I used to be terrified of bees, until we planted Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha) along the walkway to our house. When it blooms, it is covered with honey bees, carpenter bees, and butterflies. Hummingbirds visit throughout the day.
The bees are so busy gathering pollen, that they rarely notice of anyone standing nearby. And even though my husband and I walk by them daily, we haven’t been stung since we planted the sage five years ago.
The bee visiting the flower (in the above photographs) is a female carpenter bee, which will sting but only if disturbed. The males have a white spot on their foreheads, and do not have stingers. They are the ones that “harass” people by flying at them. The more someone waves their arms or runs, the more the males “attack” because they’re attracted by movement.
Mexican sage loves direct sunlight, is heat and drought tolerant, and requires only small amounts of fertilizer. Next year, I may plant a row in “the dead zone” of our yard, where little grows because the sun’s a little too intense and the soil’s a bit too dry.