Behind the Scenes: Cal Poly Poinsettias

The Cal Poly Plant shop this year has over 4 thousand poinsettia plants for sale this holiday season. Group 3 settled on writing about this topic after a number of false starts. First, we wanted to write about goat yoga that was going to occur at Madonna Inn. We investigated this yoga event and found that there was a class scheduled for the first Saturday of our project. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that another Mustang News writer was going to tackle this topic so we went back to the drawing board.

Next, we investigated the possibility of writing about the cube satellites that had recently sent back pictures from Mars. Cal Poly had helped build and program these satellites and it was a big deal to get the first images back. We spoke with a Mustang news editor who had worked on the cube sat team and she said the story would probably be very technical. The team was skeptical of journalists and might be reluctant to talk to us, she said.

We then decided to pivot to another topic: drag show bingo. We found an event put on by the Cal Poly Pride Center for a fundraiser called Drag Bingo. The night would feature games and people dressing up in drag, and all group members were really excited to go to it. I did some background research and the Cal Poly students were really excited to learn about drag bingo. Unfortunately, this event was cancelled shortly before we could write about it and we had to head back to brainstorming for stories.

To our delight, we found out that goat yoga hadn’t been written about as we’d previously thought. We called Madonna Inn to see if we could come to their event on Saturday and, surprise surprise, it had been cancelled.

Finally, we settled on a topic we had been considering all along- the Cal Poly Plant Shop’s annual poinsettia sale. We learned that the shop had over 4,000 plants this year and were interested to know what the rub was on these holiday plants.

I reached out to the parents on the Cal Poly Parents Facebook page and they were more than excited about these leafy treasures. The parents wanted to know all about the care of the plants, the prices, the varietals for sale, and if they really were toxic to cats (it apparently is an old wives tale and unfounded).

My group went to the greenhouses on campus and took beautiful pictures of the poinsettias. Max interviewed one of the students working on the project. “For anyone considering doing this project in the future, be ready to work hard but I promise the rewarding feeling of seeing the plants that the team worked with for months being purchased by smiling and wowed customers is priceless and something that we won’t forget,” Graeme Davis said.

My team also enjoyed the project. “It was really interesting to see the behind-the-scenes process of the greenhouses and the plant shop. Knowing how much time and effort the poinsettia team spent preparing for the sale makes me appreciate the project even more,” said Max Goldberg. In his signature style, Carter Harrington also chimed in: “Cal Poly poinsettias are the witches tits. The beez kneez. The creme de la creme.”

As for Emily Fagenstrom, she was still stuck on the goat idea. “I love baby goats!”