Thursday, June 07, 2007

Flowers of the bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.)

The brambles are now at their best in terms of flower with crumpled white petals opening their arms to passing insect visitors.

When I was young I remember places where these flowers were alive with butterflies: white admirals, silver-washed fritillaries and others but, in East Sussex at any rate, this now seems a thing of the past, though these butterflies still occur in small numbers.

Brambles are good value and Emthree's two plants up against North Wall now have four manifestations: the dead brown canes from 2004, the dying canes from 2005 that fruited last year, the floricanes currently in bloom, and the rising primocanes that will flower and fruit next year.

Although they may not be crowded with butterflies, I do get a number of insect visitors, particularly honey bees that scramble about enthusiastically among the stamens.

Outside Troy Track to the south I have turned the bramble growth into a low hedge. This is a very simple process with shears and I wonder if woody plants will work their way up through the prickly thicket and make a proper hedge in due course. If it works it seems an easy and inexpensive way to establish a natural barrier that gives some protection from wind to Emthree.

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