Kataryna's Crazy Labyrinth


So, what does one do with 100+ free spruce trees, I find myself asking as I'm offered the left over spruce from a project I'm involved with at work?

Well, you build a maze - how hard can it be? (If you see a theme developing with all my SCA projects you'd be right).

So... many days working overtime to get the spruce (Thanks JC!), 1 week of research, 3 full days of digging and planting, and over 100 trees later (I lost count at 118)... here's what you have:

The Entrance to the Labyrinth


Picture from atop the boulder in the bottom right corner of the Labyrinth.

Doesn't look like much yet does it?

It's loosely based on the pattern of labyrinths found on the floors of many medieval churches - but I ran out of room; so I only used the center three turns of the design seen in Palace garden of the Archbishop of Rouen at Gaillon from sketches made by Du Cerceau, a late 16th century architect. (Figure 84 from this site: Mazes and Labyrinths: Chapter XIV. The Topiary Labyrinth, or Hedge Maze), then adapted it to include a corner from that same labyrinth.

So what is the actual layout of my labyrinth then?

The Black spot in the right hand corner is a large boulder I was standing on to take the second and third picture.


Labyrinth links


Mazes and Labyrinths: Chapter XIV. The Topiary Labyrinth, or Hedge Maze

The Labyrinth Society



So, as you can see it doesn't look like a labyrinth yet.... or more precisely it looks like a turf labyrinth (a labyrinth cut into the grass) Most labyrinths in the middle ages weren't made from spruce, but from yew, lavender, cypress, laurel, or a number of other leafy shrubs or low growing herbs. However, since I could get spruce for putting in a bit of overtime at work I used them. The spruce are spaced fairly closely together at this point because I expect that most of them will not survive the year. The project I am getting them from is studying Spruce bud set (Dr. Cooke's Arborea Project). The trees have been stressed into thinking it's winter and then their tops have been sampled, leaving this much tree:

Theoretically a spruce can survive the loss of it's top, and one of the side branches will exert what is called Apical Dominance, becoming the lead branch. However, with all the stress these trees have been through I expect to loose more then half of those I plant. My plan is to fill it in with either other evergreens from my parents farm, other types of shrubs, or if the project continues next year... yet more spruce. 

In making the maze I initially mowed three concentric circles, with a cross running through them using my riding tractor and then re-mowed the actual path of the labyrinth to be sure I could make the turns. Then I decided to add the circles above the first set. After that I started planting, I have one piece of advice on this: Do not plant at two in the afternoon on a day that gets up to 31C. The spacing between the trees is completely random at this point - and my shovel being the most convenient measure, that is what I used.

Now I just have to wait for trees to grow and then I will have made more then enough work for myself for a life time... next time I utter the words "how hard can it be" would someone please smack me.