Honeybees are the gardener's best friend. They pollinate flowers, which then produce fruit and vegetables for us to eat and seeds to grow next year's crop. Attract bees to your garden by growing plants that bees find irresistible. If you're the brave sort, set a large clay pot upside down near your garden and they just may build a hive inside of it. From this you can harvest honey for personal use and a small amount of beeswax.
One of the many salvias, Germander sage (Salvia chamaedryoides) is one of the few true blue flowers, which honeybees find attractive. It grows about 18 inches high and spreads to about 24 inches wide. It is a perennial that is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 10, but it is widely grown as an annual in colder areas. Germander sage is a heat-loving plant that should be planted in full sun in well-drained soil, although it will grow in nearly any type of soil except heavy clay. This plant will put out a flush of bloom in early summer and again in fall.
Named for the Greek god of the sun Helios, sunflowers (Helianthus annus) resemble the sun with their yellow ray-like petals that encircle a large center filled with edible seeds. Sunflowers have the unusual habit of tracking the sun's path across the sky by turning their faces to the sun's position. During the night the face turns back around to face east before the sun rises. Available in a wide variety of cultivars and hybrids, sunflowers can range in size from 1 foot to 12 feet high. There is always a flurry of activity around a garden with sunflowers. Honeybees find them irresistible, but so do squirrels and birds, both of whom eat the ripened seeds.
Available in many different varieties, the two main types of cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus and C. sulphureus) are very attractive to honeybees. Their flower centers are raised up above the level of the flower petals, making it easier for bees to get to the pollen. Cosmos bipinnatus grow up to 4 feet high and their flowers come in shades of white, pink and rose, with some varieties bicolored. Their leaves are finely laced and resemble the foliage of asparagus. Cosmos sulphureus are shorter plants, growing about 2 feet high and come in shades of red, orange, gold and yellow, including bicolors. Cosmos is an annual that easily reseeds itself in your garden.