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.