I'm a sucker for trees and shrubs with interesting bark -- bark that begs to be touched; in hues that command attention; or catches the light just so, such as the delicate, translucent peeling sheets of the river birch (Betula nigra) and paperbark maple (Acer griseum), which are especially attractive with the sun at their back.
In winter, when the gardening pace is less frenetic, one can truly appreciate the wondrous texture and color of bark and branch. The veil of foliage lifts to reveal the beauty of the season. Stop, look, observe and you will see -- smooth & silky, rough & gnarly, soft, flaky, prickly, spiny, and fuzzy are among the textures we find in nature. Orange, red, brown, white, tan, mottled and striped bark encases these beauties of the winter garden.