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Not neat, not petite, but very sweet
Thornless Blackberry Bush
Member Name: gryphon
Thornless Blackberry Bush
Date: 14/05/01, updated on 04/05/05 (3523 review reads)
Advantages: Sweet, thornless, easy to propagate
Disadvantages: Blackberry juice stains
Blackberrying has always been an emotive experience for me, recalling those never-ending sunny, childhood afternoons in country lanes with my family.
The trying-to-grow-just-one-more-inch, as I worked my way ever deeper into the hedgerow clutching a bucket, then wishing I had long trousers as I slowly extricated myself from among the briars.
The sweet taste of sun warmed plump fruit, and the later glory of blackberry jelly, [and even wine in one particularly abundant year- an exceptionally full bodied and strong example that was like a countryside communion].
Anyway: life got busier, the roads got more perilous, and my dad bought himself a thornless blackberry to grow at home, next to the loganberries and raspberries. This plant took very happily to growing by the fence at the end of the garden, and established itself mightily over the years, produces pounds and pounds of fruit every season. Because of its proximity, we could pick the berries regularly for blackberry and apple crumble or pie, as well as making blackberry jelly [the juice from the cooked fruit is strained through a jelly bag, or doubled muslin, before boiling with sugar to produce a clear, seedless jam].
The plant enjoys well-fed and watered soil, but is very tolerant of drought and neglect once established, and is easy to train along a fence or wall. The new growth it puts out this year will bear next years fruit; as with all plants like this, it’s best to prune out the old, diseased or dead wood each year- I’ve done it both in the autumn after fruiting has finished, or in the spring when belatedly tidying some of the wilder bits of the garden.
If you do prune in the spring, be careful not to damage the new growing tips of the runners.
To propagate this plant, just let the end of a runner touch down onto the ground, and it will root, and start another plant, enabling you to quickly grow a blackberry hedge along a fence. If you prefer, y
ou can let it root into a pot of soil/compost, ready for transplanting/ giving away.
This is how I got mine; as a transplant from my dad, and over the 6 years I have had it, it has established itself in half a dozen places along the boundary with our neighbours, forming a fruitful green covering for the fence.
Even better, despite its vigourous habit, it causes no arguments, because it has no defensive prickles, and bountiful fruit with a good flavour, which we encourage them to enjoy. This also lets us release toddlers to enjoy a snack- the only drawback is the stains when they wipe their hands on their clothes!
I would wholeheartedly recommend this plant to anyone who fancies fresh fruit from their garden, even if you have to buy it, rather than getting a plant from a friend:
The blossom and foliage are attractive in their own right;
The fruit is a good size, has a lovely flavour, and is plentiful;
The plant is not disease prone, and is vigourous.
[ A final word: after he gave us the plant, my dad moved, and I have supplied him with offspring from the plant that he originally gave me: it‘s thriving in his new garden.]