Jam and Native Shrubs!
So I was looking for something to put on my toast the other day, and found a forgotten jar of Elderberry Jam. For those of you who have not tried this great jam, I highly recommend trying it out. The flavor is a sweet, yet partially mild taste, and best of all, it comes from one of our own native shrubs: Sambucus canadensis or Elderberry (who would have thought right?!). If you are not a fan of jam with your toast, this does not mean you should exclude this shrub from your landscape. Birds love the berries, and it has a wonderful white flower that is just starting to bloom which is a nice second tier to the earlier blooming shrubs. The shrub likes to be in moist soil, and is typically found growing along creek banks, in an open wet meadow, or a hedgerow. If the plants are planted in a spot that they really like, they will flourish because of the healthy seed crop that they produce each year. Turns out it can even be weedwacked (ask my father) and still continue to grow. It only kills them the second time you weedwack the plant! Out on a Landscape Visionaries session a week ago, I found twenty to thirty wild elderberries growing on a property, and then out at Stateline Woods this week, I found another great clump of the wild elderberry.
This is certainly a plant to add into your landscape for the interesting structure, pretty flowers, and delicious berries. Though if you decide that you want to harvest the berries, realize that you are going to have to fight off the indigo buntings, and other song birds that prefer the berry from an elderberry tree.
If you are looking for a jam recipe, I am not the person to ask!