Borage – Borago officinalis – A true blue addition to any garden

Borage flowers offer a lovely shade of true blue in the garden.

This herb and its star-shaped flowers are not only beautiful, but extremely useful! I’ve always felt this plant was underrated in our gardens, unlike the past where its qualities were highly valued.

Admiring them as one would any species with a historical pedigree, as an heirloom, cultivated since at least the 1440s, the folklore they encompass states just how much borage was valued. It was said to bring courage to one’s heart. “Borage for courage” as the saying goes. Ancient Celtic people believed borage offered courage in the face of enemies on the battle field. How extraordinary!

Back to our modern times, it’s a courageous companion plant, known for repelling hornworms on tomatoes, offering this plant a serious, if not fashionable comeback.

Borage may be considered an annual herb where I live, but it self seeds easily and appreciates any extra warmth offered by the raised beds in our yard. They’ve settled in quite happily!

The dainty flowers are edible, offering a slight cucumber-like flavour. Use them in soups, salads, sandwiches, or as a substitute for spinach (stuffed into traditional pasta), or as a pretty garnish on the plate. A friend of mine uses them to flavour her pickles, while another makes teas and assorted iced drinks with them.

Thankfully Borage is not a fussy plant and grows well in most soils. I’m happy to report that deer avoid Borage like the plague, likely due to its fuzzy leaves. A real plus in many a gardener’s mind!

If you like to save and share, Borage seeds are easily harvested. Ore, leave them to self sow and every year you can look forward to them gracing the garden once again.

Those showy little blue star-shaped flowers attract bees, butterflies, and all sorts of good pollinators. They’re a wonderful addition to anyone’s garden!

Note:

  1. When planting Borage seeds, the best time to do this is in spring, after any remaining chance of frost. Soak the seeds first in wet paper towel overnight, and then sow them directly into the garden, but not too deep, as half an inch will suffice. Borage will grow to a height of 2- 3 feet.
  2. The oil from Borage seeds is highly valued and plants are now commercially cultivated for skin care products and other items. It’s one of my favourite go-to ingredients for use in my own products.
  3. If you see some of your flowers are pink, then there is likely a deficiency in your soil. Below is a photo from a couple of years ago. I’ve since discovered this is a common site if Borage is growing in dry, gravelly soil. To fix this, simply add some triple-mix or compost. The pink is actually quite pretty, and Borage may even offer white flowers from time to time.

Happy Gardening!

About WallFlowerStudiohttps://wallflowerstudio.wordpress.comKaren is a gardener, artist, designer and blogger, offering an online tour of her central Ontario garden, plus some other places, too. The camera is always within reach, and when writing, she may wax philosophical from time to time. ;)

2 thoughts on “Borage – Borago officinalis – A true blue addition to any garden

  1. Hi Anne, Thank you so much! Happy to hear you’re going to give them a go. I think you’ll enjoy them. The colour of the flowers alone is worth it. Please feel free to share the outcome with me.
    Happy Gardening!

    Like

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