After many plantless years, I thought having a patch of mud to grow a few herbs and perhaps the odd tomato would be enough to satisfy me. Instead, the last few months have fed an apparently insatiable hunger and I’ve accumulated a list of new plants to try that would fill a rather larger outside space than the one available to me. But I have no self restraint, so have ordered them all anyway.

Here’s the first, perfect for the rather snowy winter we have in the UK at the moment: Rubus arcticus – the arctic bramble, or Nagoonberry.

At the moment there are a just a few tiny shoots in a very small pot of mud.

But this is what those little shoots promise:

It’s a pretty little plant. It only grows about 30 cm tall, with pretty pink flowers and is cold tolerant.

But never mind that. It grows BERRIES.

I will need to write an epic poem to do justice to how much I love berries. Berries are so delicious and sensual and sweet and amazing I feel like I’m having some sort of epiphany every time I eat one. Berries unhinge me.

(Normally I think I’ve got that awkwardly polite thing going pretty strong. I blame Claire and Julia. Paragons of virtue who lived over the road from me for a while as a child and always said please and thank you. Obviously that’s a good thing to do, but hearing about their goodness every day in my formative years left me feeling rather inadequate, and 20 years later their spectres haunt me in social situations. I constantly expect to be told off.

I wish I’d pulled their hair and put worms down their backs when I had the chance.)

But berries were always too nice for manners. In ‘pick your own’ fields I risked everything to meet my objective of eating more in the fields than I took home with me. Of course I was highly skilled in furtive scoffing to reduce the risk of reprimands, but I still felt like I was risking everything I held dear.

Wild strawberries obsess me: I only ever find the odd handful at one time, and when I do there’s no sharing. Just scoffing and then denial that they were ever there. I developed a good eye for spotting plants and wildlife purely to track them down and satisfy my greed.

Blackberries make me weep with joy. I know the best spots to find them and I’m not telling you where they are.

My parents built a fruit cage, and I think it was to keep me out.

If you come round for tea I will let you have the last piece of pie and finish off the bottle of wine, but I will not give you a fair portion of the fruit salad. I will also have eaten half the fruit before you turned up and will have a back up portion in the fridge to eat when you’re gone.

I’m not ashamed to say this. There’s no way you will like them as much as I do, so there’s no point wasting them on you.

The arctic bramble won’t satisfy my hunger. I will never be able to make myself sick from a harvest.*

From a little internet browsing it sounds more like my alpine strawberries: instead of a short season yielding glorious bucketfuls, it will offer up a few fruits regularly over a few months – a few tiny bursts of unearthly sweetness each day, hopefully late into the year. But that’s pretty good.

Just look at this picture. This berry is made for joy.

And here’s some more berry porn. It doesn’t normally last long enough for a photograph.

*Actually, although my mother has always told me I’ll make myself sick if I eat too many berries in one sitting it’s not true. I’ve tried, and there’s no such thing as too many berries. If you’d like to test my theory, please bring me a huge heap of berries and I will prove myself. Ideally I’d like 52 volunteers, each to bring me a huge heap of berries, with one coming round every saturday afternoon.

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