How did you get on yesterday? Did you guess that it was Silvanberry? I would let you win if you had said blackberry or loganberry as well though the flowers are subtly different!
Silvanberries are my favourite hybrid berry. It has large flowers that are almost as attractive as any climber, ripens earlier than most, a month earlier than most blackberries and it crops really heavily with large red berries that ripen to almost black. But best of all is the taste. They are sweeter than blackberries, are juicy and acidic too and have a really complex, rich taste. This is not surprising since they are a complex hybrid.
Raised in Australia in the 1970s in the town of Silvan (are things starting to fall into place?) it is a hybrid of a Marionberry (which is common in the NW USA where I have eaten it and can conform that it is delicious – and it is apparently even higher in antioxidants than blackcurrants) and an unnamed hybrid of the Boysenberry (a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry) and the Pacific berry (Rubus ursinus). No wonder it has a complex taste.
When growing it, make sure it has enough space – it is very vigorous and, in year one, the canes can grow to 7m long! These need to be tied into the horizontal wires as soon as the previous canes have fruited and have been cut out. You can see the new canes growing above. The great vigour means big crops but there is a slight problem and that is the thorns which are profuse and sharp! Even so, I would rather grow this than any of the thornless fruits available simply because it is early, so can be combined with strawberries and even rhubarb if necessary, and because they taste good enough to eat raw – and I have a low acid threshold! Cropping is over a couple of weeks but you can do lots of things with the berries, such as jams and cordials or just freezing them to pop into smoothies throughout the year. Last year I boiled some and strained the juice to make some very nice Silvanberry frozen yoghurt and ice cream.
And the other berries are starting to bloom too. Below is a cultivated blackberry…
And this is the loganberry.