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by Claire Mitchell January 28, 2020

The story behind the Banksia Seed Aroma Pod

An interview with Jessica Hogan from Banksia Gifts Australia

The Story


The Banksia Pod story begins with Tony Hansen, Founder and Craftsman at Banksia Gifts Australia. Tony first started experimenting with Australian Native Timber at the early age of 15 years old and his love of developing Australian made products quickly transformed when he discovered the Banksia Grandis and what he was able to create with it. After Tony and his wife Liz discovered that Banksia was particularly porous, they began to experiment with the use of good quality essential oils. Because the seed pod is not as dense as timber, it has the ability to soak up essential oils. Once the oil is soaked up it is slowly released through the holes of the pod. This is how the Aroma Pod was born.

The Land


The Banksia Grandis, commonly known as the Bull Banksia, is a prolific and distinctive Banksia tree found in Western Australia. It enjoys a hot climate, sandy and sometimes rocky soil and plenty of rainfall. This bushland is scrubby and difficult to navigate, however, the sound of the land is mesmerising and filled with a multitude of beautiful native flowers. The bush is only to be entered by foot. It is impossible to get through in a vehicle without damaging to the landscape. The team needs to drive down designated tracks and sometimes have to walk for kilometres to find a good collection point. It is hot and laborious work, but there is something special and sacred about being surrounded by the scrub.

 

The Banksia Grandis Tree grows particularly large, at a height of 5 - 15 metres. It produces large cylindrical yellow flowers that can grow up to 35 cm in length. After the flower heads have bloomed they start to fall away, revealing the thin beginnings of a seed pod. It takes approximately 24 months from the time the tree produces the flower to the time the Banksia nut reaches maturity and is suitable for picking. The mature seed pods are carefully hand picked with extension poles to ensure no damage is done to the tree or any of the immature pods.

Harvesting


The experienced tradesmen use a traditional form of woodworking called woodturning.

Each pod is cut into sections and put on a woodturning lathe. A chisel is then used to shave away the outside of the seed pod revealing its unique pattern. The products are hand sanded with up to three grades of paper, then polished with 100% Australian canola oil to enhance the Banksia pod's natural colour.

Sustainability


The collection of the Banksia Grandis is highly regulated by the Department of Parks and Wildlife of Western Australia. It is the team’s responsibility to ensure that the landscape is undisturbed and that the Banksia trees continue to thrive in the Australian bush. The collected seed pods have expelled their seeds and have completed the lifecycle of the plant. They are carefully handpicked to ensure no damage is done to the tree itself or the Australian bushland. The harvest is done by foot, careful not to disturb any surrounding plants or wildlife and no heavy machinery is used during this process. The pods are collected only in designated areas and these are constantly changing to ensure no one area is ever depleted. Only 10% of the Banksia Seed Pods can be collected in any one area at a time. A royalty is paid to the Western Australian Forestry per seed pod, which goes to aid in forest management and conservation.  

The fact that the tree regrows its pods over and over again makes the Banksia an incredibly renewable resource. The end product is also reusable and will last a lifetime. It does not decay and does not need to be replaced. We can consciously use this medium knowing that it will be there forever for future generations to enjoy.

 

"I love our banksia pods. I have four now around the house, the bedroom ones have Dream drops in them and others have ‘immune’ which I love to ward off illness. They look great, the scent diffuses beautifully and the oils last in them a long time. I will be getting one for each room."

 

Georgie B, AUSTRALIA

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Banksia Aroma Pod Diffuser (4112835608631)

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Claire Mitchell
Claire Mitchell



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