For three summers now I’ve relished building a profitable relationship with a wild blackberry that insists on growing up through a nandina planted on a sunny side of the house. Fearful of what it might do should it get out of hand, I have religiously cut it back at the end of each season, and thus far it has been an abundant producer with only minor hazards. However, the slightest research into actually IDing this generous gift does put one on guard, for apparently it is the much “reviled” Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus), also known as Armenian blackberry, introduced to California (and adjoining states, to their great detriment and consternation) by none other than our beloved Luther Burbank. Ahem. Mr. Burbank apparently spotted an ad for the seeds in an “Indian seed catalogue” in 1885 and ordered them, planted them and proceeded to regale everyone with stories of their deliciousness and their enormous vigorous benefits. Guessing the ancestors of those who listened would like to give Mr. Burbank a piece of their mind along with a delicious piece of blackberry pie. It’s now regarded as one of the biggest invasives along the Pacific Northwest, with little chance of changing that, as anything that would do damage to them (short of digging them up, an overwhelming and thankless task) would also do damage, inevitably, to viable commercial blackberry cousins. The Good Ones.
This guy, which I also love, came from Home Depot and the sign on it says it came from a place called Four Winds. I called Four Winds and the person I spoke with says it actually came from Oregon, one of the blackberry capitals of the world. Four Winds’ website says they sell three kinds of blackberries: Ollalie, Black Satin Blackberry and Triple Crown Blackberry and no amount of research led me to any conclusions which one I now own and care for and enjoy. So I’ll stick with calling it The Good One.
It’s very delicious. It has only minimal prickles. (You are not supposed to call the wicked sticky things thorns in blackberry land, even though apparently the blackberry is related to the rose.) And I can tell it won’t grow crazily out of control, though it does have a large new cane. However I am also noticing that while I can still lay claim to a small number of early blackberries each day, I don’t see any flowers (mid-June), so I’m guessing the fruiting season is quite limited. And meanwhile….(ta da!):
My Bad Boy, the Himalayan blackberry (and p.s., no one in California calls this Armenian)
One of the canes is reaching onto the front porch. I’m glad, actually, as once a cane touches the ground it can use it to spread. Not much chance on cement. Not stopping a friendly bee who came by to help with pollination, however.
Contrary to my Good and Proper Blackberry, my Naughty Himalayan is bursting with hundreds of flowers and each one will reliably produce a delicious blackberry. I’m thinking of the many fantastic healthy cool scrumptious smoothies I made last summer. Each morning I would go out and harvest just enough for a smoothie or two, and give thanks for the handful of blessings that renegade vine produced, that became my breakfast. Thank you. Thank you. So grateful. And here’s some of what it provided me:
Nutrients in raw blackberries
Nutrient Value per 100 grams % Daily Value
Energy 43 kcal
Fiber, total dietary 5.3 g 21%
Sugars, total 4.9 g
Calcium, Ca 29 mg 3%
Magnesium, Mg 20 mg 5%
Manganese, Mn 0.6 mg 32%
Copper, Cu 0.2 mg 8%
Potassium, K 162 mg 5%
Sodium, Na 1 mg 0%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 21 mg 35%
Vitamin A, IU 214 IU 4%
Vitamin K, 25%
Folic acid, 9%
Lutein + zeaxanthin
You can imagine my joy!
Love and gardening blessings,
Book Notes: A review of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy will appear in July/August issue of California Country. Meanwhile, the Dutch issue of Ode Magazine arrived with the translated excerpt from my book and that was quite a thrill! I am also delighted to let folks know that both the wonderful Mendocino Art Center and much loved Mrs. Dalloway’s in Berkeley are making the book available! Thank you!
Posted on June 17th, 2011 by Kathryn
Filed under: Plants