It has a lovely shape and look. It isn't a twiggy tree, but sinuous with horizontal branching that will only get better with age. Like so many other plants I love, the Spicebush prefers a loamy soil, a bit on the moist side and a tad acidic. (So it will get babied here were we have nearly neutral, dry clay soil!) It has a deep root system that makes it hard to transplant; so site it carefully. An eastern US native, from the Laurel family; it happily grows in zones 4 to 8. Expect it to remain small, around 3 to 10 feet tall in many gardens. It's too bad so many of our charming native trees are under planted and under appreciated. Because of that, it might be difficult to locate them at a local nursery. I found mine at our botanical garden's annual wildflower fair. You may have to seek out native nurseries on the internet. But, if you live through your nose like I do, it will be worth the effort! Gail I am going to visit Frances at Fairgardens. I won't have my computer, but will check in from time to time to say hello to you all! I will be thinking about you as we talk plants, gardens and blogging. I expect to regale you with our adventures. We always have fun together!
Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
A Spicy Yellow Fall
My husband says I live through my nose and there is great truth to that! The garden plants that I am attracted to and those that hold the most memory for me have fragrance. Lavender, Viburnums, Monarda, Star Gazer Lilies, Moon Flower Vine and Lilacs are just a few of the flowering plants I like to have growing around me. Recently, another small tree was added to the woodland garden near the front porch. It promises to bring even more fragrance into the late winter or early spring garden. Spicebush or Lindera benzoin. It's now beautifully cloaked in it's fall yellow colors. The twigs, leaves, flowers and berries all have a delicious spicy fragrance. Just crush a leaf to release the scent. It is a host plant for the Spicebush Butterflies larval stage...the Spicebush caterpillar. A rather curious looking creature with wonderful faux eyes! The Spicebush Butterfly is a beautiful visitor that you will be glad has moved into your garden. Spicebush is a lovely little tree year round. But it really shines twice a year. In late winter or early spring, small sulphur yellow flowers open up along it's twigs and branches. If you enlarge this photo you can see the buds. I refer to them as the promise of spring! Then it shines again each fall when it is covered in these beautiful yellow leaves. Someday this little tree will produce beautiful glossy red berries that are food for about 24 species of birds, including thrushes, catbirds and the red-eyed vireo.