Plant borage for bees

If you’ve ever wandered along a country lane flanked by tall stands of borage plants, you will know that these are a magnet for pollinating insects, especially bees. Honey bees and several bumblebee species, including solitary bees, visit to take advantage of the abundance of nectar and pollen. Also known as Starflower, it flowers from June through to Autum, and can yield 200 pounds of honey per acre.

Borage is super-easy to grow. If you can find some in the wild, the seeds can be harvested in Autumn once the flowers begin to brown, and should be sown in Spring about a month after the last frost. They don’t need a huge amount of preperation – simply sprinkle them on the ground or into a container and cover with half inch of soil or compost. The plant is a “hardy annual” meaning that, if you leave it, it will self-seed and grow again year after year.

The seeds can be stored for three years – why not gather them in Autumn and use them to make seed bombs or gift them to family and friends? You can also buy borage seeds easily online.

Borage is a herb that has been used in traditional medicines to dilate blood vessels, to act as a sedative, and in the treatment of jaundice, itching and seizures. It’s flowers and leaves are edible, with some people saying they taste like cucumber – remember to seek expert advice before tasting anything unfamiliar in the wild.

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