Gum trees -- how can you not love these? The smell of Australian summer. I remember being in the Greek islands on a forty degree day, and the breeze bringing the scent of eucalypt, and a wave of homesickness washing over me. What I love about them is that they're all individuals. No two trees look alike, unlike those pine clones (not cones!). Or elms or oaks. I love evergreens. Who cares about autumn colours? Give me green, green, green. Verdant canopies. The taste of eucalypt -- my dad throwing a few bark strips on the barbie and all the hamburgers coming out smoked. Yum.
Yes, the Australian bush is another important part of my psyche, so perhaps it's no surprise it features heavily in my fiction. Not for me the European forests, but the gums, the tea-trees, the bottlebrushes, the black boys, something about Australian plants. So how does this all fit into a medieval, feudal type society? Terraformers, of course. My world has been seeded by terraformers, which gives me freedoms that other fantasy writers don't have. So you could well see a wallaby or two. But I wonder if that's not part of the appeal of fantasy -- the quest journey and all that time to have my characters out in the open air. I know I love reading about the journey in other people's work. I loved the ents in Lord of the rings for example -- even if it meant leaving my beloved Aragorn behind. Yes, I was having a relationship with him well before Viggo put flesh on his bones (and that was some flesh!).
Being city grounded (I was going to say "bound" -- in terms of being bonded, but it seemed like it meant "on the way to"), I don't get to sit in the country often to just contemplate the bush, but I love the sense of peace and stillness, and at the same time, the sense of activity in all the wildlife -- the insects, the birds, the animals, just the movement of wind through grasses. Occasionally, when our writers' group has had a retreat up in Mansfield, it's almost as if my characters are at my shoulders the whole time. Just being in the kind of atmosphere I'm writing about makes me want to bring out the computer and get typing. Or is it just that time, alone with writers, spending a few days talking writing? I don't know, but whatever it is, it works!