Don’t be fooled by the twiggy look: blackberries grow into monster plants
A lovely big package arrived on my doorstep the other day, with those magical words “Live Plants” on the side. This never fails to make me go all quivery with anticipation.
Inside was a twig, with some roots on the bottom. Not something to get many people excited, unless they’re
fanatical kitchen gardeners and they happen to know this is the bare-root blackberry they ordered a few weeks back, arrived at last.
I have a rather attractive slatted fence my carpenter hubby made, disguising my shed nicely and just begging to have things growing up it. Since this particular patch is a bit on the shady side, it’s ideal for berries, which are among the few fruit which don’t need full sunshine.
Buying bare-root is the only way to go with berry fruit:
You get twice as much choice and you pay half the price. It never ceases to amaze me that a plant will quite happily put up with being dug up from its nice cosy home somewhere in, say, Devon, settle into a paper bag and spend a couple of days in the postal system travelling along motorways and doing all the other mysterious things parcels do before arriving on my doorstep, and then after all that spread its roots out in a hole in my back garden and grow like topsy as if nothing had happened.
But that’s how it is, and far be it for me to question it. The only thing that seems to kibosh all that is
if you let the roots go for long without planting them back in the ground: three days at most. If you really can’t plant – and with the recent snow I was pretty lucky mine arrived while the ground was thawed – you can plant them temporarily in to a container of compost and plonk that outside while you’re waiting for the ice to melt.
Information about growing blackberries, types of blackberries and more.
Double pink flowers…
Anyway, so the blackberry now snoozing quietly by my fence is the very nearly thornless ’Ouachita’, bred in Arkansas, growing in Surrey. More prickly, but with, I’m promised, pretty double pink flowers is the other blackberry I’ve put in alongside which is ‘Loch Maree’. The reason I haven’t yet seen the flowers, despite having owned the plant for a year, is that it’s been languishing in a container on my patio: a process which has convinced me that it’s not worth trying to grow blackberries in containers. They just don’t like it – though a smaller variety likemight have been happier.