Who could not love a tree with the multi-barrelled name Metasequoia glyptostroboides, the dawn redwood?
It’s among the marvels of the tree world, a deciduous conifer. People typically think of conifers as being evergreens – the kind you put tinsel on. But conifer just means “cone maker.” The redwood makes cones, but it also sheds its leaves or soft, fernlike needles in fall.
Like the larch. The larch. (Insert optional Monty Python sketch here).
Sarah picked up this little redwood at Canada Blooms in 2006 for about $4. It was no more than a whip in a pot the size of a thimble. She kept it going in her south-facing front porch. But her garden and mine were (and are) both too dry and, above all, too shady to risk planting it.
Enter: our neighbour M. with a patch of sun. He took over the care of our baby redwood, planting it in a larger pot and setting it in the ground for the winter. Now the whip has wings, as in the picture above.
M. is going to nurse our baby to safe transplant size, then we all have our eye on a sunny bit of guerrilla gardening land nearby, to add to our local diversity. It apparently makes a fine street tree.
The dawn redwood can grow to 70-130 feet (20-40 m) in height. We’re all looking forward to the day when we can bring our grandchildren by and say: See that mighty tree? We planted that.