I have a friend, Sara, from Lincoln who has been teaching me to expand my horizons. I have always been fairly game to give something a try …. as long as it is not illegal, immoral or does not scare me to death! When it comes to gardening and plants I am always ready to try something new. This friend has decided she wants to grown elderberry bushes. She is a fountain of information about plants, their uses, medicinal value, and how to grow, use, and process them. Since knowing her, I have even harvested and dried trays of stinging nettle or as our family has named it “fireweed”.
I told her I knew where there were some elderberry bushes “growing in the wild”. Our ditches, in this area, seem to have small patches of them growing here and there. I googled (which, you know, I love to do!) about how to start elderberry bushes from cuttings. There were several blogs, maybe way more than several blogs, on how to do this. Please do make sure, if you also try this, that the bushes you take your cuttings from are the edible variety. If you question it you can check with your extension service.
I talked my husband into assisting me in this endeavor. I am fortunate that he is really good about helping with stuff like that. He grabbed the “Lopper”, I grabbed the bucket, we climbed in the pickup and set out to a ditch around the section.
We arrived at the location where there were several bushes beside a wild plum thicket and we clambered down the ditch bank. On the way down I made note of some really cool old red foundation stones that were laying here and there. Note to self “come back and get them ….soon.” We proceeded to cut off a bunch of pinkie-sized branches (those were the instructions in the posting) that had several leaf nodes on them. We made sure to cut them on the diagonal, just like the blog post also said. Once we had a bunch of them in our pail, we climbed back up out of the ditch. I did go back for that one rock ….the one I could actually carry.
At home I trimmed them and they are now soaking in pint jars on the windowsill; ready to make roots – in the next 6 weeks or so. I do think I am also going to try make the all natural willow water that is supposed to help speed up the rooting process.
Planting things and starting cuttings are an act of faith. I have faith some of these will make it and produce berries. I can already taste the elderberry syrup, elderberry jelly, elderberry …… I will keep you posted on how these actually turn out.
The links below will take you to detailed instructions on starting your own elderberry bushes and making willow water.
Everything that slows us down and forces patience,
everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature,
Is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace.
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