Blackberry Blossoms

Early this morning while walking my dogs, a wild blackberry bush in full bloom caught my eye. Stepping into the weeds off the dirt road for a closer look, I admired the delicate pink blossoms growing among its thorny mesh of canes. I remember from previous years that these blooms don’t last long. In a few days, the pink petals will curl back allowing fruit to swell from its many ovaries. Then in a few weeks, the young fruit will change from light green to red, and then finally to a rich black pigment, ripe for picking.

With my dogs panting from the heat, I decided to pause and sit under a nearby tree, pulling out my sketchbook to pass the time. A gentle breeze swayed the branches above, dancing sunlight across the page where I painted the blackberry bush.

The blackberry is one of my favorite fruits. Luckily, wild berries are in abundance along creek beds in Sonoma County. Later this summer I’ll pick these aromatic beauties to top off yogurt, breakfast cereal, ice cream, and to make filling for pies. If I can find enough berries, I’ll even make blackberry jam. I remember when I was young and ambitiously picked berries along a creek behind our family’s house. By days end, grocery bags of fruit lined the walls of our kitchen, bewildering my mother. “What to do with it all?” she asked.

Then it was suggested we make jelly and the project began. We heated, mashed and stirred the berries into syrup, and copious amounts of sugar and pectin thickened it hard, even to the point of being difficult to spread on toast. But despite its thickness, the finished jelly tasted like summer and we ate it profusely. We loaded it on breakfast biscuits and accompanied it with peanut butter on bread. The one batch happily lasted for years. We loved it not only because it tasted good but because of the care we put into making it.

I knew it was time to finish sketching when I felt the tongues of two restless dogs licking my feet. I obliged and packed up my gear, heading home for a cool drink and to search for jelly jars, hopefully still packed away in the garage and waiting for use.

6 thoughts on “Blackberry Blossoms

  1. What a lovely sketch. Sounds like a nice way to start the day. I love reading your blog – you write as well as you sketch. It’s always a treat to find another of your posts.

  2. Thanks so much Cheryl! I’m so glad you enjoy what I sketch as well as what I write.

  3. Oh, Richard, my mouth is watering! I love blackberry jam and blackberry pie and cobbler. Have never seen a wild blackberry bush and have only ever known two people who grew them, and I never happened to be visiting them at the right time to see the blossoms. Gorgeous sketch!

  4. Thanks Jean! Wild blackberries are the best. I have wild bushes all around my house and in summer I head out a couple times a week to pick what I can find. Surprisingly, hardly anyone around here picks them but me. But I suppose that’s a good thing because there’s not enough for everyone to pick! : )

  5. Thank you so much for that beautiful blackberry blossom sketch and posted on my birthday (June 20) to my delight!

  6. You’re welcome June and happy belated birthday! I hope you get to eat some wild blackberries too. They’re almost ready for pickin’. So tasty!

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