I suspect it’s because I grew up reading Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, climbing eucalypt trees, and going on walks in the Australian bush with my Mum (a botanist) that I love gumnuts. I love their fat round shape and the way they change colour – through greens, reds, yellows and browns – and the transformation from flower to dry nut. The contrarian in me also likes the fact that the bigger the tree is, the smaller its nuts, and vice versa.
This is the nut of the ficifolia, or Red Flowering Gum, in my backyard. While the species is hardy, this tree is a particularly tough exemplar – I chopped it down a few years ago because I was going to build a studio where it stands. The studio didn’t eventuate, but the tree grew back with gusto! It has coral coloured flowers and I love the way the last few flower strands hang on for dear life, defying the change of seasons.