"There remaineth one necessary thing...
which in my Opinion makes as much for Ornament, as either flowers, or forme, or cleanness...which is Bees, well ordered."
~ William Lawson,
New Orchard and Garden 1618
So I looked it up. Borage (Borago officinalis) is an annual that grows to two feet tall. It comes to us from Corsica, N. Africa and Europe. It is speculated that the name borago came from the Latin burra meaning “a hairy garment”. Hmmm….I wonder what it means by that? It reportedly grows in sun or shade, wet or dry conditions, and tolerates poor soil. Sounds pretty fool proof to me. The leaves are supposedly slightly cucumber tasting and flowers can be used as edible garnish. Even better! I like to be able to eat what I grow.
Since I just left them alone, they have become nice and full and still blooming even now in November. That’s one energized annual! I wonder when they’ll quit. The few hard frosts we’ve had haven’t fazed them at all. Last month I noticed a humming bird sipping from the flowers too. And I gave up trying to save all the seeds this plant produces, so I’ll be hoeing seedlings for sure. It is a prolific self seeder!
Were you wondering still about that “a hairy garment” comment? Be forewarned, the leaves do taste cucumber-ish but are so furry, they are unpleasant to chew on. Every bit of the plant except the flowers are covered with soft spines. The flowers are a true blue color, a rare find in garden plants. Mostly ‘blue’ plants are on the purpley side, and some gardeners search high and low to include true blue in their garden scheme. Give borage a try.
In bloom in my garden today: Kirengeshoma palmata, Borage, Daphne, Digitalis (foxglove), Salvia, Nepeta (cat mint), Solanum crispum (potato vine), Phygelius (cape fushia) Schizostylis (river lily), Alyssum
Food ready for the birds: Caryopteris seeds, Mountain Ash berries, Pyracantha berries, Echinacea seeds, Coreopsis seeds, Liatris seeds.
Photo's courtesy of Pat Chissus