SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - An elegant touch has been added to the classic beach town of Morro Bay, thanks to a beautification effort by Cal Poly’s Horticulture and Crop Science Department and Morro Bay in Bloom.
Planter boxes filled with green foliage and blooming flowers can now be seen throughout the downtown area.
Nonprofit Morro Bay in Bloom donated plants to Cal Poly, where students grew them in the university’s Horticulture Unit. They later transferred them to 18 planter boxes that were placed near businesses in the city.
Cal Poly lecturer Susan Snyder spearheaded the design concepts, while Wendy Robinson, manager of Cal Poly’s greenhouses, oversaw the plant production.
“Cal Poly’s partnership with Morro Bay in Bloom provided students with a hands-on horticulture project that they were able to execute from start to finish,” Robinson said. “Students grew the plants from 2-inch rooted plugs and were tasked with creating an aesthetic plan for integrating them throughout the city.”
Morro Bay in Bloom consists of volunteers, dedicated to beautifying the city by landscaping public spaces. Areas maintained by the group include: the traffic circle on Morro Bay Boulevard, the flower boxes along Morro Bay Boulevard and Main Street, and flower beds along Morro Bay’s Embarcadero and the Visitors’ Center.
The nonprofit secured the seedlings from Proven Winners, a plant wholesale company.
“The new collaboration among Cal Poly, Morro Bay in Bloom, and Proven Winners is a solid success for all three partners,” said Laurel Barton, a Morro Bay in Bloom volunteer. “Cal Poly horticulture students are exposed to a hands-on learning experience guided by customer expectations; Proven Winners gets a new location and microclimate to test its plants and gather public feedback; and Morro Bay in Bloom gets to test drive new varieties of plants grown by a new generation of dedicated students.”
The city has been recognized three times for its beautification efforts by America in Bloom, a national program that promotes beautification through education and community involvement by encouraging the use of natural enhancements.
Organizers hope this latest effort with Cal Poly will lead to another beautification award.