Thursday, February 24, 2011

Borage And Bees

Borago officinalis
Fam: Boraginaceae

Well as Summer draws to an end - the fruiting season may be over - but the Autumn Harvest is just beginning!!!

First crop of the season ... Borage Seedlings. We had two Borage Plants which have sprung a family of seedlings in the Buffalo grass - so before I give the lawn a hair cut on the weekend I am planning to pot these little ones up.

The blue flowers of Borage is a great plant to attract Bees into your garden.

I was recently listening to Radio National and heard about the Government's decision to turn a blind eye to the Asia Honey Bee invasion in the wake of the summer of natural disasters. The Asian Honey bee is reported to colonize at extremely fast rates and is an aggressive stinging bee. With our native honey bee already competeing with the European Wasp this is a real dilemma.

Borage also has a number of therputic qualities - it is associated with courage.

'A Borage brew would eliminate a person's sadness and make the person glad to be alive'(Pliny) and is also known as the herb of Gladness.

To relieve grief try a Bath Tea Bag of borage and Thyme.

Borage leaves can be added to Salads - giving a cucumber flavour - however as they are rather hairy leaves chop or blanch the leaves first.

The Blue Flowers are also edible

Borage is a companion plant for Tomatoes (prevents Tomatoe Worm) and Strawberries.

So a good Summer veggie bed may look like -
Tomatoes (Periphery)
Christanthenum (Centre)
Strawberries (edge)
Borage (Centre)

A good tip - don't plant Borage on a path - push them a little further back as they get very scruffy and it is tempting (yes I can admit to this) to pull them out prematurely and they start to sprawl there way across the bed by late summer.

I have recently have to remove a Honey Bee nest - and speaking to a fellow gardener she made the suggestion that next time I can contact a Bee Keeper and see if they would like to claim the colony and take it home - I'm not sure how this would work - but it has happened and if the bees decide to make home in my garden I will look further into it.

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