I have spent a few days, not all day though, fighting a huge patch of brambles (blackberry). The area in question is fairly rough, stoney ground and so is planted with shrubs and small trees to the south of our land. We didn’t want this spot to be a formal garden but to encourage wildflowers however what we have managed to encourage is this bramble patch for which we have the birds to thank. The birds eat the blackberries and purge themselves of the seeds which take hold fairly well. At first this area was kept under control with a brushcutter as a lawnmower would soon be wrecked but it only needs us to take our eye off the ball for a year or two for mother nature to take control. The problem with brambles is that they grow rapidly, have nasty thorns and root wherever the end of a stem touches the ground. This particularly piece of ground measures roughly 100 feet wide by over 200 feet long and was just an entanglement deterring any best intentions.
The only way I was going to tackle this ‘mountain’ was to do it section by section start with one small square and then widen the area. Armed with a pair of secateurs and a garden fork I made a small clearing; the fork was used to lift the bramble stems up so I could see where to cut and then start to roll the cut stems away cutting further stems as they impeded progress so I went from this:
looking very like a green version of a barbed wire entanglement to this:
I am feeling quite pleased with what I have achieved so far. There is still one small area to clear but it is no longer daunting.
Yes I do have more than a few scratches and lacerations and boy do they hurt at shower time. I swear those bramble stems fight back and take any opportunity to grab you when they can.
Yesterday it was a relatively warm day here with sunshine, with temperatures around 10C (approximately 50F) so while I worked the birds were singing, a few honey bees were out and about and I even saw an intrepid bumble bee. It was lovely to be outdoors and armed with my trusty camera I took a few pictures of the early spring flowers that are already open. Such a cheering view!
This is a shrub close to our porch door and at this time of the year it has many blossoms on it that are very fragrant; the scent has a fizziness to it, almost tickles your nose. Anyway the bees love it as you can see in the following photo – the bee is marked with a green arrow! Hope you can make it out, click on the photo for a larger image.
Then there were the beautiful little irises, these are the first ones to flower here in the UK and go by the name of Iris Reticulata, they are only about 4 inches tall but such a rich colour:
Then there are the lovely yellow aconites with their little yellow faces looking not unlike buttercups:
And snowdrops of course
These are growing behind a stone seat although these seat was once upon a time a stone water trough, sadly part of it broke away when we dug it out of the ground so we raised it up on to a stone plinth and it becomes a very comfortable seat once cushions are put on it!
Aah do love this time of year when the weather behaves itself and I can walk around the flower beds looking to see what new wonder has emerged.
Another favourite of the bees are these hellebores. This particular plant always flowers first but in other parts of the gardens there are different colours of hellebore, one bed has white and deep red flowering ones with many of the flowers having speckles inside. Thanks to the bees there are also many pink ones in this bed now too!