Spring is in full flood now, with bulb flowers and that lovely acid spring green colour of young leaves appearing everywhere. You’re likely to be seeing lots of frothy white blossom in the hedges, and that’s worth keeping your eyes out for. The sort you’re looking for is on otherwise naked branches, and spread evenly over the bush rather than forming clusters.
This is the blackthorn (the name is no coincidence!) or sloe bush. So if you’re a fan of sloe gin (and let’s face it, isn’t everyone?) and fancy making some this autumn, make a note of any really good stands of blossom you see in the next week or two. Final identification takes a slightly closer look – single small white flowers, armed with some nasty spikes on dark coloured wood. The leaves, when they appear, will be small and rounded.
You’ll notice that the blossom extends quite a long way inside the bush – this is one of the things that’s going to make picking, when you get to it, a bit of a challenge!
Read more from the Country Skills blog >>