Archive for May, 2012

I’ve been coughing my lungs out.

After multiples doses of cough mixtures and popping lozenges and cough drops, I decided to turn to the herb garden for relief. I wonder why I never thought of the Indian borage in the first place.

As it’s always been lauded as a great herb for coughs, I steamed a few leaves with a small lump of rock sugar.  Just as well I hadn’t pruned away too much of the herb the last time I gave it a haircut.

Today, my friend, Mag told me that her family has always turned to this herb as the panacea for coughs. “My great-great grandmother would extract the juice from the leaves and drink it.”

Since it was too much bother to extract the juice, I just popped the leaves into my mouth and chewed. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be; I’d have endured much more to beat this dastardly cough. I just hope there’ll be enough leaves on the plant for a few more doses.

That’s my normal Indian Borage. I value it for its medicinal value as well as its lovely thick scented leaves which are covered with a soft fuzz.

The other Indian Borage I have has an additional feature; the leaves have an attractive white edge.

I saw the variegated Indian borage at a friend’s place and loved it.

For some reason the cuttings she gave me rotted away; perhaps due to my over enthusiasm in watering them.

Just as I was lamenting its demise, I saw a tiny leaf that was miraculously spared. I stuck that leaf, no bigger than my fingernail, into the soil. No harm trying, I thought.

I cheered the leaf on, praying that it wouldn’t end up as compost material. Amazingly the tiny spunky leaf took root and grew.

The spindly new growth is now about six inches tall and sports more than two dozen white edged leaves. While this little tyke is still dwarfed by its strapping cousin, I don’t think it’s going to remain so for long.

Care and propagation: partial shade to full sun; garden soil; water moderately. Propagate using cuttings.

Read Full Post »

I scoured the rows of potted plants at the garden centre. Nothing new, I thought. The usual pentas, impatiens, dianthus, zinnias, petunias …

… and then I saw it. Something different; something new.

Its crimson red caught my eye first; crimson red ears, then its purplish black impish face. Tiny bats stared with their huge eyes.

Vampire bats! Seen at an angle, the bats seem to be zeroing in on their prey. My imagination ran wild.

I bought a pot. No. I’m not fond of its namesake, but this floral version is fascinating.

I love its two flamboyant red petals that resemble the ears. I know it’s also called Bunny Ears and Tiny Mice, but there’s just too much of the bat in it to be anything else for me.

Apparently Bat-face loves the heat, is drought tolerant and is a perennial. Music to my ears; I’m loving it more by the minute.

I cut some of the longer trailing stems to propagate and hope they’ll root easily. A few more pots of the same would be lovely. But I wouldn’t want these flowers to transform into the winged nocturnal mammals they resemble any time soon.


Care and propagation: partial shade to full sun; well drained soil, water moderately; propagate using seeds or cuttings.

Read Full Post »