Blackberries have been a favorite addition to my garden. Although wild blackberries grow abundantly through mid-Missouri, these are thornless ones so I have them growing where I can easily access them once the fruit is ripe enough.
After a very mild winter and earlier than usual spring - I had tulips blooming mid-February - these blackberry vines started blooming about a month earlier than in the past. The sign of the flowers is also a trigger for beekeepers to track the nectar and pollen honeybees are bringing in. And in the Missouri Ozarks, they are also a warning that we may still have one last cold spell before warm weather settles in.
It's called a Blackberry Winter, and we are currently enjoying a few days of this last nippy hurrah before summer settles in for good. During this cold snap, temperatures in the evenings hover around the mid 40s while daytime temperatures are sweater-cool mornings.
An office colleague introduced me to the term many years ago, when she explained we couldn't go on our regular morning break walk because it was too cold. She also referred to a cold snap in April as a "dogwood winter," the cold snaps coordinating with the blooming trees.
As our climate continues to rapidly change, I wonder if these cold snaps will disappear. Weather in the midwest is forecast to have milder winters with longer spring and fall seasons.
It's a nice respite from spending the days in the garden pulling weeds and hauling mulch. And then there are the ripe blackberries to look forward to picking!