If I were compelled to choose a recently released cultivar, a shrub that appeared in garden nurseries only the past few years and one that elicits a 'happy dance' when the foliage leafs out in Spring, that plant would be Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace.'
Such an easy plant! A beauty that never stirs up a fuss, it deserves a starring role in gardens.
The divine, deeply cut foliage is richly colored, as you see. Darkly dramatic 'Black Lace' forms wonderful alliances when grown amidst a canvas of greenery.
Despite the fact that I generally turn my nose up at pale pink or white when selecting flowers that will occupy important spots in the garden, I love the frothy flowers on Sambucus 'Black Lace.' They enliven two rather sedate, semi-shaded areas of my small plot: One 'Black Lace' grows in the 'secret garden' adjoining a neighboring stucco garage wall;
and on the far opposite side, another plant rises up in a border along the western perimeter.
I received two plants to trial before they were available in nurseries, and they've outperformed my expectations as they've grown taller and matured.
Only May 3rd and flowerheads are forming!
I can't imagine the garden without this lacy character!