Facebook kindly reminded me this morning that it has been 2 years since I constructed the 7 ring Cretan Labyrinth at the retreat.
I haven’t spent much time in it lately due to a couple of falls that left me sore and sorry for myself, but over the last couple of visits I got the shovel out to refurbish it. Not being mathematically minded, I wasn’t even going to start calculating how many shovel widths the outer ring is and the energy used to move that amount of dirt…. however curiosity got the better of me and I used a circumference calculator to work out that the circumference of the outer ring is a little over 47.1 metres as the diameter at its widest part is some 15metres. The gypsum applied a while back has definitely improved the soil quality, especially from the digging point of view! Some still remains in the central cross and that got turned over last weekend.
The wildlife likes to play in it, so to keep the definition, rocks from the paddock are gradually being put in the channels created by the digging, which also means less rocks out in the paddock for the mower to run over. Hopefully the rocks will also provide some initial protection for future plantings. The sage program was ambitious and contrary to gardening advice sites that suggest that it is unpalatable to rabbits or hares, the amount of droppings left next to the munched and dug up plants suggest otherwise. It appears that kangaroos enjoy sage as well as garlic.
The next project is to find a plant that will tolerate drought and extremes of temperatures. Winter mornings can be a little crispy underfoot and a recent week of summer temperatures of over 38C saw even the succulent plant known as pigface, burnt to a crisp. I’m wondering if Rosemary is suitable and will strike a few cuttings to plant before undertaking a big project again.
At the centre is a small rose bush, which is getting drip fed water from the damaged water tank that used to be on the fire trailer. That was put in some months back and is only just surviving. The wildlife had dug up the oak tree in the centre, grown from a Rushworth acorn and I was about to discard it, but at the last minute planted it at the entrance. I was delighted to discover it had resprouted and it now has a sturdy tree guard around it. Last weekend I picked up some acorns in Heathcote and planted one in the outer ring at the northern most point. It will be lovely to see if it sprouts and if so will have a tree guard put up next visit. Apparently Oak trees are a little fussy about having their roots disturbed by repotting.
In the meantime, I realised that one of the areas near the firepit might be suitable for a small labyrinth and marked out an area with a tomato stake – raking the leaves to make a path once it was clear that it would fit. This has been a handy little labyrinth to walk… the design is called the Shepherd’s Crook and it provides a choice of directions to get the centre once you have entered the first two rings. This is ideal if you choose right or left to be a yes or no answer to a question that you take with you to the centre. I had to detour slightly on one path as I wanted to keep the pigface in that area and there a couple of bull mallee trees to squeeze past on the outer ring.
The next labyrinth project was a “Pop Up” labyrinth that I drew freehand and in chalk for the City of Monash in Hamilton Walk during the last school holidays. A simple left handed, 3 ring Cretan labyrinth. My acupuncturist and myotherapist were delighted with my activities and I shall remember to do some proper stretching exercises before I attempt another one of these! It was a beautiful autumn morning and from all accounts there were many children walking it later in the day. It was completely washed away by a thunderstorm the following day having served its purpose. If asked to do another, I would orientate it a little differently as I wasn’t familiar with the foot traffic in the area.
And so we return to the 7 ring labyrinth. Slow and steady, plenty of water and several hours later, the outline was redefined. A mixture of rocks and earth, a rose at the centre – with some jonquil bulbs that are already poking their green leaves above the ground. I’m just hoping that they won’t make the wildlife ill – as I believe they are toxic to cats, dogs and horses. Another couple of days are needed to add more rocks for more definition.