One of the things I love most about this time of year is getting to see the structure and shape of trees without the distraction of leaves. Honestly, some of them are more interesting without leaves than with. Once everything turns green, the gnarly branches and scaffolding get lost.
I don't think a lot of people take shape into consideration, when choosing trees for their landscape. We look for flowers, fruits and fall color, maybe we'll worry about how large the tree will get, but few of us say, "I'd like a nice pyramidal tree to contrast with the two vase-shaped ones I have." Funny, because we do that all the time when choosing smaller plants for our gardens.
If you've never really considered the architecture of trees, I encourage you to look at a comparison photo gallery our Tree & Shrubs Guide, Vanessa Richins, has put together. Then take a walk through a public garden, arboretum or even an old graveyard. (You'd be amazed at the wonderful plants in cemeteries.) It will give you a renewed appreciation for the bare bones of trees.
Read more: Tree Shapes in the Landscape
Photo: biewoef / stock.xchng.