Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

I’ve just returned from a visit to eastern Australia and have become gaga about gum trees. There’s something about trees that shed their bark, from the delicate horizontal strips of silver birches in northern europe to the plane trees in London to these combat camouflage characters seen in the Royal Botanic gardens Sydney, that enchants me. It’s as if they’re saying to us “Use this to heal, rub it on wounds, burn it as a fragrance in your homes” and in the case of the cork oak Quercus suber, “squeeze me into the top of a wine bottle to keep it fresh”. Useful stuff bark.

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