[permaculture] propagating elderberries

Robert Waldrop rmwj at soonernet.com
Mon Feb 18 23:14:44 EST 2002

This is interesting, because I have a red bud tree (Cercis
canadensis), it's our "state tree" and there are a lot of them in
Oklahoma City.  It was on the property when I bought it, kind of
wedged between the garage and the small house behind the duplex.  It
got a lot of shade from the mature elm tree that lots half of its
branches and bulk to our recent ice storm.  Now it's going to get some
more sun, so it maybe it will flourish a bit more.  I didn't realize
it was a nitrogen fixer, but had wondered about its seeds and pods.  I
haven't heard anything about them being poisonous, so I am tempted to
try grinding some of the seeds and either including it with a bread
recipe using wheat flour or maybe mixing with oatmeal for a porridge.

In any event, it sounds like that is the place to put additional elder
berries.  And also, perhaps as part of our fruit tree guilds.  Being
ornamental is a plus, since the fruit tree guilds are in our front

Friends are coming tomorrow if the weather is OK to deal with the
fallen branches (plus some partially broken limbs from another tree
that are menacing our electrical line).  I've spent some time looking
at the big branches, and while a lot of them will be cut into 2 and 4
foot lengths, I have found 3 larger sections that will not be cut up
but rather used as is as edges for beds.  And also cat perches, cat
petting posts, worm habitat, food for the plants in the beds, and
whatever else they decide to do with their post life existence.  It
seems to me that the "offering" of branches by the existing trees on
the property, both last year and this winter, are an "elders"
(elmers?) blessing on all the new little plants that are growing up on
the property all around them.  They have had long and productive
lives, now they give of themselves to the new life that is coming to
be around them.

As you say, "grow soil", I add, "practice gratitude."

Robert Waldrop, OKC
-----Original Message-----
From: Loren Davidson <loren at farwalker.com>
>I have a book on California native shrubs; it mentions that
elderberry is
>often found in the company of Western redbud here, a tall (10-20')
>deciduous N-fixer shrub.  I am currently trying that association out
on my
>own property.
>There is also an Eastern redbud.  Redbud has lovely-colored flowers
in the
>spring and colored leaves in the fall; it would make a nice
ornamental and
>mulch-producing plant, as well as possible animal forage on the seed
>pods.  I don't know what would eat redbud seed pods though.
>Build soil,
>Loren Davidson        Permaculturist, philosopher, writer
>loren at farwalker.com   http://www.earthspring.org/loren/
>AIM: loren334     ICQ: 65291610
>"We have to create the future, or others will do it for us" - Gen. S.
>Ivanova, ret.

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