When I went for a walk on Tuesday, it was in part to go blackberry picking. The marshlands behind my home are full of huge rambling bushes. At the start of the year the marshes were flooded and you couldn’t walk here, it was all under water and looked like a huge lake…..now Summer is here it’s beautiful and green….a wild space that owns my heart.
Even when I was just a little girl I used to go blackberry picking, it’s something I look forward to doing every year…when I was small and picking them, like “pick your own strawberries”, more would be crammed into my mouth than the container I was trying to fill…..now I’m older I’m much better behaved (though one or two may have been sampled)
The berries on these bushes were quite soft so I’ve ended up freezing them, thinking to bake them in to a crumble or pie come Autumn and Winter (as a rule I really don’t like cooked fruits…jam is okay but anything else is just yucky in my book….however blackberries are the one fruit I love in any form….sorbets, ices, cream and fools, coulis, crumbles, cobblers and pies, tarts and so tasty eaten fresh in the wild…..
Even their blossoms are beautiful, a delicate pinky colour, tiny petals amongst green leaves and those sharp thorns.
All the bushes were covered in sun ripening berries , our small freezer is already full so now I’ll be making jams as it’s too hot for baked puddings….
I know you can buy cultivated blackberries but as far as I’m concerned, nothing compares to a blackberry grown and picked in the wild….apparently there are over 400 micro-species of blackberry…..and it never fails to amaze how even blackberries from different parts of a bush can taste different.
I think brambles are one of my favourite plants, they aren’t tame plants at all…they remind me of fairy tale forests, deep dark woods, enchanted thorn bushes growing overnight around a sleeping castle…they look wild and fierce and the best berries are nearly always protected by sharp thorn covered runners, veils of cobwebs patches of darkest green nettles.
I tried to take some pictures of the butterflies but they were too quick for me, along with the usual Red Admirals and Peacocks, there were some pretty little chestnut brown butterflies and some even tinier blue ones…have no idea what they were but they looked lovely flittering around. I also kept seeing what at first I thought were huge black butterflies but then realised it was dragonflies and damsel flies which were soaring upwards, their wings beating so fast…..
Most years when I go picking I end up scratched halfway to high heaven, and have often got my hair tangled and caught among the brambles….I’ve arrived home with cobwebs in my hair more times than I care to remember…and the summer before last, managed to stand in what I think was fox poop when avoiding a huge spider and a nasty patch of nettles….
I love brambles, not just because they grow my favourite fruits but their sheer wildness and desire to grow makes my heart quicken whenever I see them. Even in a city you can often find them growing, especially on a bit of scrubby ground and if you’re lucky you can pick enough berries for a crumble or pie.
Apart from wearing “hardy” clothing when you go picking (don’t recommend open toed sandals, expensive falke leggings and a floaty summer skirt like I was wearing unless you don’t mind getting stung to blazes and getting caught up in the brambles) such as sturdy boots and something to protect your arms and legs, you’d be surprised at how much an old walking stick will help. You’ll be able to pull down some of the higher brambles, and at the same time knock back any too close for comfort nettles.
I also saw this little chap while I was out on my jaunts…it looked so pretty at the base of the cow parsley.