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Borage - An Old Herb Makes a Comeback

Borage, or starflower, is a herb that has a rich history of use throughout ancient Middle East and Mediterranean. It was used as a courage booster and mood lifter by the people of Southern Europe. It’s a little bit less known here in Canada, but it’s a fantastic plant on its own or as an addition to your existing garden.

As a gardener, this is a must have plant. It’s resilient to lots of conditions being able to handle both acidic and alkaline soil. It can also handle nutrient deficient soil, though we still recommend fertilizing or adding compost to get the healthiest plant possible. Because it comes from the Mediterranean, it’s also hardy to heat and drought, which definitely helps it survive in our weather too.

Borage is one of those plants that have 101 uses. The leaves and flowers have been described as cucumber and honey-like with a dash of salt. The plant can be used in many edible dishes such as soups, teas, broths, garnishes, and even as medicines. People will use the flowers for more sweet dishes like desserts, pastries, or as an added taste to water. The leaves are more commonly used a garnish on top of cooking to add some more flavour. It’s also been known to help with skin conditions too such as eczema, but you’re still probably better off consulting your doctor first.

Aside from it being an amazing plant with its many consumable uses, it also assists in the garden like a superhero. The flowers are known to attract Painted-Lady butterflies and can be paired with strawberries and other fruits to help increase the yield. It can also act as a host for certain caterpillars too which may help keep them off your tomatoes and cabbages. If you’re not so interested in eating this plant, it’s still worth trying it out as an annual flower. It produces beautiful star shaped flowers that start off deep blue but fade to purple or even pink as time goes on. Since they’re pollinator friendly too they can be really beneficial with increasing biodiversity.

-Sean Church Bornkessel


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