Most gardeners are aware of the native elderberry with its fruits and flowers used for wine and cordial making, along with its attractiveness in hedgerows and gardens where birds feast on the berries in autumn. Ornamental elders are newer species of this genus often with more colourful foliage, but retaining the large yet delicate clusters of small flowers in late spring followed by the masses of small berries. The colours of both the flowers and the berries are also dependant of the cultivar planted.

Over the years with these newer varieties being grown, horticulturalists have enjoyed and taken advantage of the versatility of the Elder, as it will grow just about anywhere making it a very useful decorative addition to any garden.

There are varieties out there that are very striking and enjoy the ability of making a superb architectural feature, one of which is the Sambucus nigra ‘Black Tower’ with its columnar form. Their speed of growth and ability to settle, with graceful delicately cut colourful summer foliage, lend real depth to any planting scheme meaning they are very popular, almost a ‘standard’ ornamental shrub to choose for any landscape.

Some of these newer varieties including Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ with its deep rich glossy purple foliage the colour of damsons and pretty scented richly coloured pink flowers, are rather similar to that of Dissectum Japanese maple but have a much more robust constitution.

These relatively large shrubs will grow in sun or shade, their habit adapting a little to either situation, with the decorative foliage lasting over a long season. Pruning of Elder in spring is the best time, helping to maintain size, shape and the intensity of the leaf colour.

If you have any questions about the Ornamental Elder or any of our other Elder varieties then please give the team in the office a call, who’ll all be more than happy to help.