Recently I've been thinking a lot about trees. As everyone races out to their local nurseries to by the latest and greatest annuals, I find myself wanting to go in another direction and plant more beautiful trees.
Besides the sheer beauty that trees add to a site, they create the visual effect of balancing the mass of a home to the earth. In addition, trees can do a lot to help with the heating and cooling of a home. Energy conservation and environmental issues are at the top of everyone's minds these days and trees can help reduce the energy needed to cool a home. In addition, shaded perennial beds and lawn areas have less need for supplemental water in times of drought.
Recommended reading: The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono. This is a deeply moving (short) book that will prompt most people to think more about the joy of planting trees.... and bonus, the book is illustrated with gorgeous wood engravings by Michael McCurdy.