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Spring blossom - blackthorn


by Pippa Greenwood

Like most gardeners, I have a nose for a bargain, so a gorgeous-looking plant that also produces fruit scores double points.


Spring blossom - blackthornI love the delicate flowers of prunus, although I'm not so keen on the blowsier, pink varieties I sometimes see in other gardens. The smaller, more delicate spring blossom hits the spot for me.

Like most gardeners, I also have a nose for a bargain, so a gorgeous-looking plant that also produces fruit scores double points.

Prunus spinosa is commonly known as blackthorn, and produces wonderful sloe berries in autumn that I use to make my sloe gin. I've still got a little left, but have made a mental note not to make any next year.

The plants have been looking stunning for a few weeks, the flowers so densely packed along the leaf-free stems that they clothe them almost entirely in white blossom. It may be sold in garden centres and nurseries as a native hedging plant, but surely its time more were grown as ornamentals (with a sideline in winter liqueur production, of course).

The only problem is that they self-seed and tend to spread themselves rather rapidly, but if they do grow too much, or too quickly, you can just cut them back.



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Gardeners' World Web User 20/03/2008 at 20:03

We have a sloe hedge on the allotment, and I planned to make some sloe gin for the first time last autumn. Left it too late & they were all gone! Have done cranberry gin instead. Don't know what it will be like. Any other interesting variations?

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:31

Sloe gin still my favourite, but damson is great as gorgeous flavour and you don't need quite so much sugar! Tried it with blackberries. Waste of time!