Borage is one of my favourite herbs. I always have it growing in my garden. Once Borage is planted in the garden it will self sow forever, but it isn't a thug-it's easy to pull out any unwanted seedlings and they'll break down quickly in the compost.
Borage has an ancient reputation as the happiness herb. The first century Roman Pliny wrote,'it maketh a man merry and joyful'. As it was added to wine I suspect the other ingredient had a lot to do with the merriness.
There's no denying that Borage flowers are exquisitely beautiful and the sight of a glorious mass of them in my garden certainly lifts my spirits.
The Borage flower was also thought to give courage. Ladies would embroider Borage flowers on the scarves of knights in the Middle Ages and the flowers were floated in the stirrup cups given to Crusaders at their departure. There may be some substance to this. Borage is used in herbal medicine as an adrenal gland support.
For more information on it's medicinal uses here is a link to an interesting article
Nowadays, I find my main uses for Borage are-
Borage attracts bees into my garden and provides them with one of their favourite foods.
I add the flowers to salads-they have a cucumber-like flavour and look gorgeous.They can also be floated on top of drinks and frozen in ice cubes for other decorative effects.Borage flowers may be crystallised
Some books suggest eating the young leaves.
Borage has high calcium, potassium and mineral salts content but proceed with caution because of the high pyrrolizidine alkaloid content in young leaves.
Groundcover . Ornamental weed supressant. Companion Plant
Borage is marvelous for filling bare spaces while they are lying fallow.It takes up lots of space where less desirable plants might otherwise appear and it has the wonderful ability to arrive in these places without me doing a thing.
When I'm ready to use that area again for cropping, the Borage is so easy to remove and it breaks down very quickly in the compost.
A word of warning.
I've seen a few writers advocating using Borage as a companion for strawberries, Borage and strawberries are said to stimulate each others growth, but if I allowed Borage to grow IN my strawberry patch it would soon outgrow the strawberries and cover them.
Borage is also thought to help control tomato worm if planted near tomatoes.I certainly don't have any major problems with tomato worms and my strawberries grow very well.
If you want to try using it as a companion I'd advise giving it it's own large bed next door to what you are growing.
Take a look at the photo on this blog and you'll see what I mean.
Happy Borage growing.