Elderberry Wine

The National Gardening Association’s Charlie Nardozzi had a great email article yesterday about growing elderberries for beauty and bounty. In the section on Edible Landscaping, he details the available varieties of sambucus and how to tend to them.

Now, Idaho has tons of elderberries, all along the highway, on riverbanks, ravines, etc. The problem: where you find elderberries you are likely to find rattlers. Frankly, that gives me the heebee jeebies. So, unless I can stand in the back of a pickup and snatch the berries from the branches that way, well, the berries will just stay on the bush, looking all tempting and purple and luscious.

So imagine how happy I was to discover two of the new varieties, Black Lace and Black Beauty, produce decent and EDIBLE berries. So far the shrubs have been well behaved in my landscape. Well, truth be told, I killed a couple of my freebie Black Lace plants by putting them in containers in full sun (and you thought I was a good gardener?HA! I garden a LOT, not necessarily well). Black Beauty has survived even my best attentions and is loaded with berries. The foliage color is really lovely against the pink stone veneer of my house, so………looks like we will be putting in a couple more. Singing all the while:

Well I can’t help thinking
About the times
You were a wife of mine
You aimed to please me
Cooked black-eyed peas-me
Made elderberry wine