I decided today I was going to pick the elderberries. I have one very large elderberry bushy tree that has been growing for about six maybe seven years under an old dead tree that threatens to fall on my house. recently my son was helping with some heavy lifting and created a lever with a large log and a barrel of dirt and then haphasardly tossed the large log right on my elderberry bushy tree. Smash a good protioin of it. I yelled NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! but it was done.
Well I had only recenlty found out that was in fact an elderberry bushy tree. It recovred as under growth trees do. Now I notice the plant everywhere. It grows here like a total weed. Now a my sister in laws sister makes elderberry wine and sells it in west Virginia. Not a big operation.
I’m thnking this could be a real thing. two acres of land that will grow elderberry and a gumption to make wine. 😀
This all started about a year ago when I heard a knock on my door. My neighbor wanted to let me know I may have some trouble getting out of the driveway because he was cutting down that big tree today.
What big tree? My big tree?
Well there was no saving the tree. The men were already in the tree making the big cuts by the time I was informed. I was not going to let my beautiful tree die in vain. I moved all of the wood back to my house.
The main trunk made the perfect coffee table. Then I had a ton of smaller pieces and they made great places for planters. Then a fund-raiser at my daughter school came along and we had to purchase 8 flats of flowers as the minimum order required by each child. I purchased tall and short snap dragons, all the colors of vincas and some lobelia. I filled every flower pot I had with flowers. I made a couple smaller beds with the long branch pieces of wood. Then I waited. Before I knew it I had created a sweet little patio garden with a nice blend of rustic wood and magical flowers. I took pictures from the beging till now. Hope you like how it has turned out.
Identifying berries. These pictures were taken on the same day early in Summer just before Memorial day in ohio
Raspberries are more symmetrical and have small already formed berries
Black Berries are either still flowering or are just now loosing their petals. They look a little hairy and bulbous right now.
Mulberries are in full form. More are turning black everyday.
Elderberry is blooming and beautiful with the white flowers. (this is the first year I have identified this as Elderberry)
This is just a sampling of the berries in my yard. I plan to add to this post as the berries change and form…
Azalea, daffodil, wild violet, apple blossom, adorable tiny blue’s, white bells, and my favorite dutchman’s britches. Many of these just decorate the woods floor this time of year…
Last year a little later in the season I decided I wanted put the aggressive Forsythia that have damn near destroyed my foundation to good use. My mother has one that is easily 25 feet across mass of yellowness in early spring and crazy green mob the rest of the year. That I thought would be perfect to put between me and the six houses that back up to me on the what was beautiful sunset over the river at the highest point before the land goes flat of fields woods to river, now is the ass of a bunch of houses. So Forsythia are very aggressive plants and they grow quick. I have one I butchered to a stump all the way across the side of my house that is now as tall as the house again less than five years later. And in a more suitable area they would grow even faster.
So a tip rooter. This is a plant that as the long strand like branches grow tall they bend over and back down to the ground from their own weight, or a good ice storm, or what ever, the “tip” reaches back to the ground and starts to root. This makes a whole new plant. Now you can cut the branch above the root, with a few leaves and plant it somewhere else too. Or you can let it just grow up and eventually the branch breaks but by then the plant is healthy and has numerous new branches all over the place. Now I think it takes the actual plant a couple maybe five years to start really tip rooting on its own, but there is where you can go cut the branches flip them over in a vase of water and they will bloom and root. Now I have not actually gotten that to work yet, but i tried it in a utility sink on the back deck that i kinda forgot about. In theory that is how it is supposed to work.
I checked the tip rooter that I transplanted last year. Now I will be honest, I thought I planted three of them, only one survived. I may have mowed over the other two, or they just may not be up yet. Probably didn’t make it. I did a good job planting the first one, and then the second two, I’m sure I got tired. The one that did make it, is healthy. and in a perfect spot. Also i think I am going to put bamboo down the side instead of all Forsythias anyway. Then I would have bamboo and a fast growing tall aggressive plant…
This is mostly a theory but I have found that if you just take the dead flowers and sprinkle the seeds where you want them to grow in a couple of years you have more flowers. Seems reasonable enough. As we all saw in the last post, I usually let the gardens just die off naturally. I don’t usually get in there and dead head everything when the time is right. so this time of year and until you cut them down most of these flowers will just stay there and be carcass of a flower still full of seeds. If you just leave them completely, eventually they fall over and just propagate right there, unless of course you use a landscape carpet or lots of mulch. I don’t see this method of propagating the flowers used very often. It does invite a lot of weeds. Fortunately its my garden and I get to decide what is a weed. Technically aren’t most of the flowers we put in our garden a weed. Black eyed Susan and daisy two of my favorites line the highways and median strips. Maybe they were put there, but I don’t think so. Although there is a stretch on route 50 where I swear someone dumped the best wild flower mix ever.
So back to harvesting. One of the things that happens as I clip these flowers heads off for the very last time and steal their seeds from the near by area, I end up with these cute little dried flower bouquets. I don’t usually do anything with them. Sometimes one, I particularly like, might make it on the front porch till it gets blown down one too many times. But what I have always wanted to do, is give them away. Tell you what you are getting and what to do with it and how long it will take for a flower. In these pictures I have a Yucca, which the name just makes it the best plant ever. So fun to say. Yeah that’s a Yucca.. Yucca.. well the stalk that grows out of that thing is enormous and the little seed pods open up like little flowers. Almost orchid like.
I also have a lot of Echinacea or cone flower as most know it. These end up just looking like little cones, and honestly I have no idea if there are any actual seeds in there. Thus why I have never given them away. So this year I think I am going to actually plant these guys and care for them like I would tell someone and see what happens.
Another unexpected beauty was the butterfly bush. I have yet to prune that thing to get it to its 8 feet of gloriousness. We will see this year. I only cut off the branches that looked like they were in trouble. It was already pretty green. I hated to cut any of it. I also butcher another forsythia (tip rooter). I only want it to stay where it is if it is going to be small.
I almost forgot the trees I have, that should actually be good in this garden. I have two three year buckeyes that should have been given away. And I am crossing fingers for … a red bud. One of my favorite flowering tress. They are “shit” trees according to my neighbor. They are under growth trees.. The don’t usually do all that well in the wide open, they fall over.. Like mine did. It is still growing like a huge tree vine in the middle of my side yard, which will eventually be the back drop for another garden.
I am so glad tonight was still pretty enough all the way till it got to dark to see to get some good work done in the garden.
As you can see by the last slide, the wind was not my friend…