So our garden gave us a bit of a pleasant surprise last week. One of our dinner guests, loitering around the kitchen before dinner was served, noted our kitchen window box and one tall, blue, flowery plant in particular. She asked us if it was a borage plant, to which we replied, as the knowledgeable gardeners that we are, “What??”. Thanks to the magic of mobile technology, quick as a flash our guest had googled the plant and confirmed it was indeed a borage plant.

Neither of us had ever heard of this plant and didn’t quite get her excitement until she pulled off a flower and urged us to taste it. It was surprisingly good – I don’t think my words will do justice to the taste, but there was something as sweet and creamy as honey mixed with the freshness of a ‘cucumbery’ flavour. Apparently borage flowers are very good in salads, who knew? The plants in our window box come from a lucky packet of herb seeds free with a local gardening magazine, which we used one slow afternoon as an activity for our four year old daughter.

The small blue, edible borage flowers are shaped like stars and borne in clusters that rise up above the plant’s leaves. Apparently, due to their cucumber taste, they are good also as a garnish for iced teas, lemonades, and other cold summer beverages. One article I read suggested freezing the flowers in of ice cubes then adding that to your drink.

The flowers can also be crystallized for use as a decoration for cakes and other desserts – don’t ask me how to do that though, that’s for another type of blog!

According to another article, borage plants are also great for the garden. Due to their sweet smell, they attract bees and other friendly insects, and it has been reported that they improve the flavor of tomatoes when grown together with them.

They grow well and tend to germinate easily to cover unsightly gaps. Be warned though that the plant can grow quickly, as we found out, and reach heights of about two feet. If you like really tidy beds they might not be the plant for you, but if you like a kind of wildish, colourful look, they’re perfect.