Grow Beautiful Borage & Enjoy an Abundance of Edible Flowers for Cocktails & Nectar-rich Flowers for Bees!

Squire’s Garden Centres have now stopped selling bags of peat-based compost from their centres.  Customers can now pop into any branch of Squire’s and enjoy certainty that the bags of compost the company sell are all peat-free.

Growing plants from seeds sown in peat-free compost is a great way to garden more sustainably; however, sowing seeds directly in the soil is an easier option that’s both more cost-effective and sustainable.  Compared to container grown plants, plants grown in the soil require less time, attention, and resources, and fewer waterings.  I find that plants grown in the ground usually produce more flowers and fruits than the same plants grown in containers.

Borage plants grow up to 80cm (2.6ft) tall and form plants that spread to cover an area around 30-80cm (1-2.6ft) wide.

Borage (Borago officinalis) is such a fantastic plant to grow!  The pretty sky-blue coloured, star-shaped flowers are edible.  This annual has bristly leaves.  The young foliage and flowers both have a delicate cucumber aroma and flavour.  Borage flowers look divine sprinkled over salads and can be used as edible garnishes to decorate savoury or sweet dishes.

Take an ice-cube tray and half fill it with water, add a single borage flower to each segment and pop the ice-cube tray back in the freezer.  Then, when your flowers are held by the frozen ice, top up with water and return the tray to the freezer to make the most gorgeous floral ice-cubes that will impress your guests during Friday night drinks, cocktail parties, or summer celebrations.

Borage is a magnet for bees and pollinating insects.  Each Borage plant produces hundreds of flowers, and the blooms provide a rich supply of pollen and nectar for bees.  Borage is very easy to grow.  It’s a drought tolerant plant, but it is worth watering Borage plants if we have a drought, as the moisture will help the plants produce the maximum supply of nectar.  Thirty minutes after a bee has drained a flower of nectar, Borage plants can refill the nectar supply.

Borage (Borago officinalis) is recommended as a companion plant to grow with tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkins, squash, and strawberries.

I confess that I’m a particular fan of the snow-white-flowered form of Borage (Borago officinalis var. alba) but it’s lovely to grow both the white and blue forms and be able to get creative with colour combinations.  Borage’s blue flowers contrast so beautifully with orange and yellow, and the stunning white blooms go with everything!

Sow Borage seeds directly in the soil, where you want your plants to grow.  Choose a bright and sunny location to grow Borage; these plants will grow happily in any moist, but well-drained soil.  If your garden is shaded or the soil is wet or boggy in summertime, cultivate Borage in a container in a sunny spot, or grow another plant that’s more suited to your growing conditions.  Borage is an annual plant that germinates, grows, lives and dies in the same year, but these plants will often self-seed and reappear next year.

For more gardening advice for June, please click here.

To see my ideas and suggestions to help you garden more sustainably, please click here.

For more articles about fantastic plants to grow for pollinators, please click here.

To see my Calendar of Rose Garden Openings, please click here.

To see my Calendar of Specialist Plant Fairs, Festivals, Local Plant Sales, and Plant & Seed Swaps, please click here.

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