Clover arboretum makeover for a slice of heaven

A SECRET garden is nestled in the alps, resting in the mountain off the Bogong High Plains Road that winds its way up to Falls Creek.

Penny Cummings found it in 1994 on a drive from Mount Beauty with her husband when she spotted the branches of unusual trees peeping through the gums.

“We stopped and I had a look and discovered all these stone walls and steps. It was local history that had been lost,” Mrs Cummings said.

If you’re a local, the Clover Arboretum is no secret, but to the uninitiated to stumble on the two hectare flat of trees like the apple blossom and ginkgo smack bang in the middle of Australian bush could feel like an exotic Eden.

Mrs Cummings first experience prompted her to start a committee to clean the area up for picnickers and green thumbs to use, and tomorrow the Friends of Clover Arboretum are holding a working bee to restore the garden.

“It’s a part of local history and it’s a beautiful spot. It’s a lovely spot to have a picnic and wander through,” Mrs Cummings said.

The arboretum was once a village of 17 huts that hosted the men and their families who worked on the Kiewa hydro scheme from the early 1940s before its damp and cold conditions were deemed a health risk in the 1950s and its residents moved back to Mount Beauty.

The huts were sold off and the place was flattened with the trees the workers planted left to thrive.

But the arboretum has suffered losses in its years, 2003 bushfires wiped out 60 per cent of the trees and deer have prevented more trees from being planted until the committee can obtain metal guards to protect them.

Mrs Cummings called for volunteers to help tend to the slice of heaven she hopes to have her ashes spread in.

The committee will be there from 9am, with a free barbecue lunch.

Phone Mrs Cummings on (03) 5754 1332.

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