Unlike this beauty pictured above, mine are not nearly ready to bloom. Already it stands at a bushy four feet, two years after workers butchered the trees still in early bloom to clear the way for the house painters. They left the plants so damaged that we had to have someone cut them down entirely. Blessedly, they left the roots and stumps. Now they look like this . . .
Yesterday’s blog post (“Wordless Wednesday” 6/1/2022) featured the Black Beauty elderberry in various stages of bloom. The plant is a deciduous shrub that can reach six to eight feet and a spread of five feet. In May, tiny mauve blossoms like mine, or white blossoms like these below, open on flat bracts at the ends of branches . . .
. . . and scent my garden with an aromatic blend of citrus, passionflower, and vanilla. Their muted yet pungent fragrance wafts from the back gardens out to the front street from late spring well into mid-June, sometimes later. Around August, the faded blossoms form purple berries, a veritable feast for the birds flitting about among the branches.
Ripe berries can be harvested for elderberry pan sauces, syrup, and an old-fashioned home-made wine or cordial. I’ve never tried any of these as I planted just two elderberry bushes for ornamental purposes only, to help create a sense of enclosure for a secret garden on the north side of our house.
One of these days, out of curiosity, I just may buy a bottle of store-bought Manischewitz.