Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Easy Grow Borage

Borage is easy to grow

I'll tell you a story of my borage. Some years ago I had a borage plant. It grew to about 40cm tall (about 15 in) and I treasured it. Borage is a herb that attracts the bees. It is also known as star flower. It has beautiful, blue flowers. Borage also self seeds. This means that it drops its seeds and they will come up again by themselves - no work for you. 

This little plant and its babies flowered on for two or three years, then it disappeared for a few years. Another plant appeared, a thin, spindly plant. Then we had a drought for ten year.No more seedlings appeared during those years and I thought 'Well, I have lost it this time.'

Vibrant blue coronet of Borage herb photographed from above


No Borage to a Surplus of Borage

Recently we dug up the garden in that area and built a chicken house. The ground around it was bare. A few months later some borage seedlings appeared. Wow! I was excited. I'm sure the borage fairies hovered in the area to make sure these plants grew. 

Now we have the most amazing, sturdy, large, tall patch of borage you could ever imagine. This has grown to nearly one metre (3ft) by about 1.2 mts (4 ft). It has been covered in beautiful, blue, nodding stars for a couple of months now. 

The large happy plants of the Herb Borage. 

How to use Borage

Borage flowers can be frozen in ice blocks and used for cold drinks in the summer. They can also be used to decorate dishes of your favourite food and can be eaten. The leaves are dark green and hairy, having little spiky hairs all over the leaf. These are not prickly although they look it. The leaves can be dried, ground and used as a tea. 

How Borage Benefits the rest of the Garden

We need bees in the garden. They pollinate a lot of plants. Lots of vegetables need to be pollinated by the bees so we can get their fruit, for example pumpkin, zucchini and tomatoes. 

Borage brings bees to the garden. Bees especially love blue flowers, so will gather in abundance, enjoy the borage flowers then buzz on over to your vegetable flowers. Then you will get an abundance of vegetables. 

There is no need to be frightened of bees. Welcome them into your garden. Say 'Thank you for coming' and just stay away from your blue flowers while the bees are working in the hottest part of the day. 

Benefits of Borage

The seeds of this lovely blue flower are also collected, crushed and the oil from them is used in the cosmetic industry and as a supplement. Borage is filled with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Borage is soothing and calming and helps the adrenal glands. These are affected when we are under stress. 

Photos by Therese Vahland

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