The Borage I planted in my polytunnel is flourishing. It is gangly, unruly and takes up quite a bit of space. I also find it causes a slight irritation to the skin when brushed against- next year I’ll try to confine it to pots instead of planting it in the bed. Despite all this I wouldn’t be without it. Aside from the visual treat, its purpose is to tempt pollinating insects inside- so there is a mass of sky blue flowers strategically placed either end of the tunnel. And they work like a dream. There’s constant traffic of hoverflies, honeybees, but mostly bumblebees vying for nectar. I didn’t realize until lately that there ae so many species of bumblebee out there. So far I only have managed to identify two; a white-tailed and red-tailed variety. The fact that they LOVE borage is a great reason to plant it near your vegetable plants and fruit trees. This will ensure that your fruit blossom and vegetable flowers are pollinated and will increase the likelihood of a bumper crop. Bumble bees are hardier that most of the other pollinators because of their fluffy coats and start work earlier in the year and continue into the late autumn.
Borage is very easy to grow. It’s an annual with beautiful blue star-shaped flowers that will go on to self seed. Prolifically. The young leaves can be eaten and taste like cucumber. I did nibble on one but they are a little too hairy for my liking. The flowers are also edible and traditionally used to dispel sadness. They can be used in salads, candied for decorating cakes or floated in a chilled glass of pimms. Yep- that sounds like a surefire recipe for happiness to me!