I thought it was time to show that Gums can have gorgeous flowers as well as interesting bark. Not all gums have dramatic flowers. The one in my garden doesn’t, for example – as is clear from its name: Eucalyptus pauciflora! But some gums, like this hybrid of the Eucalyptus maculata (obviously!) do.
Gum blossoms have a very special place in Australian literature, through the work of author-illustrator, May Gibbs. Her most famous book is Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (1918). However, she produced her first Gumnut booklets in 1916, and through them created the characters she soon after became famous for, including her Gumnut Babies and Gumblossom Babies.
There was a strong conservation message behind her books. On the first page of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is:
Humans please be kind to all Bush Creatures and don’t pull flowers up by the roots.
And that’s about all I’ll say about May Gibbs … she’s an Australian icon but in fact she was not part of my childhood. I read very few of the traditional anthropomorphic (can plants be anthropomorphic?) children’s books when I was growing up. I much preferred reality to fantasy, then, and pretty much now too. So, I’ll just share this image that grabbed my attention on a trip to the coast earlier this year – and suggest that it’s no surprise really that such beautiful things inspired writers like Gibbs.
(This was an experiment posting directly from flickr, but I don’t think I’ll do it that way again)