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Restoration project underway at Pollinator Garden in Phoenix

The group who is working together to restore the Pollinator Garden in Phoenix is seen. From left to right, Gary Krause of Gary Krause Landscaping, Cody Scoggins with the Medford Water Commission, Julie Smitherman with Southern Oregon Landscapers Association, Annie Drager with Bee City USA Phoenix, Sharon Schmidt with Cascade Girl, Gerlinde Smith with Bee City USA Talent, and Janine Sturm with This Seasons Colors Inc. (Courtesy: Bee City USA Phoenix)

Seven months after the Almeda Fire devastated the region, a restoration project is underway at the Pollinator Garden at the Blue Heron Park in Phoenix.

Several local organizations are working together to restore the garden after the fire left it riddled with debris and burned down pollinator plants.

“We got really hit hard in Phoenix by COVID-19 and then the Almeda fire, we are still struggling to get ourselves back together,” Annette Drager, the vice-chair of Bee City USA Phoenix said.

Drager explained the garden serves as a hub for pollinators throughout the area.

She said the garden included fruit trees and native plants which supplied pollen for pollinators.

“The fire swept through and killed all of the fruit trees, it destroyed shrubs that were not a part of the pollinator garden which we have now pulled out and that is the area where we are enlarging for more native plants that will be supportive of the bees, butterflies, birds, all the creations that need pollen and nectar to survive,” Drager said.

Drager shared the garden’s water irrigation system was completely destroyed by the fire. She said a new water system is being donated by Southern Oregon Landscapers Association.

“We have wonderful people helping us,” she said. “It’s a big project, we are doing the best we can to have a beautiful restored garden and inspire people to plant more pollinator gardens.”

She explained the pollinator garden is essential for the future of our local crops.

“Without bees, most of our vegetable crops would not be able to survive, our fruits would definitely not survive in the valley, our pears, our almond trees, apple trees,” Drager said. “We have a reciprocity between us and nature and sometimes we forget to honor the rest of the web of life.”

The project is sponsored by the City of Phoenix, Bee City USA, Cascade Girl, biodynamics expert Gerlinde Smith, Southern Oregon Landscapers Association and volunteers.

Yhe group will host a planting party 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Drager added, volunteers are needed, and lunch will be provided.