Late summer is blackberry time, my garden’s reward to me for fastidiously cutting back all those unfeasibly long bramble shoots which seem to grow overnight throughout the summer. Last year’s pruned branches are now bearing big fat juicy berries, unexpectedly so after such dry weather. In fact this year they ripened early too and so it’s been blackberries with my porridge every breakfast since July and of a quality and size to rival any of those carefully and expensively plastic wrapped ones from the supermarket.
Those from my hedge come naked and are of course free, except if you count the cost in scratched arms and legs. They’re as fresh as it’s possible to get having been picked, run under the tap and eaten within minutes. For me blackberries are the perfect fruity food, foraged in my dressing gown and slippers. No air miles are involved, just a few steps across the grass from the back door and completely organically grown. Actually there is very little ‘growing’ involved apart from my occasional fight back at the brambles to keep some semblance of a hedge and stop them colonising half the garden.
They’re brilliant for wildlife too, my bees made full use of their flowers earlier in the year and from the cheeping sounds coming from the depths I’m sure a pair of sparrows raised a family hidden in the tangle of branches.
Growing in almost any location it’s hard to imagine a more versatile and productive plant, it’s so sad that most gardeners consider it to be a weed.
But I don’t, lucky me!