I am on the phone with Clipboard Lady the next day. “I hope you realize that many of those plants are poorly sited. You have shade lovers in the sun and full sun plants in the shade. If very many of those plants reach their mature size, they’ll crowd each other to death. And the plants near the fence, what were you thinking?” I had already talked to Ken’s workman, who told me that he’d been instructed to place the plants on an offset five-foot grid with the exception of a few specific plants: the conifers here and there, and the plants that were placed at the base of the fence line. “It was not my decision,” said Clipboard. “You have Acer Macrophyllum and Malus Fusca five and a half feet from the house!”I said. Bigleaf Maple has a mature size of 50 to 90 feet high and wide;Pacifc Crabapple is a ‘shrub’ that wants to be 35 feet by 35 feet…and is covered by 4 inch spiny thorns. Five years from now my family will be blocked in; ten years from now my patio will be uprooted; and 15 years from now I will be trying to hack my way through Audrey II the Pacific Crabapple, never to be heard from again.
I questioned her knowledge of plants, her foresight, her decision-making ability. There are 289 plants in the mitigation plan. Most of them are understory trees and large shrubs. “You do know that plants grow, right?” I didn’t understand why, if nature wanted this to be a clearing before the house was there, she was trying to create a thicket. It was an effort to remain civil. “I have a degree in biology. I know what I am doing,” Clipboard said. “And as I told you, it wasn’t my decision. I am working for the city.”
The city directed the builder to hire a consultant. The consultant created the mitigation plan for the builder. The consultant directed the builder’s crew in planting. I paid for the plan, the plants, and the labor as a part of my construction contract. The consultant ‘works for the city.’ Pretty sweet business plan.