British Columbia

Attract bees to your garden with these colourful perennial plants

Master gardener Brian Minter shares tips on how to make your garden buzz

Master gardener Brian Minter shares tips on how to make your garden buzz

'Right now, we are in a swarm season, as we call it,' says Thomas Schweizer. The warm spring weather signals the height of honeybee mating season, and overpopulated hives will begin to split apart, as swarms of bees set out in search of new homes. (Getty Images)

A frightening noise to some can be a joyful hum to others.

For master gardener Brian Minter, the buzzing sound of pollinators doesn't evoke fears of a sting. Instead, it's a seasonal harmony that indicates the flowers are in bloom, and gardens across the land are full of life and colour.

"It's not all about [the gardener] anymore," Minter told host Michell Elliot on CBC's BC Today. "It's all about the environment, things like pollinators, birds, and the wildlife that play an important role in our lives."

Minter says there's a handful of perennials that gardeners can tap into this summer season — each of which will bring long-lasting colour to your garden, and attract a variety of bees to pollinate.

The bee balm flower is known to draw bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies into gardens. (Maria Noel Groves/Associated Press)

Bee balm

The monarda, commonly referred to as bee balm, is a colourful perennial that gardeners will never walk by without seeing bees buzzing about, according to Minter.

"We're getting new and better varieties that are more resistant to mildew," said Minter. "And a lot of them are reblooming, which is great."

Bee balm is also known to draw butterflies and hummingbirds.

Minter says blue flowering nepeta can bring the cheerful sound of pollinators to your garden. (SmartPicVids/YouTube)

​Blue flowering nepeta

Despite not being the colour of preference for pollinators, Minter says the blue flowering nepeta draws its fair share of pollinators while adding unique shades of blue to your garden.

"It is outdoing everything else," said Minter. "I look at the field where we grow them and they're completely covered all the time."

Blue nepeta is known to be low maintenance and drought tolerant during dry summers.

Lavendar can add scent and wildlife to your garden, says Minter. (Submitted by Peter Meijer)


​When it comes to bringing a combination of scent and colour to your garden, lavender might just reign supreme, according to Minter.

English lavender, or angustifolia, can grow throughout most of B.C. and are known to bring home the bees.

"It has it all," said Minter, adding that other varieties, including lavender stoechas varieties, are also increasing in popularity and have repeat blooms through the season.

"For the bees and the pollinators, it's really, really good."