When harvesting please remove plants in moderation. Be sure you correctly identify the plants as invasive.
Himalayan blackberries serve as a habitat for birds who are nesting. Please minimize pulling himalayan blackberry in the bird nest season from February to August.
While the quantities of harvesting and removal facilitated through our project will not have a magnificent effect in the park, if every Vancouverite were to be removing invasives in large quantities from parks there may be unintended consequences, and effects on the habitat and ecosystem that we have not foreseen. For this reason it is important to practice responsibility and moderation when removing these plants, as well as to encourage a culture of respect and consideration when interacting with the natural world.
Make sure you have identified Himalayan blackberry rather than another species. Check the picture posted on our Invasives page as a reference. Himalayan blackberry leaves are found in groups of five. Additionally, the stock is a pentagon shaped rather than round like many other plants.
Other species that resemble Himalayan blackberry (do not pull) are pictured to the right:
Himalayan Blackberry Harvesting Instructions
1. Wear long pants, long sleeves, closed toe boots and gloves. Bring clippers, a shovel and a tarp or bag for the clippings.
2. Using the shovel, make sure to get the root ball of the plant out of the ground so that it doesn’t continue to grow.
3. Use your garden tool or a knife to swipe the leaves and stems off the branches, trying to not nick the stem skin if possible.
4. Removing thorns: with one leather-gloved hand closed around a vine, turn the vine back and forth through your hand while pulling it through your hand the full length.
5. Begin at one end and gently bend the stalk. The inner pith will break away and you will be able to slip the outer skin off. Bend the stalk again periodically
if you need to start another area.
6. Wrap a bundle: Make a storable bundle of blackberry skin by wrapping it around your hand and then tucking the end in and around so the bundle won’t spring open.You can use scraps of blackberry vine to tie your bundle. Once you have lots of bundles, you can use a blackberry vine to string them all together and make them easy to hang for drying and later use
7. In the studio hang bundles for storage in a well-ventilated, shady place. Bundles can be soaked in water for 20– 45 minutes to soften for weaving. Hot water will darken the outer bark and make it slip off more easily. Vines that are cleaned and prepped but unused can be dried and soaked later on.
Do not remove Japanese knotweed from Everett Crowley park yourself. Please contact the Everett Crowley Stewardship Committee or the Parks Board to ask for assistance removing the plant. Japanese knotweed is aggressive and if any part of the plant is pulled out and left elsewhere (including the leaves) the plant will start to grow in the new location. For other parks please check with the Parks Board before commencing. Japanese knotweed must be removed from the root.
To remove holly you will need saws to saw off the branches first. Once you have done this you can use a shovel to remove the whole tree. Be sure to not mistaken it for the Oregon grape species! Oregon grape looks similar but is native to British Columbia and is a desirable species.
To pull out ivy start at eye level and begin to gently pull the ivy off the tree bark. Follow it down to the root and remove the ivy from the root. Make sure to not pull the ivy aggressively as you will risk damaging the tree bark. Do not pull the ivy off higher than eye-level. Not only may you hurt yourself, but if the ivy is severed from below any remaining ivy above will die and so it is not necessary to pull off the ivy that is higher up.
Blackberry Cordage (rope twist braid)
1. To harvest blackberry canes (branches) for outer fibre cordage, pick a cane that is strong, but has less offshooting branches and thorns.
2. Remove the thorns. You can use scissors or a knife to slice off the thorns. For smaller thorns, wrap a bandana around the cane and rub to gently break off the thorns.
3. Split the branch so that you can see the inner white core. Break the core so that it is more easily peeled away from the outer bark. Finish peeling away the core until you’re left with the outer bark.
4. Split the outer bark into two strips. Gently roll the strips between your fingers to make them more malleable. Twist both strands clockwise, and then wrap the two strands around each other counter clockwise. Make sure that the strips are both twisted and wrapped tightly as the cord will loosen as it dries.
Japanese Knotweed Windchime
You will need:
. cardboard for the petals
. plywood for the center
. fabric for the petals
. scrap wood for the arms of the petals
. string to attach chimes
. rivets and screws to fasten the petals
. drill with bits for holes and to attach screws
. hand saw
. plant clippers
1. Harvest stalks of knotweed according to desired thickness, preferably in August/September
2. Cut the knotweed to windchime shape before drying by cutting a slit a few inches up from the bottom and drilling a hole for string at the top. NOTE: different size slits make different sounds
3. Allow the knotweed to dry, you may need to prop open the slits so they do not shrivel (we used coins)
4. Meanwhile cut the cardboard into 5 petal shapes, plywood to center shape, and drill holes for attaching chimes (# varies based on size)
5. Attach wood arms to the petal-shaped card board using wire, then attach fabric in free flowing design with staples and tape
6. After chimes are dry, attach them with string to the plywood center with knots on the top
7. Finally, attach the petal arms to the plywood centre on the top, using the rivets and screws
(Credit: Danielle DeVries, Christy Lum, Josh Mcgee, Rebecca Chen)
Scotch Broom Valentine’s Card
1. Pick a stem of scotch broom.To press flowers, you must dry them out as quickly as possible to prevent browning. You will need some type of paper to press the flower into for water absorption. Some effective options are printer paper, flat cardboard, plain non-treated facial tissue and non-corrugated coffee filters. Avoid paper towels, as many have textures that may end up imprinted on the petals.
2. Next, choose the heaviest book you can find, such as a dictionary or phone book. The moisture being absorbed will cause the pages to wrinkle, so use a book you don’t mind damaging. Place the flower between two pieces of paper, and place them within the pages of the book. Change the paper every few days. This method will take about two weeks for the flower to dry. If you don’t have two weeks there are quicker methods available online that include microwaving or using an iron. Choose your desired pressing method.
3. Next, prepare the card by writing “My love for you is like an invasive species” on the cover of the card. On the inside of the card on the left side finish with “it just keeps growing.” On the right side of the inside of the card glue the dried scotch broom to the inside of the card.
4. Decorate as desired and gift to your loved one!
Himalayan Blackeberry Basket
· Grapevine wreath
· Laurel branches
· Holly branches
Start your wreath by gathering a bunch of laurel branches. Add one holly branch with lots of berries to the top and trim the bottom of the bunch. Wind twine around the base of the bunch and then around the grapevine wreath. Secure the bunch by tying the twine in a knot, but do not cut the end. Continue by making more bunches like the first one and winding them onto the grapevine wreath with twine.
When you come to the end of the wreath, tuck the last bunch under the tops of the leaves of the first bunch then wrestle with the twine and the pointy leaves until you have that last bunch secured. Tie it in a few knots to ensure that everything stays in place.
Now have a quick look at the wreath. Are there any unruly bits? Use your pruners to shape the wreath and tame down some of the wild branches.
*Note*: Ivy can replant itself from only a small fragment of a vine, or a single leaf. Do not leave any green waste in an area which is not already populated by English ivy. Do not dispose in household compost, city operated green-waste collection only.
1. Measure the circumference of your head by wrapping one of vines around it and marking it.
2. Wrap the tail end of the vine around and around to fortify the circle.
3· Tuck in the leaves so they don’t stick out at odd angles.
4· Weave in the stems of the extra leaves to fill in the gaps.
5· Ta Da! You have an ivy crown!
Himalayan Blackberry Leaf Tea
Step 1: Pick the blackberry leaves. Wear gloves and use snips. Be careful of thorns!
Step 2: Let the fresh leaves dry and wilt slightly.
Step 3: Bruise the leaves. I did this by laying them out in small batches and rolling a small wooden rolling pin over them until they were slightly crushed all over. This releases the leaf juices and exposes them to the air. Soon after you have done this, you should smell an almost perfume-y smell, with a hint of fresh rose scent.
Step 4: Put the leaves back into a perforated bag or wrap in a damp cloth and let them sit for two or three days out of the sun. This will ferment the leaves.
Step 5: That’s all there is to it! Fermented blackberry leaf tea is less “herbal” tasting and has a pleasantly mild fruity flavor. Steep and enjoy!
Step 1: Pick 4 cups of fresh, ripe blackberries. Avoid berries growing too close to the ground.
Step 2: Put berries in a large pot and mash with a potato masher or two forks until all berries are crushed.
Step 3: Add the sugar and continue mashing until juices form.
Step 4: Remove a couple spoonfuls of blackberry juice and mix it with the cornstarch in a separate bowl. Add cornstarch mixture back into the blackberry-sugar mixture.
Step 5: Bring berries to a boil and stir for 15 minutes until thickened. Set aside to cool. When cool, stir in lemon juice. Enjoy!
Japanese knotweed and Shallot Jelly
. 2 cups of Knotweed Juice 1 package of Pectin
. 250g of Honey
. 1 Shallot
. Olive Oil
Step 1: Harvest Knotweed.
I collected about a small armful of the plant and took it home, careful to pull apart the leaves and stems, while making sure I did not carelessly drop any of the plant where they could spread ( composting any invasive species is illegal, and how you dispose of the plant is very important).
Step 2: Prepare Knotweed Juice.
To make this jelly, I first had to make 2 cups of knotweed Juice. I cut up the stems into smaller pieces (about 2 cups full) and boiled it in a small pot for 3-5 minutes, covered. This yielded 2 cups of juice.
Step 3: Make Jelly.
First sautee chopped shallot in olive oil. Then usse the 2 cups of jelly and add it to the pan.
While simmering, add in one packet of Pectin, stirring constantly. Then add honey and bring to a boil (continue to stir) and let it boil hard for 1 minute. To test the consistency, drop a small portion on a frozen plate and see if it moves around like a gel. If yes, scoop of the rest of the foam and transfer jelly into your jars. Disinfect jars, and always remember to leave 1/4 inch gap between jelly and lid (especially while hot as jar will explode).