Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Laying Out the Labyrinth

I'm one who likes to walk and think, and the idea of a Labyrinth in my garden has stuck in my head for a while now.  I still have about 300 roses in pots left to plant, so I cannot bear to spare the time or space preparing an area where roses are not destined to live.  Over the weekend, while scribbling modifications on graph paper for the design of my Cemetery Garden back by the barn, I had a brainstorm ... I could turn this GARDEN into a labyrinth!  It took some doing, but I think I have it.

each square = four feet.

Originally, this garden was going to be made with concentric squares ... eight-foot beds and four-foot paths, with a central aisle.  The design needed only a small modification to the path on the left to create a switch-back element to make it into a labyrinth!

A labyrinth is not a maze.  It is a winding path that takes you from the outside to the center, with one path in and out.  I saw a great labyrinth at a house by a cemetery that The Husband and I were visiting this spring.

The area I have for this is a sixty-foot square.  I was out there all morning on Saturday, measuring and staking and laying string, getting the beds and paths laid out just right.

aerial photo taken from the loft of the barn.

Here's the same photo, with a little Photoshop magic to show you the paths.

Yesterday morning, I sprayed the whole area with herbicide to kill off the grass and weeds.  I did this once already this year, but the weather and other factors conspired against me and I never got the garden laid out or planted and the area filled up with weeds again.  Turns out that this was a good thing, because I wouldn't have thought of this new design at that time.  With cooler fall weather now, things are growing more slowly so the herbicide will take longer to work.  I'm okay with that, because I know it's doing its thing, while I'm off working on other things ... it's like I'm multi-tasking, the easy way.

All staked out!  (doesn't everyone carry their tools in a cat litter bucket?)

If you are curious about how to lay out a labyrinth, here is a diagram that I found online that makes it simple to do.

I spent a while yesterday afternoon going through my pots of roses, inventorying and dividing them into groups.  As of now, I have 41 that are destined for this new garden, with a few more 'maybes'.  Most of these are Noisettes and Chinas and Gallicas, a few ramblers, and a couple of climbers on the arched entrance ... roses that are perfectly at home in old cemeteries, which is what this garden was originally intended to represent.  The design is the only thing that has changed ... the roses remain the same.


  1. This is a wonderful plan an as always I know it will be laid out perfectly! It's rather exciting!

  2. Wow this is amazing, I wish I was still able to undertake such a project. It will be beautiful when you get done. I hope you continue to share the progress on this.

  3. Oh Connie, I just love your plan! Can't wait to see the result!

  4. Labyrinths are such cool "structures" meant to calm, enlighten, and encourage thought and meditation. How cool to add roses to the mix, I know it will be wonderful!

    Kat :)

  5. This look like it will be beautiful! Can't wait to see the results.

  6. Inspiring! I have some pasture that would be perfect for something like this. Perhaps next summer I will be able to work on this idea!♥♫

  7. That is the diagram I used to make my labyrinth!!!
    You have seen mine, haven't you??
    That's a great idea, btw.

  8. Oh, how exciting!!! I can't wait to see it - love your photoshop example. And I love seeing how you laid everything out with string. It will be perfect for that area!

  9. Dear Connie, How lovely! I look forward to seeing the finished garden. I really must visit your place next spring. P. x

  10. That's just so much fun! But a huge job too......hope you have lots of help :)

  11. How totally cool! Can't wait to your progress. Will you espalier any of the climbers or noisettes?

  12. That will be so great, however, I wouldn't want to be in the middle and need to pee. Trying to cut through the roses to make a hasty escape, could prove to be a sticky situation. LOL!

  13. Great food for thought, Connie, since I need to rework my back garden. How wonderful that you have so much open space that you can simply "add another garden". I must sit down with graph paper, pencil AND eraser very soon. Also, I like your 'string thing' so you can SEE your plan in place. Great plan!!


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