Plants plants everywhere Plants in art

Sambucus nigra and an old watchmaker





A big, old elder  grows  in the corner of our garden. No none knows, who has planted it. No one even notices it, growing there. Yet each year, in early summer, elder steps out from his corner, its milliard of tiny yellowish white flower stars bring fresh smell telling summer is here to everyone entering the garden. What is the flavour of this smell like? It is a glass of sweet elder syrup on ice with a slice of a lemon sipped in dark shade reading a good book and enjoying hot summer days.  Year after year, summer after summer ,it is the same smell pretending to be the sweetest elder syrup we sip late into winter to remember great days of last summer. When little white stars fade away one always knows, next year the elder will flower again, as an old clock, telling the summer is here …

The pith of elder has been used by watchmakers for cleaning tools before intricate work. from:

The watchmaker - Charles Spencelayh

“The watchmaker” oil on Canvas. Charles Spencelayh from:

By Tamara Jare

Slovenian figurative painter. Love colors and light.

14 replies on “Sambucus nigra and an old watchmaker”

We have a nice elderberry bush in the backyard but the birds seem to beat us to the fruit every year. That’s a bit different from when I was growing up. Mom always beat the birds to the elderberries and that made for a lot of terrific jam and wine.


I am madly in love with elderflower flavored things, and the plants’ being so pretty is a perfect bonus! I had a ‘nigra’ before moving to Texas, but don’t think the climate down here would treat Sambucus very kindly. I’ll have to wait until getting back to the Pacific NW someday to see much of it growing; in the meantime, I’ll keep heading over to IKEA for their syrup or buying sparkling elderflower presse or cocktails with St Germain in them! 🙂


Why don’t you simply try with elder?? it might work? Then you could eat pancakes with elder flowers each spring 😉 or make your home made syrup -although I must admit I have mine from IKEA, too 😉


If I thought we’d be living in this house for long enough I might try to grow elders (though I’d likely have to ‘import’ them since I’ve not seen them for sale anywhere nearby), but we’re close enough to retirement time that I may well be back in true elder-growing country soon enough. For now, I’ll raise a toast to you with my IKEA syrup! 😉


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