Two totally different forests have been developed at Alowyn, the first one is a Northern Hemisphere silver birch forest with Betula pendula “Alba” and Betula nigra (river birch) and the second, an Australian casuarina forest consisting on two varieties of casuarinas and other complimentary plants.
Birches are traditionally cool climate trees, however with a little planning they can grow in the Yarra Valley. The birch forest consists of 400 birch trees all planted closely together to create a micro climate of cool dense growth. The roots, being shallow and fibrous require protection from drying out and to keep the roots cool. Under plantings include daffodils, jonquils and hellebores in Winter/Spring, followed by Scilla peruviana, irises, freesias, clivias and cyclamen in Spring. Summer welcomes Ruscus and ginger lillies with some red, yellow and lemon Hemerocallis along the outer edges to catch the light. Every season has its own beauty, the bare trunks in Winter, beautiful bright green leaves in Spring, deep shade in Summer and the butter yellow leaves in Autumn.
Turning a corner at the Northern end of the birch forest, you come across the second forest consisting of two types of casuarina’s including Allocasuarina littoralis and Allocasuarina torulosa. Each variety has its own distinct personality. The trees surround a miners hut, complete with a small outdoor cooking area. The hut contains a collection of early Australian utensils, tools and artefact’s making the hut look authentically old, even though it was only built seven years ago. The weather boards of the hut have been cut in the old colonial style radial cut, the cut going from the outside of the log to within 10 cms of the centre. This cut uses up the whole tree with no wastage, as the core of the log has been used for the horse hitching rail outside the hut.