Posted: 19/03/2017 at 19:28
If I think about the things that the bees home in on in big numbers then it would be borage, phacelia, sedum, lime trees (they will work these until late evening if the temperature is reasonable - and the honey is superb!) and ivy ... which they get a great feed from to set them up for the winter.
I have to say though that when the oilseed rape is flowering in nearby fields, I don't see half so many bees in the garden. The same is true later in the season when the himalayan balsam is flowering on the riverbanks here.
Watery makes a really important point about planting in big clumps. The bees will go back to the hive and perform a waggle dance to let other bees know the location of a good source of nectar / pollen .. and before you know it there is a horde of bees enjoying themselves!
Bob is also right about the need to have a succession of plants across the year. Gorse is a great bee plant as there's usually some flowering somewhere.
We've been beekeeping for 10 years now ... and every year is different ... the weather plays a big part, and the bees are always teaching us things.