Knotty Brambles


Squirrel in brambles

Squirrel in the brambles – illustration by Kerry Lemon


I’ve spent time this weekend clearing brambles.  The area where they grow, down the side of my workshop, used to be a hedgerow, there are ash tree stumps and it is a place I tend to leave to grow naturally wild.  The geese have made nests and laid eggs there in the thick of it.   Of course at this time of year it looks like a horrid brown tangle – though the brambles remain lively and green.


Magpie in the blackberry bush

Magpie enjoying the blackberries – illustration by Kerry Lemon


Many blackberry stems, I discover, have wandered off from the main unruly patch and I’ve found outbursts of fresh growth and a few leaves popping up many metres away.  It was this that made me decide to have a clear-up.  Pulling on these out-growers reveals the submerged stems – some of which have curled and knotted themselves around stone, wood and even wound themselves into the sheds.    I’ve had a very prickly, but satisfying time with my secateurs.  The stems are still juicy and vigourous.  I realise this plant is a bit of a thug and have to keep thinking about how much I enjoyed the blackberries earlier in the year to suppress ideas of removing it completely.


Fox eating ripe blackberries

A fox is attracted by the ripe blackberries – illustration by Kerry Lemon


Birds and other animals adore blackberries too, so hopefully my controlling prune will help the wild plant to develop into a more contained hedgerow over time, with the idea that harvesting the blackberries will be much easier as well.


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