Sambucus Nigra Black Lace in our Scottish garden
The leaf colour of the Sambucus Nigra Black Lace is highlighted by the surrounding greenery.
Growing in the converted driveway, Black Lace has been in this container for three years.
In Spring and Summer we spend a lot of time in this area which we generously refer to as our courtyard. It is a glorious sun trap and even with coolish temperatures the protection of the house and fences make it feel comfortable. Recent temps of 22/25c has had us running for the garden umbrella.
Well, any way, Black Lace, I love it and it does surprisingly well in a pot. As long as you get the feeding and watering right you will be rewarded. In March, I top dress with fresh compost and feed with blood, fish and bone.
If perhaps for leaf colour you have been a fan of Japanese Acer and found it doesn’t do so well in your garden, give Sambucus a go, you may well like it as much as I do.
Plant profile for Sambucus Nigra Black Lace
Fully hardy in the UK
Full sun/part shade
Height and spread
Well, it all depends, if you plant it in the ground in an open position and don’t prune it back each year it will grow to a height of 4 meters and spread of 3 meters.
If like me you grow it in a pot and cut it back to about 18 inches (45.72 cm) each year then it won’t grow much taller than 4ft (1.22 m)
Flowers and Leaves
Blooming in June/July in this part of the world, the large pink flat flower heads stand out magnificently against the dramatic dark foliage. The flowers fade to a lighter shade as they age. In late Summer masses of small black berries are produced which you can use to make Elderberry wine if you have the know how.
Many gardeners would grow this deciduous shrub for the dissected leaves alone, which are a deep purple shade, almost black
Growing as a garden shrub it is best to be pruned each year in early April. Common practise is to cut it back to ground level this will give you a shrub which reaches about 4 feet (ca. 122 centimetres) in this part of the world. If you want more flowers on the shrub then cut it back to around 18 inches (45.72 cm) from ground level.
Black Elder or Common Elder
Sambucus will grow in most reasonably free draining soil types, heavy, clay and light
RHS award of garden merit
In the Garden
Great excitement this year, we have made a start at growing some edibles. Second week in June we had a large bowl of strawberries and loads to come.
Lettuce leaves also, how very handy it is to go out into the garden and pick your own salad leaves.
We have four apple trees, last year the crop was disappointing, this year they are smothered with apples.
All these decades of gardening, and we have never grown potatoes. Well this year I have them in bags. They should be ready to harvest in a couple of weeks.
Tomatoes in the mini greenhouse, problem is plants have reached the top openers and really want to grow taller. I am not feeling very optimistic. The variety is gardeners delight, a firm favourite.
The Victoria plum tree, dwarf root stock. I planted it last Spring. It only had a pitiful two or three flowers this year. Imagine how surprised I was to see these two fruits.
Of all the plums which I used to sell in my shop, Victoria was my favourite, they don’t have a long shelf life but are delicious.