Millions of years of history

I have a friend who loves to tinker – I think of him as a scientist and inventor. Last week he told me that he was working on a time machine.

“Seriously?” I asked.


“So how does this thing work?” I asked looking at a small, odd-looking jumble of circuit boards, wires and – well, I’m not sure what.

“Don’t know yet.” he responded, his mind deep into some kind of mathematical calculations that would likely cause my brain to explode if I somehow managed to find those same thoughts in my head.

“Keep me informed on your progress, will ya?” I asked as I left his shop.


During the fifteen minute walk home I let my imagination drift to where in time I might like to visit should my friend actually become successful in his latest endeavor. The future would be interesting, but that might be like peeking at the birthday presents a week before the party. No, I think past history would be fascinating to explore. Like, for example, I’d love to go back in time to the Phanerzoic Eon. You know, that span of time from 245 to 65 million years ago when dinosaurs walked the earth. I think it would be fascinating to find a forest of the amazing conifer, that until the early 1940s, was presumed to be extinct.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides Miss Grace
 ‘Miss Grace’ stands proudly before her ancient ancestor, Metasequoia glyptostroboides in the garden at Iseli Nursery.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (the Dawn Redwood) is a giant deciduous conifer that dates back many millions of years ago and was rediscovered growing in China in 1944. Since that time it has been propagated and grown throughout the world. A new slower growing form as been discovered as a witches’ broom and is called ‘Miss Grace’. This exciting new form should fit in most any garden and may allow some a sense of travelling back in time millions of years.

Great in the garden landscape and suitable for container gardening, this Zone 5 plant could be grown as a larger specimen on the patio or deck for a number of years. It’s yellowish to gray/green foliage turns into tones of orange and red in autumn. As it drops its foliage, the color and texture of its bark continues the show through winter.

Yes, I’d like to visit the past and observe history in the making, but while I wait for my friend to achieve success with his latest invention, I’ll be satisfied making my own history while relaxing in my conifer garden.

Conifer Lover

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