The application of trees refers to their particular role in a garden, and represents a complex combination of appearance and utility. With rare exceptions, trees are the key plant type within a garden, primarily because of their size and the amount of space they occupy relative to other types of plants. They represent a kind of skeletal framework upon which the other carefully-selected vegetation components of lawns, shrubs, hedges and annual plants, are combined into a harmonious edenic scene. In their primary landscape role, trees afford shade, may exhibit showy flowers, striking leaves or attractive bark, screening to provide privacy to the inner reaches of a garden, serve as a windbreak or function as an accent tree. An accent tree is a plant that helps complete the whole picture of a landscape. It somehow fits in, even if positioned in the background, giving a garden a finished look. Showy flowering trees are often used as accent trees.
The appearance of a garden is related to its aesthetic appeal, how strikingly beautiful a particular combination of plants may appear, giving pleasure to the visitor and pride of place to the gardener. The wonderful 19th Century French impressionist painter Claude Monet, in his often ethereal landscape paintings, conveyed his love of gardening. In Giverny, France, where Monet lived and painted for many years, his garden has been restored and is nearly as well known and appreciated as his paintings. In addition to the plants themselves, added beauty in a garden is derived from visiting colorful butterfly and birds, attracted to certain tree species for food, shelter and nesting. Fragrant blooms such as those from the Ylang Ylang Tree (Cananga odorata) as well enhance the garden environment.
A secondary application in home gardens can be as a source of edible fruit. In addition to well-known cultivated fruit trees such as citrus, Pineapple Guava (Acca sellowiana) or mango; a number of native and exotic trees have edible fruit, but have not been subject to scientific selection and breeding programs to improve fruit quality. Nonetheless, many of these secondary fruits are quite palatable and eaten fresh or prepared into jams and jellies. A good example is the Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera). Spices as well can come from your own backyard if you grow a Bay Rum Tree (Pimenta racemosa) which bears seeds that can be used as a substitute for allspice. A culinary herb garden can also be an attractive and useful garden components. Home gardens also provide a ready source of flowers, leaves and branches which can be made into floral arrangements for indoor decorative purposes, especially when marking a birthday or anniversary celebration.
A home garden is a fine opportunity to implement your personal ideas and preferences. TreeWorld has a broad collection of plants from which to choose; those mentioned above are part of the inventory.