Why must there be thorns?

Well it is blackberry season here on Vancouver Island. Everywhere you look there are berries, on the side of the road, on the beach, winding through the trees, luring us with the promise of their juicy sweetness. And yes, I have fallen under their little spell.

But don’t be fooled….these are nasty, evil creatures. Beautiful to look at, oh so yummy to eat, so why do they have to be so darn hard to pick?

My first day out, I was full of optimism. I was going to gather blackberries ! I should have 10 lbs in no time. How hard could it be?? Oh I soon found out how hard it could be. These nasty buggers are FULL of thorns, brambles and hazards making them nearly impossible to pick without a full rubber suit and gloves.

I soon found myself sticky from head to toe, scratched to the shoulders and barely had anything in my bucket.

My second outing I was a bit more prepared,but not much. Luckily I found a better patch and was able to get a nice haul in a short time. But then…I spotted them…the high fruit. The big berries, the cream of the crop. I had to have them. Home I went to bring out the big guns…the ladder ! The gloves ! A towel to lay on the branches so my legs wouldn’t get shredded. After a few near tumbles I soon gave up on that. I will be patient and wait for the low fruit to ripen.

Curious to know why Mother Nature had to make things so difficult for me, I Googled why berries and roses have thorn.

“There are very few genuine ‘climbing’ plants, most of those we have as climbers are in fact ramblers. Today’s climbing, tea, floribunda and bush roses are hybrids of the natural ramblers. These ramblers like the brambles (blackberry) use the prickles on individual stems to help interlock the stems to each other and to the stems of other bushes to keep them off of the ground. This way the new growth can get high up to where there is the most sunlight without the need to expend too much energy on the growth of a rigid trunk. From this high vantage point, they can then spread over greater distances. As I am sure you will be aware, trying to pull out a single stem of bramble is virtually impossible.”

So there you have it…as always there is a reason, but I still wish it were simpler.

In the meantime, I am slowly filling the freezer and dream about the promise of blackberry jelly this winter !Blackberries

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