My all-time favourite fruit is the blackberry, or bramble, and already the fruits are beginning to ripen, albeit a few weeks early. In September I usually use them to make pies, crumbles, purees and jams, and I'll make a post about that later. But for now I want to rewind a bit and take a look at the flowers. Brambles grow along the sides of roads, lanes and railway lines and on waste land as well, and as a result they tend to get a bit ignored, but this year I've been noticing just how attractive and varied the flowers are.
Looking at the flowers in close up they are amazingly pretty. A soft pinky-mauve, the petals look as if they're made from crumpled silk.
There are lots of stamens, very much like the centre of a rose (they are a member of the rose family), and the sumptuously wrinkled petals remind me of faded vintage fabrics.
We have in our garden a thornless, cultivated variety, and its flowers are very different with seven elongated white petals.
Even bramble stems are attractive. The thorns are very sharp, as anyone who's tried to reach into a bramble bush to pick the berries will confirm, but the stem is covered in a soft down and is a soft shade of pink.
Last week when we were at the river I was very happy to find this lovely bramble bush with flowers which were a deep shade of purple. The purple is a pre-taste of the berries themselves, and I like it very much .
I looked more closely at the flowers.
There are masses of stamens, and the centre is already beginning to form into a little blackberry before the petals fall.
I can't wait for the blackberry season to get going, and am so looking forward to the smell of blackberries cooking in my kitchen.