Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blackberry winter

Botanist Ken Moore, in this week's Carrboro Citizen, reminds us of the traditional name for this lovely late cold spell.

It’s early May and the blackberry “brambles” are brightening field edges and roadsides with masses of pure white flowers. When these same blackberry flower-filled days and nights are really, really chilly, the old timers refer to it as “Blackberry Winter.”

Blackberry blossoms are so beautiful, he suggests them for cut flower arrangements (cut with gloved hand of course). Maybe I'll give it a try. Inspired by Blue Girl, I've been keeping a vase of fresh flowers near my desk. So far, they're easily found just outside the door. This week it's mock orange and some late azaleas. It's a nice focal point to help focus the mind.

Blackberry bushes are plentiful around here too. Ken warns that this season's berries will lack a certain sweetness if we get the predicted drought. Not that they won't still be worth the effort. But much as I'd like to turn them into a deep dish blackberry cobbler, an old recipe that has a madeleine sort of effect on me, by the time blackberry summer comes around I've never been able to catch them. Seems like the birds get to them first.

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