I’m super stoked! I received my shipment from my friends at Proven Winners ColorChoice, which is Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Michigan, one of the wonderful places that I worked when I wasn’t a mommy!
In the shipment, I received the newest and most talked about member of their family – At Last® Rose. This sweetly perfumed, sunset-orange rose claims to be disease resistant and it will be put to the ultimate test in my Seattle garden, which gets copious amounts of rainfall yearly causing all my other roses to get the dread disease of all the Rosaceae family – BLACK SPOT – a fungal disease that is spread by water. I’m looking forward to seeing how this lil’ lady holds up!
Many of you know that I am trying to focus more on sustainable landscape practices and adding plants to my garden that provide food along with being aesthetically pleasing. I no longer want to add plants to the garden that are just pretty – they have to have a functional quality of being edible. So when they offered to ship me Aronia Low Scape® Mound and Lemony Lace® Sambucus there was no hesitation on my part.
I grew Aronia in my Michigan garden and absolutely fell in love with the genus when I worked at Spring Meadow. The plant is a gardener’s dream as it has gorgeous features in spring, summer and fall. My favorite being fall when the leaves turn a brilliant red and are accented with dark, black berries. As of late, I became more aware of the amazing power of the Aronia fruit as it is higher in antioxidants than a blueberry and off the chart when it comes to Vitamin C levels. Many of you have probably eaten Aronia without even knowing it. As I walked around with Dale Deppe, owner of Spring Meadow, we discussed how Aronia is in most fruit juices that are already on the market, but most consumers have no idea what an Aronia berry even is. During a friend’s recent presentation, she mentioned that Aronia is highly popular in Japanese culture and a delicious flavor of ice cream.
“Chokeberries (common name for Aronia) are cultivated as ornamental plants and as food products. The sour berries can be eaten raw off the bush, but are more frequently processed. They can be found in wine, jam, syrup, juice, soft spreads, tea, salsa, chili starters, extracts, beer, ice cream, gummies and tinctures. The name “chokeberry” comes from the astringency of the fruits, which create a sensation making one’s mouth pucker.”
So the next time you buy juice at the grocery store, read the ingredients label because more than likely you are drinking chokeberry!
Sambucus (Elderberry) has been quite popular as of late with consumers looking for natural remedies to soothe winter illnesses. It has also gained fanfare as an unique liqueur flavor for drinks. Recently, Food & Wine Magazine published an article about “the best cocktails to make with elderberry liqueur” . I prefer to use it as a natural way to get rid of colds and coughs. During the fall, I collect the berries and make a syrup that can be stored in the freezer until it is needed. There are several recipes online, but here are a couple of my favorites:
- Homemade Elderberry Cough Syrup by Happy Healthy Mama
- 3 Ingredient Elderberry Syrup by Healthy Home Economist
- How-To Make Elderberry Syrup by Mountain Rose Herbs
Not only does Lemony Lace® Sambucus have gorgeous, golden foliage and red, new grown, but its berries can attract wildlife as well as soothe my winter blah. What more can you ask for of a plant! Currently, I have Sambucus nigra ‘Variegata’ in my container garden. It is important to note that all other parts of the Elderberry plant are toxic to humans, except for the berries which cure so many ailments.
Last, but far from least, I received Callicarpa Pearl Glam®! I have admired this plant from afar for so many moons. I have never grown it in my garden, not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t have a ton of space. This plant not only looks amazing in fall with violet-purple berries covering it by the hundreds, but sings in the spring with purple foliage. The upright habit makes it a more feasible option for my limited space as well.
Come to find out it also is edible and makes a delicious jelly and has long been used by Native American Tribes – from Garden.org:
“All parts of Callicarpa americana were used by the Alabama, Choctaw, Creek, Koasati, Seminole, and other Native American tribes. Roots, leaves, berries, and stems were used as the base for various teas and decoctions. Root and leaf tea was used in sweat baths for rheumatism, fevers, and malaria. Root tea was used for dysentery and stomach aches. The root and berries were used for colic and as a treatment for a wide variety of common ailments. It was also used in ceremonies. The bark from the stems and the roots were used to treat itchy skin.”
Personally, I can’t wait to see this beauty in fruit right next to Lemony Lace Elderberry! My mouth is already dropping in splendor and awe! Enough plant drooling for tonight!