Many gardeners wage war on brambles. But blackberry brambles aren’t always bad. We should learn to recognise that we should not view them as ‘thugs’ that invade and take over, but as amazing and useful plants to embrace in our gardens.
Many gardeners wonder how to get rid of brambles. They worry when brambles creep through a fence or hedge, or take over a corner of their garden. But when we hear the word ‘weed’ it is important to remember that a weed or unwanted plant is often simply a plant that tends to be very resilient. A weed is often a plant that thrives where you live.
Brambles can certainly thrive in a wide range of settings. But that characteristic, which can sometimes make them seem a problem, can also be a huge benefit. Blackberry brambles are difficult to kill. But that makes them ideal for novice gardeners. It also means that can be a great choice for a wilder, more low maintenance food producing space.
Brambles certainly need to be kept in check. But embracing them and allowing a thicket or patch to form in a part of your garden is great for wildlife. A wide variety of species benefit from the plants and their flowers and fruits throughout the year.
The thorns on most brambles can make them challenging to maintain. But it can also make them useful for forming a bit of a barrier – against grazing creatures that might damage young trees, for example.
If you already have some brambles ‘invading’ your garden, make the most of the fruits they provide – often over quite a long season. Make blackberry jams, jellies, desserts and baked goods… there are plenty of recipes to try.
If you don’t yet have blackberries where you live – consider planting some. If the thorns are undesirable, consider a thornless varietal. (I have thornless blackberries taking over a portion of my forest garden. But it is far easier to chop it right back after the fruiting period.)