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Natural Landscaping, Creating Variety

by James P. Engel, © 2003

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The woodland palette is quite large and this large and diverse selection of species is what makes natural landscaping so interesting and attractive. Not only are there the four groups of plants but there is so much diversity within each group. Canopy trees offer a variety of leaf shapes, bark textures and branching patterns. Actually limiting oneself to a few species can be rather difficult, for each species offers some unique interest. Fall is the time of year when the difference between tree species is most dramatic. Each species displays a different hue of color.

Some of the finest native flowering trees are trees of the forest understory. Dogwoods, cherries, redbud, serviceberry and siverbells fall into this category. These plants are insect pollinated and the fruit of many including the dogwoods; cherries and serviceberries are eaten and dispersed by birds and other wildlife. Their flowers are very showy and fragrant to attract pollinating insects and their fruits are large and nutritious to attract seed dispersers. Most of these species are also widely used in horticulture today so they are easily found in nurseries.

This page updated September 10, 2004