The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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2:37pm on Sunday, 17th February, 2019:
I've just spent an hour removing the brambles from a bush in our garden. They made up maybe a third of the canopy, so the bush now looks like it's just staggered out from a mugging. I, on the other hand, was armed with a pair of long-armed secateurs and armoured in my trusty waxed green padded coat (that once survived a direct hit by a petrol-driven model plane at a kid's party) and some leather driving gloves my dad gave me 20 years ago that are utterly impregnable. I got a thorn in my inner thigh at one point and a jab to the forehead, but I came out unbloodied.
I have to hand it to brambles, they really pull out all the evolutionary stops. They have a very tasty berry that means you don't want to get rid of them in the first place, but if you decide they do need a seeing to (for example if they're destroying a bush) they don't mess about. The spars can be any combination of skinny/thick, single-/multi-branch, thorny/unthorny, shallow-/deep-rooted and leafy/unleafy. They stick to each other when you try pull them out, and will try drag the foliage of other plants with them so you worry about doing more damage than the brambles are doing. They drop bits off in the hope that they can root and grow. When they die, they become so hard they're like barbed wire, able to penetrate all but the sturdiest of clothing.
I last cleared this bush out about five years ago. I'll have to do it again in another five years, because I can't get at the roots without hurting the bush, too. I do sort of have an ally, in that there's also some ivy deep within the heart of the bush that will eventually kill off the brambles so it can do its parasite thing with the bush. Then, I can have the fun of attacking the ivy.
I once took some brambles out of a rose bush that had leaves looking like rose leaves. If it hadn't been for the blackberries growing on it, I'd never have known it wasn't a rose. Those things are masters of camouflage. I've really got to hand it to them, they put in a lot more effort than most plants. They're probably working right now on some kind of useful adaptation to the stalks so we'll want to breed them for the fibre.
There are masses of brambles in the hedges, too, but I spared them because we've just had the hedges cut and therefore the brambles there aren't annoying me yet.
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