general. All is taken for granted. Except in some instances, when the daily indifference
is substituted with silly, abrupt enthusiasm lasting two or three

As a result, I decided to investigate to see if my imagination was exagerating what seems so evident and no one else seems to
perceive. Perception has to be expressed in some fashion. While researching, to my surprise, there is not much about the issue
in the web. From the little information found here is a sample.

"Lynn White, Jr 1967 article "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis", argued that the Christian tradition was responsible for much of the environmentally destructive behaviors that first came to expression during the Industrial
Revolution. He held that human approaches to the natural order are inextricably tied to religious beliefs and world views.
Christians in the modern west have read the Bible as showing
that God is separate from nature (dualism), that humans are the only figures in creation made in the image of God (anthr0pocentrism) and that creation exists ultimately for human sake (human chauvinism). These perspectives have led to indifference at best and sometimes even hostility toward nature".

That explains why I never see a Jehova's Witness, Adventist or Catholic fellow doing something about mother nature. What
really matters is one's soul. But any joking aside, this is serious.
Not many care a bit, about the environment, most people have
lost touch with their surroundings. Not having even a plant in a pot anywhere is a sign of this lack of connection, indifference.

Now that I have my imagination proved correct, what to do? Nothing.
I will continue planting, propagating, taking care of the garden.
The horses can be led to the water but not forced to drink. It has been written before.

On the garden scene: two new Passifloras were planted, along
with a couple of Cundeamores. Time to go.. Until next.

miércoles, 28 de enero de 2009


MANY PEOPLE following trends, never to set them, talk, write, chat about the environment as something to kill time when bored.
Not here. Even if some fans/not fans believe this virtual space is sort of a fanatical blog from some deranged character.

I have tried to share what I KNOW, think, believe, i know with many. Institutions, religious or not, government agencies, private/public enterprises regarding everything written here so far. Without luck. They are scared. They prefer to live their fantasy as to what nature/flora/fauna needs and give in return.
To those unable to see beyond their salary, college tittle,
screw you. Here is the most recent happenings in my garden.

Fertilized following the instructions: Orange, Lemon and Mango, grafted trees. Some insects were found in the first two
dealt with the secret formula, mentioned before. I prefer not
to contaminate the environment, as in soil or plants.

I confess using glyphosphate to kill weeds only in cemented,
areas with cracks. That is that.

Moving on back in the studio, this is what is happening in my
garden, by the way, open to the public if announced by email.
Perhaps the only private garden open to public in Puerto Rico.

Frangipani bud flowers are beginning to show in white/rose varieties. Five Bixa orellanas were transplanted in a smaller
pot to get tighter/stronger roots. Chicharos were pruned, some
of the beans collected; a few Ladybugs were noticed doing their

The three lemons, one grafted, two from seed that had been pruned are showing many growth buds that will become
branches and fruit. The orange follows through.

The spider, living in the Pithelobium dulce has disappeared.
The Passionaria grew two inches, to six in the oriental pot.
The Bouganvillea in a corner front of the house has many new

The Guaicum and Calliandra lower branches were eliminated.
Another Turnera, related to Diffusa and Ulmiforme, are being
propagated in soil and water. One Cestrum diurnum was planted in front of the house.

To finish this story we remind our readers. One may plant anything knowing the growth habit of whatever in different
contexts. What allows your gardening skills/experience/credentials show, is not the aesthetics.

It is the individual plants/trees/bushes/ground covers/
climbers in relation to the environment, the context of nature,
flora/fauna in your vecinity when in an urban context.
Anyjuan can get an adecuate garden with the parameters found
in the commercial circuit. Lo que es bien hijoeputa is to have
something no juan can buy...........hasta la proxima.

domingo, 25 de enero de 2009


IT HAS been a while since I wrote about the garden. Here is a brief. Some of the old mutilated Ixoras and Crotons were removed, substituted with Murrayas and Frangipanis. That is
two of each in front of the house. Cosmos sulphureous are about
two feet tall, some of their seeds are coming up. These
flowers are bright orange and make a perfect contrast with the
green chartreuse of the garden Ipomoeas.

Other recent plantings...Four Poinsettias, you know those overused during Christmas, planted as a petition. If you noticed those you bought are dead within fortyfivedays, it is not your
fault. Propagators have created this kind, designed to be dead,
after a while. Next year you buy some, and so forth. Not
too happy with it, but what the heck.

Fourteen dwarf (little people) Ruellias were planted, among
8 Wedelias trilobatas to make difficult for the cats the habit
forming use of the garden as water toilet. Besides, a couple
of Bauhinias, the pink kind, have been relocated in a big plastic
pot, along one Tartago and 3 Turneras ulmiformes the most
abundant in our space.

Surprisingly, after many months after they were planted, two,
not so common species have come out of the blues..... Bixa Orellana, a bush, its seeds used for coloring and cooking and Passiflora Edulis, a climber, with one of the strangest flowers anywhere. Crispin, helped yours truly two identify the first, since
he was the one who gave me the seeds. Almost forgot, a couple of Carica papaya, have also become part of the family, now over
eighty. Perhaps I should mention that you need both male
and female trees to get the fruit, just in case.

OF the twenty four species of wild flowers claimed by the seed company, only six have shown up. Even after planting a bunch in a more adequate
sun exposed area, the result was the same. A rip off if you ask me.

THANKS to the local islanders environmental tribal leadership,
(now with an English consulate),congratulations; it has occurred to me, other requirements for self claimed environmentalists at
the keyboard.

One. An oath declaring firmly not to use in their property: blowers, lawn mowers, or trimmers for their polluting properties and noise making.

Two. A list of twenty botanical names of plants, trees, bushes, climbers, whatever that you can identify. This amount will
be extended in proportion to the extent of your fire eating, preaching to save the environment through the media, printed, or else.

Three. You will have to offer a demonstrative class of propagating from seeds or division. Explain the chemical
process of photosynthesis and the essence of ecology. Why
is it so important? And why you should start planting instead
of seeking for meaningless signatures and/or petitions.

NOW is time to go. Put aside your ego in a calcium shell,
plant something. Talk is cheap.

jueves, 22 de enero de 2009


I HAVE SPENT some time watching the scenery, in other pastures to find out if there is other/any hope
other than repeating to death the climatic change, the need to recycle STORY, beating to death again the
dead horse.

It was fun the first couple of days. Everyjuan commenting in what seems to be the fashion, adolescent like, what yours truly wrote. Some with nothing in common, requested to be
my friends. There seems to be some importance in numbers, I can not explain it any other

One terrible, madening discovery took place. There are great similarities with the discourse,
as linguistics academicians like to put it. The same problem that we have in the asphalt/concrete
island seems apparent. A need of protagonical position, always spinning around the I, ego. A need, urge to write, think alike as in a fucking BLOCK/SQUARE. I have
the impression that most people in the blogging world really believe that they are unique, important.

And I seemingly arrogant the humble one. Not caring about money, physical appearance, superficial issues, inane opinions without a solid foundation. Everyone seems to be in favor of Palestinian terrorists. A pity the amount of civilians, is known as collateral damage. It was their decission. One can not expect to fire
rockets at the best army in the world now, and expect a war of roses.

On my garden scene, I inform you loyal, consequent lovers of the environment, from your keyboard only, or with real dirt, recent happenings dirt/planting wise. Many bushes that were planted in the wrong place, have now being moved to more nurturing areas based on humidity and shade. Others went the opposite way. It is necessary to watch growth. When things do not
develop as they should, that is what I do. Sure, it is possible, only if what you have tolerates
repotting, some plants, Cajanus Cajan, for example will pass away if you attempt to replant it.

Others have moved from pots to the garden, two Frangipanis in the garden in front of the porch.
These are from seeds, pink, around 12 inches high. Two Passionarias, climbers, to reduce noise,
increase privacy in the north side of the house and make some juice eventually.

RIP. Two Ixoras, mutilated for decades had to be removed. My attempts to return some beauty in form failed. Once the architecture of a bush/tree is destroyed no matter what you do, it will
never become what it was meant to be before the mutilation. Just as people in jail. The vast majority will never be what they should/could have, unable to overcome the experience.

See you there. Please do not talk about the environment. Do something. Talk is cheap.

domingo, 11 de enero de 2009


I HAVE TO DECLARE, insects are my favorite subject, after plants, in nature wide scheme of things. I think that if there are no are no insects of any kind in your garden, you suck. Beneficial or the others. You should have a wide variety of vegetation species, the more the merrier, to avoid pests. However, soil,
humidity and heat will increase the possibility of infestation during the rainy/hot season.

If you have hedges and row after row of the same plants and bushes, good luck. On this asphalt/concrete isle that seems to be the rule. For a nice change of step an excerpt about entomology, that some may enjoy. Houghton Mifflin Company,
NY, 1970.

Donald J. Borror
Richard E. White

"ENTOMOGISTS fall into two categories: those who find insects endlessly fascinating and those
would get rid of them. Those in the first group, likely as not, begin as obsessive butterfly collectors and never quite lose their sense of wonder about the six legged world. Those who would get rid of insects are afflicted with an impulse to drop bricks on beetles and all other small crawly companies, devising more sophisticated techniques of annhilation.

Seriously, insects, because of their astronomical number, are undeniably important in our lives. They cannot be ignored. Many are "beneficial"; others, in human terms are obviously harmful.
There is much talk about the damage they do. However, if we evaluate insects across the board
according to the measure of our economy, we find that they fall on the credit side of the ledger.
The authors of this book point out that whereas damage by insects in the United States has been
estimated to run into huge sums annually, their pollinating services alone each year are probably worth considerably more than the damage costs.

So then, indiscriminate eradication is out. Some control is necessary, but we deplore the unscientific spraying that eliminates defoliator and pollinator alike; we resent the primitive methods that kill not only the noxious insects but also their natural controls, the predators and parasites. We regret the decline of attractive butterflies along the roadsides and in our gardens.
Particularly upsetting is the widespread use of persistent chemicals, such as the chlorinated hydrocarbons, which poison the ecosystem and travel through the food chain until even bald eagles, ospreys, and peregrine falcons are lethally affected."

Now, if you practice horticulture, keep this in mind. If you pay to some uncertified lanscape
maintenance company/ individual, watch them, ask about anything sprayed on your property. Even better, get a copy of the chemical components and instructions. They come in English or Spanish in many cases. Do not be a fool trusting your health, children and mascots to some jerk as one may find down here. The environment will thank you.

viernes, 9 de enero de 2009


IF YOU HAVE followed this blog for some time, would have noticed
that once in a while the health and value of your garden for ecology, edible or not is mentioned.

For the last forty days I have had this plague of black, ugly, slimy insects a little bigger than aphids creating havoc among the nice looking beans, Chicharos,
a name without the botanical yet. At any rate, the speed of their growth was intense, even though the damage was not that remarkable. Went to search on internet without much luck to know exactly who they are.

I sprayed four/five times with the secret weapon: dish soap and water. It worked on contact but it was not enough.
Yesterday when I went to spray again, noticed a family of Ladybugs. If I had used chemical insecticides there would be no beneficial insects to help the cause. Now I will leave it to them.

At this time I reiterate the need to know the botanical names. However, if there are no information on the plant in case that is
that, you will have to improvise. Not knowing this plant name, but looking under beans, helped some.

On other fronts, for the second or third time, one spider has made a home between the Coccoloba Uvifera and the Pithelobium dulce, both trees within the recently updated inventory.
I do not know anything about the lineage of this beautiful arachnid, but I confess it to be among my favorites for the quiet
intelligent way to perform its work. All the spiders come out
of the blue, stay for some time an leave.

Lizards are permanent residents (anolis) they seem not be fond
of water, rain, humidity I have seen their numbers reduced to
8 or so.. In Puerto Rico, for the last seventy days, it has rained at
least for fifty. This creates a great environment for all kinds of
fungus, bacterial diseases.

The Frangipanis got really screwed up with rust. All of them.
IN the past only the white, yellow, varieties seemed prone to get it. Unfortunatelly, no caterpillars have visited yet. Many
ignorant people are afraid of them, as soon as they show up gardeners kill them in different fashion.

When I see them, I understand they will be butterflies later. Also,
once they eat all those leaves with rust spores, there is a great chance that the new leaves for spring will have no diseases. And
some nice looking butterflies will be happily hangin out doing their thing until death takes them away.

Natural death or some bird, parasitic insect, or lizard feed themselves and on and on...

miércoles, 7 de enero de 2009


YESTERDAY WAS, one of those days that one remembers fondly
for a long while.

Driving in highways, roads of Puerto Rico for a four hours round trip to a 3 Kings Day celebration in Los Vegas house was a real
pleasure since most people stayed home, off the roads and with Musica Llanera, from Venezuela.

If you appreciate harp/string and vocals, there is nothing like this.The artists are Juan Vicente Torrealba, a two cds, from YOYO Music, and 'Venezuela y Sus Interpretes'
a compilation from Discomoda. This music is rarely played in our commercial or
public radio stations, if you want a change from the daily, noisy
music proposals take a risk with this genre, you may enjoy it.

The three story house is on top of a hill with 360 views of green scenery and a blue piece of the Atlantic, the
city of Mayaguez, in the north west tip of the island.

Plenty of food was around, and typical drinks for the occassion.
I started with some vodka and fresh oranges from the orchard,
following with some beer and one shot of blended scotch.
Ate some of the menu before returning as a duty since eating and drinking are not compatible. Once some people eat the drinking ends, as in my case.

Great conversations with Chuchin, a forensic doctor one the pioneers in the field in Puerto Rico, graduated from Vanderbilt U. Also with Lester, whose field of action was not mentioned but
shared the interest with plants, climbers and such, the subject.

When you plant them as I do for privacy and aesthetics, has nothing to do with what takes place in a farm since these plants strangle some, stop others from reaching any light and photosynthesize.

Besides all these happenings, the best part was the chance to jam with my wooden bongos with Raul Grant, and excellent guitar, cuatro and sax player and his two partners at this celebration. Besides horticulture, something I practice daily,
music which I rarely have a chance, is another intense interest.

This group is from the Lajas region and would recommend them
for any type of outdoors/indoors activity, nice string/brass, percussion/vocals. Phone: 787-413-0606. Others may
prefer a one man orchestra, but the fake electronics, no matter how nice the sound is not the same as interacting with
people that master their instrument.

Garden news: While keeeping a multisubject conversation, the
unique Yesterday/Today/Tomorrow bush was mentioned. Some
relatives living on wet/humid/shady areas have it, covered from
top to bottom with these unusual flowers that come out with a color and pass away with another. They start with a dark pink, becoming lighter and ending white. Something not seen too often.

At any rate I the authority, jaha bilingual... planted it without much thinking in the wrong place. Fortunately, it dealt with
the situation valiantly. When pulled out carefully, it showed a
great, healthy root system. It is now in the right spot.

lunes, 5 de enero de 2009


PERHAPS YOU WONDER, about the few good things that once in a while are mentioned here regarding landscape practices and
design. It is not our imagination, it is not that we focus on what
is bad, poor, tasteless, it is real. Believe me when I say how much I love you... some sappy song, but truly, what I see is ugly except
Parque Luis Munhoz Rivera. If there is anything else in the San
Juan Metro area, please let me know.

What to do then? Please do not hang yourself up if you are ugly as some unfortunate fellow did recently. Just read and research,
plant and observe. From TURF Magazine, March 2001.

Dr. Leonard Perry

"Many of our gardens and landscape have been influenced by English and European styles of
gardening and landscaping. Originating in the beginning of this century, and the few centuries
prior, these ideas are often traced to a few key individuals.

Gertrude Jekyll (1839-1935) from England is recognized as the greatest influence in the 2oth Century on herbaceous gardens. Known for her use of flower and color in garden designs, she used them in woodlands, herbaceous borders and water gardens. Planned graduations of colors
are particularly evident in her designs. She wrote about these theorie in some of her ten books
including Wood and Garden and Colour in the Garden.

A collaborator with Gertrude Jekyll and mayor influence on her work was landscape designer William Robinson (1839-1935), who is best known for his "natural" design. He valued plants
in the garden for their changing forms. He was quite interested in such different gardens as the
English kitchen garden (herbs), rock gardens, and woodland gardens. In addition to publishing
the weekly magazine The Garden, he wrote several influential books including The English Flower Garden."

I would add Frederic Law Omstead (1822-1903), known for designing Central Park in Manhattan, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The beauty of the first, is now more remarkable since some restoring work has been done in the last decade. The second was not so hot when
I visited in the nineties, but should be in better shape also. More information acessible in Wikipedia if interested.

It was amazing the reaction of New York citizens, when City Parks decided to eliminate the baseball parks due to the cost, time and energy to maintain them. It was difficult, but intelligent. What is the point of having such sports, any, in an area where many just walk
or sit, to admire the beauty of the surroundings?

The relation of all the above and Puerto Rico is that anyone interested in learning about these subjects will have great difficulties to find anything about what is being done
in landscaping design locally. That would be nice, because something will contradict, what
I write, perceive. Unfortunately, no one publishes anything, even the jerk of cuban origin (who theoretically is a pioneer) receiving a tribute from his fellow jerks, Landscape Architects
College, does not have a miserable picture in the web about his thirty-forty years of doing
what every Joe Six Pack keeps doing now.

domingo, 4 de enero de 2009


CHECK THIS OUT, with Ipods, mp3 and all that computer crap(manure if you prefer), I just got my new SONY tape deck, (TCWE475), with so many features as any CD player. Also, with the 3 Kings around the corner
I decided to install the new stylus to my TECHNICS SL-BD22, a turntable with many years in the battle field. What is the big deal
wonders the lay man/feminist?

Very simple. Some of the cassettes are twenty/thirty years old, others have not reached puberty. MOST were recorded by yours truly from ACETATE records.
Some of this music is not available in CD, and forget other formats
created/maintained for younger folks.

BEFORE we enter in today subject lets mention some of the artists heard for the hell of it: Los Lobos, Iguanas/Freddy Fender, Ramito, Frank Ferrer with Van Lester, Vinicious Cantauria, Radio Tarifa,
Cesarea Evora, Matamoros/Portabales, Lucecita, Joe Arroyo,
Mayari with Corozo, Miguelito Cuni and Benny More. Some, recorded from LPs, others from CDs, a nice trip in time. In my opinion recent music, artists, stink. I rather stay with the old and not so old in music, but far ahead with vegetation.

IN PUERTO RICO, not many, that I know, write about the issues presented here, it has consequences. Occasionally, I become adventurous and try to watch tutv, the native, local, government station. Mostly talent with paste up, artificial, stuck up, old fashion style, speaking and gesturing as in some early forties drama. Maria Falcon, in pinhata fashion attempts to say something regarding the preservation of island nature.

In one of the shopper/newspapers once in a while, any at random agronomist, writes about common places. Including his business phone, address and office hours, but never electronic mail address. The other option: some bored employee is ordered to write from some translated article, irrelevant tips for interior plant care. This is the picture.

Here besides denouncing, I present options such as the one below. Gardening in the isle, should not be a sterile, meaningless business for companies, individuals, government agencies, municipalities or people that practice it at home, for the environment.

Anne Raver

"The land was so thick with multiflora rose that they could not walk, so Mr. Talamy cut paths
with hand loppers. They work with handsaws, not a chain saw. And they paint on the herbicide,
rather than spraying it, because they don't want to damage the treasures below: under those
thorny rose bushes mi be seedling of blackl oak, Florida dogwood, black gum or arrowwood viburnum, which if protected from deer, could flourish in the cleared space.

A meadow cleared of autumn olive can resprout with goldenrod, joe-pye weed, milkweed, black-eyed Susans and many other natives crucial to wild life.

It is hard work, but the Tallamys love being outside. And they share a vision, an imperative
really, that Mr. Tallamy lays out in a book, "Bringing Nature Home" (Timber Press 27.95) published in November.

They are struggling to plant the native species that are needed for insects and animals to flourish. As exotic ornamentals leap the garden fence and outcompete the native plants,
many creatures are starving to death because they did not evolve with the exotics and simply
can't eat them.

"I am not trying to to recreate the ancient ecosystem," said Mr. Tallamy, who is chairman of the
department of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware, in Newark.
"That is gone. I am trying to create biodiversity". From the NY TIMES, March 6 2008.

In our context, planting: Ixoras, Bauhinias, Hibiscus, Turneras, Cosmos, will attract hummingbirds, lizards, bees, reinitas. The intelligent gardening way. However, I do not
advise to have hedges with Ixoras, do not be a fool, let them grow as a bush. They are
really impressive that way, without white flies, the reason of my distaste for them.

New Year Bonus: Blogs with musical backgrounds. When I try to read, I prefer instrumental music. Music with words is no, no, unless you are not really interested in people reading what you have written.

In Puerto Rico, it does not make much difference since there is nothing to say/write (original that is, from some fellow bloguers), but trying hard being cute, keeping up with whatever is on the
news. Jaha bilingual laugh. Otherwise, readers with judgement may just look at your profile and get the hell out. Particularly, if the volume is all the way up.

That is that. When practicing gardening, horticulture, remember to plant those that will be agreeable with birds, insects and everyjuan else, mother nature will appreciate it.