Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Few self-respecting country dwellers will let the summer pass without making at least one batch of sparkling elderflower wine.
This will be the first year that this elderberry bush has bloomed. This plant is about head high and is growing in a hugel bed. This is Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra). Although this plant had died back in the winter, the new growth was incredibly vigorous and has reached maturity. I’m almost positive this would be it’s third season.
Elderberry is known to boost the immune system. It is a traditional remedy for colds and flu.
Making Elderberry wine is a very traditional English custom. The berries are very similar in color, acidity and tannin to grapes. The flowers are also used to make a sparkling wine although it does tend to cause bottles to explode.
I bought several bare root elderberry plants about three years ago at a local plant sale. They’ve grown each year since but have never set any fruit. I’ve also noticed that this year the wild elderberry is very prominent whereas in previous years I haven’t noticed it at all.
Last fall I took some cuttings from the plant that is blooming this year. They were very easy to root and I overwintered them in pots indoors.
In the spring I transplanted them outdoors. They’ve done very well so far, they are around three feet tall. The site is very shady and they seem to grow okay in the shade. These don’t look like they will bloom this season.