Thanks Jim, Ken, Bren, thevaliantx, Karen, Tonia and Ady for the kind words.
I do agree with regards to that seed scale pointing almost vertically upwards - it should have been better positioned for the composition.
I totally understand people's ambivalence towards the background. I was aiming for an abstract busy look, as I find the open cones pretty abstract in nature. In the early stages of the study, when all the edges were soft, my eyes were swimming a little, until I refined the edges.
Being a study of a single object, I didn't really want to stick it on a plain background with a simple shadow for fear of it looking too bland.