City of Albuquerque crews plant flowers to help bees, pollinators

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s spring and pretty flowers are blooming, including ones the City of Albuquerque’s crews are planting for more than just aesthetics.

There’s a lot of buzz is around the project, too. Beekeeper Amy Owen knows what good flowers do for the bees who serve our planet.

“We think, right away, about how they pollinate so much of our food. They say, in every three bites we eat, we can thank a bee for that pollination and their service. Also, we’re learning that bees are a good indicator of environmental health. So, if you’re in a honeybee colony, and they are not very healthy, that can be indicative of poor floral resources around,” Owen said.

Not only are floral resources important for honey bees but bumble bees, butterflies and other pollinators also benefit.

Some of those populations are quickly shrinking. That’s why the city’s Solid Waste Department is planting different types of plants to help them.

“We got quite a few snapdragons, whirling butterflies, vinka, some petunias,” said Sterling Christopherson of the city’s solid waste department.

Crews are beginning near CNM’s campus but will continue planting flowers across the city. They’re also putting down some wildflower seeds and those will take over later in the year.

“Anything good for the bees is good for us. The bees, birds and butterflies really enjoy it,” Christopherson said.

“That’s something that beekeepers talk about. We hate large spots of grass, we’re like, ‘there could be so many pollinator plants feeding the bees right there,’ because you’re watering the grass anyway, why not water really pretty plants?” Owen said.

If you’re thinking about planting for pollinators in your personal garden, make sure things are blooming throughout the season. Also, if you’re thinking about planting wildflowers, those need to be planted in the spring or late fall. Therefore, now may be the best time to start.