Monday, July 26, 2010


Perhaps you remember when the earth was flat, Galileo and Copernicus.
That is regarding the church,  in terms of god, his court, and the creation of the whole wild world.

What you are about to read, ranks among transcendental issues that changed the views imposed on the herds arbitrarily. They  and every juan else were expected to follow them  or  to be burned accordingly.

In the summer of 1716, Thomas Fairchild took a feather and gently brushed the stigma of a carnation, so that  the dust-like pollen crossed from one flower to the other. The work was quickly accomplished. Now he had to wait.

Over the following months the seeds ripened inside the carnation, each containing its parents' traits.  But it was only when spring came and those seeds grew and then flowered that Fairchild could see his creation: a pink flower that melded the carnation's double blossom with the clustering flower heads of the sweet William. It was the world's first man made hybrid.

From 'The Brothers Gardeners', by Andrea Wulf.  

So what you may wonder? Well, if you are the classic gardener, at least around these prairies, buying common place plants in your neighborhood nursery, it should mean nothing.

However, if you, like your humble servant, collects plants, seeds, stems that have some interest for any arguable  reason; gardening/horticulture acquire another dimension beyond digging, planting and pruning.  The pleasure of propagating successfully, with or without rooting hormones has no comparison in horticulture.

Jasminum laurentifolium changed pots. It went from the rectangular one used for to propagate, to its own.  Soon, it will go to the ground by a window in the north garden, to enjoy its fragrance at night with the soothing breeze.

Two Mesquites, propagated from seed are now in bigger pots. At about two and tree feet respectively, both look great with that grey/blue color, healthy and rare.. Both from Guanica, in the south of Puercorico, almost a desert town with spectacular views, vegetation and beauty.

Two Oreganos and  one Basil went to the ground in the west garden.  The Cosmos sulphureous have gone their life cycle and will be removed soon.   

Finally, the compost was turned. After  15 days of rain, it smells like unwashed homeless butt in a New York Subway car.  That was for poetic effect. It really smells like a mangrove.


Went to check some gardening, horticultural blogs.
The most absurd.
Some pale female from Phoenix, AZ, a desert,  shows pictures of her flower arrangements in containers.

The fool thinks that her gaudy
installment is cool.  Yours truly notices a LAWN in a desert...Telling the FOOL, what she can do with the container and her lawn.
Apaga i vamonos.

Friday, July 23, 2010


IT has rained.  May, June and now July,
have been more wet than in the past.  I am writing about years ago.  I avoid going out.  Except to walk out the dog and check the damage and monitor for insects/pests.

Murraya paniculata, Hibiscus canabinus, Cosmos sulpherous, Malpighia glabra, Dracaena marginata, and Polyscia fruticosa, ALL, bend with the weight, a pain in the ass.

Snails and slugs continue the party, since all is perfect to hang out. The head count for the last forty eight hours: 20 and one of the latter.  I remind you that if you reduce the beer one ounce to one ounce of water it will work as mentioned

The Myosotis, both, are doing fine. Beans and a new smaller type of Cucurbita have been planted.  I decided that even if they look ODD in me garden, aesthetics aside, the flower of the pumpkin is cool, attractive and  could be  added it to your salads.

Be careful where you plant the beans if  your garden is in a similar context as your humble servant.  I had to climb to the roof to cut the vines of one...A somewhat difficult shore for a third age person.

Constant rain bring along other issues and difficulties, apparently hidden under the carpet. Puercorico, USA, a concrete/asphalt platform of hostile and indifferent people,  is prone,(thanks to  use and custom bribes, selling of permits) to mediocre, cheap, improvised construction of both: houses/roads.

Just read in the local press, a few days ago, the incredible amount of new/recently built new housing projects in all cardinal points,  in which houses are either sinking, cracked, with many leaks on walls and roofs or falling apart.

Landslides are increasing thanks to the 
environmental criminals Housing and Highway developers.

Floods, consequence of unkempt rivers and streams with all kind of debris, clogged drains that are not cleaned, craters, puddles in every imaginable concrete/asphalt road.

In Puercorico, MAINTENANCE, is not in the vocabulary of any of the above jerks responsible for the safety of the population.  A daily nightmare if you walk or drive. 

To get a comparable glimpse, check the Buena Vista, video in a previous post.  Excellent music, with many roads in la Habana clones of what Puercorico shows in EVERY surface you step on.

Which makes one ruminate about the point of driving a Mercedes, Lotus, BMW or Porsche or Lotus on surfaces more appropriate for ugly, 4X4 vehicles driven at twenty miles maximum, in the concrete/asphalt with millions of puddles island.

To end in a positive note..A new adquisition is coming along, Jasminun laurifolium. As most of the collection, it has a story.  It came from a bush right by the Carnegie Lybrary in San Juan.  

This library, Puercorico is known for not having libraries, is huge for island standards. However, you can tell from the street, that ceilings are falling apart. Termites and pieces of it missing.  The whole metro zone, seems to fall apart, minute after minute.  The land of the enchantment they used to call this hell on concrete. That is that...apaga i vamonos.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I decided to report about this catholic hospital in Ponce de Leon Avenue, because the green areas have aesthetic and historical value.

Auxilio Mutuo, was originally  located at the corner of  Calle del Parque and Ponce de Leon Avenue.  In 1909 it moved to the present location.

It was built by Spain nationals of the catholic persuasion with the money and the know how.  I believe the site is important considering the unkempt, pathetic situation of all landscaping
installations in the Metro Zone of San Juan, in  public/private areas. They are a shame.

Even the steel frame of the building has some beauty, not common in the asphalt/concrete isle.  In the hall of the building cafeteria there is a permanent
exhibition of photos depicting the development of the landscape and original building.

Something is remarkable for the keen eye, yours truly,  an odd looking tree not far from the steel frame 1909 structure.

Barringtonia asiatica, originally from the mangroves of the Indian Ocean, in the right corner of the building.  This tree is still around, healthy and over a century old.  Yesterday morning the fallen white flowers with red tips, reminded me of some grounded jelly fish.  There are other trees,  a couple real conversation pieces, go and find out.

There are two Barringtonias on the premises.  I know of four all around. One in the Luis Munhoz Marin Plantation, scumbags, in Trujillo Alto and one in a private residence in Condado.

The old and new building have a museum quality.  The mosaics in both are remarkable, inside and out. There is a chapel, a residence for nuns, fast food, pharmacy, doctors offices a whole world to do eco tourism if you have the curiosity and stamina.

All this positive presentation requires something of the opposite.  There are too many palms, too many trees planted a la classical stupid manner of our culture.  Eliminating a third of them will return this space a rare, unique beauty.  

The quality of medical services ought to be mentioned. Not shy at all, here it goes.  Some of the staff in the ninth floor STINK. 
The papers for discharge were not ready two hours after the surgeon gave the order.  The scumbags waited more than thirty minutes to give medication for pain after the victim/patient complained.

From the beginning the scumbag nurses showed their colors.  Even though a private room had been requested from the start, the fat, ugly staff pretended nothing could be done to find one. After demanding
a solution, the scumbags found it.  The idiots just could not be bothered.

In brief, Auxilio Mutuo a great landscape to visit with a hospital.
I would not recommend the staff.
Otherwise go and appreciate the trees,
walk, check the murals, black and white photos. There is no other place for free like this
in San Juan....
Time to go...apaga i vamonos.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Buena Vista Social Club - Chan Chan


I remember. The first time I heard this incredible, rich, warm, with tons of swing, feeling, Cuban music in the cold winters of 1997 and 1998, working as a cashier in a now defunct record store.

Virgin Megastore at 42 St. Times Square, New York, it was the skinny cows times for your humble servant.  I worked for two seasons as a cashier in the Classical Music Department.

Besides having the pleasure of listening to this masterpiece of Cuban music, I was able to check the jazz also...But most of the time was opera. Bjoerlin,
Franco Corelli, Domingo, Carreras and, Pavarotti and Chippa. 

Sopranos, mezzos and bass-baritone. Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, Renata Scotto, Renatta Tebaldi,  Bidu Sayao and Thomas Quasthoff.

The first two tenors in the list Corelli and Bjorling were my favorites, along with Bidu Sayao the Brazilian soprano.

She was the principal at the Met during
1937-1952.  Her interpretation of Bachianas Brasileiras, a composition of Heitor Villalobos is one of the best.  I should have bought that CD.

I believe I mentioned some of this in endemismo. But not with the Chan-Chan intro.  At this time let me write that Cuba, with the blockade has been able to continue developing that incredible music with so many genres, contrary to Puercorico, USA, here regueton, has been the ultimate development for two

If you are into music, as I am, with the same critical attitude I aproach everything, check those names in youtube. And find your own, develop that curiosity in your spare time...

Apaga i vamonos.

Friday, July 16, 2010


FOR  some time I have noticed spots of what looks like dust on many leaves in the garden.  Always, after it rains.

In the beginning the color/texture of it, made me think of volcanic dust from Monserrat, but it is not. It is the Saharan kind.

It would be nice if our nature pundits start investigating and notifying of the effect on flora and fauna, in the garden context.

Your intercontinental, humble servant has noticed unusual amount of slugs/snails as mentioned in previous post.

I decided to do a little research hoping that others, gardeners and readers would
do likewise.  Below is the result.  Not a big deal since I live in land, but not so good for fish life.

The Eastern Atlantic ocean  is characterized by large phytoplancton blooms; the source of iron is the aeolian dust that blows off the coast of Africa from the Sahara desert.

Replete with nitrogen, phosphorous and iron, among other nutrients, the dust essentially acts as a fertilizer to stimulate the production of large blooms.

   In consequence, algae grows wild and fast, as in steroids depleting the available oxygen, killing every other
form of life in the ocean.

If interested,
Natural Iron Fertilization:
Sahara Dust Storms Stimulate Huge
Plankton Blooms

If you enjoy bananas and plantains...A similar problem caused Chiquita and United Fruit to migrate where the USA,
has no power to control the huge amounts of phosphates used to cultivate them. Central and South America.  These fertilizers create the same problem mentioned in fresh water.


The papaya tree, decided to pass away after the harvest.  17 total. Mostly 3 pounders.  I left two riping in the trunk for the garden birds and other visitors.

There have been some relocations.  The Bouganvillea in the left side of the west garden, creates deep shade in what used
to be a little hell.

Eucharia, Alocasia cucculata, Rhoeo spathacea, dwarf Sanseveria and Plectranthus amboinicus are now residing in the area.

Let the record show that, when designing a garden for mostly sunny conditions, in two years the situation will change completely with increasing  amounts of shade.  You will have to remove/add some vegetation accordingly.
That is that. Apaga i vamonos...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I HAVE stated it before. The save the environment claque into this fad, keep missing one point regarding our surroundings. One example should suffice.  China has 20 percent of the world population, with seven percent of the land.  How can anyone work out this equation? Think of water, food, a roof, air...

People continue procreating as in the bible. However, the earth is reaching its limits.  Saving whales, gorillas, eagles and whatever comes to mind will not save us.  There will be no food, water, or clean air for ALL, to live more or less decently, depending on variables and different standards.

Here is a letter from TIME magazine, from April 2009, it presents briefly my position.  It is also relevant in terms of edible gardens, food production, soil has its limits.

Ethics and Extinction
I applaud the tireless efforts to save endangered species and vanishing habitats, which you address in your cover story, but we need to begin to deal with the root problem:  the exploding population o human beings.  How about a sterilization credit, to encourage people not to reproduce?  We need to export and help finance information about all forms of birth control in all parts of the world, including the U.S.  We have no trouble making decisions to limit the number of other species we deem over abundant, so why not our own?

Ann B. Anderson, Atlanta 

Back in the studio, in  our Caribbean  situation, close by, the people in Haiti are a perfect example of  the rabbit mode procreation.  I believe that no matter how much money from foreign powers be wasted/invested in that country in housing or infrastructure, their situation reached the point of no return.
Only if they could cultivate/harvest a significant proportion of their diet,
with some chicken, pig, cow milk/meet on the side, for nine million people could they survive with the minimal requirements they are used to.

Some readers would like to complicate things, thinking of schools, hospitals, roads, highways, sewage system, as part of the whole, to improve the lives of these people.

To them I say fine.  Just tell me who is paying the bill?  Unless they help themselves, stop fornicating carelessly, they will remain as they are in tents, with garbage and human waste in every corner, or worse.

Religion and ignorance, laid back attitudes,  are partly responsible for the excess population on earth.  To solve the matter, ways to approach both, firmly will have to be taken.
Gardeners and environmental monitor freaks,  into mere beauty and aesthetics,
in their small pretty little cozy worlds disconnected from reality, real/virtual should give some thought to this.  And everyjuan else.
I refuse to accept that Haiti or any other country in similar conditions,  is just a result of colonialism, independence and sugar cane plantations as many condescending pundits have affirmed.

Even if that was the situation, the solution is there.  They will have to stop having children for one, two, or three decades. Apaga i vamonos.


What do you suggest?

From the Editor

Do not even think of unequal distribution of wealth.
The rich, will not distribute
their wealth as some
would like.  Not even RICH churches of all kinds do anything meaningful. Wake up.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Perhaps, you heard the story about Victory Gardens or the Obama's White House edible garden.  This fad is spreading faster than porcine fever in Puercorico.

It is promoted mostly by bufoons of the agronomist persuasion and gullible vegan buffs fishing in murky waters.  There are other$, but making a buck in hard times does not justify talking only about the sunny side up of the matter.   "The wise, intelligent way in touch with nature, to harvest your own food".

Before you take that first step, spending money, time and effort, please check this out, then proceed.

To have any garden, edible or not, the following issues should be kept in perspective: soil preparation, irrigation, weeding, plant rotation/association, pest control, fertilizers, compost on just
the left hand.

On the other, what is your physical shape and stamina?  If you are over forty, kneeling for planting/weeding is not that easy. Back, thighs, calves, neck,
shoulders, arms will be felt after 15 minutes.  You will need a cushion, gloves and a cool hat, cool not as in fashion, but to avoid sun burn.. 

The agronomist fellow offering you four sticks of wood in a rectangle with shitty 
soil from the hardware store will not tell you this, all for fifty bucks.

The problem could be solved with tables. Set your garden HIGH, and avoid all the pain.  As you see gardening is not that fantasy with a happy ending being sold on the media.  Do not get discouraged, you do not have to believe what I write.
I am half way there....

Now orchards, herbs/species and produce have different: soil, sun, shade,
irrigation requirements.  Some grafted
fruit trees do well in adequate pots if you
keep in mind the conditions and variables. The same goes for anything else.

Most gardeners are inclined to plant tomatoes, lettuce and peppers to choose three.  These in turn have 11 different types of insects, fungi, virus or bacteria that will feast on them.

Beetles, snails, slugs, white flies, thrips, to name a few.  Some will chew, suck from your future harvest. Some will kill it early or later.

In consequence, you have to MONITOR for insects daily, checking the leaves over and under to detect damage on time.  What do you know about this?
You should be able to diagnose the problem. The botanical name of the plant will allow you to research and determine what: herbicide, insecticide or fungicide is required.

If you are of the organic tribe, you could also find homemade remedies friendly to the environment, biodiversity to resolve the matter.


Once you make the committment to
create the garden with everything mentioned so far.  Pick what is to be planted, space and/or pot.
Check for growing conditions,
pests and diseases.

Start with a few plants watch, learn
and enjoy.  Do not allow ignorant
imbeciles spreading the edible gardening gospel take your money
away.  You can do it with your
own effort and will.  
Time to go. Apaga i vamonos...

Snails Headcount

North Garden 49
South 2


Thursday, July 8, 2010


For some time, it has been raining. Every other day since May in my gardening zone, Santurce, a mile from the Atlantic.  Not having to worry about
irrigation is great.

However, flowers are not fond of it.  They fall apart. Cosmos sulphureous, for example,  bend with the weight, with terrible consequences, since aesthetics demand to pull them out often.

Rain also helps fungi, and other culprits such as slugs and snails. In the USA, there are forty species.   I never had this problem, as mentioned earlier, the amount of rain and humidity
has been unusual.  This is the best condition for these GARTROPODS to reproduce and chew away your plants.

If there are ducks in your garden, you will not have to worry with these eating machines.  I am not in the mood for picking them up with a flash light at night when they are active.

Today I cleaned the two traps in the north and south garden.  These 2.7 ounces, empty tuna cans with watered down beer are working fine. In the north, 11 snails were caught. 5 are 1/2', 6 snails 1/4' in diameter, plus one 1/2' in the south. Last week, there were 16 slugs in the south, and maybe 5 snails in the north.  Interesting for your humble servant is that they never seem to hang out together. The numbers in traps demonstrate this. 

IN other departments, the bunch of papayas decided to ripe at once, the thirteen of them!  There are about 15 passion fruits and a couple of lemons.

 I would not use Stella Artois or
Guinness for the traps.
They could not tell the difference.
If you use a two to one ounces of beer
to water proportion it will work.

Time to go.  Apaga i vamonos.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


IMAGES  of noisy, fat, ugly and loud people one on top of the other, flew through my mind on the way to Dorado City, in the north west of Puercorico, while driving through the wide, uneven concrete freeway.

At the toll, a minimum wage motorcyclist paid with a five dollar bill. The attendant looks carefully, slowly at the water mark/hologram in the bill against the glare.  The customer, irritated at the slow pace, grabs the four in change, and checks every dollar bill similarly.

A woman, a passenger with this gentleman has a wide round kettle to make rice on her lap. With her left hand,
holds to the driver, with the right the pot
to make rice, probably at the beach.

Once we pass this sign of things to come, a huge jam in the two way road to this public beach.  It is 8:15, I became suspicious about any room left in the parking lot.  At 8:45 we arrive to the parking area, my premonition came true. We parked in the street, walking perhaps two hundred meters to enter the unkempt public entrance, with just one dressed in green employee. 

Not far, the inner city youth, hoodlums from our chabolas and housing projects were abundant.  With their five hundred dollar cars and two thousand dollar stereos, 500 to 1000 watts at full blast playing what else? Regueton!

The sight was scary. Stoned, drunk, listening as in a competition to find out the loudest car stereo. We walked to the left, probably a mile, landing in front of  the no tresspasing signs of some bankrupt hotel, Dorado Beach.  I could still hear the sound of that damn music, not unlike AK47 and exploding mortars.  That is why probably they enjoy it. The violence of the bass at full blast.

Thespesia populnea, Pines, Noni, 
Terminalia catalpa, few Cocos nucifera,
crabs, pigeons, Mozambiques were the predominant biodiversity available.
Nice, warm, crystal clear water.  Organic residues on the sand, with plastic bags flying around.

As time passed by, more fat, ugly, natives arrived with huge gas grills, food, beverages beer and  alcohol getting closer and closer to our early real estate sand spot.

While in the water, the injury to the insult, use and custom that is the lack of respect of personal, individual space in Puerto Rico, four inner city youth arrived with two PITBULLS an adult and puppy. They sat two feet from our space and we left.  Another day at the beach in the midst of barbarian islanders.


In the garden there is not much to report, that is new.  Flowers bloom, some are relocated, the pumpkin is now climbing
the fence, but something else has never happened with such intensity.

Damage by snail attacks has increased among the Hibiscus, Plectrantus and Tradescantias.  I believe that some tolerance to damage, aesthetic, that is, should be developed. But this is too much.

I decided to start damage control. If you read sometime that beer attracts this pest, is true.  I use 2.7 tuna cans at
at soil level.  Six snails and 16 slugs passed away, in 48 hours.

Damage from these creatures of god is different from beetles.  The chewing,  is at random, not on edges of leaves as the latter. I am not happy with the killing, but there is no choice.  That is that, apaga i vamonos.

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