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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Will the Elder 'Berry' Please Stand Up?

This is how I got my start!!!

My sister sent me this card for my birthday this past December.  Somehow she always manages to come up with a Birthday card that signifies some of the events that took place during our childhood, -that being, they almost always ring true!  And, she admits it!  She'll say, "Does this look familiar?"  Or..."does this remind you of anything?"  These cards are always hilarious!!!  I mean-it's like she has her own greeting card company designing these cards just for her!  Anyway, it is a cute card...I'm sure other siblings can identify with it too!
Thank you Leta for the really ORIGINAL and fun card!
So,  I called you all here today, to announce an annual garden event.  Every year since 1994, the International Herb Association has chosen a specific herb to be designated as 'herb of the year'.  And, I am excited to reveal that the herb of the year for 2013 is the 'Elderberry', also known as the 'Englishman's grape'.

The Elderberry is a  soft-stemmed shrub that is usually found growing along fence lines and wet areas, native to the Southeastern U.S.  These shrubs are a member of the honeysuckle family and can reach heights of 12' to 20'.  Elderberry can grow at edges of swamps, ditches and lakes.  They can also be found throughout Florida and the Gulf region to Mexico.

Elderberry blooming along a creek bottom

In the early to mid-summer, the Elderberry will bloom large white clusters of flowers...many times, these shrubs are grown in gardens just for their showy flowers.

~aren't they pretty?

Did I hear you ask "Are there any uses and benefits of the Elderberry?"  Well, Elderberry has been used for centuries to treat wounds, when applied to the skin.  And it is also used in treating flu and allergies, relieving nasal congestion, and helping to reduce swelling of sinuses.
(I could have used some of that a month ago, lol!)

* In European folklore, fairies and elves would appear if you sat underneath an elder bush on a midsummer night.  And, elderberries were known to ward of witches.

I know, I want to hear the good stuff about the grand Elderberry Wine, don't you?  Well, it is said to have health benefits too-it helps strengthen the immune system.  And, the wine is pretty- I have not ever partaken of Elderberry Wine, but according to Elton John it is a hot item.

~looks a little wicked to me!

Sometimes, white-tailed deer will feed on the leaves of the elderberry.  And, over 50 species of songbirds, robins, mockingbirds and gray catbirds feed on the elderberries.  So, we know that the sweet, juicy fruit appeals not only to us folks as jellies, pies and wine, but, also to some of our beautiful wildlife, as well.

I don't know about you guys, but, I don't recall ever seeing an Elderberry bush.  If so, I didn't know what it was.  I did find in my Burgess Seed and Plant catalog that you can order Elderberry bushes, 18-24" size at $9.99 a pair.  Hmmmm....thinking about trying it out-but, I would have to find a swampy, kind of damp area of the yard for planting.  You can also order elderberries at:

And, it's time for membership renewal at the Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group for 2013.  This group maintains an herb garden at Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri.  They enjoy luncheons once a month, with a visiting speaker or a field trip to some beautiful gardens out of the city.  My mother is a member and assists with organizing the programs and luncheons for the club.  She also, helps design and plant the herb gardens for the club. For the past several years, Susan over at KardKornerKrib has designed and printed the membership applications with the itinerary for the year for the Herb Club.  Below is what the front of this year's membership flyer looks like.  More than likely, Susan will feature the flyer in its entirety on her 'My Stuff' page over at the KardKorner.
And, now...back to the 'elder' Berry!!!
 It's my sister, of course!
Our maiden name is Berry, and, she is the eldest.  Her birthday is coming up in February, and, I'm already on the lookout for a unique card idea (will have to get that KardKorner gal to help with the design)!

Thanks to:
Univ of Maryland Med Center (article on Elderberry)
Florida Forest Trees (article on Elderberry)

And, my heartfelt thank you to my gracious readers for stopping by to see what I've been up to.  I sincerely hope you all are staying well and healthy.  My goodness, that horrible flu, pneumonia and all of those other virus strains are taking toll on us this year!!!  Please be safe-drink a lot of fluids...well, I have learned that Elderberry wine, can assist in warding off cold and flu, haha!

* Happy Australia Day * and, prayers for a bit of relief from the heat over there!

* Devon, UK...I'm wishing sunshine your way!

"Drunk all the time,
Feeling fine on Elderberry wine-
those were the days."

Taken from the song 'Elderberry Wine',
written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin in October 1972

Sir Elton John

Be safe!  See you next time!


  1. Hello, dear friend Suzanne! Is that really you hitting the bottle in the first picture? It looks like a screen capture from an episode of the Our Gang comedies! Seconds later, the baby buggy with you in it began rolling down a steep incline. Charged with your care, Spanky and Alfalfa gave chase. In the end it was wonder dog Petey to the rescue, grabbing the handle in his jaws and easing the cart to a halt an instant before it reached the pond. (Like my story? LOL)

    I think I've heard about birds and animals becoming intoxicated by consuming elderberries. Is this not true? I never tasted Elderberry wine but I know Mrs. Shady has used them in her recipes for their flavor and health benefits. It must be true that they ward off witches because none have darkened my doorstep. Apparently elderberries also ward off sharks, dinosaurs and men from Mars because I haven't seen any of those around my house either. (LOL)

    I'm so glad you and your Kard Korner kohort have recovered from your simultaneous illnesses. I care very much about you both. Have a wonderful weekend, dear Suzanne!

    1. Hi Shady! I do like your story...seems like I saw that episode with the dog who had a dark ring around one eye, chasing the buggy down the hill! Spanky was pretty lazy, and wouldn't have run very far. Very funny-and, yes, the berries can be intoxicating. I read that some are toxic and can make you sick, so berrypickers beware! And, I'm glad to know they do keep the witches and sharks from your doorstep!

      Thanks Shady for your humor today. I'm delighted you stopped by for today's elderberry remedies. I am feeling so much better, and we got to have Scootie for a few days last week. I didn't want to give, or 're-gift' my illness to him! Have a stupendous weekend!

  2. haha!!!! i LOVE your first picture!!!

    that elderberry looks really familiar...i bet we do have some around here, i just never knew what they were!! now i'll recognize it next time i see one!!

    *cheers* to the elderberry wine!

    also, what a fantastic & creative job on the herb club's flyer!! wow!! very professional...very nice! tell susan at KardKorner she's so talented! =)

    1. Hi Laura, you probably do have some elderberry bushes around your creeks and swamps-maybe you'll see one now that it is on your mind.

      Thank you so much for your compliment on my flyer. It is so much fun to create things, as you well know! And the first picture of the baby buggy is very funny! Thanks for stopping by Laura, I know you're staying busy, you do good work! Loved your Egret! See you soon.

  3. Hallo there my friend and thank you for wishing sunshine for Devon. We continue to live in hope! I loved that card which was sent to you by the Elder Berry! I'm always on the lookout for funny cards like that. Well that was certainly very interesting to read about the elderberry. It certainly seems to be a very effective plant. I've never drunk elderberry wine, but perhaps I should start! I hope that you are now completely normal again!! Enjoy your weekend ♥

    1. Hi Thisisme! I'll keep plugging for that sunshine to come your just doesn't seem fair does it? I mean, winter doesn't have to be dreary-we've had some sunshiny days this winter, and I hope to share a few with you!

      Cute card, huh? My sister always finds the good ones! I would like to taste elderberry wine at least once to see if it is good. I don't know if you can buy it in the stores or if you have to make it yourself.

      Thank you, I am coming around and feeling much better...I am so glad. Hope your weekend drags you out of hibernation with some sun Thisisme! See you soon!

  4. Love your information about elderberries. You covered it all here. I don't believe they have been on my radar before, but now they are!

    1. Hi Nancy, thank you for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed my know, I hadn't given elderberries much thought until, I discovered they would be herb of the year. Hope you are doing well. Have a great week!♥

  5. I truly adore that card your Sister sent you, so cute and obviously brought back lots of happy memories for you both.
    Hmm Elderberries - I'd never considered them before - and so I really enjoyed reading about them ... thank you Suzanne.
    What a happy little story about the Elder of the Berrys too ;D)
    I'm sure your KardKorner Susan will also come up with a clever and loving card too.
    Thank you for our Australia Day wishes.
    Cheerio for now, with my warmest regards xx

    1. Hi Susan! I sure hope you're cooling down over there some! I've heard it's the hottest time ever this year!

      Yes, my sister is the Elder of the Berrys. What a way to begin a story, eh? Thank you so much for coming over to see me, and, take care. See you soon, my friend!♥


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