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Q: My Thorny Chaos — Darrow Blackberry

4 months ago

A few years ago I bought a little twig of a Darrow blackberry and planted it in my garden thinking that, because I love blackberries so much, I would forgo other plants.

I only have a small area to garden and that is increasingly getting less and less sun because of surrounding trees. So I guess it gets about five hours of sun and a lot of bright light. But not full sun.

Last year the blackberry canes were upright and vigorous looking and I saw blackberry flowers on them. But I only managed to find one (1) edible blackberry that was almost ripe. I think the catbirds devoured most of the berries even if they were not ripe.

And of course this variety is fiercely thorny.

It looks as though the ice storms bent over a lot of the canes although I see green growth coming up from them. I have a lot of other things on my plate Including huge fatigue and back pain so I don’t have what I suppose must be the required time to fiddle with something so demanding as horrifically thorny blackberry canes. I suppose I will yank them and try to grow somethings it is not as demanding.

Do these berries want an absolute diet of full sun? Or and is that why I’m only seeing a few blackberries? I’m sure by now they need to be thinned, but I’m probably not gonna buy a Kevlar suit and go into do that.

We live in woodlands with some cleared areas, but most of the yard and gardens get only about 5 hours of intermittent sunlight. The many wild birds gobble up un-screened berries, and with our blueberries we have to build a frame, netting, and wire-cloth at the bottom to keep out birds and chipmunks. I don’t think I want to make a bunker for blackberries that may not bear much fruit and which are painfully thorny. I will probably tear them out, perhaps offering the trimmed down bases (rootball) to anyone with more sun and thick skin.

Any last minute suggestions? I had a Chester blackberry plant, but it got yanked by a non-gardener by mistake. There are many wild blackberries around and I used to pick and enjoy eating these, but they have either stopped producing or Hitchcock’s BIRDS have beaten me to them.

Thanks for any quick fix ideas or solace.

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