Bee-friendly plants series: Blackberry

Blackberry is my new favourite plant …but not for getting up close and personal with. Remember Brer Rabbit? “Please, please Brer Bear, anything, do anything, but don’t throw me in the briar patch.” You don’t need to go to the briar patch until late August or early September and when you do, denim is really not enough …coveralls on top, boots and work gloves are all useful to work your way in to the good spots. A blackberry patch is prickly but it can be a very generous thing. I made a gadget with a big coffee can and a seatbelt to strap around my waist. It holds a two litre plastic container …two-handed picking. When you pick you need a vision – jam, juice, vine, berries and ice cream, whatever. My vision is blackberry-peach pie. Honeybees love blackberries and where there are enough they can make a honey crop. Some lucky people take off mono-floral blackberry honey. Blackberry is a perennial plant but the berries are borne biennially – the vine grows one year and bears fruit the next. As usual, bees and birds are a one-two punch and, with the help of birds, blackberries quickly colonize waste and abandoned land. Bees and birds make things better. Botanical factoid: “torus” is the name for the core of the berry; with raspberries it stays on the plant when you pick, with blackberries the torus comes away with the berry.

Image may contain: plant, tree, sky, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: plant, food and outdoor

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