Harp in the garden or common elderberry!
Common elder (sambuca) comes from the Greek sambyque, which means "looks like a little harp."
It is a perennial and deciduous shrub with a strong and deep root system, forming numerous gray-silver erect and woody stems, the height of which can reach 6 meters.
Belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family. Origin from North Africa, Western Asia, Europe. The genus includes 25 species of perennial plants, trees and shrubs.
It is an edible aromatic plant that is easy to grow in the garden and prized for its elegant and decorative bushy habit, great flowering and highly decorative blackish berries.
Single flowers are star-shaped and are formed by 5 petals, fused at the base, which form 4 protruding stamens. Elderberry flowers, white and yellowish, in umbrellas, very fragrant.
Bloom from late spring to early summer in May-June. They turn into small berries that turn black. Their diameter can be up to 25 cm. Elderberry, with its pleasant and intense aroma, attracts bees and other insects.
Fruits, small spherical berries, shiny black-purple color. The birds consume the fruit and redistribute the seeds abundantly.
Elderberry or drupe berries, collected in dense, hanging bunches, ripen in autumn and are prized for their high content of vitamin C and various other qualities.
Common elderberry is a medicinal plant with many virtues. Flowers used as infusions can affect respiratory infections, urinary infections, and kidney stones.
The inner green bark has a laxative and diuretic effect. The leaves can be used as a poultice to treat eczema, bruising, or toothache.
Fruits and flowers can be used to make jams or drinks with wine, syrup, or lemonade: the elderberry recipe is very simple to succeed.
However, it is not recommended to consume raw elderberry fruits, they have low toxicity, which can cause vomiting; cooking them removes this toxicity.
Any type of soil can be suitable for elderberries, even limestone, dry or wet. The shrub can be exposed to sun or partial shade.
Although it grows well in partially shaded areas, it enjoys sunny locations for many hours a day in order to maximize flowering and therefore produce a lot of berries.
The common elder does not suffer from heat; it tolerates low temperatures very well, but is afraid of cold winds. It can be integrated into a flowering hedge, where it will participate in the maintenance and conservation of wildlife, insects and birds. Also ideal for landscaping a wild corner in the garden.
The first year it should be watered regularly in the summer to promote rooting.
Sowing of elderberry is carried out by burying well-ripened berries in holes about 3 cm deep. The soil must be kept constantly moist throughout the time required for seed germination.
Plants obtained from the seeds of the common elderberry, thin out, and the plants are lowered to a depth of about 2.5 centimeters. The cuttings should be buried at a depth of about thirty centimeters and should be separated during the fall.
The plant usually has enough rainwater, but if you live in dry climates it should be watered regularly every 2-3 weeks.If the soil dries out completely, water it for several days.
In the spring, when vegetative growth begins, bury mature manure or rich fertilizer at the foot of the plants. Elderberry especially needs nitrogen. The same in a balanced fertilizer with phosphorus and potassium. This will promote flowering and ripening of the fruit.
In the fall, using well-sharpened and disinfected scissors, cuttings about 30 cm long are taken and placed in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts. Once rooted, after about two months, the new elderberry plants can be transplanted into their last home.
Propagation of common elderberry cuttings
In the fall, using well-sharpened and disinfected scissors, cuttings about 30 cm long are taken and placed in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts. After rooting, after about two months, new elderberry plants can be transplanted into their permanent home.
Every year, before resuming the growing season, in order to promote the emergence of new branches, flowering and production of berries, it is necessary to cut off the old branches of the bush a few centimeters from the ground.
Young branches, especially lateral ones, should be pruned to about 1 meter from the ground in February or March. Wounds caused by cuts should be treated.
Elderberry leaves and flowers are harvested from April to May, fruits are harvested at the end of August, and the bark is harvested in autumn.
Black elderberry is a medicinal plant. Flower-based syrup is used to treat colds and research has shown it to be effective in improving flu-like conditions.
In addition, rubbing elderberry leaves on the skin will soothe nettle burns or insect bites, which is sometimes very helpful when gardening.