Blackberries otherwise known as brambles are a delicious fruit that are loved by many, but did you know that the bushes these sweet berries grow on are also a favourite among bees? Brambles and blackberry flowers are rich in nectar and pollen, making them an ideal food source for buzzing pollinators.
Whether you’re out harvesting blackberries in your backyard or enjoying a bowlful of blackberry jam, it’s important to keep in mind the vital role that bees play in pollination. By planting blackberry bushes and other bee-friendly plants, we can help ensure that hardworking honeybees always have access to food sources and habitats.
What Are Blackberry Bushes
Blackberry bushes are large bee-friendly shrubs, woody plants that are part of the Rubus genus. These plants have biennial canes that are covered in prickles and typically grow erect, semi-erect, or trailing. They also produce flowers in clusters at their terminal ends and come in a variety of colours, including white, pink, and red.
Blackberry bushes produce black or red-purple fruits that are often eaten for their sweet flavour and nutritional benefits.
Their strong, resilient stems make them an ideal choice for home gardeners, while commercial growers often choose blackberry bushes to cultivate due to the high yield and profitability of these fruit-bearing plants.
Blackberry bushes are hearty, fast-growing plants that do well in full sun or partial shade. They prefer fertile, moist but freely draining soil and typically flower during the early summer months. Blackberries are hardy and can withstand a variety of temperature extremes, making them a great choice for gardeners in all regions. With proper care and maintenance, blackberry bushes can produce an abundant harvest of juicy berries year after year.
Whether you’re growing blackberries as a part of your home garden or looking to incorporate blackberry bushes into your landscape design, it’s important to understand their growth requirements and care needs. By providing your blackberries with the right amount of sunlight, water, nutrients, and space, you can help ensure that your plants thrive and produce a bountiful harvest.
It’s also important to plant your blackberries in a spot where they won’t be disturbed by foot traffic or other plants, as this can cause damage to the roots and reduce overall productivity.
In terms of care and maintenance, regular watering is essential for healthy blackberry plants. You should aim to water your plants at least once per week, preferably during the morning or early evening hours when temperatures are cooler.
How To Harvest Blackberries
Harvesting blackberries is easy, and can be done by anyone. The first step is to look for ripe berries by checking the colour of the fruit – it should be deep purple or black in colour with a glossy sheen. When harvesting larger quantities of blackberries, make sure that you remove any debris such as leaves, twigs or small bugs from them before storing them in containers or bags until ready to use. Blackberries are best eaten fresh, but can also be frozen for later use. If you’re planning on making jams or other desserts with your blackberries, be sure to thoroughly wash them before use to ensure that they are clean and free of any dirt or debris.
Where To Buy Blackberries
Looking to add some delicious blackberries to your garden or landscape? Look no further than Crocus.co.uk, the UK’s leading online gardening store. With a wide selection of blackberry bushes available, they have everything you need to create a thriving and productive blackberry patch right at home.
Blackberry Bush Varieties
Loch Ness – With a large potential yield and thornless body, the Loch Ness bush can produce around 3.5 kilograms of glossy blackberries from August until the first frost hits. Its productivity has made it the number-one choice for commercial growers.
Bedford Giant – This early-bearing berry crop is reliable and tough, perfect for jumpstarting the season. The succulent fruits are large and flavorful and freeze exceptionally well if you have more than you need fresh.
Adrienne – These blackberries are perfect for Summertime harvesting! They’re delicious, sweet, and aromatic. Best of all – they don’t have any thorns!
Waldo – This popular blackberry variety not only produces a delicious crop in late summer and early autumn, but also has thorn-free stems–making it ideal for smaller gardens, trellises or archways. Furthermore, the foliage is ornamental and the white early summer flowers are decorative; however, the berries take centre stage! Medium in size with juicy flesh and mild flavour, they are perfect for eating fresh or making pies and jams.
Oregon Thornless – This thornless plant is popular for its ornamental leaves, and in summer, it produces saucer-shaped white flowers that are flushed with pink. The medium-sized fruit has a mild and juicy flavour that is perfect for snacking. The ripe fruit can be picked from late August to late September.
Merton Thornless – These have thorn-free stems, so picking the berries will be easy. The large fruits appear in abundance from late summer to early autumn. It’s a great option for smaller spaces too because, although it will grow to a reasonable size, you can train it to grow against a wall or fence.
Apache – An excellent variety for the home gardener. These fruits are large with a sweet flavour, growing on thornless canes. Each one weighs approximately 7-10 grams. They are harvested during the mid-season and will keep well after being picked.
Companion Plants For Blackberries
In order to maximize their productivity and keep blackberry plants healthy, it is important to also include certain companion plants in the garden.
Some good companion plants for blackberries include blueberries and hyssop. Both of these plants help to improve the fertility of the soil by attracting beneficial insects that contribute nutrients through their natural processes, such as pollination or prey capture. Additionally, both blueberries and hyssop also have vibrant flowers that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to the garden space.
Another great companion plant for blackberries is the allium family, which includes garlic, onions, and leeks. These plants help to repel pests like aphids, mites, and Japanese beetles that can harm blackberry plants. Additionally, alliums produce numerous tiny flowers that provide a source of nectar for pollinators like bees and butterflies. With these beneficial companion plants by their side, blackberry plants are sure to thrive and produce bountiful harvests year after year.
Adding blackberries to your garden is a great way to help support local bee populations. Not only can these lovely flowers attract pollinators to your garden, but they are also easy to care for and require little maintenance.
So the next time you see a bramble filled with buzzing honey bees, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and importance of these busy pollinators. After all, without bees, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy blackberries or any other delicious fruit!