Adding Borage to a butterfly or bee garden is a great choice as it attracts pollinators including native bees to your space. It also has the added benefits of repelling pests and being companions to plants like tomatoes and strawberries.
Borage is also known as the Bee Bush or Star-flower. I was excited to see Blue-banded bees enjoying the star bush, as well as honeybees and ladybugs. The starflowers emerged pink, then transitioned to a beautiful sky blue. It was lovely to see both pink and blue flowers dancing face down as a breeze tickled their faces. Borage leaves and stems are very hairy and as the plant ages, the hairs become prickly.
Borage adds trace elements into the soil and it’s great for composting and mulching. Once borage has been seeded into your garden, it’ll self-seed and appear year after year. It’s a low maintenance plant needing little care that gives a gardener satisfying rewards. Seeds can be sown in early spring under 1cm of soil in full or partial sun. The plant will flower from late spring to early summer and beheading the plant will encourage it to flower longer.
Borage is a medicinal plant with edible leaves and flowers which taste similar to cucumber. I honestly did not like the taste of the flowers but I love to use them to garnish summer salads or freeze them in ice cube trays for a festive look. Borage leaves can be sauteed in butter and garlic and used as a side vegetable or added to sauces or stews.
BORAGE NATURE STUDY
Borage can be used to discuss:
- a plant’s life cycle.
- a plant’s anatomy.
- the pollination process.
- the plant’s medicinal uses.
- benefits to the garden.
- How many petals does the flower have? What else do you notice about the flower head? Why are there pink and blue flower heads on the same plant? I wonder how they change colour?
- What type of leaf does the borage plant have? Look at the leaf margin.
- Does the borage flower have a scent?
- What does the flower taste like?
- How does the leaf feel?
- investigate the plant’s anatomy and list its characteristics.
- observe insect activity and list the insects who visit the plant.
- draw or paint a borage plant in your nature journal.
- include a borage recipe or craft in your journal.
- add a list of its medicinal uses and benefits in the garden.
Borage is the first plant featured in a series of posts on herbs. If you haven’t already, subscribe below to our email community to stay in touch and collect the Herb Card Series.