Borage is a beautiful blue addition to your garden as well as your table. A surprisingly startling blue flower that tastes like cucumber can be used in salad with its tender, newer leaves.
Borage is a freely seeding, easy to grow annual plant; considered an herb and is grown in flower and vegetable gardens. It attracts pollinating bees and is a good companion gardening friend to tomatoes, squash, and strawberries. It is supposed to deter tomato hornworms and improve the flavor of tomatoes. Often grown in vegetable gardens, its a bee magnet, and it is a beautiful addition to a cottage flower style garden with enough room to reseed itself. Harvesting or deadheading blooms will keep it blooming longer, but I just let it grow by itself and enjoyed the show all season.
Sometimes the plant is a bit 'sloppy' - it falls over from lack of or too much water, but recovers wonderfully - even in high humidity. It survived the first frost this year - last night. I picked some blossoms and am pressing them to use in art projects and decorations. Borage is so easy to grow. This was the first year I tried it in my garden and I gave it no special care. It spread like wildfire - like wild mint. I did add organic mushroom compost to the flowerbed and covered it with black planting fabric to keep weeds down, but that's it - nothing special, little extra watering in the hot summer days.
It gave me pleasure to see it at all stages of growth. The flowers are spectacular - they are stunning - almost glowing at night and a true standout in the sunlight. They would be fantastic frozen in ice cubes, atop of special salads, and as candied dessert stars. Borage flowers add flavor to soups, dips, spreads, open face sandwiches and beverages. However, as with all edible flowers, use them sparingly until you know how they effect you - Borage has been known to have a mild laxative effect.
Borage will reseed easily, although the original plant will not regrow next season. I placed it in the morning sunlight which lasted until about 2 pm and it flourished from late Spring and continues until now, after the first Mid-West frost. My plant grew to 3' wide by 18" tall; a bit top heavy and floppy, but that added to the beauty in my opinion. I also had a basil plant that was 3 to 4 feet tall and 6' around with huge leaves. although last night's frost got to about half this plant's leaves. I'll harvest this tonight and dry most of the good leaves and freeze the rest.
I'm sure if one was industrious enough, one could press valuable borage oil from the plant, even with a mortar and pestle. The oil is known as the richest source of an essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid [GLA], keeping skin healthy, restoring moisture and smoothness to dry and damaged skin. It can also provide to chronic skin disorders like eczema and atopic dermatitis. I am going to try juicing it in organic oil to use on my post-menopausal dry, flaky face. I'm expecting it to be effective in retaining moisture, reducing redness and inflammation; and smoothing out the texture. Check back for results.