Nature lover Cicoria founded The Landscape Concern
Longtime Peninsula Conservancy volunteer Rebecca “Becky” Celeste Cicoria died peacefully in her beloved breakfast nook at her San Pedro home near Averill Park on Thursday, May 25.
Cicoria was born January 21, 1959, the youngest of five children, Michael Anthony, and Virginia May Cicoria. She attended La Cresta Elementary School by walking through the canyon (now part of the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve) behind her childhood home on Oceanaire. She was always captivated by animals and championed the needs of domestic and wild animals who crossed her path, from cats, dogs, and horses, to birds, bees, raccoons, tortoises, and skunks. She frequently shared childhood stories of Guapo, Rusty, and Misty, her favorite childhood pets.
Cicoria continued her learning at Ridgecrest Middle School and Rolling Hills High School, before pursuing her studies in botany at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
In 1984, she founded TLC (The Landscape Company, subsequently renamed The Landscape Concern). The company thrives to this day, led by Hugo Arroyo Barron and his capable team.
Cicoria’s love for beautiful flowers was best captured by her friend Ilga’s work making stunning arrangements, some displayed at the Oceanaire residence for holidays. She loved wild and commercially grown flowers. She once asked rhetorically if there could be such a thing as an ugly flower.
Cicoria worked to remove invasive plants from the Peninsula. On one occasion with friend Josette, she removed massive acacia shrubs that were overgrowing two large toyon shrubs in Lunada Canyon. She climbed to the top of the shrubs where she wielded a 10-foot pole tipped with an electric chainsaw to remove acacia branches the goats couldn’t eat. The project took three trips to the top of the shrubs, and took 400 goats 15 hours to eat her clippings, ultimately revealing an area in Lunada Canyon that will be forever cherished by the Conservancy and by her friends.
Her work was cited in a grant request that resulted in the State Fish & Wildlife Department awarding $200,000 to restore Lunada Canyon in the Agua Amarga Reserve, a project just now getting underway.
Cicoria’s friends described her as game for anything. In just the last year she traveled with friends to the Bahamas, to specialty nurseries, regional parks, the Carrizo Plains, Santa Barbara’s Lotusland, and to equestrian outings. She hosted cousins from Italy, and also rescued a dozen kittens, fostered a dog and extended help to friends for home repairs, while also caring for her mother.
Cicoria is survived by her mother Virginia, her siblings Vincent Cicoria, Carmela Louie, Eva Cicoria (Ken Swenson), and Virgil Cicoria as well as nephew Ryan Louie, and nieces Jenna Louie, Bree Swenson and Danielle Swenson. Details about a memorial were not available at the time of publication. Pen