Some plants provide nectar, some plants provide pollen and many plants provide both. Below is an alphabetical list of the most popular garden perinneals that pollinating bees and insects will love.
Bumble bees forage almost every type of flower so pretty much anything you plant will appeal to them. While foraging they can go from one type of flower to another. Bumble bees are the big fuzzy black and yellow bees.
Did you know that all the foragers are girls? It's true. Some flowers have tricks to be opened and others need a big heavy or strong bee to open the flower to reach the nectar. For example a bumblebee has to pry open the snapdragon to get inside as in the picture.
Honey bees are brown and black and fuzzy as well. When bees fly their bodies create static electricity and this is when their fur comes in handy because when they land on a flower the static causes the pollen to stick to their fur.
Honey bees forage differently than bumble bees. They prefer to source one type of flower in a larger patch that they go home to tell the other gals about. We've observed in the garden how much they love Cat Mint, Cat nip, anything mint, and sages, particularly Russian Sage, sedums, goldenrod, clover, lavender and cone flowers. Goldenrod and asters are needed by the bees as fall forage to help fill up their honeycombs so they have food for the long cold winter.
The list below is not an exhaustive list at all but just a few flowers in the garden that bees like to feed on. In early spring they get pollen from trees, dandelions, and forsythia just to name a few. Bees would be happy to have any of the plants listed below put in your garden.
If you'd like to read more about the special relationship between bees and flowers read about A Flower's Secret - Candy for Bees
Golden Honey Plant
Joe Pye Weed K
Monarda (Bee Balm
Tree of Heaven
*Note: Red Clover yields to Bumble Bees only