I believe it was Al Pacino, starring as cross-border horticulturalist Tony Montana in the movie Scarface, who said:
First you get the borage, then you get the power. Then, you get the bees.
It was something like that, anyway.
Let’s back up a bit. Despite having lived at our current flat for over a year now, it’s only recently that I feel we’ve started to take full advantage of its best feature, the Most Overlooked Balcony In The World™, and this feeling is owed almost entirely to vice. A wall planter-based herb garden may seem an unlikely place for a hotbed of sin, but so it has transpired.
Having read recently that borage is “much beloved by bees,” and bees being much beloved by me, I decided to plant me some borago officialis (none of that cheap knock-off rubbish). Being of confident mind, I decided to start from seeds, and duly sowed, feeling faintly filthy as I impregnated our flowerbeds. Vice-y, but hardly Miami.
After a month or so of faithfully watering the bare patch of soil (which I was beginning to suspect of mocking me), sprouts appeared! A hit rate of only 50%, granted, but still sprouts. There followed two months of paranoid counter-slug activities, stopping short only of applying Agent Orange to the neighbours’ ivy, suspected of harbouring the intruders. But now our borage is glorious, slug-proof in its enormity, and most importantly, ready to be much beloved by bees. And boy, howdy, is it ever beloved.
Mere minutes after it flowered, our borage was, well, deflowered. As I watched from the doorway, a fine apian fellow set to beloving our plant in as comprehensive a manner as I’ve ever witnessed. Proud though I was, however, I couldn’t help feeling a little uncomfortable as hot bee lovin’ continued apace in front of my eyes. Impressive stamina for a little guy, but a bit much before my first cup of tea. “Get a room,” I thought, then went looking for one on eBay. No point attracting bees if you’re not going to keep them.
The other addition to the balcony is complementary in a sense – a shisha purchased from down the road that is pleasing to eye, ear and lung, and doubles as a handy smoker when the bees get too frisky. A line in apple-smoked honey will be available from all good Kentish Town stores* very soon.