Patrick Trautfield

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Relax. Breathe. Now open. Feel better?

You are invited to escape to an enchanting land, where the flowers are endless and views are breathtaking, right on the Cal Poly campus. Where is this magical place, you ask? The Leaning Pine Arboretum located in building 48 on Via Carta Road at the north end of campus.

Featuring nine different gardens spanning over five acres of luscious landscape, spectators will discover the beauty San Luis Obispo has to offer, all cared for by Cal Poly students and staff. The arboretum has no admission fee and encourages visitors to enjoy the area on their own or through a scheduled guided tour.

“The quietness and comfort are what students enjoy most,” said environmental horticulture science senior Patrick Grady.

“It’s also a very soothing place to do homework,” he said.

Education is the arboretum’s primary mission, which also serves as a habitat for various birds throughout the seasons, not to mention the ever-changing plants. Whether you plan to relax on the lawn to do homework or just to walk around to appreciate the area, the Leaning Pine Arboretum is a must-see while at Cal Poly.

Most students here have never been to the arboretum, let alone heard of it. But they are truly missing out on one of Cal Poly’s best kept secrets.

“It’s not well advertised,” Grady said, hoping that soon students will know the arboretum exists and utilize what it has to offer.

Environmental horticulture science students maintain the area for classes, senior projects or as a job. All plants are labeled with their names and origins. Visitors will find plans stemming from countries all over the world as they make their way through the Australia Garden, Chilean Garden, South African Garden and even a California Garden.

Construction is underway for new dorms being built out past the arboretum, so once those open in a few years, the arboretum may be more visible and frequently visited.

Agriculture business senior Stacy Meakin took a horticulture class her freshman year and visited the arboretum then. She recommends that all students experience its beauty at some point during their college career.

“They have a garden that is absolutely gorgeous and it was a good way to enjoy San Luis Obispo’s nature,” she said. “It would be nice to go there and read a book, whether you live on or off campus.”

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