The City of Arroyo Grande designates the Sweet Pea as the Official City Flower

At its September 9, 2008 meeting the Arroyo Grande City Council adopted a resolution designating Sweet Pea (lathyrus odoratus) as the official City flower. The selection was based upon a request from Arroyo Grande In Bloom, which recognized the historical significance of the Sweet Pea to the community in the late 1800’s. Early records detail the agricultural legacy of Reverend Lewis C. Routzahn, a Lutheran minister from Illinois, who began farming with his wife’s parents, Thomas and Minerva McClure. According to an undated article in the South County Tribune, “Routzahn specialized in pansies and sweet peas and soon attracted the attention of the nation’s leading seeds men [including W. Atlee Burpee] who began buying his seed to sell under their own labels.” The flowers attracted the attention of the local women and thousands of blossoms were donated by Routzahn to adorn floral pieces of stars, crescents, American flags and other designs for the annual Sweet Pea Fair. The fair attracted visitors from San Luis Obispo and the northern part of Santa Barbara County.

The Arroyo Grande in Bloom Committee has plans to commemorate the sweet pea in plantings throughout the city and by designing a seed packet for distribution at local events and garden centers.

Arroyo Grande in Bloom seeks to organize individual residents, city employees, business organizations and civic groups in projects that beautify and improve the overall appearance of the city. The city of Arroyo Grande is entered in America in Bloom, a national competition based on judging of eight criteria and population.

America In Bloom is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and both personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements, and to providing educational programs and resources to that end.