Every Sunday morning at 10 AM, a group of folks sporting gardening attire gathers at the Downtown corner of 4th Street and Pine Avenue. They are members of the Pine Beautification Posse, and they are on a mission.
“Beautify Pine is an all-volunteer group whose purpose is to make North Pine beautiful,” said Carole Sergy, who co-leads the group with Pat Welch. “Our main goal is to revitalize 12 planters on Pine Avenue corners between 4th and 7th streets. It’s our way of improving the cityscape and bringing beauty to peoples’ lives.”
There are several Downtown residents who volunteer with Beautify Pine, but anyone is welcome to join. To solicit and organize volunteers, the group produces a weekly newsletter, promotes its activities on Instagram and Facebook, and has a website which explains its mission.
A typical Beautify Pine Sunday would start with the 10 AM meet-up. The volunteers head north on Pine with their three gardening carts, picking up trash and surveying the planters as they go. Sometimes they bring new plants — often donated — and assess the moisture conditions in the planters.
“We have found plants, all drought tolerant, that work well, such as Senecio, Agave, Euphorbia, and Aloe,” noted Sergy. “We have consulted with gardening experts such as Root and Branch Landscapes and Long Beach Community Compost. We use only organic products.”
Sergy and Welch’s work on Pine began several years ago, when they started watering a few trees that didn’t have a nearby functioning water source. They also noticed that the 12 planters needed an ongoing maintenance plan. “We had to find spigots on the street. We used watering cans and a cart, and then a garden hose,” Sergy explained.
This became a burden requiring more organization and money. The group found financial support from District One Councilwoman Mary Zendejas, and also found an ally in Michael Gazzano, West Coast Managing Director of Turnbridge Equities, the company that is developing the Mosaic retail center at 290 E 4th St. Turnbridge has donated funds to Beautify Pine and is supporting the group with its landscaping crew.
If you are interested in joining up with the Beautify Pine, please click here.
“A person who starts out as one of our volunteer newbies quickly becomes someone who loves to get dirty, learn skills and use tools,” said Sergy. “The hard work becomes addictive. We love finding neglected areas and doing weeding, watering, pruning, and removing trash. We are very enthusiastic.”
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