Mark Cullen's Top 5 Trees

Enjoy privacy and a cooler house by planting these top native trees in the garden

Anyone who’s ever rested under the canopy of a tree knows the incredible cooling power of shade. Shade from trees also helps cool your home, so consider a tree an investment in aesthetics, privacy and energy efficiency.

I like native trees — those that grew here naturally before the Europeans arrived — because they deliver big advantages to the Canadian gardener. For starters, they’re easy to grow with little effort from us humans. That’s what happens when plants find themselves in a garden that offers similar conditions to the ones they have survived, evolved in and adapted to over thousands of years. In addition to tolerating local growing conditions without much intervention, they provide habitat for wildlife, demand less water and tend to be remarkably resistant to disease and insects, reducing the need for pest or disease control. Here are five of my favourites:

If you live near Toronto, get your green fix at the Canada Blooms garden show, March 15 to 20, 2011.

Mark Cullen is the author of The Canadian Garden Primer: An Organic Approach.