First days of Summer 2011 arrived cooler than average (down to 59 degrees in the
morning), wet at night with T-storms, and with strong, flag-snapping winds from the west. A few of the precocious prairie plants have emerged – Purple coneflower, Rudbeki, and Partridge Pea. A mist is falling now, so in comes the flag.
Grass is hard to set back and takes over where I don’t want it. Digging it up doesn’t kill the roots so sprouts push through the soil between my stepable herbs. Lots of carefully pulling up of grass so not to disturb the newly placed plants.
If I had “planned” over the course of a year and then begun, perhaps I would have applied
“RoundUp” to the whole area. Certainly I would have measured more carefully because some of the pathways are waaay wider than others. I aimed for two mower widths so I could make a pass in and a pass out of the labyrinth. Maybe I would have mixed in some sand as I went along to give air pocket spaces to this hard and gooey clay. I would have waited on placing rocks around because mowing is hard enough moving in a spiral without having to think about “Ooops, that was a rock.” Clipping around the plants would be easier, too. Always have everything that you need assembled before you begin – tools, water, sun screen, sun glasses, gloves, camera, comfortable work clothes, my map, markers, stakes, string, scissors.
My record keeping is pretty good, especially when I have the stakes and marker with me. My paper map is not so up-to-date.
I’m good about mowing – just learned this year. I wear long pants, long shirt, a hat, a bandana over my face to keep the grass out and put on the grass catcher to minimize the cuttings in the air. I sweat a lot, but at least I can sort of breathe after.
But, I like how things have turned out. People drive by, some have pulled in to see, others ask me when we see each other what I am doing. Universally, people are excited. Many friends have donated plants and I know the path of the sun well enough to estimate the best place for the flowers or grasses.
While I have a sense of what I want, I am very OK with the natural flow of things. Rocks can be moved around. Well, some rocks more easily than others. Plants can be transplanted. In no way is this a totally Native or natural labyrinth, nor is it a bit formal. It just is, with all its quirks – like clay and chickadees that scold when I am near their nest and puzzles. Where DID I plant the….? Wish I had kept my diagram more up-to-date. But, I have the stakes with the name of the plant and the person’s name. Sometimes, though, the label, “Jenny’s Plant” doesn’t help me to remember it is pulmonaria or that other funny cut leaf flower. So, I call or email. Jenny must think I’m….well she will laugh when she reads this.
I love the neighbor kids “contemplative” interpretation – running the paths – to the center never cheating by crossing the path lines nor do they stomp on the plants. Then, it is picture-taking time and then running back out.
This has been and continues to be a healing project for me – well, maybe not with all the bruises I get….but, spiritually and emotionally. Getting ready to make moves back into mainstream. And, I always have the 1080 Laughing Labyrinth to ground me. Clay is quite “gounding” especially in carpet. Oooh, I’m in quite the double entendre mood today.