Herbs In The Garden – Borage


Borage Officinalis

With temps hovering in the mid-70’s and even predicted to go as high as 85 degrees tomorrow, I’m feeling pressured to get my winter gardening underway, and to find time to clean up my beds and get ready for spring.  I really love planting herbs in and among my other flowers and shrubs, and in containers scattered throughout the garden.  One of my favorites is borage, which has edible flowers and leaves, but which I mostly grow for the lovely, Victorian look of the plant.  With its velvety leaves and gorgeous blue, star-shaped flowers, it just feels so romantic to me.  And it is a bee magnet, so it is always welcome in my yard.

I’ve read that both the flowers and the tender new leaves have a mild cucumber taste, and make a delicious and attractive addition to salads.  I’ve never tried this, and I’m curious to hear from anyone who has.  If nothing else, how beautiful would a sprinkling of these blue flowers be across the top of a crisp, green salad?  I have heard it recommended to try borage sparingly at first, as it might have a mild laxative effect on some people.  I find that can be true of many vegetables, so it doesn’t worry me overly much, but if you have a sensitive system, you might want to heed the advice.

Borage is an annual, but it often reseeds and comes back on its own.  I just picked up a beautiful plant this weekend so I could use it to jump start a container garden in a cobalt blue planter.  I also found a healthy seedling that volunteered in my raised bed. 

If you’ve never tried growing borage, you really should.  With its fuzzy leaves and sweetly nodding flowers, it will give a softness and a touch of beautiful blue color to any garden, whether you grow it as an edible herb, or just as a pretty and unusual plant.

Borage 1

(Click to see Full Sized)

What herbs do you enjoy growing, and what time of year can you plant them in your area?