Tailwort, Talewort, Starflower
Borage is a decorative tender annual which grows quickly and easily, providing many months of beautiful vivid blue, or white, star shaped flowers. The stems and leaves are bright green and covered with stiff velvety hairs, with the leaves growing up to 15cm long. Both the leaves and flowers are edible and have many culinary uses, and the flowers are extremely popular with bees and other pollinating insects.
Average height: 100cm
Aspect: Sun or semi-shade
Soil type: Loam
Sowing period: April-May
First signs of blossom: 6 to 8 weeks
Average flowering period: 4 months
Contents: Approximately 50 seeds
Be sure to plant borage where you are happy for it to come back year after year, as it readily self-seeds. The leaves are a useful compost activator, so can be added to water in place of comfrey to benefit your whole garden. It is a good addition to any vegetable plot as it encourages pollinating insects to the locality.
Borage is often used as a companion plant to tomatoes, as it is believed that it may deter tomato worm. It is also thought to improve both the yield and the flavour of strawberries if planted nearby.
Harvest the flowers and young leaves as needed, as borage flowers can wilt quickly once picked. Older leaves can be bitter and tough, so should be cooked, or left on the plant.