Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rosemary and Thyme S1 E1 [And No Birds Sing]

  one of those rare tv offers for people who enjoy every aspect and possibilities of horticulture, enjoy...

Monday, October 29, 2012


THIS morning as I was opening me eyes in the dark, the rotund,  figure, twice as mine, his friendly smile, powerful, yet soft voice of Lester Figueroa, a landlord/tennant court attorney appeared in a dream, telling your humble servant that somejuan was inquiring about moi.  When I was going to ask if the inquirer was man or moman, I woke up.

Why Lester and no juan else?  He was an anomaly in  the New York State Civil Court, for one reason. Not many attorneys had studied in the  Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. His spoken English was unusual, since native speakers of any language tend tend to inflect their usage with a melody and particular pronunciation when using their second, not Lester.

Bai the guay, let the record show--since we are into attorneys and court anecdotes--besides language issues, have you ever wondered about those native  speakers of English in the Caribbean such as Jamaicans and Barbadians, requiring subtittles? Is it their origin in the dark continent with their native languages, is it the British influence? What the hell is it ? Have you any idea?  If you have not,  please do.

Phonetics in one language are responsible for that way of speech, called funny by some native bastards, who can only speak English, referring to us the speakers of the second, even if they can not spell oxymoron or hieroglyphics to name two. That is something too many people never bother to ponder.  Speech/pronunciation/accent,  has nothing to do with understanding, writing, spelling, sentence structure, semantics and anything else you may add. Please remember, if you may, one thing is missing, intention. Think of it, most spelling bee contests in USA are won by foreigners or children of.

Every country, their citizens have a national sychology.  That is what some speakers of English as a second language living legally or not, in many countries, never get.  Language is never in a vacuum, nor are its speakers. That is a geat lesson, experience learned after five years as a simultaenous medical  and court interpreter/sight translator, living a third of me life among white/black devils.

I witnessed the segregation of all interpreters and condescending treatment at 111 Center St.  I would say by fifty percent to be kind, off personnel employees, judges, attorneys, court attorneys, court officers and judges. It appeared to me that these people thought of themselves as better, intellectually superior;  high school or college graduates,  no matter if darkies or blondies, speaking only ONE language.


Attorneys all over the world have a nasty reputation.  However, my experience is mixed. There were honest attorneys from both sides, not everyjuan was a trickster, it did not matter if they were representing the landlord or tenant side.  Most were competent and efficient, except for those working in Legal Aid. The worst attorney was a Puerto Rican, a fat, slopy, ill dressed by the name Ramon Gutierrez, with the grace and talent of some illiterate street peddlar.

Interpreters were mostly adequate, only a few with college education. Too many, were into the advocate bag. The worst were Nicki and Pedro Ramos These fools forgot permanently the ethics of the interpreting.  One is not there to advocate for tenants, but to repeat parrot like what they had to say without editorial comments or interfering with the procedure.

I was well known for my habits, interested in cut the chase, quick and efficient use of time, always.  For that reason, I got along pretty well with many attorneys and staff. Others thought I was a pain in the ass for the same reason, not into pleasing anyone at any time.  After all interpreting is not a public relations position.

Presenting and sharing horticultural, environmental, gardening and maintenance views and situations is not different. Ethics and asthetics are always involved.  In interpreting, if you ask, the beauty, was to overcome the hostility, to disconnect oneself  from each side interests. To perform effectively to reach a stipulation.  Tenants were always crying about repairs, when too many times, was only lacking money, and unwillingness to pay for whatever reason.  

Looking at the whole, it seems that most people are into presenting their views out of context, for their own interest and gain no matter if in a court of law, a blog or you name it.  It is always what convention, complacency, convenience to their pockets should rule.

If you consider for one moment that gold, diamonds, copper, silver, tin, oil, wood, coal, food, water, air,  anything that is necessary for living, requires the destruction of the globe in wholes or parts, to put in focus once in a while ethics and aesthetics is a good exercise when writing or ruminating superficially or in depth about this or any other issues.

that is that. 

Friday, October 26, 2012


    THE PHOTOS below are courtesy of Eduardo Ramos, a young, articulated gentleman with whom I have had some conversations about afterlife issues wich some people consider transcendental, conducting their life according to some ancient rules regarding food, sex and behavior.   The subject of the photos a new garden in town, the Big Apple New York.  If you do not mind crowds, a perfect installation
with some imagination and creativity.

If you ask me no lawn would be around, unless
cut only with shears or pushmowers. Imagine just for a second the noise of a trimmer/lawnmower/blower with the echo around those buildings when you are trying to sleep, not to get into the C02.  ENJOY! 

 Thanks to Eduardo Ramos, for  the nice brief chats we had, and for keeping his word, sharing the photos...Down here 2 out of 10 do, keep their word that is...Until then...

that is that.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012


ONCE  upon a time, I was a fanatic about botanical names, believing anyjuan in this field should manage with gracious understanding them terms, nomenclature. It  is/it was not the case. Now and then, except for maybe 5 out of 10,  I do not care anymore.  Aesthetics, another pet symbol in my view, lost all importance, recently.  What does it matter to have the money, the airs, to have one of those manicured, perfect,  typical gardens shown in the Gallopinggardener.blogspot, if he/she or the owners can not inform humble peers as yours truly, the benefits to surrounding flora/fauna, pollinators, birds and such...besides  the Uh/Ah, how beautiful, syndrome predominant in those pastures?

I decided to move further, into another radical plane. Context, as in soil.  It seems that soil does not exist, or insects, or diseases in  9 out of  the 10 blogs about gardening I visited until recently.  I am sick of it. I should travel under my OWN conditions. Here or there somejuan, with a little vision may catch on.

How often do you find a decent article, besides personal silly tricks, on the subject?

But that has been discussed before. Today I am just going to introduce to the people, you people, four new plants inductees in the collection.

One is used for roasting, soups and such, propagated with rooting hormones. A pain in the arse here in Santurce to keep. Another is the essence of that Cuban cocktail, Mojito,  in addition, an orchid and  last,  most rare of all a plant with an unique name, since it is not connected to chickens, eggplant.

I have never seen photos of eggplants in any blogs during my early, previous, curious travels around the blogosphere,  to see what others had to show, except maybe, once in   lavidaenmipatio.blogspot.com.  Most of the time is lettuce, tomato, cucumber and plenty of  pumpkins in Halloween.  If does not matter if it is here in the tropics or there in Siberian like surroundings.

that is that   

Friday, October 19, 2012


THE solution to the crisis, yours or ours,  is to look within for original answers to particular problems.  In Spain, the people in some rural, Canary islands little neck of the woods town, with just a coal mine, agriculture, wine/cheese/oil and related business, some tourism/gastronomy, with a reliable health system and traveling doctor, with an incredible efficient elementary school with no books or blackboards!

It is disconcerting  to observe such quality of life/time there, when most of the time, news broadcasting systems focus on the increasing misery of Greece, Spain, Portugal and everyjuan else in that league, or the repugnant wealth of less than ten percent of the population in China, while ignoring the miserable salaries the 90 percent exploited population receive.  Sound USA familiar?

Meanwhile the default, fraud, financial, real estate, bank and money launders league of the world, are facing strikes and violence from those who thought that  honest working with a little pension for old age will suffice to live with some security before death do us apart.

One thing I truly do not understand.  Why is everjuan crying wolf with the 'free education' issue?  What do people need education, if it not to find jobs, work? To be cool and sophisticated?  To know more than two languages, as your humble servant?  The first parragraph shows that people do not need traditional schools to get an education, all you need is some guidance and a lap top, if there is electricity and a signal.  Since I do not believe we are equals, some will go further, others behind.

Fine, you got me drift. Education, should be from now on,  only for those people with superior intellectual talent, something measurable by the pertinent test. Do not be a cry baby. if you can not make to college, who cares?  Go to a vocational trade school. I do not think 'quality and free education' will remain the standard in many countries or any education as in Africa. Special education?  Sorry no money for that. After all is a totally hypocritical, superficial action, nojuan hires the assorted handicapped in the spectrum. At least not here. No more free rides.

The same goes, for medical services for all.  While being educated is something your could reach on your own, being healthy requires doctors, nurses and medicines often or once in a while. 

The terrible thing, totally lost for most people is that any bank//financial crisis/money laundering tolerated by any state, makes government and political parties accomplices. Avarice rules!  In consequence, many will balance working opportunities with  drugs multinationals as an option, what else is left there, planting lettuces, peppers and tomatoes?

Well, yes.  With that I will finish today's feature.    Considering the hundreds of gardening/landscaping blogs about this or that, one thing is certain, planting edibles could be done in any space, any climate. It is a matter of selection, the right creature for the right spot. Water, heat and light if you live in an apartment.

If you do not, find out. Gardening does not require any money or chemicals or anything you have to buy, except maybe tools, if you have no money, improvise.  People who prefer and have the space for chickens, goats will do that. Swap and exchange, bartering is looking, (at least in my view) as the only short run solution for those desperate without any money for rent, water, electricity, food.

Someone, not me, will have to tell and show them. Even when surrounded by asphalt/concrete as I have repeated to death for the last five years, imagination does it.  I have planted more than one thing in just sand, with little problems with insects and diseases. Fortunately I do not depend of the little I have cultivated, but many people cultivating many different things could make life easier and more tolerable.

However, throwing money, that circle of lending/loans/interests to pay debts for artificial growth, does not work in the long run. Puerto Rico could be a pet symbol of state/political/free enterprise money laundering and fraud. From a backward agricultural state, in just 60 years, we were able to reach a 100,000 millions of USA dollars of public debt for 3.5 million people, in a concrete/asphalt isle of 100 miles  X 35 miles wide, with 2.5 million vehicles. Believe it or not!

This could explain my not happy go lucky gardening ways and perspective. There is no reason to smile and pretend. Good luck to you if you do.

that is that   


Sunday, October 14, 2012


LOOKING at old class documents and notes, I found this article written by David A. Korstad, from Sedgefield Atlanta, an  interior landscape merchant, selling, leasing and maintaining plants.  His focus is particularly interesting when putting things in perspective.  Why readers in USA or Australia for example, have shared their views about reiterative rants in terms of the dull gardenin practice/installations in Puerto Rico, with: 'we have the same here'.  If that is true,  then the root of the problem is similar.

I suggest while reading, to think about exterior landscaping. The principle of  profit and convenience from nursery people is the same anywhere. After one thousand posts, it is the first time I let one of them, in his own words describe what plant selection and gardening really i$$.

Schefflera, Areca palm, ferns, grape ivy and aralias are th most commonly used plants that I feel need the most care.

Schefflera, for many years the standard of the industry, is simply not resistant to any insects.  Mites, scale and mealy bugs will all infest the plant and are very difficult to get rid of. Since you must coat the underside of every leaf when using a contact insecticide, it is virtually impossible to kill all the insects.   This plant requires high light which compounds the insect problem, because the hotter it is, the fastest the insects  reproduce.

Areca palm is similar to schefflera as far as the disease problem.  It is not resistant  and is very difficult to spray. One other concern with this plant, is the watering. Be careful not let the plant wilt. Most other  varieties will rejuvenate after a good watering, but arecas will not ever be as attracive as before.

Ferns are  one of the most popular and sellable indoor plants, yet constant attention they demand, presents a maintenance problem for most of us.  The leaf shedding,  the amount of indirect, not direct,  light they need and the fact they can not be allowed to wilt are all major concerns.

Until recently* I have never thought of grape ivy  or oak leaf ivy problem plants, but the constant and losing battle I have been fighting against --powdery mildew-- has changed my mind. We have tried virtually every fungicide  on the market with almost no success. I would be interested to know of anyone else's experience with this problem.

Aralias are extremely sensitive to temperature changes,  watering practices, pesticides and virtually anything other than perfection.  While they are some of the most beautiful and unuauL plants we have to use, I do not know that have good luck with them. However, I will continue to buy them
because I know of nothing that can compare to a full, lush aralia.

These are just a few of the plants I use in my business.  I realize there are many more available.  Bromeliads, jade,
nephytis, Norfolk island pine and cactus, are all very popular 
plants that I use.  However, I will be here all day if I were to list every plant available to us.

A few other aspects of buying and selecting plants  that I consider important are in no particular order of importance,  cost versus quality, selling for profit and your holding area.

Obviously, we are all  very cost conscious  with today's economic situation.** I always try  to buy the best quality plant I can find, but I now  have to consider the cost versus the quality more than ever before. The wholesale of plants has been steadily increasing over the last years and most growers are predicting even higher costs.  This has meant that sometimes I can not afford the best quality because the market
will simply not bear my increased sale price.

We are all in this business to make a profit and often this means we have to buy the cheaper plant.  I do not mean that I will buy a plant of low quality,  but one that may not be the best.  

The holding area you have should also influence your selections.  Many people, myself included, are now using warehouses or other enclosed structures rather than greenhouses.  The fact that you will probably have less light
means you should select more lower light plants.  You will not 
be able to hold as many ficus, schefflera or other high light plants as you might like. This is specially true if you do not turn your inventory every three to five weeks.

My final advice is to beware of bargains.  Unless you have carefully checked all aspects of the plant. I would not buy bargains.  Most of these so-called bargain plants have either been sun grown or are plants the nursery has picked over.

Selecting quality plants to sell to the public is the reputation most of us live on. You should be prepared to spend time and money if you expect to do a good job.     

Editor's Note
** Before the financial/real estate bubble burst 

What can be added?  I had a once in a while commentator from Indonesia into the nursery business.  She stopped dropping by as my critical view on nurseries grew more abrasive. I rarely read articles like this.  It makes me think of pork bellies,  real estate and stock market.

If you think most or all gardens as in Puerto Rico stink, here, above are the reasons.  I am sorry to say/write this, but the pathetic situation in garden design/installation here and there where you are, is a result of market trends, demand and offer.  A critical stance, original plant selection seems water and salt, a drop in the ocean.

But if you are a wise gardener, you should not be trapped in buying plants like those mentioned in this article prone to insect pests and diseases even if  they are 'high quality' in the nursery, in your residence, they will surely pass away.

Judge your own context, inside or out, it will allow to see beyond  the  pretty flower or garden.  

that is that 





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