The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Great Expectations Realized

Now that I have finally seen the smoldering fall foliage on my three toddler Lindera glauca var. angustifolia plants in the Woodland Garden, the purported four-season usefulness of this shrub has been confirmed. I first encountered this plant at the Arnold Arboretum in the winter when the persistant foliage turns a tawny tan color. I have placed this plant in the woodland garden along a path on a steep slope so the shrub will create a year-long visual and physical barrier ensuring that the garden visitor will not physically, and psychologically, roll down the hill into the garden below. This particular plant is placed forward to our native hemlock, Tsuga canadensis, which should be an effective combination all winter. During the summer, the  foliage is a pleasing light green color with glaucous tones on the undersides.

A second specimen is planted against the back of the yew hedge of the Lower Garden, a terraced garden room above the Woodland Garden. Here, I have combined it with Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowqueen' whose massive leaves will be a nice contrast to the long glossy leaves of Lindera glauca var. angustifolia in any season.

Lindera glauca var. angustifolia does best in a semi-shaded site with ample moisture and will grow to about 5 feet; a few feet smaller than the very similar, and more well-known, Lindera glauca var. salicigolia. I chose this plant for its smaller stature which should fit in nicely in my diminutive woodland garden. As an added bonus, female plants produce small black fruit following tiny yellow flowers in early spring.


  1. Beautiful shrub. Interestingly, my Lindera angustifolia (four of them) have turned a yellow tinged with peach (one in a shady area is still green). Same with my Lindera salicifolia. They were redder last year, their first in the ground. Drought this summer? Who knows.

    1. James, I had read that Lindera glauca var. angustifolia was supposed to have strawberry pink so there must be quite a bit of variation. I wonder if yours will become more orange as the season progresses. I must be a good week ahead of you for peak fall foliage.

  2. Burning Bush shrubs grow wild in Tennessee. The colors of those lovely ladies and the black gum trees are vibrant and bold. They both are vibrant and the most reddish colors of all our fall colors. the brandywine red maples are deep hues also.

  3. I got a chance to see James' Lindera during his Garden Conservancy Open Days. They became the subjects of two of my favorite photos from the day.



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