I was really excited when I planted borage seeds back on 6 April. I sowed a line in compost formulated for seeds, in a wooden half barrel container, £14 extravegance from Riverside garden centre, complete with handles.
The young leaves quickly appeared and soon accompanied the unseasonal warmth in a glass of Pimms, their rumoured cucumber flavour proving joyously true.
|Left - borage, middle - rocket, right - dill|
But I'd never taken the trouble to understand just what a beast the plant becomes, and it wasn't until it had engulfed the helpless rocket and razed the dill to the ground that I realised I'd been misled. All the talk in books was about the flowers. How pretty they look in an ice cube, that they're edible and refreshing. Rubbish. Like living with a newborn and only telling people about the cuddles.
Borage is a beast and make no mistake. It needs its own home, it needs attention, watering and space. At least, that's my experience.If you don't, this is what happens:
This is part neglect part anger. Does that make me a bad person? Well, in gardening circles yes. Probably not in the company of dishonest police officers, politicians or journalists (sorry, this is the last time I'll reference 'the scandal'. I should probably start a separate blog to unleash my views the unholy trinity - although I do know a few good coppers, have worked for one good and one crazy politician, and once fancied a journalist. But she was on the magazine so that doesn't count).
I digress. Borage. Yes, overblown strumpet of a plant (is it ok to use that word in the 21st century, in a jovial context?). Yes it's seductive, but afterwards I felt cheated. Here was the promise:
My good friend Emma gave me a top tip from her good friend's book that we tried out. Put a borage flower in wine and it'll turn from bluey-purple (I'm sure there's a proper name for it) into pink. Well, it didn't. And it tasted of, well, wine. Humph.
The wine was good though...