Elderberry flowers ©Janet Allen
Elderberry flowers

Although we bought a garden variety, York, we first planted elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) for their habitat value. Birds love them!

We were pleasantly surprised, though, at how fast-growing and how attractive the plant is apart from their habitat benefits.

I attempted to have fried elderberry flowers, but that didn't work out. The flowers can also be used for wine, but we're not ambitious enough to try it.

Elderberry bush ©Janet Allen
Elderberry bush

The plant's foliage and flowers are beautiful and plentiful.

Elderberry berries ©Janet Allen
Elderberry berries

We also discovered that they're so productive that we can harvest some for ourselves and the birds can still have plenty.

Just a few is enough for us, though, since we don't like them as much as the birds do. We tried an elderberry-apple pie, and no one in the family cared for it. We're trying to find some recipe that will make good use of them.

But we later discovered that they make an interesting, tasty sauce to use for pancakes etc.

One tip I found: if you pick the whole bunch and freeze them, the berries will drop off quite easily.

Catbird in the elderberry bush ©Janet Allen
Catbirds will often be found in the elderberry bush

All in all, we grow this bush mostly for the birds.