I Was Gonna Build a House, But a Wildflower Meadow Sounds Nice, Too


ClarkiaSo there you are, an ordinary West Coast real estate developer, working on your latest 3800 square-foot home in the East Bay, when what do you stumble across but ten percent of the planet’s population of the endangered wildflower Clarkia franciscana, also known as the Presidio Clarkia.


It’s not enough that you’re planning to set aside an acre for a conservation easement that would also preserve the Tiburon buckwheat and the not-at-all-stuck-on-itself Most Beautiful Jewelflower (Streptanthus albidus peramoenus).  Nope–sorry, Dennis the Developer.  This is a wildflower, and it’s an annual, which means that it could spring up just about anywhere, including right under those happy homeowners’ whirlpool bath or those Mexican tiles in the atrium.  Clarkia2 In other words, an acre somewhere or other just won’t cut it.

Now, I’m on the side of the wildflower here, I really am.  But I gotta sympathize with the developer, who noticed that these endangered wildflowers are–uh–pretty easy to grow from seed.  In fact, he brought the City Council a photo of a Presidio Clarkia he’d grown himself from seed collected on his land, thus increasing the plant’s worldwide population by–what? 13 percent?

Oh, and excavating 1400 cubic yards of soil for this project would unearth not just a handful of wildflowers, but also quite a lot of asbestos, and the neighbors aren’t so happy about that stuff floating around.  Dennis, buddy, you may need to find yourself another project.  Either that, or go into the nursery business–looks like you’ve got a knack for growing rare plants.

Via:  Alameda Times-Star  Photos via National Park Service.


  1. How does one go about convincing a populous to aid a wildling in a last effort to grow free?
    I don’t know the answer.
    I only grow flowers and let wild things come and go in my garden unmolested. These questions are beyond my understanding.

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