I often talk about gardens, plants, and gardening here on Everyday Magic, and this post is no different in that regard. The different part is that this is the first Guest Post I’ve hosted! And, while yes, it’s on gardening–it’s set 65 million years ago!
Author Daniel M. Bensen is celebrating the release of his new book, Groom of the Tryannosaur Queen, by holding a blog tour with all the posts relating to “How Dinosaurs Can Fix Your .” Of course, I thought this sounded like a ton of fun (um, really, no pun intended), and signed right up with “Flower Gardens.”
But before we get the answer to that intriguing question, let’s learn a bit more about Daniel’s book. Here’s the publisher’s blurb:
Former soldier Andrea Herrera isn’t happy with where her life’s taken her. Specifically, to Hell Creek, Montana, 65 million years before the present. As far as careers go, making sure the dinosaurs don’t eat her paleontologist clients comes in a pretty dismal second choice to serving her country. But when their time machine malfunctions, Andrea and her team are trapped in a timeline that shouldn’t exist with something a hell of a lot more dangerous than terrible lizards: other humans.
Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018UD6DH2/) is a time-travel romance with Dinosaurs available now as a kindle book.
Sounds great to me! OK, here’s Daniel M. Bensen to take it away!
How Dinosaurs Can Fix Your Flower Gardens
A museum worker I follow once commented on the kids who come up to him and asked to be directed to the “dinosaur plants.” Adorable. Can’t you just picture that dinosaur plant, spiky and gnarled, primeval mists dripping off its scaled fruit as it uncoils its fronds into the steaming jungle? Or, you might imagine cycads and dawn redwoods, monkey-puzzle trees or ferns or gingkoes. But flowers? Heck no! Dinosaurs were big and mean. They ate big mean plants, not tender daisies! Well, it depends on what time and place you’re talking about, but the home ofTyrannosauus and Triceratops, the setting for my novel (http://www.amazon.com/Groom-Tyrannosaur-Queen-time-travel-romance-ebook/dp/B018UD6DH2 ) was just crawling with flowers.
Tyrannosaurs and Triceratops (along with big duck-bills like Edmontosaurus, armored Ankylosaurus, and speedy predators like Dakotaraptor) lived and more importantly died and were fossilized, in what’s called the Hell Creek Formation, a layer of rock in the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming. It’s mostly chilly badlands now, but 65 million years ago, Hell Creek was the sweaty floodplain on the edge of a shallow sea. The place was similar to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, complete with palms trees and crocodiles. Plants had broad, sub-tropical-looking leaves, and included lots of bushy undergrowth. Although some modern plants like grasses or orchids did not grow in Hell Creek, a modern botanist transported into the environment (and I just happen to have included on in my novel) would notice familiar-looking beeches and sycamores, hung with American bittersweet, spreading their leaves over magnolias, tulip-trees, buckthorns, katsura (or caramel trees), and laurels. They might be able to find food hanging from grape-vines, or fig, cacao, mulberry, or pawpaw trees. Ginger grew at ground level. They might even find something like hops or marijuana.
Hell Creek was deep green and black with sprays of yellow, pink, and white reflected in the sluggish brown water below. Insects hummed and birds sang. The air smelled of salty mud and chlorophyll. If you were from Florida or Louisiana, you might mistake Hell Creek for home, until you saw your first tyrannosaur.
After I wrote this essay, my three year old daughter told me I’d gotten it all wrong. The Diplodocus could stamp its foot in the ground to make a decorative pond. The Triceratopscould dig up rows with its horns for your annuals. Dinosaurs poop a lot, and that’s good fertilizer. That’s how dinosaurs can fix your garden.
References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_Creek_Formation#Plants andhttp://www.dmns.org/media/370845/pseries3-12red.pdf
Want to see what else dinosaurs can fix? Here’s another post in the series.
8 thoughts on “Guest Post: How Dinosaurs Can Fix Your Flower Gardens”
Incidentally, there is actually a plant called ‘dinosaur food’. It’s the giant gunnera, as seen here: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/53097/
Soooo, if I plant that, will I suddenly become infested with triceratops? Maybe I’ll avoid that one, just in case! I kind of like my house the way it is. 😉
If you want to be pedant…I mean awesome, you can remember that technically birds are dinosaurs. So dinosaur food is whatever the birds in your garden eat. I recommend mountain ash. 🙂
Hmm, so the dinosaurs are currently eating black oiler sunflowers. Heh. As long as that “dinosaur” attacking my window remains a mockingbird, not a triceratops, I’m good with it. 🙂
Thanks! I like to think so 🙂
Well, let’s see. Rhubarb/Gunnera is a gunnerale, core eudicots with distinctive pollen that shows up in fossils from the Early Cretaceous onward (http://www.mobot.org/mobot/research/apweb/orders/gunneralesweb.htm). So something like “dinosaur food” might well have been eaten by actual Triceratops!
OK, that is too cool! Awesome. Thanks!
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