The Virtues of Goldenrod

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I was growing up, Goldenrod was a weed, pure and simple. My mother sent me to rip it out, along with Queen Anne’s Lace and Dandelions.

This morning I found myself ordering a packet of Goldenrod seeds, shaking my head all the while.

I tried to convince myself that this was a different kind of Goldenrod from the weeds of my youth.  It was probably specially cultivated in England or something.

But the picture on the seed package told a different story. This was plain old Goldenrod, the official flower of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the place of my birth.

But apparently bees love it. I mean, really love it. Almost as much as Borage.

And it’s good for them too.  It blooms for almost a month at the end of the summer, when the bees are building up their stores of honey for the winter.

But could I really cultivate it in my classic English garden? What would Gertrude Jekyll do?

It turns out she used it in her borders for its brilliant yellow color!  All is well!

Now I can hardly wait for those seeds to arrive. It just took me a while to fully appreciate the virtues of Goldenrod. Oh, and it’s deer resistant too!

Borage – Beloved By Bees Everywhere

“According to old wives’ tales, borage was sometimes
smuggled into the drink of  prospective husbands 
to give them the courage to propose marriage.”
–  Mary Campbell, A Basket of Herbs

Bee on Borage

Borage is one of the very best bee plants. It’s an annual herb that prefers to be grown in full sun. The edible flowers have a delicate cucumber flavor and make a pretty garnish.

Its nickname is “bee’s bread” because of its nectar-rich blue flowers.  It refills with nectar every two minutes, which is amazingly fast. No wonder bees love it!

Borage in the Border

Borage has been cultivated since the 15th century. In folklore, this lovely herb was thought to bring courage to the heart.

Whether in a border or in an herb garden, borage is a gift of love to your bees!

P.S. Borage is also deer-resistant!