Walking locally there are so many signs on the ground, that Blackberries are ready to eat– mainly in the colour of the poo of birds and foxes! The Bramble (a plant that cross-breeds so freely there are hundreds of ‘micro-species’ in the wild– one botanist has described 286!) is so good for wildlife. The flowers, from May- September provide nectar and pollen for many of species of Bees, Wasps, Flies, Lacewings etc, (so Spiders also lurk in the brambles to catch the insects), the leaves feed many caterpillars, and the strong arching branches with their fierce thorns and dense habit (they root whenever a branch-tip touches ground) provide protection for small mammals and many bird-nests (Warblers, Wrens, Robins and Finches). And from now on until October the berries, ripening in stages over several weeks feed small mammals like Mice, Foxes, many birds, including Thrushes and Blackbirds and us! Technically, like their relations the
Raspberries, Blackberries are not true berries, but dozens of small ‘drupelets’ so are really aggregates of many fruits in one. The number of drupelets varies from small number on the very tasty Dew Berries, often on sand dunes and coastal areas, to the more common ones we get in our cities and countryside. If you want the benefit of Blackberries for yourselves and wildlife in your gardens, without the invasiveness and sharp thorns, there are many domestic varieties that are very easy to grow– Thornless Blackberries, and crosses like the accidentally developed Loganberry to the deliberately cross-bred and very tasty Tayberry and Boysenberry. Conditions: A chilly day of cloud, some sun and a few showers. Temperature: Max 15- Min 10 C.