Wednesday, October 3, 2012



This was my canvas in 2002, after my return from New York.   The lawn took over ninety minutes with the best and quieter trimmer in the market, a 14 pound Stihl, and a  Great States 3' push mower to maintain it as you see.  Both have been collecting dust since 2005.

The residence in Bayamon, facing south,  was a project built in the sixties. It  had a big yard with many over sixty species collected by Rengui, my inlaw, during thirty years.

The difference between then and now is radical in many ways. The inventory was not mine, except some I planted during my stay, as these shown. The soil, orange/yellow clay, slippery when wet and hard as concrete when dry.  The temperature,  rains and breeze more frequent and much cooler.
The noise from neighbors left, right and front similar, and different somehow from what we get from the indigent riff raff next door now. 

Last night me wife and I dropped by for a rosary.  A Catholic ritual for the dead.  Donha Juanita, a nice lady two houses down.  Memories, dusty and forgotten from me childhood came back in a flash, when me mother took me to church without much choice. 
Of all this healthy vegetation photos, only the cypress planted by us, (circa 1984) and a gardenia, planted later, remains in 2012.


NOT all was foolish lawn maintenance, noise and CO2. The north side was my favorite spot.  It had more weight in terms of composition. Texture, color, height, more aesthetics if I may. The space dominated by this Cestrum diurnum,  a daily magnet for 
butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, Spindalis, zorzales, ruisenhores, pitirres and Anolis lizards.  The Crotons were significant.


S same at ground level.

 NOW fast forward to 2004, our current residence.  This is what we found when we moved. The sterility, glare and dullness could not be worse.  With some imagination, patience and vision, the abominable north side started to change, becoming my favorite area, and that of a few readers of this space, and others in FB.

 Driveway 2008

The photo below is evidence of the changes taking place that same year. The soil, when available, is ninety five percent sand with a tittle orange clay. The heat is more intense, with saline breeze to season the whole. The high bed to the right was all ferns, ninety five percent were eliminated, leaving a croton in the middle with a couple of gardenias planted later,  and a variety of  species not to be enumerated at this time.

Driveway  2010

 IN my opinion, most of the time in a humble mode, there is no other garden like this in Puerto Rico or the Caribbean.  The over one hundred botanical collection is just one thing.  The intention, focus, regarding the urban concrete/asphalt context with flora and fauna in mind, makes it unique, until further notice or anyjuan could prove otherwise.

Any garden is really a work in progress. Many plants survive, others pass away completing their life cycle, diseases, insects or exiled.  The joy and pleasure of watching all those creatures visiting the premises for nectar, food and/or housing is beyond any recognition by peers, mostly outside this forsaken island.

However, there is some pride involved.  When any visitor drops by offering a comment or not, agreeing with my views or not is also a little part, with some weight regarding my practice, theories and opinion.

FINALLY, I thank all of you able to separate grain from straw.  All peers gardening with dirt/sun/heat or just the monitor, with vision, beyond the surface, designing practice considering the variables making intelligent and pragmatic ways/blogs, deserve my respect and appreciation no matter where you are in the five continents.

This first DECADE  gardening with clay or sand was not easy. Moving away from conventional gardening--turf, palms, ficus, hedges--, noise and pollution, custom and use,  worn out paths, leave my ways outside.  In the beginning, I went through intense bitter/sour/sweet periods, thinking of them donkeys
led to the water, refusing to drink, but that was then.

  Peace and tranquility have arrived with the job done, aware of the unfinished task left, a satisfaction hard to define/describe.  To your left, on top, are a couple of photos showing the looks of north/south now.


in Puerto Rico all the above stink beyond belief.
On top,
not one of the many with such tittles publishes anything,
not even some photos as constated in their
architect headquarters in Calle del Parque, or
the school of architecture, University of Puerto Rico,
a horrendous building with a landscape installation
surely inspired by the abominable Brasilia,
by Roberto Burle Marx.  Believe it or not!



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