Borage (Borago officinalis) is an herb that grows in various conditions and soils. Mine grows fine in clayish soil, although I have made some attempts to improve it. Mine also grows in full sun. Borage will get a tap root which may help loosen the soil, too. The hairy stems and leaves have a mellow scent and flavor of cucumber. The star shaped flowers have a vibrant blue hue that stand out in the garden. It really is one of the first things I see when I look out at the garden, the flowers are such an outstanding blue color. It will seed itself, freely coming up year after year in the same place, reaching between 1 and 3 feet. Some will say that the hairiness leaves a bad feeling in their mouths.... but the youngest of leaves will be void of these hairs, making them a nice addition to summer salads or the leaves can be blended and strained in a nice refreshing summer beverage.
Fresh borage flowers and leaves have been used in wines and salads since ancient times. Women of the Victorian era used borage in claret cups to raise the spirits and lift ones mood. The claret cup was so popular in England during Victorian times that gardeners grew the herb under glass all year round for the express purpose of flavoring claret cups; a blend of sherry and brandy was typically used.
Borage is probably most known for its association with virtues of courage and bravery. Notably, Roman soldiers would drink borage wine to give them courage when preparing for battle. As folklore goes, a prospective husband would unknowingly drink a potion with borage to boost his courage to propose marriage. I guess it was the bride-to-be giving him this little boost of nerves; I wonder if it worked?
I just really love borage, one of my favorite things being that borage carries its virtues of strength into the garden. Making a fantastic companion plant, it strengthens the resistance to insects and diseases of many plants growing nearby. Borage has a great effect growing with strawberries and tomatoes, not only encouraging their growth but also improving the flavor, and helping the leaves resist fungi and other diseases. Likewise cucumbers, fava beans, grapevines, zucchini, squash and peppers, borage improves the growth and flavor of these nearby fruits. Most definitely best of all, borage is known for deterring the dreaded tomato hornworms! This was my main motive for growing borage.
Borage leaves are rich in calcium, potassium and other mineral salts and add minerals to the soil; which will also benefit your compost pile. Being high in minerals, borage leaves are good for special effects since they will spark and pop when burned.
I have come to know and love borage for many reasons, besides deterring the tomato horn worm that really can devour a tomato plant in no time! Last year was bad! This year I haven't seen one yet and think my pretty little borage plants should at least get some credit. Of course the growing season has just begun so I guess I'll have a better report later this year.
I really could go on further about what a wonderful herb borage is. Maybe I have sparked something interesting that will make you want to try growing some, if you haven't already. It also has many medicinal values, including a mouthwash or gargle, ease of indigestion, and a tincture of borage is helpful for long term chronic stress. The seed oil is great to add to your food if you have a problem with dry eyes.
Make Blossom Ice Cubes
Pick your favorite pesticide free edible blossoms
borage, lavender, basil, and pansy to name a few
Gently rinse and dry if necessary
Boil water for 2 minutes which will let all of the air trapped in the water escape, and ensure that the ice cubes are crystal clear. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. Place a blossom in bottom of each cube of the tray. Fill each cube halfway with the cooled water and freeze solid. Once frozen, fill each cube the rest of the way with same water. Freeze and use in your favorite summer beverage or add to festive punches.
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|I love Borage! by Patti1957||Apr 7, 2016 5:40 PM||42|