Planting Pride In Leucadia

Highway 101 through Leucadia, Calif., will be decorated with a series of banners later this year, one of which features the late Paul Ecke Sr.

A photograph of Paul Sr., the creator of the modern world market for poinsettias who founded the Paul Ecke Ranch, is superimposed on the front of the banner standing in a field of poinsettias. The banner has a written theme, “Crimson Fields of Flowers Flare,” and the backside reads, “Leucadia: The Art & Soul Of Encinitas.” It also includes Encinitas’ self-proclaimed nickname, Flower Capital of the World.

“It is very exciting what you can do to make communities more walkable and pedestrian friendly,” says Paul Ecke III, the chairman and CEO of the Paul Ecke Ranch who’s Paul Sr.’s grandson.

Fred Caldwell is the artist who designed the Ecke banner. He used to drive down California’s Route 66, gaze out his window and admire the Burma Shave poems posted on signs along the highway. The signs were part of his inspiration.

“It was neat to have banners that kind of tell stories like Burma Shave did years ago,” he says.

A drive now through Leucadia, Calif., can be just as entertaining. Custom-made banners from local artists have lined Highway 101 through Encinitas over the last nine years. And 10 banners Caldwell recently designed, including the Ecke banner, will be displayed on lampposts in Leucadia in a couple of months.

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