I’ve talked about how there is a decided lack of resources about “bee gardening.” Nevertheless, there are some things we do know from gardening for other pollinators (like no pesticides) and things we know about bees in general that we can apply to gardening for them.
First of all, we know that bees don’t see the color red. Interesting, isn’t it? That’s why we plant red for the hummingbirds. It’s not that hummingbirds always need red plants; it’s that they have evolved to know that they will find nectar in the red flowers because the bees won’t have been there. Bees see the color red–if they see it at all–as black.
The color that bees see best is blue. So if you would prefer that bees stay away from you when you are out-of-doors, wear some other color. They other colors that they prefer are white, yellow and purple. Since these are pretty much the same colors that butterflies prefer, it’s easy to garden for bees and butterflies at the same time.
Another suggestion is to try to have several different types of flowers in bloom at the same time (a minimum of 3 is the suggestion) and plant as broad a swath as you can. You want the bees to find your garden and you want them to get as much pollen from it as possible.
Finally, another way to help them is to put a very shallow saucer full of water in the garden–and then put stones in the water. This will give the bees places to perch and sip the water. I’ve seen suggestions that the water be so shallow that it should evaporate daily. That choice is up to you.