Borage is a very bright and colourful herb that grows annually, one of it's
distinctive characteristics it that both the leaves and stems are covered in hair. It is known as the
"starflower" because the flowers contain 5 petal arranged in an attractive star formation. The colour of these
petals after generally a vivid blue, however, its not uncommon to see pink petals.
Borage is a favourite amoung beekeepers as it contains lots of nectar and hence bee's are attracted to it. However,
this element is also attractive to gardeners as bees help to pollenate between plants. For this reason it is common
to see borage is vegetable patches.
It can grow up to 3 feet tall and blossoms during the mid-Summer months, borage is quite a tough plant and is
considered by some to be a wildflower, hence it is quite easy growing. However, it prefers easily draining soil and
heavy exposure to the sun, also it will need protection from the wind as it is easily blown over.
How to grow borage
Borage is best planted directly into the soil, it's advisable to sow it just below the soil surface, water
generously. Borage prefers high amounts of sunlight and protection from the wind, so choose an appropriate place in
your garden. It's a fairly hardy plant, so it will grow it almost any type of soil, however it prefers well
draining soil. Of course the richer the soil, the bigger and higher the quality the bush will be.
Borage requires little maintenece as it's so hardy, however it will definitely benefit from
an addition of fertilizer.
For many years borage has been used as a companion to others plants, particularly strawberries, spinahc, legumes
and tomatoes. Its most effective when combined with tomatoe plants as it confuses the tomato hornworms into
planting their eggs in the wrong place.
Many claim that borage can benefit health and happiness which has won it another nickname; Eurphrosinum, due to
it's effects. And recently, medical research has shown that an active substance in borage is GLA (Gamma Linoleic
Acid) which has proven to be effective against breast cancer and brain cancer. It works by restricting blood
vessels and hence slowing down the spread of cancer.
In fact, it has been so successful that borage was adopted as the symbol for National Cancer Day.
The flowers of borage are often used to decorate the glasses of cocktails, a favourite being
Pimms, as well as the sides of salad plates. It can also be used in teas, stews or soups.