The blackberries have come into their own.
We planted a few unassuming cuttings given to us by a friend roughly a year ago, right at the beginning of quarantine, if I remember correctly. Our friend’s gardens are lush with life, so I had high hopes for any gift from her.
We put too many plants in too small a space in a bare corner of the garden, where the weeds had been kept at bay by a layer of crunchy red pumice stone. (I’m still wondering what I’ll do with the box full of stone we took out.) We settled the plants in, and we waited.
The pile of vines grew. (Pile is really the best word for it – a pile with tentacles.) As the weather warmed this spring, cheeky white blossoms started to cover the plants. We started to get excited.
The white petals fell, leaving tiny green clusters. We watched and drooled, and started planning parfaits, pies, cobbler.
Still the brambles grew. Tentacles came up in my daughter’s garden nearby, in the vegetable bed on the other side, in the neighbor’s yard on the other side of the fence. I played yank-a-shoot, whack-a-mole style, in long sleeves and heavy garden gloves.
(Summer project: Operation Contain Blackberry…if such a thing is even possible. I have a feeling we’ll be fighting blackberry shoots and lemon balm for the rest of our lives.)
In the last week or so the berries have started to ripen. Ten, even twenty fat, dark berries a day from our little 3×3 square of land, plus the area the plants took for themselves. We are at the point of growing our own cobbler.
A friend of mine has a theory that blackberry plants are actually carnivorous. One of her sheep was killed (not by blackberries), and where she buried it now grow the fattest, sweetest blackberries she’s ever had on her property. As further evidence she sights the fact that the thorns on the blackberry plant curve inward, back towards the base of the plant, like it wants to hook you and pull you in for its dinner.
Having painstakingly extracted these little delights during the last week, I think I agree. This bramble pile would eat me if given the chance. Which is how life works, of course, but I didn’t realize I was bringing anything quite so menacing into my backyard.
So we’re keeping two eyes on the toddler these days. And the cats. And the dog. Warning them, Don’t get too close to the blackberry bushes!
We’re also preheating the oven for the cobbler.
And when we’re not tied up with graduations, recitals, and final exams, we’re researching trellises for next year, in case there is any hope of our taming this (delicious) beast of an urban homesteading experiment.