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, 30 de junio de 2009


I DECIDED to break the concrete under extreme heat caused by those
particles of dust from the Sahara, that is making our life miserable in this continent.
One can not see the clouds, the visibility is pretty much like London fog. Perhaps, if they make possible that dream of taxing countries for gas emissions... We could
do the same, tracing the origins of the dust making life more miserable than just
from the concrete/asphalt heat that gets worse day by day.

At any rate. With sledge hammer and chisel I started to make the hole. It was not
difficult since it is the third made on this side of the house. Approximately an hour
later, the mission was finished. Got rid of the debris, took out the soil about two feet deep, one in diameter from it and replacing it with my home made compost of soil,
dry leaves, earth worms and such. Pour out some water and that was that.


OPENED my eyes at twelve am. Woke up to the rattle of Snow White, and two females, plus two
of her mentally challenged fairies. One house down, the children hollering as loud as possible at
that quiet time of the night. Fortunately this idiot is moving away. Blessed...

Later watched some tv. Nothing worthy of mentioning. Took a couple of Melatonin pills, falling

Woke up before six, as usual. Took the DIVA to the water closet, feed her and changed the water.

Some time later, forgive the inexact times... Pulled out from the west garden facing the street,
a couple of Crotons that is all left from the original owners and Hibiscus that I had
propagated from my strolls in Santurce. The reason? I decided to keep just trees/bushes with
small leaves such as, Murraya paniculata and Calliandra haemathocephala for harmony.

Around 8:00, pulled out from their pots all the vines. No need to enumerate. Clitoria ternatea survived the vegetative cleansing, along with Oxalis, planted in the corner of the wall. A spiral wire for this vine was placed, to keep it happy.
The Bouganvillea, came later with some soil mix, similar to the one mentioned before. Water and soluble fertilizer and that was that.

The last chore was to make another spiral for the Bouganvillea, dark pink, in the left corner,
west garden to keep this long branch straight or less crooked, if you may. Swept all the pertinent
areas. And here I am..

Words of Wisdom

Is there anything sillier than TWITTER? Some folks invited me to follow them and they
promised to follow me. What for? None of these fools, men/women practice horticulture. Their posts seem just thoughts expressed aloud without purpose, just listening to themselves hoping that some other fool may be in the same mental wave trance. Farewell, until then...

lunes, 29 de junio de 2009


DEBATING trying to communicate with a wall, is a futile endeavor. One has to study,
meditate the issues. Particularly when one makes no money, does not give a manure about recognition or fame in the chosen vocation. Nor there is much sympathy for the cacophony of bipeds moving around zombie like without worries.

Check these names out, perhaps meaningless, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez. Baseball players. If one adds the total salary of these individuals for ten years, it could probably reach half the national gross income
of Haiti. What is so important about this? ALL have been guilty of using performance enhancing drugs.

The fanatics admiring these folks could care less about the criminal actions of their
idols as long as their teams win, even better if they win the 'World Series'. It is forgoten totally, is put aside, it never happened...

Same thing happens with the destruction of our environment. Those preachers of recycling this or that, cleaning this beach or that beach, are unfocused, up in their
little niches, I have mentioned it before. Fishing in the murky waters, without knowing, showing any respect, working in unity with one single purpose. That is
why the environment remains the bandwagon to climb out of boredom, the trivial
urge of prehistoric solidarity.


The Ipomoea alba, from our only seed exchange, is about twelve feet long. In the next couple of days the first flowers will show their colors. The Black eyed-Susan,
Susanaojinegra, feels more comfortable coiling through the aluminun spiral shaped wire than the straight up string previously in place.

One of the Hibiscus, red, changed venues, from pot to ground. Did look terrible
for the first week, now, the leaves are opening and showing the green emerald color
with a couple of flowers blooming.

Cosmos sulphereous, yellow and orange, from Cupey and Orocovis respectively are
doing great, self seeding as is their habit...The Frangipanis, yellow, white, have no flowers but the pink one does.

Coccolova uvifera was attacked by two different insects of the chewing kind. Some
leaves look like crap, however, chewing is better than the sucking of sap, since the latter is often followed by diseases in the vascular system, often killing the plants.

The Bouganvillea in the corner of the south garden in front of the house has reached
some height, but not one flower. Not a big deal. It was planted for shade and security. The thorns are much better than barbed wire with the added value of aesthetics.

Time to go.

sábado, 27 de junio de 2009


ALTHOUGH THE vast majority of plants manufacture their own food supplies by
a process called photosynthesis, mushrooms, molds and other fungi-- which some
biologists include in the Plant Kindom--rely on foods created by green plants for their sustenance, as do animals. Most plants spend a lifetime anchored in one place, yet a few simple, one-celled forms are capable of swimming to different locations in the
waters they inhabit.

IT is this kind of diversity and amazing variety of shapes, colors and lifestyles that
continually excite our interest in these organisms called plants.

As we delve into the science of botany, we shall largely be concerned with the two groups of plants with which we as gardeners, most often work. One, known as the
flowering plants or Angiosperms, is the largest group in the Plant Kingdom and
consist of about 250,000 species. The name "Angiosperm" refers to the fact that
seeds from these plants are formed inside containers that we call fruits (Greek:
angeion, vessel; sperma, seed). The flowering plants most often decorate our homes
and landscapes, supply almost all of the vegetable matter in our diets, and the source
of of the world's hardwoods. They are the most sophisticated of plant forms and are
best adapted to survive in a wide range of climates and places.

Second are Gymnosperms, plants that produce seeds in the open spaces of cones--between the flaplike parts that make up a pine cone, for example. The Greek words
gymnos, "naked" amd sperma "seed" describe this form of development. On the evolutionary scale, Gymnosperms are more primitive than Angiosperms but are of
considerable economic importance as well as interest to landscapers for their compact forms and richly-colored, needle-shaped or scalelike leaves. Softwoods
such as pine and fir are not only used to make products called naval stores--pitch,
turpentine and rosin. The cypress, fir and pine, are the largest living things on earth, the giant sequoias. Many ornamental shrubs, including varieties of
Chamaecyparis (False Cypress) amd Thuja occidentalis (American Arborvitae) are
members of this group and least typical of Gymnosperms, Cycads and the beautiful
Maidenhair tree, Ginkgo biloba, a broadleaved species.

All the information above: Botany for Gardeners, by Brian Capon, Timber Press, 1990. Introduction, page 13.

Epilogue: As I start getting tired, I will get back to basics, botany, propagation, maintenance. I am not made to be the water drop hitting the rock, or going
over the top, smoothing the rough surface.
One advice to self proclaimed environmentalists, mostly at the keyboard bandwagon; picking up garbage twice a year in the depths of the Atlantic, shores anywhere, does not make any juan an environmentalist.

Go clean El Canho Martin Penha, stop environmental elitism. Start studying it; ecology, botany, environmental issues, move away from your little niche. Put the puzzle together, in focus, perspective instead of preaching at random impulse, without substance as in target practice.

jueves, 25 de junio de 2009


MOST OF THE TIME, we remember what we learn later, more clearly, in life. I have had great difficulties believing teachers, preachers, friends, mentors, parents all my life. Everyone tells, paints according to their limited resources.
I would prefer to tell/paint as JOAQUIN SORROLLA, did with those incredibly happy, naive, pure, innocent, pastel, ochre colors in many of his works. Paintings that could force a smile even in a sociopath without remorse.

Unfortunately, I always end perceiving people and reality as probably FRANCIS BACON did, a distorted, pained, nightmarish constant. I prefer the first, but the second is dominant, in a struggle to share with others what I see. It is similar to
onion skin, it peels off. What matters to me: nature, ecology, environment. Too many people, are capable of incredible imbecility and cruelty. That is why their
place is distant and far in this scheme of things..both enough of that.


STARTED, probably, when the first plant collectors, from England and Spain began to send to their countries, plants, trees, and seeds to study and research. Planting and propagating in nurseries. The intention could have been any: profits in the case of crops, medicine, species, tannins, you name it, almost forgot, plain aesthetics. This subject is a great one to study for gardeners, vision shapers, critics and chatty people always in need to be centers of attraction.

1. Banana
2. Coconut
3. Ginger
4. Mango
5. Mustard
6. Orange
7. Radish
8. Rice
9. Tangerine
10. Yam


1. Avocado
2. Bell pepper
3. Cashew
4. Corn
5. Lima bean
6. Papaya
7. Peanut
8. Pineapple
9. Potato
10. Pumpkin
11. Sweet potato
12. Tomato

When I think about the historical importance of agriculture in the development of every culture, anywhere on earth, it is difficult to understand the constant destruction of what made/makes it possible; soil and water.
The apparent disconnection and indifference of most people in urban centers and cities regarding these issues allowing us to survive is much wider than I suspected.

Fortunately, it seems that in other regions of the world, agriculture is still important. and people do what they have to do to survive, even when encountering difficulties that city folk would not stand, physically, spiritually or intellectually.

This list appears on Botany for Gardeners. On following posts I will provide the reference. It is
not the first time I mention this subject, but now it may get a wider exposure, judging from whos.amung.us. Until next...

miércoles, 24 de junio de 2009


DOES IT MATTER? The editor at 'TURF' magazine inquired once, why
was I so angry. My response? Because I can. That magazine along
with 'Landscape Management' are the only two worth checking out
to understand the mentality of people in the landscape maintenance

If you as gardener have no idea of what I am writing about, lets do it in
one sentence. In Puerto Rico and USA, plant propagators/nurseries are
the ones running the show. In your country is probably the same.
Plants are chosen according to the final profit and growth behavior
inside the nursery and later when put for wholesale close to you.

If the plants, trees, bushes, pass away or survive at home, if they look cool or stupid, get sick or not
in not meaningful. The sale is what matters. That partially explains, why every garden everywhere looks the same: no options. That is why I propagate my own and you should learn. To have a unique garden.

What else can you learn looking at the pages of these magazines? The landscape companies owners justifications for cheap Mexican or any other immigrant group labor. Often with a compassionate humanitarian hint that could make tears run down if one had a chance to listen to Vivaldi's, Four Seasons while reading.

In times of drought, and believe moi, I some states in USA, there has
been no rain water in years. Their solution? Irrigation! Believe it or not.
Instead of planting resistant species for drought/heat, often available
in nature, no good. Irrigation is what we need. All the time these irrigation computerized systems get more sophisticated and expensive.
Oh guess what, they operate with electricity.

Another feature that your garden MUST have: jaccuzzis, ponds, water
streams, fire pits and entertainment facilities. If they look corny and
artificial it does not matter. The sale is the important thing, not aesthetics
or proportions.

Other things, snow plowers, cute irrigation heads, resistant to lawn mowers and trimmer damage, new resistant to this and that turf seeds,
for shade, heat, sun, wet you name it. Gasoline operated trimmers, pruners and blowers. Lawn mowers using propane, diesel, gas/oil. And on and on.

The environment, ecology occasionaly, becomes the subject. Often in times of crises. Just as it is happening know, when many people either do
their own silly lawns or let it grow as in a praire for lacking money.

You get the idea. I would like to end with a discovery that now that I think
of it, seems very logical. The stupidity and foolishness demonstrated in our pictures here, regarding maintenance, garden installations, custom and use, is not necessarily a patrimony of Puertorican islanders. In USA, the exact same or worse thing takes place.

PLEASE VISIT: http://www.finegardening.com/item/8939/why-not-replace-your-plants-with-styrofoam.

I found it very enlightening for one reason. Besides being written in
a non abrasive smooth fashion, there seems to be some anger, irony and sarcasm also, just a little bit cooler. Spread the word. Stupidity, ignorance, is pandemic. Lets put a stop to it. If possible.

martes, 23 de junio de 2009


PERHAPS YOU, remember a few words mentioned about the character in the tittle. Wordy, made one thinks of the jester in the court, without the humor. As a consequence memories came flying forward about that somewhat marvelous city,
New York.

In Manhattan, on week days, or week ends in some boroughs; farmers, edible gardeners travel hundred of miles to come to the markets created by/for them to
sell their produce. This markets are always fun, placed in areas reachable by
public transportation or walking.

There one may find seeds, apples, cherries, plums, peaches, blueberries, tomatos, lettuce, cucumbers, many weird vegetables and things that are healthy. Some are known only to the initiated, fanatic vegetarians, enemies of meat and others..

But one can also find eggs, pastries, breads, jellies, honey, flowers and plants. The list could be endless, since the possibilities change with the season.

The people doing the selling are most of the time the farmers themselves or their
friends and relatives. Most are friendly and simple, not with the barista
attitude found in those artificial coffee places in which one with cream cost the equivalent of a quarter of pound.... and is never better than my own.

Well what is all this for? To demonstrate that in Puerto Rico, people in groups doing this or that, environmentalists, edible gardeners and such do not show much imagination to develop concepts or ideas that cost nothing to improve the conditions
of their bag of predilection.

IN THE metro area of San Juan, on week ends the streets are just like those tumbleweed, ghost towns in USA. Imagine if all the people cultivating this or that, cooks, bakers, everyone with something to sell, got together in a street market such as this. To add a little medieval touch, jesters and buffoons could tell stories about
Puerto Rico, when there was no electricity, water and refrigeration, during Spain times and early USA.

Cooking classes, cultivating, propagating techniques could be offered for free to the public. Performers of instrumental music, preferably without irritating percussion and amplification could be placed away from each other to entertain.

The most important things to conclude are: CLEAN PORTABLE TOILETS, and parking directions. In Puerto Rico most people will take their cars instead of walking four or five blocks.

To organize this type of event one does not need to go to Harvard. Why in the Metro Area? Many people will not travel to Marta's neck of the woods, with the cost of gas
shitty roads, traffic jams. If the city does refuse to give permits...do it underground or in a clandestine manner, just as GUERRILLA GARDENERS make our surroundings better.

For some reason this type of fair is always fun. For those not suffering from social
dysfunction, a great way to mingle without spending much money. Sorry if I have
failed my critical, with abrasive tone duties. Until then. Perhaps you could do something like this in your country. Bringing the farm, garden to the asphaltconcrete.

sábado, 20 de junio de 2009


SOMETIME, around 4 June 2009 I reported on the first vertical garden in Puerto Rico in the the Golden Mile area in Hato Rey. A piece of manure well documented in that post. Worth mentioning that this geniouses are probably in the millionaire scam of lawn/palm planting/propagating/selling of Gonzalez Bauza from Gramas Lindas, who is in turn a partner of NOSFERATU Candelabro, the bufoon and writer, guru of landscape maintenance installation, fruit grafted trees, in this pathetic concrete asphalt isle. It is all in the family.

Well, yesterday I went to check this aberration(vertical garden) noticing the first plants are already dead or in the process. Lucky fellows considering that the whole May, and June have been more rainy than the average. Besides the problems that will make
this monster fail, is the constant sun: morning to afternoon and the microclimate created by the concrete surroundinds, and pavement. Since the plants have no nutrients except water from pipes...you may guess how much longer they will remain with us.

On other fronts. Check please, the pictures out to the right of the blog...Rio Piedras
Botanical Garden front entrance installation. If you look carefully you will observe
a compacted soil. Well? Guess what...The scam artists bought the grass from Gramas Lindas in squares and placed them on the compacted soil. Result? There are weeds as tall as the the shitty yellowing turf. Already half dead. It looks horrendous and getting worse as the ugly abused plants grow.

But that is not the worst site I had the pleasure to view. Yesterday was ecoturism day and I went to Carolina, a clean, very clean and ugly town, with a dead downtown, almost a ghost town. I used a secondary road the 65th Infantry. All the median is now overcrowded with half dead palms, chefferas, red acaliphas and some ornamental grass. Hundreds of them.

NOW if you want to go to the airport or to CAROLINA you have to watch the painful to the eyes installations: hundreds of palms, about ten percent already dead, at a cost of 2 million bucks! A total rip off from these politically connected nurseries, ripping
off left and right the fools in government, without any knowledgeable, humble servant as yours truly to stop it.


YOU MAY NOT BELIEVE IT, yet it is true. 007 Department of Natural Resources, the same agency that allows the total rip off of all flora/fauna in Puerto Rico, the former Island of Enchantment, re-baptized by yours truly, Concreteasphalt Island, 'regulates' HUNTING during certain months, days
and holidays with firearms or bow and arrow.

I discovered this hidden treasure in my archives from 1977. This 007 agency, with license to
kill, with it or without, used to give away information kits about any imaginable issue
about ecology/environment. Mangroves, turtles, mines, caves, rivers, birds you name it. Laughable even sad, it that this agency has more regulations than the US Army, without any possibility to enforce them, or minimal desire. Constantly being bribed by politicians or the free enterprise, particularly when constructions are the issue. Recursos Naturales is our ALI BABA and the forty thieves. In your countries, it is probably the same, at least in some. Money makes the world go around......


1. Zenaida aurita Zenaida dove
2. Zenaida asiatica White-winged dove
3. Zenaida macroura Morning doe

4. Columba squamosa Red-necked pigeon

5. Aythya affinis Lesser scaup
6. Aythya collaris Ring-necked duck
7. Anas americana American wigeon/ baldpate
8. Anas discora Blue winged teal
9. Anas crecca Green winged teal
10. Anas Clypeata American shoveler
11. Anas Acuta Northern pintail
12. Anas platyrhynchos Mallard

13. Fulica americana American coot
14. Fulica cabaea Caribbean Coot
15. Fallinula Chioropus Antillean gallinule
16. Gallinago gallinago Wilson's snipe

YOU may also kill goats, pigs in MONA Island, one of Puerto Rico's territories in the
west. Collect or hunt amphibians and reptiles not in danger "of extinction", following
a list in the brochure from 1975, that I will skip but willing to provide if any inquiry
comes along.


I am for a ban: on boxing, fishing as a sport, wrestling, cockfights, bullfights, ultimate fights, a worldwide moratorium on construction, any cruel entertainment for barbarians, live or on television. FISHING is a real cruel way to kill animals. Pulling them out of the water, no breathing! Particularly with hooks, one is tortured before the ultimate kill or dropped in boiling water. I think aboriginals have a right to kill whatever is necessary for their survival, turtles, whales and so on.

But commercial fishing? If you watch those guys fishing tuna in the coasts of SOMALIA, which explains the constant kidnappings, you will probably never eat it
again. These fishermen with ships one street block in lenght, fish during EIGHT MONTHS, not leaving until there is no room for one more fish.

Back to the future. I am fifty seven years old. I have never seen in Puerto Rico ANYTHING about these people with licences/without them hunting or fishing anywhere at any time. A total mistery NEVER discussed in any media or forum.
It is as if it does not happen or exist.

I reiterate. Aboriginals have the right to kill game for their needs in my view. If I had to kill to survive, will probably starve. I leave you with some hilarious question. I asked the maximun authority on vegetarianism of the constipated puertorican
television vegetarian guru JOSY la Torre, or the Tofu Clown: Who protects the rights of the lettuce and tomatos?


When I observe the size and beauty of these animals I could never shoot any. I would rather go to the supermarket, or butcher shop.

jueves, 18 de junio de 2009


THE WORK of the critic is to do that. To watch what does not work in terms
of aesthetics, pragmatics or subjectively. Do what you have to do. If you have any of these already get rid of them soon, or wait an watch what happens.

1. Washingtonias
2. Roystonea regia
3. Rhapis excelsa
4. Sabal Palmeto
5. Livinstona chinensis
6. Phoenix canariensis, ( the most impressive)

Lets state this now. If your property is less than half an acre there is no need to plant any of these. They will dwarf your installation, create too much organic waste and will take the whole grounds with time. Some leaves, can discolor your pavement or create hazardous situations when wet.

Palms are hard to manage for their big fronds, seeds, and pollen. If you have palms five feet or
less from any wall or structure, let me write it: it is stupid. All the debri will fall on the roof. This list is short but any palm will not enhance any property unless one can appreciate at a distance. One important exception: if your palm produces any edible fruit, fiber, seeds or whatever that is useful for any purpose, ignore what is written. However, if it is five feet
from your house, the problems will be the same.

My suggestion. If you have an urge for a tropical feeling, plant Yuccas, Cordyline or Dracaenas.
Relatives from palms that may look fantastic following the rules for palms: Cycas revoluta and
relatives or any Dioon. Can any reader out there tell me when the palm pandemic in garden
installation started? Any one with any reference? I asume it started twenty maybe less, years ago. I speculate on that number when considering houses built that long ago.

Alpinias, Musas, Heliconias, Zingiberaceae, Philodendron, Strelitzias and Bromeliads. Also should be considered as not welcome unless you have lots of space. ALL, except the last one,
grow up deep roots with intense invasive intentions. They will take your whole garden unless
you stop them by ways not fun at all. Digging and cutting. Bromeliads look ridiculous unless
in a rain forest with lots of intense, dark shade. But that is my opinion. Some have leaves that
unless protected, will leave your skin pretty much bloody, itchy and cut.

Other aesthetic consideration is dry leaves, a never ending chore. The flowers are nice
looking and attractive, but not everlasting, requiring to be cut. Think twice,
before you plant these. However if you have money for gardeners for hire, never mind. Just
make sure the cut is made at ground level. Otherwise they look like a bunch of sticks!

I will try to keep posting on this dirt gardening issues. But going away from the real garden, getting into virtual issues related or not, sometimes is distracting, but necessary. After all,
I am clear that gardening, any gardening, is meaningless unless understood as a whole.
Nature, flora and fauna. Anywhere. Until next.

martes, 16 de junio de 2009


IT WAS ABOUT TIME. For some time I have mentioned the need to have an inventory of trees to determine health, growth, mutilation, destruction, maintenance, elimination, diseases and substitution of those dead.

In some sophisticated cities in the world, not only there are people in government responsible for this type of inventory, tree wardens responsible for all the above, are also available, but also statistics regarding how much green space per person is available. In some is five, ten, fifteen acres of green areas per person in metro zones. We could
set a trend in the opposite direction, acres of asphalt/concrete per person!

Methodology, elementary and simple. A notebook and pencil. The distance covered is divided in segments between Pinhero Ave to
Roosevelt Ave, to start. Only trees and palms planted on the ground
or plastic, cement, square, round pots placed on sidewalks are counted.
Puerto Rico is the capital of architectural barriers. Imagine placing on
a six feet wide sidewalk, a tree feet wide pot! Pain in the ass to walk around these silly obstacles during rush hour.

Only the vegetation standing in the right side of the street were counted.Ponce de Leon Avenue, where this inventory took place is perhaps
the most important in the metro area. Also for contrast in the numbers, empty spaces where trees once stood.

Palms 28
Almacigos 86

Dk's 8
Tabebuias 39
Palms 30
Almond trees 2
Ficus benjamina 7

Tabebuias 26
Dk's 5
Empty spaces 17

All the side walks show root damage, I am talking about a two miles, total distance. If you were
blind or in a wheel chair you would probably kill yourself considering the waves, cracks. All the trees show mutilation from grave to simple. Most are sick, two small for their age, showing in the amount of dirt/smoke in the bark, too close to electrical wires. How were these trees selected for the urban context? God knows.

Those empty spaces where trees once stood increase alarmingly as one moves toward Canho Martin Penha, an alienated community in Santurce. Also the worst looking trees. Coincidence?
I do not think so. The government still uses the mangrove to deposit used waters, without
any remorse.

However when adding the totals: 173 trees, 58 palm trees, 17 empty spaces, a tendency
of abusing palms is clearly demonstrated on the other side of the street recent construction,
and the Munhoz Rivera Avenue, running parallel to Ponce de Leon Ave.

In Puerto Rico there is a group of "arborists" I wonder where their credentials come from. What
kind of people are these? They always appear on printed media and tv, as authorities when some tree criminal mutilation makes the news, then disappear. I invite them, since that is their
little niche to do something meaningful besides the silly conversations on endemic trees and this and that. PLEASE! Count the damn trees, it only takes a couple of hours! Propose something or
take some action in your own hands. Stop the theories. Do something.


The numbers are probably correct. Any margin of error will cover names of species. However,
since here nobody can tell between gymnasium and magnesium, not a big deal. The picture is
what remains.. And those token photos to the right of this blog and in upinthebreadfruittree.
Until next.


martes, 9 de junio de 2009


I JUST RECEIVED the MAY issue of Landscape Management, (lanscapemanagement.net), and as usual, the editorial stance remains stable as the tittle of this post indicates. I would like to go in detail, but I think that most people
will rather investigate themselves and reach conclusions based on their particular
situation, and geographical position.

At this time lets go to the numbers. They represent according to this source, the amount of H2B workers in the landscaping industry in USA. That nomenclature,
(nice for some rock group) represents foreign workers with federally issued permits
allowing to work for a season and going back to their countries. The trick is that is not free. It costs those employers willing to go that way, between $2,500/$3,000 per employee. The other option is/was, to hire illegals as it is profitable and customary.

NOW the story has changed somewhat. In Arizona for example, some mayors and small time politicians have taken enforcement of immigration laws in their
hand, writing/enforcing local laws to fine, imprison employers hiring illegals. These politicians are sick and tired of these migrants huge families, overcrowding the schools, hospitals and other services driving these towns to the brink of bankruptcy.

In some raids covering other economic sectors such as the poultry processors, 300/400 workers were
arrested under the suspicion of identity theft, illegal entry. Those without
proof of legal residence, permit to work, deported.

The numbers by country:
  1. Mexico 102,244
  2. Jamaica 14,954
  3. Guatemala 4,567
  4. Romania 2,803
  5. Canada 2,494
  6. Philippines 2,482
  7. South Africa 1,013
  8. United Kinddom 1,897
  9. Dominican Republic 1,420
  10. Australia 1,305
The source is Department of Homeland Security. Numbers represent H2B/H2R visa,
entrances, not issuances.

You can make anything you want with the numbers. My position is that the speculation repeated over and over that white/black USA citizens are unwilling to work outdoors
in landscaping chores can not be true by itself.. One thing is evident, you have to be in shape to deal with heat, sweat. Stamina is required.

HOWEVER, that in return should be compensated. How many people anywhere in their own country
will be willing to work for peanuts (8/9 bucks hour), in the heat, rain, cold and snow. Without insurance, medical benefits and vacations? In season, forced to do overtime ten/twelve hours.

The argument is that USA nationals are not cut for this kind of work. There is another issue.
They expect you to remain in the job the whole season. The complaint is that many construction
workers for example, in landscaping temporarily, leave after four months. After they have learned the skills to perform their tasks in a speedy manner. In other words you have to be
grateful and should not find better ways to make a buck. That is why they prefer to hire
legal/illegal help. I believe in Spain, for example, is the same story. Everyone into avarice
justifies their stance by any means.

What has all this to do with gardening? I believe that gardening, horticulture is a W I D E, scheme. Many people around the world hire others to do their gardens, because they are lazy bums, senior citizens or have the money to do so. Is it worth to have gardens, landscaping installations in this way, allowing scams artists to make profits while exploiting others as modern slaves?

lunes, 8 de junio de 2009


I THOUGHT a god idea to go back in time. Times were different, no video games,
no summer camps, computers, cellular phones and else. One had to find entertainment without money, outside help or electronics. There were few options in my case, basketball, baseball, abandoned for the first, table tennis, track and field for
a really short period, pin ball machines, still missed, chess, billiards, reading and listening to music of all kinds except Chinese opera.

THE first three things I attempted to propagate were Cripping fig, a type of Ivy related to the FICUS family not to be confused with Hedera helix. Marihuana or Cannavis sativa and one still on the top ten Bauhinia, these two from seeds.

Alocasias, Diffenbachias, Bucera busaris and Hibiscus were part of a small botanical family, that as told before, was totally destroyed by either my sister or those who rented the house. From those days as a begginer collector, only the Bucera is still standing, at sixty/eighty feet in the backyard in our former house in Savarona, close by the baseball stadium.

Savarona, the vecinity of my growth, is on Youtube, if interested. The name has obscure origins. All I know is that it appears in the near east. If you decide to check
the videos from one of my first contacts in this blogosphere, Amilcar Garcia, of
elartedesaparecer.blogspot.com, who in real life has disapeared, I warn you. The architecture may be similar, but not the people. Puerto Rico's nationals are the minority in those streets that I loved then, and know remember with certain sadness.
NOW the music, the melodic speech patterns belong to fellow islanders from the
Caribbean, that fortunately have populated many areas in Puerto Rico and USA, that
otherwise would be just dust and tumbleweed.

To end this nostalgic unpleasant memories, somehow... I invite all those who venture
into this cave, as the ecocriminal Gonzalez Bauza, defines it, to research the origins of: Marihuana, Cocaine and Heroin. From a botanical perspective is great to find out
how, why, when. From the socially uses of them all, I was fortunate to a taste in my old days as a freedom fighter in the USA Army, while stationed in Germany.

As with alcohol and cigarettes, I do not understand the inability of great segments
of the population all over the world to use them with responsibility. The crime associated with the manufacturing, distribution, packing and selling could certainly
be eliminated with making it legal and monopolizing all the process mentioned. Only
the state could end the futile deaths to control the market, and the silly wasteful historical attempts to eliminate/reduce its use.

For a future post, I am thinking about the origins of globalization...Sugar cane, was
perhaps the first successful attempt to go global with slaves and such.....tobbaco, potatoes, coffee, rubber, and so on.....Destroying the environment for profits.....

jueves, 4 de junio de 2009


THE ABOVE mentioned company, is not a small time low baller, arrive by night, disapeared by day, landscaping company. They have 125 employees and billing above the four million dollars in PUERTO RICO, USA. The JUANA MORALES AWARD is given to the genius of those in landscape maintenance for installations in which lack of
imagination, any sophistication, counterfeit and bad copied gardens are evident.

YOU may wonder about the concept of vertical gardening. There are more than two
possibilities. One, the visual effect of a vine or climber through a wall or trellis. Or planting in front of a wall to create such effect, as in our discussion. The stupidity displayed on this intallation, is enhanced when
you do your research and find that no ONE, attempts to create a vertical garden on both sides of a fence/wall, for logical, pragmatic reasons.

This aberration is at Munhoz Rivera Avenue, Western Bank Plaza and it certainly
cost a bundle for the ignorant customer, the bank. But robbing from a thief.....There are two 10' high by 20' (approximately), 8 to 12 inches thick space galvanized frame
In the middle of it, some sheet rock, in the back a cyclone fence, followed by some
mysterious black fabric, followed by a chicken fence.

Yesterday, around 11 AM, I noticed this employee mixing potting soil with water in a wheel cart, something of an oddity. After wards he climbed in a ladder to place the mix inside on top of the wall described above. You have to see it to believe such cretinism. Between all the materials, fabric and metal, they stuck coconut fiber and the mix in a space not bigger than tree inches from top to bottom. On this vertical
wall, a black rubber tube protruded in the back for irrigation.

What is wrong with the picture? If you want to understand, get a glimpse of correct VERTICAL GARDENING, visit the site. PATRICK BLANC, Murs Vegetaux, is how
he describes his creations, more art than an ordinary, with total lack of aesthetics
expensive, dull winner installation .

The concept is pretty similar to hydroponics, the plants selected SHOULD NOT use soil, as many do in nature! Irrigation, minerals and nutrients dissolved, is automated. But I could not find any vertical garden with plants in both sides. The back of the wall is ugly with the chicken fence showing. They had cut many five square inches rectangles to stick
the bromeliads.

The plants selected for Vertical Gardens as perceived by PATRICK BLANC, the pioneer, should have contrasts in color, size, texture and shape. Our friends from Toa Baja, selection? Bromelia voladora,
more Bromelias, some abused Fern (Helecho macho), Dianela and some cilindrical hanging ugly weed looking ropes. No contrast in any of the mentioned possibilities, and a lack of aesthetic value.

What will be the destiny of this installation? Considering that I have written over
fifty articles on maintenance, one thing is certain.
The chicken wire will rot and fall into pieces, along with the coconut fiber. Plants
such as these may survive, at least fifty percent, but without any nutrients/minerals
since the hose observed will be just for water.

Another example of the PUERTO RICAN GARDEN LANDSCAPE INSTALLATION SYNDROME. Lack of aesthetics, worn out, vulgar plant selection, inability to design something original in concept/realization, and intelligent, cost effective, systematic maintenance possibilities.

If the person/people responsible for this ugly vegetative installation, had taken some time to study without
the urge of making quick money, (lots of it), with a little thought to the concept of
beauty, pragmatic maintenance, installation, the results would have been admirable.
What I see, is ugly, costly, an difficult to keep up.

martes, 2 de junio de 2009


IT HAS BEEN a wet month, but with the arrival of June, this will certainly change as usual. On the garden front, the grafted orchard, Lemon, Orange and Mangifera indica are doing quite well. These are recent arrivals on the wide collection and in the next
couple of months will provide refreshing fruits for the summer.

Six months ago, I used some fertilizer with a sandy rough texture recommended for such, however, even when following the instructions the results were not the best. One can tell, the benefits, when looking at the reactions days after the application. In this case there were lots of leaves falling, a sign of burning. For this reason I changed to Osmocote, a slow release fertilizer. The difference is evident.

Yesterday a new discovery made the day. I found in Miramar, a uppity neighborhood
a couple of mutilated Bauhinias in front of a condo. The size of the leaves, really small and the unusual, not shaped as an orchid, flower, called my attention. After some research, I found it. Bauhinia tomentosa is the new member in the family.

Along with the Passiflora oerstedii, new acquisitions making the collection wider
and more complete in terms of avoiding the common places contaminating the scenery in urban or rural surroundings.

On other fronts, the Ipomoea alba, Passiflora edulis, Bejuco de puerco,
Clitoria ternatea and Cavalinna maritima
are doing great. These vines grow fast,and will provide shade, privacy, reducing noise in the process. I still have no explanation why gardeners avoid, do not know, use them in their installations, in Puerto Rico or other countries in which gardening has some relevance and meaning.

One thing I have noticed about ZEN gardening. Even when those installations
with gravel, rocks, water features offer an extraordinary feeling of peace and relaxation, the ones with vegetation, could become overwhelming. If you look with
care, a critical attitude, the amount of prunning required is exhausting.

I can not accept any situation regarding horticulture, that requires excessive time/energy to keep the garden in good shape. Another thing that deserves discussion is the appearance of being busy, artificial and overdone. It certainly does not look natural to have
every bush or tree pruned or trained to acquire weird unnatural shapes that seem
to be the rule in this style of gardening.

Back to the future. The intense rains have made some plants to grow so fast, that
others requiring more sun than available have been removed, placed in pots, for
recovery. Pereskia bleo, is one of those. The Murraya paniculatas, had to
be cleared around to allow more light considering the increase in shade for the reason mentioned. Now is time to go. Until next....