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.

miércoles, 29 de abril de 2009


CONSIDERING THE economical scene, scheme in many parts of the world, there is one thing left to do: make people do things they would normally not do. Advertise
for computerized irrigation systems, lots of light systems for your garden, water features, fountains, ponds, jaccuzzis, swimming pools and outdoor kitchens for barbecues and such, propane and diesel lawnmowers that go ten miles an hour without scalping your
precious sterile turf, and do not forget one palm three every five feet if possible.

Intermission for

If you kindly look at the bunch of pictures to the right of this words you will find....one, North Side, well the hole is right behind the two pots in the left.
I decided to dig another circle, twelve inches in diameter to plant
one Bouganvillea, Turnera subulata, Passiflora and Hedera helix.

As time go by, a year now, I get more and more irritable with the constant noise from my good for nothing young neighbors, the Addams family. They often spend up to twelve hours playing PAINTBALL, video games believe it or not.. and/or those with explosions, machine guns and dismembered people left and right... To finish with these personalities, imagine their figures, they are fond of eating pork chops at nine pm...Leo Michelin, and Squeaky Pillsburydoughgirl.

Back to the digging. Breaking concrete to install gardens is something I did for the first time when I lived in Savarona. The intention was the same: privacy/noise reduction. One needs a chisel, some ability to hit without much effort, gloves, protecting your back, knees and a light, short sledge hammer. This project, the breaking, cleaning, took about twenty minutes.

Later, one removes about a foot deep of soil, mixing it with organic material and let
the hole aireate. I will plant in the afternoon when the sun sets. That way the future
inhabitants will get less heat/stress.


WELCOME BACK TO THE GREEN INDUSTRY WHAT IS IT UP TO? ALL, those projects mentioned in the first parragraph require money. YOUR money. If you have some kind of introspection: realize they all spend energy, electricity or gas, or both. They require chemicals
to keep the water with the correct ph when growing fishes, to clean filters, to place nets to protect
the fishes from predators, or to protect your children from drowning.

These issues need some pondering before you make any type of investment or throw your money away. Your perception of reality does not matter. Any action will create a situation that you and your pocket will have to deal in time.

Check this anecdote found in Landscape Management, from our friend Ron Hall the editor in chief. Some fellows, probably hicks, decided to spend over one hundred thousand bucks in a swimming pool, an outdoor kitchen/barbecue/living room/fireplace, to entertain. That is the pet word ENTERTAIN. Why do you have to entertain anyone?

At any rate. These hillbillies probably noveau rich, did not think for a moment about
the reality of UTAH. A desert. After spending all that money with beautiful stainless
steel sink/stove, nice seats, swimming pool they discovered TEMPERATURE in the summer/winter. What a trip! They can not use the space because is either too hot
or too cold.

Now dear virtual reader...If you call a contractor for all these manure projects, do you think
that he/she will advise not to do it for the reason I have exposed? NO, you are right
not many people in the GREEN INDUSTRY deal with honesty in this field.

On the other hand, why should they? Morals, being truthful is just something appreciated in certain circles by some segments of the population. IT is not
an universal virtue. However, stupidity seems to reign all over the place.. Even
among those with college degrees in all fields..Alberto Areces Mallea, Gabriel Berriz
come to mind. For their actions one will recognize them...Time to go..Until next.

sábado, 25 de abril de 2009


IT IS TIME to present some pictures about issues mentioned, but not illustrated, regarding use and custom in landscaping maintenance practices in the island of
asphalt/concrete, Puerto Rico. Installations based on stupidity, lack/total absence
of imagination, money scam$$, mutilation, destruction and indifference towards nature
in general, particularly in the urban context.

The Almacigo. This picture demonstrates certain strangulation and death for this nice, handsome tree caused by the metal plate being lifted from the ground by the victim.
This one is on the Ponce de Leon Avenue in San Juan. Strangulation will destroy the vascular system soon or later. No food, nutrients, water up or down the trunk= slow
cruel death. Caused By the metal plate. However often in this PARADISE, other type of strangulation takes place: the one caused by tutors made with wire and rubber hose placed around the trunk to keep whatever straight, and not removed when necessary.

The second Almacigo, it is been saved by the bell, since the metal plate is not around
the trunk in strangulation mode. However looking carefully, the plate, unless removed soon will create the same death sentence as in the first picture. Just as these two trees victims of stupidity/indifference, every five of ten trees are sentenced to death in Puerto Rico.

TREE DESTRUCTION, MUTILATION IS getting worse. How bad is the situation? Imagine if these examples of five trees in ten are right there if front of everyone and no one sees/says anything... in a two miles straight line avenue, a well known area, center for banking, theaters, movie houses, private and public offices, universities, hospitals, restaurants, intense pedestrian and vehicular traffic taking place in such an important geographical, cultural, social, political setting in Puerto Rico, what takes place in the rest of the isle..

The first two pictures on top at right, leave no doubt of constant and frequent critical,
educational comments here. Could someone tell me why, where, how will anyone plant anything against a wall as the expensive palm tree here (one of ten)? What will it look like when it reaches adulthood? What is the aesthetic value, where is it?

The other picture shows another ridiculous trend in Puerto Rico, USA and unfortunately, in other places also... A hemorrhage of different, excessive amount of palms, owerwhelming the already heavy/ugly installation, without any evident common sense. How is one suppose to give appropriate maintenance to the plants below, at ground level? Imagine the amount of organic
waste to be removed with such a number of fronds against each other The other
issue is the perfect setting for diseases caused for lack of ventilation since one is on
top of the other.

Wow I got exhausted. Look around carefully, things are not what they seem.
Is not my imagination...


IT IS A LITTLE strange. When researching any subject regarding our theme it is difficult if not impossible to find blogs, seed catalogs, books, recent or old about specifics of gardening in Spanish, except for the good amount of those coming from SPAIN.

Not in the CARIBBEAN. For example, I would like to find out information about
those ornamental plants cultivated, installed in Puerto Rico at the beginning of the twentieth century without much luck. At any rate, this blog may stink for some considering the tone and constant criticism, however, if one erases EVERYTHING,
the inventory of my collection would remain in terms of a history of plants not
found in nurseries, not planted in any context, or in a few in the Metro
Area of San Juan.\

In that subject alone, endemismo set trends. No one else does it, not even the Botanical Garden in Rio Piedras, Recursos Naturales or Fideicomiso de Conservacion, agencies that should be the ones paid to educate and set trends.
At least the fools should have made an inventory of urban trees mutilated, destroyed, alive and kicking along country and city in Puerto Rico. But let it
stop there...

MAY 2008/MAY 2009

SHORTLY AFTER ARRIVAL, I prunned all mutilated bushes in front of the porch, in the west garden. There were Crotons hidden among the Ixoras. It was hard and irritating to observe closely the damage of twenty years of machete pruning and mutilation of branches/trunk. Lots of white flies, cankers, cracked bark. Part of this process included the elimination of dwarf Ruelias, ferns, Taro and bromeliads.
I eliminated every branch hanging over the fence to avoid friction, changing the silly round form of one Ixora to rect angles.

These chores between 6AM and 9AM, were made more palatable, (is very annoying to restore
damage by stupidity) by the pedestrian and neighbors traffic. Some giving us an officil welcome
to the vecinity and introducing themselves. There was one particularly interesting gentleman, Don
Miguel. Tall, blue eyes and glasses, pale that every morning strolls to visit his sister at the nursing
home or to have the daily coffee at the Medical Mall.

Planted on this garden: Poliscya, Turneras ulmifolias, light pink Ruelia, Wedelia, Barleria repens,
Portulaca pink. We shall continue...

jueves, 23 de abril de 2009


I just watched that film from a Samuel Clemens story, in black and white, my favorite films. The title for what is below is meaningless, just catchy, perhaps.

One thing I can tell, when entering
JOYUDA, in the southwest of the concrete/asphalt island one image comes to mind; 'REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT', with Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney and Anthony Quinn.
At the very beginning, one observes from the boxer's perspective, the lights, ring, all blurry..being beaten by Cassius Clay as he was then known..Until
some punches later Anthony Quinn falls..and later we get a front view of
his smashed face.. I do not remember feeling such sensation of pain, defeated, destroyed, gone for good. Joyuda came to mind, there.

On the collecting scene. A new very rare, really rare plant. Discovered growing in a cyclone fence in Santurce, never, ever before seen, anywhere. It is from
the big Passiflora family: Pasiflora oerstedii. It has to be the smallest among them. The seed is flat, dark, about a quarter of an inch long. You may find it at Dave'sgarden. com. Sorry there are no flowers, but it is similar to the one who gave the family its name, just about an inch or less in diameter and very fragile. I will plant it later on, when this AUGUST heat in APRIL, goes out.

Ever since Al Gore became the Global Heat Guru, everyone jumped on that wagon, and is understood, is cool to repeat without much thinking
what is going on. Just like it happened when Israel kicked some Palestinian butt. A pity any war is. But painting the Palestinian as angels
and the Hebbes as racist and whatever, plain gullible and naive.

Any way if the gases CO2 and any other intangible issue is real, and I will accept it, why no one seems to see the global heat ON EVERY SURFACE OF CEMENT/ASPHALT. What is that an illusion? Heat is heat. Melting of the poles is something else affecting them Inuis. Who says lets stop building highways, houses? And what about the water the earth used
to absorb now running through the gutters toward rivers and oceans?
That water does not increase the volume of the ocean by any remote chance or is it too little as irrelevant?

Sure every bored govermnent official, or island environmental groupies, petition writers and signature collectors, want to plant trees, without maintenance plans. That is why the Ponce de Leon Avenue abounds with trees planted without concern,
knowledge of growth habits. These trees are breaking the sidewalks or getting
slowly strangled at the buttress with steel squares used to keep bricks/pavers in place.

Just thought mentioning that is the difference between this blog, or yours
truly, about the same thing, and others. Horticulture/ecology/environment, is not something I think of at the keyboard, as many jerks without ever planting, doing anything for the environment, not even in their residence, feel they should write about some theoretical issue read somewhere repeated unconsciously to be cool.

If you are to write please plant something for Gods sake, a bean to start.
Until then...

miércoles, 22 de abril de 2009


I WATCH with certain skepticism all those television programs about yoga, vegetarians,
work out, this or that. The problem with people's theoretical stress and real stress. is mostly of their own creation. Particularly when following consumer trends of buy today pay tomorrow. The global financial debacle is an example of this economical model..

But what I want to write about is that choosing correctly the space to spend time off,
vacations or whatever one may call it, has multiple or collateral benefits that money
can not buy. For example not listening to motors running, idling, loud music, tv sets, people hollering, chit chatting like cacatuas.

The quiet in this remote sector of Guanica is remarkably relaxing, being away from the Metro Area populace. Down here people are civil, with a tendency to kindness long time ago forgotten in my neck of the woods.

For an horticultural fan there are bonuses. These are the seeds collected, some of which have been planted already.

Clitoria ternatea, Caesalpina pulcherrima, Mesquite, Portulaca, Calotropis, Argemone mexicana and a DK climber.

The first and second have been mentioned before. Caesalpina is worthy of a reminder,
one can find it in orange, yellow and pink a real conversation piece, also known in some circles as Dwarf Poinciana. Mesquite is one of the slowest growing bushes I have had. It grows profusely in the south with the shape of an inverted umbrella. Some varieties growing in south/south west in the USA are used to smoke meat.

This Portulaca is not the ornamental one, it grows in salty marshes. Yep is edible and
since it accumulate some salt within, an interesting addition to any salad. Calotropis is a favorite of butterflies, not so frequent in the northern regions, but seen in coastal areas.

Argemone mexicana reminds me of thistle. I saw one 3 years ago for the first time, definitely dropped by some bird. I tried to replant one without any luck. This one in Guanica, had seeds. They are close to the stem in little receptacles in
such a way, as in a cup for the birds. To get them I had to turn the top of the two feet plant down. These seeds are the size of the tip of a pencil, and spread the rest on the ground.

To finish this story, one anecdote. One early morning I watch this fellow irrigating some busches I have noticed the day before with a hose. Bees certainly love them. I asked him for the name, did not know. Got the wife, perhaps, who kindly told me. I mentioned to her I had never seen them. Then she added that she works for Gabriel Berriz, cuban, and landscape architect jerk. This fellow was mentioned before in one of my previous articles when endemismo was in Spanish.

This character, no different from yeyomalanguiyautia from Gramas Lindas, is in the same
exact "creative league", and has never published. Why? Since I visit many, many blogs, landscape architects in other parts of the world are not afraid of being copied. I do not see any other reason not to publish.. Perhaps, the other reason is that people like
yours truly may use their pictures to demonstrate what scam artists most seem to be
down here, in terms of aesthetics/creativity. Almost forgot.. The bush in question is
a type of Jathropha...Until next.

COLLECTION updates: White Frangipani decided to open the first flower, today April 22, the last of the 3. Hedera helix, collected from a crack on a wall, is alive and kicking..

lunes, 20 de abril de 2009


THOSE frequent visitors may have noticed that most of the time the tone, focus of
this virtual space turns out abrasive, angry, inquisitive, critical with doses of sarcasm, irony, satire and such...unfortunately not this time.

Running away from the ugliness, noise, crowds, callousness of the Metro Area in Santurce and adyacent vecinities in the north/northwest of Puerto Rico, endemismo went our favorite topographic, climatic, geographic region: Southwest.....Guanica, San German, Mayaguez and those in between spaces.

MARYLEE'S BY THE SEA IS A HOMEY hotel for those not willing to dispense $300.00 pp in the Copa Marina Beach Resort .. The fools in charge irrigate
their turf with water from an acquifier at twelve o'clock, increasing waste and evaporation. On the other hand, they planted a ridiculous amount of palms in a region
that is precisely attractive to critics as yours truly for lacking that: PALMS.

MARYLEE'S on the other hand has Emajaguillas, Rhipsalis, Lemon, Oranges, and the most intelligent ground cover in the desert: gravel. For that reason, and not having TV,
this place owned by a former scuba diving instructor is worth visiting.

It is located passing the CANHA GORDA, public beach. I visited this wonderful
facility and as usual some criticism is worth mentioning. There are showers and close by areas to change clothes. Unfortunately there are no public toilets. Result:
people pee in the spaces to change your clothes. Even worse. The portable outhouses in use are not clean/emptied at the end of the day.

Consequence? Imagine a trio of Sweedish lilly white tourists visiting, enjoying Puerto Rico with the urge of taking a leak/dump and watching the toilet full of human waste, toilet paper to the rims. Sure this is not the blog about positive news about Puerto Rico.
Why should we pretend and flaunt? The excuse? The system to treat used waters
is being installed. This will probably take as long as the PYRAMIDS to be built. What
is the big deal to clean the outhouses at night, daily? Or to take the ones full and
bringing empty ones? ,MENTALLY CHALLENGED of PARQUES NACIONALES do you have the answer?

MY apologies. I can not help it. Back to the studio.
NOW is time to comment a restaurant, live museum in SAN GERMAN a much more
sophisticated city than OLD SAN JUAN, and founder of cities. With the oldest church in the AMERICAS?

When I saw, the architecture of this house from the 1912's I was, to use a cliche, stunned. I will not waste time describing /defining it. Enough is that it is probable one in the top tree designs in the CARIBBEAN. Unfortunately their site has no pictures.
I made a proposal of publishing it here for the 2,300 people who have visited
endemismo trasnochado in the last two years.

But to make things more interesting this marvelous structure across Dr. Veve St. is also a refined restaurant, but not in the fake, pretentious attitude in big cities, SAN JUAN for example.

The hostess a diminutive pretty woman, with an impressive smile, checked my attire,
from feet to top carefully with some confusion. Chill Out flip flops, camouflage shorts and my own designed white tea shirt with an Hibiscus Cannabilus front.

ONCE that impression was forgotten we sat and ordered some well done original aperitives, washed down with our lame, boring MEDALLA beer. The best selling manufactured beer here. There is only four beers to choose from, three are outsiders.

There was lobster and fillet mignon and a marvelous dessert brulee style, made out
of pumpkin/batata or ipomoea for the connoseiur.
The service, surroundings and food is five stars. If you believe that going out is
pretty much an investment to recharge energy in this boring, predictable island life, A2tiempos is the place for you. Just out of this world environment, in one of a kind architectural structures in the Atlantic/Caribbean regions, quality, efficient, professional service and well prepared food.

Goody, goody ah? Well time to come back to reality. One swallow a spring does not make. JOYUDA! God dammed! This area is similar to the METRO AREA in Puerto Rico, Miami Beach or any coast tourist area in SPAIN. Overbuilt, the sea is hidden by the ugliest structures yet built in any coastal area in PUERTO RICO. But I bet, not
unsurpassed, jaha bilingual laugh.

The end is here. I saw San German for the first time when I was 15. Forty two years later I confess that it is still elegant, refined as when writing/talking about the customs/habits in the SOUTH of USA... New Orleans comes to mind in architecture,
music and gastronomy....Final words for someone who thinks of himself as a connaisurese..Yet with a whole wild world to know.. Until then.

jueves, 16 de abril de 2009


FOR QUITE SOME TIME I have been writing about the need to eliminate, substitute lawn, turf, grass. It does not matter what you call it. If you have turf in your residence, a company growing it for sale/install, or one of those landscaping companies making a buck planting it without informing customers of the friendly environmental options; you are an eco/environmental criminal, in my opinion. Ignorance is no excuse in a court of law.. HOWEVER, here is now a new approach to present the issue. Not that it
would make any difference, a change in attitude.

Particularly, if you have been doing it for fifty years, or twenty, proud of it, having patriarchy delusions, a la yeyomalanguiyautia. My stance is clear: lawns are sterile, unless cut with goats, a push mower, or cut by hand. Yet there is more to the equation as we shall read soon. I have been ranting about the abusive noise of blowers, lawn mowers, and trimmers. The waste of energy and pollution of soil, water, air and quiet. The most criminal are GOLF COURSES since what is written here is multiplied four/five times in terms
of pollution.

Some readers, lawn supporters may believe the following arguments enough to justify growing lawns instead of planting malanga, nhame, batatas, what agronomists should do. LAWNS ARE good to: reduce
soil erosion, dust stabilization, recreation, dissipation of heat and questionable landscape attractiveness.

Now, looking at the other side of the issue, one most people including
intelligent, culturally, politically, socially aware refuse to ponder. Just
as stated before, the horse brought kindly to the river, refusing to drink.

TURF is the single largest irrigated crop in USA, and Puerto Rico

LAWN CARE costs 28.9 billion or $1,200.00 per household

50/70% of residential water is used for landscaping irrigation

10,000 gallons of water used for every 1,000 square foot

78 million households use garden pesticides

700 million dollars spent on pesticides

67 million lbs of synthetic pesticides added to lawns each year

3 TIMES as much pesticide is used on lawns per acre than agricultural crops.

58 MILLION gallons of gasoline used when moving lawns

AT 2.75 a gallon, it adds to $159,500,000 dollars worth of gasoline

ONE LAWN MOWER pollutes in an hour, as much as a car driven for
20 miles.

IMAGINE, in the third world the polluting equipment is not kept in top shape, increasing it. The noise, water waste, fungicide, pesticide, herbicide, fertilizers is greater since laborers can not read instructions
nor can their supervisors.

If interested about numbers, stats check: " THE ENVIRONMENTAL COST OF
USA LAWNS" Courtesy of Sam Greyhawk. An article in the web.


The same issues about lawns applies to the abusive/money scam use of PALMS in any possible context. PALMS require expensive maintenance since their fronds could harm property or a passersby. The seeds alone would be enough reason not to use them at all. Unfortunately, ecoenvironmental criminal enterprises/individuals can only think of now, their profits.

Perhaps one day, laws will be written, enforced to put people
like yeyomalanguiyautia and accomplices in the destruction or our
environment behind bars...They deserve it. Nature will not last forever....

miércoles, 15 de abril de 2009


YESTERDAY was ecotourism on foot day.. I walked over a two miles round trip to Ashford Ave in el Condado. This area used to have some natural beauty. You know the stereotyped common place: sand and palm trees, once upon a time. Now, better yet, for the last thirty years, this small area with the Atlantic to the north, has been over built. There are so many buildings,( most of them of the Brutality School of ugliness height, size and shape), that one feels trapped in a concrete/asphalt maze, unable to glimpse the ocean tree hundred meters from the sidewalk. Mind you that I was walking.

PUERTO RICANS probably as a result of having two foster mothers, SPAIN and USA,
are prone and loudly at that, to claim our virtues, preferably with a humongous PR flag,
(a copy of the Cuban), or is it the other way around, regarding the beauty, gastronomy, coffee, rum, you name it. Nevertheless when I walk around on the uneven/cracked sidewalks dirty with leaves, dust, soil, garbage, gravel, with light posts, threes in the middle of a four/five feet wide sidewalk I feel no urge to be proud at all. If you are handicapped welcome to the architectural barriers champion of the
world. I feel like I live in jerkland!

But not all is lost my fellow Americans and ultra continental readers, apparently the majority.
Always in the search for new, rare plants, I was able to retrieve a cut stem of a Frangipani, from the San Juan Archbishop Administration Office, with yellowpinkwhite flowers and a pyramidal seed of a very rare tree;Barringtonia asiatica from the front garden of the Federico Hernandez Denton residence in Condado.

The first item from an old tree that spreads over the fence in Baldorioty de Castro Ave, at right here, not far from where it was taken. I know these pictures
stink, since they are not taken with a digital, but that is what the ship brought. At any rate
the Barringtonia asiatica, was a present from a kind gentleman sweeping the sidewalk at the mentioned house. Our conversation started by mentioning the stench of cat poop at the street corner in this well to do vecinity. It is worth mentioning, this house with unique architecture, impressive Zen simplicity in design, well ventilated and the cool shade from the mentioned Coco de Mar . All is perfect, almost,
except the silly twelve square feet patch of turf. I imagine the noise/pollution for maintenance unless a goat does it, or using scissors for such.

I feel is time to finish. Never mentioned it, but when I start writing I look at the whole thing, determine if the length is not overwhelming an that is that. Some blogs are too
short or too long. I try to get the middle of the road on this issue.

To finish for sure and previously known as BONUS for this or that. Plants, dirt, flower
issues follow. The root of some bambusa brought home a while ago has two stems,
the young Bauhinia flowered, they are light pink; planted another Turnera subulata
on the East garden, Rhipsalis planted in a Guerrilla Gardening act next door was stolen, one fushia Bouganvillea was repotted.

No early morning irrigation today. It rained a couple of inches. Until then..

lunes, 13 de abril de 2009


IT HAS BEEN MENTIONED that monitoring for insects is necessary unless you prefer to spend money and energy after overlooking the problem. I water spray the majority of my plants every day, except when it rains or is not necessary. I use a one gallon spray. I repeat between 3/5 times morning/afternoon. That is maximum of fifty gallons a week.

Besides the precious liquid as H2O is referred to in the news here, fertilizer and tea compost are sprayed to the foliage. I alternate and leave time in between with just water. The benefits
are evident. So far very few insects have been able to settle down since most have an intense
dislike for water applied with pressure, particularly on a daily basis. Lizards benefit capturing flying insects and/or drinking some water.

TODAY out of the blue, I discovered some really nice looking insects in a long caravan starting at the middle of the trunk of my Calliandra haemathocephala. There were at least a hundred
in different growth stages. It was scary and surprising. I do not remember observing any
either yesterday, Sunday or Saturday.

I went hurrriedly for my secret weapon: dish soap and water. After the first intense foamy attack, I noticed some reluctance in these triangular cute, green insects to pass away. I returned to the fridge to add another organic secret, my own hot sauce. It has been proved
effective before and today was no exception. Adding a couple of teaspoons to the soap I attacked the enemy again, and the poor creatures stopped moving...shortly afterwards.

According to "Bugs of the World", by George C. McGavin, published by Cassel, plc, London, the insects found are of the Umbonia spinosa, or treehoppers family. They have their beauty. I confess some discomfort any time I have to destroy insects harming vegetation. However, I have met
people enjoying the kill of snails, frogs, and caterpillars. I understand that one must decide: garden or destructive insects, but in my case there is no pleasure in the task. Perhaps the important issue here is that insects not killed at the right life cycle become impossible or hard to destroy, such as scales.

Bonus for Botanical names fans: The scarlet hibiscus looking flower on the right side of the blog, formerly DK, has been identified thanks to a fellow gardener from Dave's Garden.com.
It is a 'Hibiscus cannabinus' or Brown indian hemp. As some may recall, when deciding what
to plant or collect, I chose anything not over used or found in commercial nurseries. That is the rule in over eighty percent of my collection.. Some times I go with the flow as with Bouganvilleas, perhaps the most beautiful bush/tree/climber in the tropics, from Brazil.
This selection withstands drought, diseases and heat. I am only fond of the purple shades.
But all have their charm....

jueves, 9 de abril de 2009



"MOST garden landscapes are well-stocked with plants. But unlike natural habitats, species competition is controlled by the gardener's conscientious pruning, thinning and spacing of specimens. Plants are set in such a way as to avoid casting shadows; or grouped to create
needed shade. Plentiful and uniformly distributed supplies of water and fertilizer meet the
needs of each plant. Below ground, roots may encroach on neighboring plants' growing space,
but can be controlled if, in so doing they cause noticeable harm.

In the wild, competition between species can be fierce--a fact seemingly contradicted by the
apparent tranquility of a cool, shady forest. Especially when limited resources are at stake,
plants in densely crowded populations are engaged in a life-and-death struggle to obtain their share.

A direct solution to the problem of sharing limited resources is the use of chemical means to
eliminate competitors, of the same or unrelated species. Such is the case with allelopathy which is only effective in regions of low rainfall where germination inhibiting chemicals are
able to accumulate in the soil around the defending plant.

In communities of mixed species, some inevitably assume dominant roles because of the relatively large space they occupy, greater use of soil water and mineral supplies, and their
interception of most direct light. But dominant species pay a price for such favors when they
receive the full impact of the environment's destructive forces, especially the damaging effect
of wind. Sub dominant species, adapted to existing with a lesser share of community resources, enjoys the protection given by their more vigorous competitors.

Despite being sub-dominant in a community, some species overcome competitive pressures by use of modified stems, leaves, and roots--organs cleverly adapted to reach bright light, absorb and store water in unusual ways, or exploit unconventional sources of minerals.
Many such structures are familiar parts of horticultural species".

Information from: Botany for Gardeners, by Brian Capon, Timber Prees 1990

All one needs to know regarding Botany is found in this wonderful book, I recommend it.




miércoles, 8 de abril de 2009


YESTERDAY, was that dreadful day. One gets in the car to find all those automobiles going in the same direction. With such hurry! It would make sense in Nebraska or Australia, but in a hundred miles long island in the doldrums is hard to take. After the twenty/thirty minutes ride is evident that the asphalt/concrete isle continue to expand
and contract to the rhythm of these two surfaces/materials over growing at the rims.

There is a new cement lane in both directions. The great, useful, intelligent purpose?
To accumulate a couple of thousand more cars in the morning/afternoon rush hour
impressive traffic jams that once were a monopoly of Bayamon, PORK RINDS CITY.
But that is not the worst. In four months, every person in contact with schools, parents, teachers and everyjuan else will start their day a 8AM.

Lets write something nice now for a change of pace. The Urban Train, is that an original name or what? It is probably one of the few good things I see down here.
For a buck fitty, you can travel from one place to the other in clean, silent, comfortable
cars. If in need of total quiet, the silence found in decent cathedrals to meditate and such, make an exit in the Rio Piedras station, my favorite. The solitude and quietness
at this station is remarkable.

I would like to thank two people with manners, the ones that seem natural in other places but not here, not in the internet. KR. Aviles-Vazquez and Ronald Chevako had
the courtesy of responding to my messages. With them the number of people aware of manners and such in Puerto Rico, is about to reach ten out of over two hundred messages sent about this or that. In endemismo we believe that if it is not spam, you
should at least acknowledge the message, such as Josy Payaso Tofu Latorre, did. Jaha
Yeyomalanga Bonjour, laugh.

On our growing area of expertise.. In THE COUNTRY OF CAGUAS, one of the avenues to exit/enter Villa Blanca and else is covered with Bottle brush or Callistemon. How stupid is the Chief gardener in this valley of cement/asphalt?
Well, if you observe the growing habit/architecture of this beautiful tree you may have noticed the branches droping towards the ground. Wipping willows do the same.

We should conclude that is the beauty of this tree. The way the branches fall, the rounded shape at the top. What do they do in that country? They cut all those branches to create, as Yeyomalanga, and other agronomists, an ice cream cone.
Totally destroying the essence of the Bottle brush.

Regarding dirt gardening, I planted a Crinum, variegated, the giant type, in front
of my syster's. It does not look so hot, since this kind ot plant is by nature, form, height, better used as a focal point. In a sidewalk does not say much, except being original. There
is no other in the pathetic gardens around.

martes, 7 de abril de 2009


IT IS PRETTY impressive the violent protests and the attention given to this meeting in London. Apparently there is no other problem on earth than the banking, financial, construction, deflated economies. However, the motor moving the essence of the malady, AVARICE, continues as if nothing.

One remarkable issue has never distracted me..The amount of white collar crime from
individuals or boards of directors with accountants and auditing institutions as accomplices. When adding all the stolen money, lets pick one, since ENRON, up to
date, including bonuses given to board directors when leaving many of these securities
institutions the amount of billions certainly surpass those over 800 billion injected
to the economy by USA, and the many more from European countries.

I hear not what happened to the thieves caught in the scam, or how much money was recovered, properties and so on. It seems that all this debacle was just an accident.
As if the rip off of the innocent was just that an unfortunate accident, therefore unable to be foreseen.

But this is not the area of expertise. Lets get to it. Landscaping, ecology, and the environment suffer from a similar disease. Individuals, institutions, companies,
governments are ripping off the earth, soil, water, minerals, wood, fishes, animals
every animate/inanimate creature or creation with the same purpose: making money/profits. Thinking of solving problems right away instead of planning to avoid
disasters in the long run.

It is relevant to mention that most people in the world have no water to drink,
wash or irrigate. However, there is evidence as in the Roman Empire, some Asian, and American cultures of irrigation systems designed to cultivate the land and the needs of the population. What happened to all that knowledge, construction techniques that were abandoned, forgotten? After all some of these irrigation systems are still around.

On the gardening in the dirt front, besides this departure, the FRANGIPANIS, stars in my garden updates, the White one finally decided to grow leaves, the Yellow refuses, offering only peach fragrance flowers and the Pink rebellious and original does both: flowers and leaves.

A new variety of Mirabilis siciliana has flowered. It is a light pink and somewhat bigger
than the fuschia with a subtle smell, less intense than the first. Usually opens between three PM and four. They have been planted to receive the scent by the windows with the south winds along with the Frangipanis..

Time to go..On our next presentation we will get into gardening concepts that are
fun and not discussed....

domingo, 5 de abril de 2009


THANKS TO the urge of walking, trying to keep in shape, I force myself to go out and watch what happens. Since 1969, when my first letter to a local newspaper was published in regards to tree topping in el Pais de Caguas, I have been unable to pretend that what surrounds me is beautiful or with the potential to be. Roads, houses, sidewalks, buildings, parks everything is not what is should/could be. That is why we are here and THANKS to our visiting readers no longer kept in statitistics since Blogger
has blocked that feature.

The picture on top, shows the Baldorioty de Castro Ave, towards the airport. Once upon a time all these concrete, asphalt, housing areas were a cocconut plantation. If you enjoy palms trees you would have had a hell of a time walking through them, Coccoloba uviferas,
Almond trees, Cavalinnas maritimas and so forth, with the bonus salty, gentle Atlantic Ocean breeze.
Nowadays you will be fortunate to cross alive from one side to the other. The picture was taken from a pedestrian over pass..There are two in a five mile tract.

The second was taken for the hell of it. Imagine buying a third rate apartment in a condo for the amount mentioned, far away from everything schools, hospitals, supermarkets, surrounded by riff raff and on top having that humongous truck parked by the side. Imagine having to see it everyday of the week, night and day...

ANITA'S JUNGLE, this handsome grandmother thinks her garden is hot and aesthetically cool. However, when you walk close by and observe the excessive vegetation, one criteria feels suffocated. There is barely any space to walk covered
a sickening kind of shade. ON the other hand, the improper pruning has allowed all the mentioned vegetation to cover the walls with two feet thick of vegetation evenly.

It is impossible to paint or to perform any maintenance to the property without destroying Anita's Jungle. By the way, the two evidently illiterate imported
gardeners do not sweep, they use a blower...Once or twice a month...a waste of money
if you ask me.

FOLLOWING, a hotel installation with excessive amount of palms, Ravenala madascariensis, ferns, ixoras, ruelias probably designed by a landscape architect.
This installation creates lots of problems to maintenance properly since everything
is so close on top of the other. Money, money, money.. One can imagine the amounts
of diseases created by the nonsense lack of ventilation.

The last two pictures at the entrance of the BOTANICAL GARDEN IN RIO, are clear examples of what motivates endemismo. A total lack of interest in creating a nice looking installation. There is no composition, some mounds of dirt created for some
Zen out of place touch...remind us of cowboy movies...when gun fighters were buried
you always had similar mounds, the only thing missing is the cross.

Now you may wonder.. If such an aberration welcomes the visitor, an institution that
should be leading in agriculture, science and related matters allows some fool to design and install a garden..Imagine what is done daily in Puerto Rico USA.


I VISITED recently one of those blogs about photography. After some reading, looking for a crevice for criticism, I founded. This type of blogs usually with a picture of the creator, being photograped while pretending to photograph have one big problem. In the third world there are not many people into appreciating, following photographic trends in either technological advances in cameras and accessories or in the photographs in a virtual museum. Not to talk about money for such.

This bring us to a high percentage of other blogs about no matter what the subject is,
you name it, with five videos to explain a couple of concepts, ideas. Followed by perhaps two hundred words. For some reason, I can not relate to these type of
blogs. It seems that unconsciously I expect in any blog, something being stated.
Not like any paper resource but in an original, thought or anger, or indifference provoking fashion.

NOW in endemismo we are mostly about words. Repetition once in a while. As when
some ultrainsular visited, leaving some not very creative comment in that regard. But
to my international fans I tell one thing. This same character wrote an article a thousand words in length, about his/her unhappiness about having to pay for air for
the tires in his car at a gas station. There are more expensive options as buying an
air compressor to plug to the battery with same results. There.

During the last week we walked as hell and have the product of those l o n g strolls for our readers, in photographs! From the shame, paint by numbers mentally challenged
JARDIN BOTANICO DE RIO, entrance installation. To a couple of mutilated, planted
in quarters too tight, affecting the buttress, to a classical mutilated Mahogany in Sagrado Corazon, Champion Institution regarding mutilated trees in Santurce.

Also as a bonus for frequent travelers to this blog, some tokens of a particular garden,
one abandoned house, one house with four residents with Addams family garden tastes and a wild cotton flower....

Time to go, with resignation. Thoughts of moving anywhere abound when going for a stroll, so much ugliness, roads, streets, sidewalks, structures. Even while asleep, the ghosts of this ugliness, when we
can sleep four hours in a row..spin around.

miércoles, 1 de abril de 2009


JUST RETURNED from a visit to one of our island government agencies enforcing laws regarding noise and air pollution. The trip was wasted since the agency dealing with air
issues is not in the building I went to. After some l o n g explanation of directions to get there, that I wrote down, I walked back around two miles, to watch the scenery and collect plants if available...

That is when I discovered the restored entrance to Puerto Rico Island of Concreteasphalt, BOTANICAL GARDEN IN Rio 2012. The same crap we have been criticizing humbly, is exactly what TERRA LANDSCAPING is planting/installing there. Not to put us out of balance, the gardeners had fade/worn out cheap tee shirts and yielding short machetes instead of weeders or trowels, while doing the finishing touches of the mentally challenged designed installation.

SOME readers may think that being critical is fun! Give it a try, on your own. Any one
can critize any time. But it can not stop there. Analysis should follow, answers should
be found if available. Yet, it is impossible to reach conclussions that would satisfy the
average high school student, since they average reading understanding is much bellow the actual grade level, in Puerto Rico or USA.

Therefore, I state that all garden installations, from batata climbers trained agronomists, landscape architects, and every other Joe six pack doing installing/maintenance are
unable, incapable of looking at one installation from; ROBERTO BURLE MARX,

Yesterday while observing the TERRA LANSCAPING employees, I wonder why a
BOTANICAL GARDEN, with too many employees already, entomologists, biologists,
agronomers, landscape architects?, machete/trimmer maintenance employees, hydrologists, weed researchers, soil conservation pundits, environmentalists, HAVE
to hire some mentally challenged landscape company to install what looks just like:
PAINTING BY NUMBERS, reds in a group, greens in between, short and very short,
bushes followed by weed looking plants and THAT IS THAT FOLKS!

But not all is lost. There is always hope in individual creativity. Next week conversations
to create a calendar with some of my collection begin. We hope that since Pretty
Grasses does not even have a decent picture to promote their enterprise, they will be the firsts to pay what is worth and buy 3,000 copies as a present to their world wide customers: What you wanted to see, Antigonum's Botanical Family month by month.... Until next...


THE A M LEONARD catalog arrived yesterday. It brought memories from the future. In 2002, after I returned from NY, I thought of doing landscaping maintenance work, but not as many people do, mostly as
a pawn for fifty dollars a day. Receiving orders from people who not only do not know
jack manure about soil composition, plants vascular system, monitoring for insects, propagation or safety rules.

Fortunately, within two years I grasped all that is wrong
with the futile attempts of saving the earth, the habitats., the environment, down these necks of the woods. If that interest you go back and check over one hundred and fifty articles here to get a really w i d e angle picture. The experience was the fundament of my vocation: Horticultural Critic. There are not many.

The catalog brings memories. The tools, information provided makes maintenance interesting and exciting.
Doing it intelligently with the right tools, avoiding the sun/heat. A hat for example,
not a baseball cap. Why do people, companies wear baseball caps? They do not protect your ears or neck. I never wear one, they are for dorks, hiding their boldness.

Collapsable bags. Instead of carrying around, like a fool a one hundred gallon plastic trash can, carry a lightweight bag. Throw the organic matter being pruned, raked, or
collected at the same time. When traveling around one observes all refuse thrown on the ground for hours, and then collected. It is a silly, expensive, wasteful manner of

Reel Mower. If you must have a lawn, it is not over two hundred square meters, and you are physically fit, you should give it a try. I hate lawns, but in the NY Botanical, I had to spend eighteen hours of Turf Maintenance to approve. I know about this, the beauty of a lawn is in in the clean even cut of the blades if sharpened correctly. There
is no cut like these cylindrical blades. This type is the one used in golf courses.

Stamina and shape. This is not in the catalog but should be mentioned. If you spend
everyday of the week sitting in an office, watching television on your spare time, gardening could cause some pain. Particularly when weeding, planting, or pruning with a two hand pruner.

If you are over fifty, with osteo arthritis as yours truly, you will not be able to weed or
plant for over fifteen minutes at a time. The knees will not stand it. Get a comfortable
seat, whatever you can afford. Or a cushion, and do not squat since the pain, tension will not allow you to stand up. Rotate the gardening shores moving against the sun. Plan your activities in such a way that most are done in the shade,
early morning or late afternoon. Keep the trash bag beside you. The standard, takes
a thirty five gallon bag, you can use it with/without a bag.


Yesterday was raining most of the time. In betweenies a Carica papaya went from the pot to the ground. Three Polyscias and Hibiscus went from pot to soil. The two year old Basil, from a fiberglass rectangular pot to a round plastic one. It looks more attractive now, even though its weird to realize that
it has a woody trunk and branches. Only the leaves and flowers can tell. Three Turneras subulatas went from water rooting to soil and pots. One of
two Hedera helix discovered in Santurce, growing in cracks of a wall: one went to water rooting, the other to soil pot. This is the fun of propagating, horticulture. Trial an error. Constant learning.

Trellis. It was created using the T pipes, used in the past for clothes lines. Nylon cords were tied on the horizontal pipe eight/ten inches apart. At the bottom, they end in a metallic ring, kept safe on the soil with two aluminum hooks. And upside down triangle, looks really nice. It reminds one of a sail... A matter of waiting patiently now, imagine those climbers up the strings, with flowers...

In the fiberglass pot, base of the sail: seeds of Burleria repens, Clitoria ternata, Ipomoea batata, and some beans were planted.

The end is near. Conversations with our photographer accross the street will take
place soon to discuss the possibility of designing a calendar and tshirts to promote
a world wide puerorican enterprise. Pretty Grasses in Toa Alta. Jaha bilingual
laugh.. Until then. Keep planting and smile when necessary.