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Archive for the ‘Borage’ Category

The Cattails - Summer 2011


The fact that it’s already August blows me away. Now the countdown to the new semester begins. Time to get some school clothes lined up and things squared away that I will not want to deal with once classes start on the 23rd. Mostly, I just need to get everything in my universe simplified and organized so I have a smoother time of it all the way round.

Borage blossoms - Summer 2011

One of the more frivolous things I’m squaring away is my category section. Recently, I realized I have 96 categories. What the hell?! This is what happens when you’re in a hurry all the time and not thinking things through. What a jumbled and confusing mess my little blog is. So, some of the categories will be deleted or consolidated to make future entries and reference more expedient. I’d like to start putting more of the actual science I’m learning on here, so I might need the room for newer categories. This will give me an opportunity to glance back over all my entries to see what I’ve done because every time I post lately I get a sense that I’ve already said that exact thing or posted that exact photo…it’s disconcerting to say the least.

Bee with Evening Primose


There are also a lot of posts without categories or tags and I will be fixing those as well so I can look up information when I need it. The thing about this blog for me is that by the time I get to the posting part, I’ve already spent a bunch of time with the actual plant, doing my research, and playing with the photos – I have little time or energy left for the actual writing, categorizing, tagging, etc. and that will only get worse when school starts and I have more urgent priorities. So, I’m trying to consolidate the process…for example: my iPhone can double as the camera, the iPod, and also my research books on those days when I’m pressed for time. Now, I can even post on WordPress from an app on my phone (once I figure out how to do it) so I’m hoping all this modern technology is going to make my life easier. We’ll see.

The mesmerizing center of a Hollyhock bloom - Summer 2011


The classes coming up for me should be fun…I’m taking another Botany class and this one should have a lot more science than the last one. There is also a lab that goes with it so I can wait to see what that’s all about. The other class is Chemistry and also has a lab. I’m on the waiting list for that one so I don’t want to get too excited just yet. That’s all I handle this semester without taxing myself and my business. So, I’ve got to really enjoy the next 3 weeks of freedom as much as I can while working really hard to get everything caught up and finished so I can start the new semester with a clear head and an empty ‘in’ box. I can totally do that.

a tiny Arugula flower - Summer 2011

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“To enliven the sad with the joy of a joke
Give them wine with some borage put in it to soak”. ~ old English rhyme

Borage - June 2010


Borage (Borago officinalis) is a hardy annual herb. Some of its other names; Bugloss, Bee Bread, Herb of Gladness and Star Flower. It likes lots of sun, grows about two feet high and gets rather bushy. Mine likes to lay down over the lawn after a while and then grow straight up from the reclining stems, which are round, hollow and juicy. It will reseed itself quite efficiently so I try and collect the seeds before they hit the lawn. This is hard to do since the whole process of opening and then dropping seed happens so quickly. Since I have more than one plant at a time, I usually snip several stems with flowers, hang them upside down in a paper bag and let them dry – collecting the seeds later. If I’m lazy, I just pick some flowers and toss them back into the flower bed before they hit the grass.

Bees in the Borage


Bees absolutely love Borage. When I go out to pick it, there are always quite a few buzzing around in the five-petal flowers, which turn from pink to blue when the plant deems the nectar and pollen ready for collection. Bees are very attracted to the color blue, so I think this is rather smart of Mother Nature.

Borage is quite fuzzy


Historically, Borage was believed to cure sadness and boost courage, which I think is awesome. The Romans used it steeped in cups of wine – Pliny said “it maketh a man merry and joyful” – and John Evelyn said it was “of known virtue to revive the hypochondriac and cheer the hard student.”

still pink around the edges


It was believed to also cure skin problems, bruises, inflammation, stress, colds, fevers…the list goes on. We now know that this is due to the high content of gamma-linolenic acid. It also contains potassium, calcium and mineral salts.

blue means 'open for business' in bee-speak


I found references to it being used as an embroidery subject as far back as the 17th century and quite a few modern stitches as well. Understandable since it’s such a friendly and straightforward flower.

Nom!


In my opinion, the flowers are the tastiest part of the plant. They can be candied for tops of cupcakes, thrown in a salad or frozen in ice cubes for beverages. I like to toss a handful into a glass of water with a slice of lemon – the beverage takes on a nice little ‘tingle’ from the mineral salts and it instantly makes your dull glass of H2o completely fabulous. Borage tastes like cucumber so it adds a fresh coolness, or maybe cool freshness to whatever it’s with. If you’re into companion planting, it likes to be near strawberries. Who doesn’t like to be near strawberries?

Borage seed


Many sources said it should be taken “in moderation” and the sepals are NOT edible. Besides the flower, the stems and leaves are edible and I found lots of recipes for savory dishes like the ‘Borage Fritters’ by Maria Batali – which I’m planning to try! My absolute favorite way to have it is in a glass of wine, just like the ancients and I can say quite honestly that I’m in a much better mood afterward. 🙂

Borage, Bubbles and strawBerries

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I didn’t want to tell the tree or weed what it was. I wanted it to tell me something and through me express its meaning in nature. ~ Wynn Bullock

Wynn Bullock was a photographer from the early to mid 1900’s. Here’s a link to some of his photographs.

Peanut greets the morning sun


Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I went outside with my coffee and didn’t do anything else first. There was no coastal fog or clammy cloud cover, no phones ringing or office work calling me, no homework or housework that was urgent or tugging at my thoughts. There wasn’t even a neighborhood dude running a power tool, weed eater or lawn mower. Stepping out onto the cool grass in my bare feet into a peaceful enchantment accompanied by nothing but birds, bees and Peanut: pure unadulterated bliss. These are the mornings I live for and I haven’t had one in a looooong time…thank you Mother Universe.

Cilantro/Coriander blooming with Nasturtiums


Since the sun has finally been shining a little lately and it’s warming up at last, everything is growing in cosmic bursts. I look out the window one day and I have grape vines. Looking out the next day reveals that the grape vines are snaking out all over the back lawn desperately needing to be tied up. So, now that the Moon is waning and the planting is done, it’s time to do lots and lots of clean up work, starting with pulling out weeds.

Borage flowers decorate the grass


Normally, I’m not a weed puller. If it’s green or makes flowers, it’s a legitimate plant and can stay. Morning Glories are considered a weed in many places but I actually spend money on seeds so I can have them growing on my fence. A weed is a weed when I say it’s a weed! Dandelions make good tea. Weeds are good for decoy plants – if aphids are eating a ‘weed’ next to the roses, they’re leaving the roses alone and I’m leaving the weed alone. Some weeds get to grow just so I can have mulch.

things are getting crowded!


However, when anything growing begins to hamper the well-being of another plant, that’s when it turns into a true weed. Right now, I have squash and tomatoes that need Sun and space and WATER! – anything in the way of that is getting pulled or moved. Mostly, I have wayward grass instead of true weeds. It goes in the compost pile. The next thing to get pulled is the Evening Primrose.

Evening Primrose tumbling over the garden wall


It’s beautiful and I love it, but it grows very wild and will take over the garden completely if left to its own devices. At a certain point it goes from being “enthusiastic” to being “pernicious”. It needs to be picked as it spreads and I either put it into vases or the mulch pile.

Passionflower is finally blooming!


So, while this rare and beautiful peace in my life lasts, I will be outside pruning and trimming and pulling, caging tomatoes and make trellises, moving things around to get more sun – or less sun – and breathing slowly so this RESPITE can work its magic.

Agapanthus getting ready to open


Have a safe and happy, but mostly peaceful, Memorial Day!

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