Sunday, October 30

Plant lives up to its name

Our afternoon's visit to the plot was shorter - due to our silly tradition of moving the clocks back.

I don't know about you but I hate it when it is dark at what in summer still seems to be late afternoon. I don't think winter would be half as bad if it stayed light a bit longer. It's pitch black now and it's only just after 5 o' clock!

Anyway back to the point - the afternoon was shorter but definitely sweet - the sun was shining and as I weeded I was serenaded by the buzzing of busy bees - both bumblebees and honey bees. Now that was a surprise so late in October when I expect the bees to be tucked up in a nest or hive. 

The objects of their desires were the borage plants that I grew from some seed kindly sent to me by Bilbowaggins from Bag End.

Borage is often called bee's borage as bees just love it and for them to be able to browse the small but beautiful blue flowers so late in the year is a real bonus - so Bilbo my bees thank you.

The bees were whizzing from flower to flower and the only way I managed to get a photo was to shoot a piece of video and grab a frame. Even then most of the video clips were beeless. The photo below was really all I managed.
Technically borage is an annual herb with edible flowers. I haven't really got into eating flowers so I can't tell you what it tastes like but apparently oil extracted from the flower seeds have the same properties as evening primrose oil.

Despite it being an annual I won't be without borage next year as already some of the self sown seeds have germinated and grown into young plants. The bees will be happy about that and so am I.


  1. Borage is what we're supposed to put in our Pimms, isn't it? (Though I suspect not many people do these days).
    Talking of plants that live up to their names - do you have any Viper's Bugloss in your garden, or Goat's Rue maybe?

  2. I've never been too sure what a Pimms is Mark - I've led a sheltered life.
    No viper's bugloss or goat's rue here! I have been tempted to try my hand at leopard lilies though!

  3. You'll never be without borage again, we've got it all over the allotment where it's self seeded, but it certainly brings the bees in. It tastes mildly of cucumber.

  4. Wonderful - we have phaecelia still buzzing with bees in amongst our raspberry plants. I'll sow it somewhere else next year, it is taller than I expected and flops into the path, but the bees don't care.

  5. What a wonderful plant with blooms for fall! I am writing this one down.

  6. If you like that... Are you growing any Lemon Balm (Melissa Officianalis - 'melissa' is Greek for bee), Sue?

    They like it so much that it is rubbed on the inside of new hives to encourage the bees to settle in.

  7. I'll have to have a taste Jo, Is it the flowers that have the cucumbery taste.

    So your raspberries will be well pollinated Janet.

    It is a fairly straggly looking plant, Jenni so needs to ne planted in a fairly wild area not in an ornamental border.

    We do have lemon balm Mal - both plain leaved and variegated but it's mostly died back now. I'll have to make sure when I've cut it back that I stay away from any bees.

  8. I bet a few flowers would look lovely on top of a summer salad, or on a prawn cocktail(?)! Don't think I've ever eaten borage flowers so not sure of the taste.

  9. I have not tried growing borage yet. The flowers look pretty. Maybe I should grow them for the bees.

  10. Salad maybe Kelli but prawn cocktail - maybe the cocktail minus the prawns!

    This link has details of growing borage in Australia, Diana. You can browse to the appropriate region what they call climate zone at the top of the page.

  11. The leaves taste of cucumber, sue, though I've only nibbled on a young one, I find the older leaves to be a little prickly. I haven't tried the flowers, but they're edible too. I made borage ice cubes once but they weren't flavoursome, just pretty.

  12. I think it's just the young leaves that are edible really Jo - so if we use the flowers to decorate the secret is not to eat them. I think I'll leave them for the bees.

  13. So glad the borage grew well for you, ours only went over at the weekend with the first nasty frost. Definitely one to grow each year.

  14. We already have some baby plants Janet so I'm guessing it will grow itself next year!


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