Tag Archives: Labyrinths

Collecting seeds

After a slow and slightly wet start to summer, it’s great to enjoy the summery weather. However this means taking some extra care of my seedlings that I’m growing for an autumn planting session at the retreat.

The challenge has been in collecting seeds and growing them up into small trees that can then be planted out. Some of the previously planted trees have succumbed to last summer’s high temperatures, the resident hare and the kangaroos.

The chestnut trees were one casualty and as my friend’s chestnuts were eaten by cockies, I bought some from the supermarket, popped them in the vegetable crisper for a couple of months and was happily surprised when they sprouted. They were potted up and a couple have already gone in the ground at the retreat.


A Jacaranda tree grown from a seed of the next door neighbour’s tree has also gone in and is doing really well. I’m still deciding whether the Magnolia trees (also grown from seed) will make an appearance up at the retreat or to leave them in here in the city.

Another mini forest in the making are some peppercorn trees from seeds of a tree in the local town. I’m thinking of arranging these in a well spaced circle (20metres apart) from the oak tree in the centre of the paddock. Much like a Medicine Wheel or a living labyrinth.

Speaking of labyrinths – both labyrinths are in great need of refurbishment. Heavy rains (one day a neighbour recorded 70mm) have washed away the little labyrinth. I’m toying with the idea of creating a raised straw bale spiral garden instead to grow herbs and other useful shrubs. The larger labyrinth is very overgrown with native grasses and the jonquils in one of the central rings did get to flower this year. The pomegranates and olives around the perimeter continue to survive and the application of some organic fertilizer has helped the remaining oak trees to finally grow some height.  The previous attempt to refurbish the outline of the rings with rocks gathered from the paddock was a good idea in theory, but has affected the water flow and now looks untidy with the grass growing up and through them.

Winter Solstice

The intent was to celebrate as close as possible to the Winter Solstice…. there are people who get  a little pedantic about actual time.  According to a site I checked, actual time would be on Monday 22nd at 2.39am and I wasn’t going to be at the retreat, let alone getting up at that time of the morning in the frosty weather!

For a couple of months we have been gathering bushes that were taken off the fence lines and carting them to a central site. Winter Solstice bonfire ready to go  Very aware that the biddy bush is highly flammable, the fire trailer was topped up with water from the dam and parked nearby.

It was decided to light the fire on the Saturday afternoon, so that we had time to tend to the ashes and coals in daylight. The last bonfire took about 6 hours to look after and was fortunately in a damp area where the dam overflows.  This year has been very dry and we wanted to make sure no sparks blew over our neighbour’s property which is covered in these bushes.

First flame at 3.45pm
First flame at 3.45pm
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Around the 5 minute mark, we had to move the fire trailer as the heat from the fire was so intense that the metal was too hot to touch and the plastic IBC tank was in danger of melting.  A new appreciation for the CFA crews who have to attend fires in this area!! The fire burned so quickly that there was very little left in the way of coals  and what did remain was raked to the centre and checked on a regular basis. Just barely warm ash remained by Sunday morning which was very frosty and the temperature hovering around -1C.

I had already walked the big labyrinth after we arrived on Saturday,  which is located just behind the bushes near the bonfire pile, in preparation for the Winter Solstice. I noticed that the recent rainsOrbs, rainbows, spirits and sprites had left water in the plinth in the centre, and the kangaroos and hares had finished off what was left of the sage – even to the extent of digging up the roots they had left from their previous feasting.

It wasn’t until later in the week, when I downloaded the photos of the bonfire that I noticed that the orbs were about…

Our guest for the evening arrived and it was time to start cooking on the campfire nearer the cottage. Foil wrapped potatoes and beetroot and a lamb roast. The temperature was dropping rapidly and even though there were some bigger logs on this fire and the stars were magnificent to look at, there came a time when it was prudent to retreat to the warmth inside.

Next morning was Solstice morningcold.

The water in both the handwashing basin and the centre plinth of the labyrinth was frozen and the big labyrinth looked magnificent in its frosty glory. Small Shepherds Crook labyrinth

Even by 10am the temperature had barely moved above 0C, so there was nothing else to do except keep walking…. this time in the smaller labyrinth near the shed.  No surprises what turned up in the photo!




A couple of roos loose in the top paddock“Be patient, all things move as the timing requires. Quiet your mind, take time to be with yourself with no expectations or push. Do not be anxious for results, but enjoy the gentle journey. In your busy world, do not be rushed or allow the impatience of others to push you into hasty actions.

All things come to those who wait….patiently!”  Treasures from Tikashi

Back in the city, I miss the quiet time of the retreat and find myself getting impatient with not having developed it as quickly so as to have guests to stay in comfort and share the experience. The contrast between country and city couldn’t be greater.

Spending time in reflection, quite a lot has already been achieved and lessons learned. There has been the clearing of the flammable weed that covered much of the property and a maintenance schedule to prevent it from taking over again is being developed.

My first Labyrinthpriority was to build a labyrinth to set the energy for the property and that has been done. Again it needs maintenance on a regular basis as the weather and wildlife tend to blur the outline. The addition of gypsum last September has made digging the clay so much easier! Next project on the list for the labyrinth area is to set up some termite proof seating and shelter.

After the trial of garlic (enjoyed by the wildlife), I spent a few months germinating sage seeds and potting them up to plant.  A couple of sage plants had been put in last Easter and were left untouched for the rest of the year, so I thought that this would be a suitable plant to grow. Sage ready to plantA mixture of pot sizes and some stunted seedlings made the trip up to the retreat for an Easter planting. I decided to put them into the centre arms and entrance to create a fragrant addition. Planting out some 20 pots took a little longer than expected, and being able to use the water from the fire trailer to water them in saved carrying 20 litre buckets across the paddock! Rain was forecast and I was confident that they would happily adapt to their new home. Research was done on other rabbit/hare proof herbs and I looked forward to checking up on them at the next visit.

Orbs on approach to labyrinth On the next visit, most of the plants were pruned to the roots….only the tiniest, most straggly seedlings that I thought wouldn’t survive remained. Coming back to that word….


I planted out a rosemary cutting with strong roots that I put in the plant carrying box at the last minute. It will be interesting to see if the kangaroos and hares find rosemary palatable as well….

The Easter holiday was a hive of activity.  Building, mowing, digging, planting trees and sage, not to mention watching the Lunar Eclipse on the Saturday evening. Orbs at the eclipseThe skies were clear, just a little chilly, but bearable if rugged up well. The banana lounges were employed usefully and we were able to recline without getting a crick in the neck that one gets from star-gazing whilst sitting in a chair.  Various photos of the eclipse were taken, but a better quality camera or lenses are required for future photos of the moon, stars and planets, but good enough to record the orbs that appeared!

The aging tractor doesn’t fit into the large shed, so an extension or “tractor port” was planned aOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnd the wood delivered just before the Easter holidays. Tall enough to accommodate the tractor, long enough to fit the slasher it will have a skillion roof to add more rainwater to the dwindling levels of water in the big concrete water tank.

Friends arrived to help out with the building and were duly fed lunch for their efforts. Another friend stayed on to help with the mowing.  The same friend helped out with digging holes in the hard clay soil to plant out some oak tree saplings that I have grown from seed.  They were settled into the soil with well aged compost from the toilets and securely staked and tree guards put around them. Time was taken out to visit the Easter Parade in Rushworth and there was lots to see, but it was good to get back to the relative quiet of the retreat.

A walk around the boundary was a great opportunity to find some small treasures. A tiny nest that had blown out of a tree. Looking more closely, the enterprising birds (they could have been Pardalotes, Blue Wrens or Robins) had visited the main area and used threads from the Tibetan prayer flags that are placed around the communal fireplace.

Tiny Town labyrinthDuring the last visit, I spent some time re-visiting my labyrinth books and came across an unusual design, based upon a shepherd’s crook. As I gazed out of the shed whilst sheltering from a brief shower, I realized this would fit in an area that I had previously considered for putting in a raised garden bed. I marked it out with a tree stake and yes, it just fitted!red and green energy in new labyrinth Out came the shovel and the outline was dug into the ground and then the leaves raked to clear a pathway. This will be a low maintenance labyrinth, with just a quick rake to be able to walk it. Photos were duly taken and some interesting artifacts appeared on the bottom of the second photo. It was a series of 3 photos taken in quick succession and the second one shows a green circle at the bottom and the third, no artifacts……

Back to the city…. and a friend asks when there will be more accommodation…… back to the start of the post….. patience!

It’s evolving.

Slowly, like the oak trees that have gone in. They may not be of use in what’s left of my lifetime, but I planted them with the future in mind.