Grit Blogs > A Long Time Coming

What is Borage?

When I bought my borage seeds this past winter, I did it because I read that borage makes a good companion plant to plant with tomatoes, and because I was looking to cover as much ground space with intentional plantings as I could, in order to minimize the opportunity for weeds, and especially grass, to take over my garden. I remember seeing a picture of it online, and it struck me as a kind of vine-like plant, that wasn’t going to shade much of anything, or spread like a ground cover.

Boy, I must have been looking at the wrong thing in that picture. The photo doesn't do justice to how wide and broad these plants have actually gotten, but it does clarify that they could not be less vine-like. In fact, when they first started to come up, I wasn't sure if it really was the borage, because they looked for all the world like cucurbit seedlings. I've read that the leaves are edible and taste kind of like cucumbers, so maybe that's not too far off!


I planted my borage seeds pretty close together, because of my misconception about how they were going to fill in. It turns out that because of its thick, broad leaves, that borage seems to do quite well choking out the possibility of weeds. And this week my borage began to bloom. How lovely! I definitely have a new favorite flower.

borage bloom
borage blooming

And in other blooming news, this year I planted the remainder of my scarlet runner beans specifically for the blooms. The last time I planted them I found them to be beautiful, though I didn’t get a single bean for some reason. Right now they’re doing exactly what I requested of them, and if I get a few beans too then that’ll just be a bonus!

scarlett runner bean bloom

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The print edition of my novel, Big Work, is now available at!