Thanks so much for your informative article. I went to a reputable nursery to purchase a black elderberry and was faced with 3 types with no informative labels on them. I finally went for looks even though it was the smallest bush and of course the most expensive. I was happy to see that my pick, Eva" was the best of both worlds!
I still have two more questions: does it require acid soil, and will the berries attract birds(which is why I bought it)? Make that three questions; what is its growth rate? At age 65 I try to find rapid growers.
I enjoyed the bio piece of the article and can identify with your "tightly-packed" garden. My garden is also small and stuffed. I also enjoy birding, which brings me to a fourth question: Can you help identify what types of leatherleaf mahonias (a real bird magnet) I have. One has 19 leaflets, blooms in January, and has dark green, very leathery leaves. The other, which I thought was the same, has only 12-13 leaflets, blooms in March, and has lighter colored and slightly softer leaves. Even after researching I cannot identify them, especially the one with 19-20 leaflets.
One last question, were you the Todd Boland mentioned in S. Weidenhal's(not sure of spelling) book on the history of birding in America, or Living on the Wind???
Elderberries are fast growing, attract birds and seem to grow in acid or alkaline. As I am an avid birder, I expect I am indeed the same Todd mentioned in that book, although I have not seen the book myself.