Labyrinth and Rock Wall, Fredericton

My Labyrinth in Fredericton

Our labyrinth has two lawn chairs that make it a nice place to sit for a visit.

The Iris patch adds a nice splash of colour when things warm up in the labyrinth.

On your way in, it is kind of neat to stop and enjoy the spirea when it is in bloom alongside the inukshuk.

The path through the labyrinth exits to the Experimental farm - very nice as the sun is going down in the evening.

We do have two apple trees, although the squirrels tend to harvest them before we can.

The labyrinth is lined with a lot of varieties of Hosta...

...and I do mean "a lot".

After a while the Hosta takes over - time to divide and replant some so we don't lose the path!

A Labyrinth is based on a unicursal pattern with a single unbranching path leading to the centre – you can’t get lost in it, as there is only one way in and the same exit out.  A Maze has many branching multi-cursal patterns with dead-ends or alternative routes that may be taken – you can get lost in them.  A labyrinth can be drawn in a simple three-path pattern, the classical seven-path pattern dating from before 430 BC, or the larger eleven-path pattern as shown here, found on the floor of the cathedral at Chartres, France.  Labyrinths have on various occasions been used in Christian tradition as a part of worship.  In medieval times, labyrinths began to appear on church walls and floors around 1000 C.E.

I have walked a few of these, and decided to build a seven-path labyrinth around the rocks in our back yard in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Mine is a copy of a rounded version of the ancient "Cretan" type of labyrinth, with constant-width paths made entirely from semicircular and 90-degree circular arcs and short straight line segments.

This is a drone photo taken above my labyrinth in May 2017, by my neighbour Stephane Gauvreau. The white quartz stones used to lay out the outline came from my parent's farm in Carleton County here in New Brunswick. The stones used to build the rock wall protecting it and the path through it came from the ground they stand on. The labyrinth is currently lined with Hosta. Another entrance and path, nicknamed the "Roman Road" leads into the labyrinth from the top right.

Sign at the entrance to the Labyrinth.

This is a view of the area before I began digging in 2005. Our dog Chloe loved this place!

As I levelled the earth, many large rocks began to turn up.  They most likely had been cleared from the farm fields beyond, possibly as early as the 17th century when the Acadians occupied this part of New Brunswick.  I used these to layout the "Roman Road" and to build a simple stacked standing rock wall to enclose the space, with a single path entrance which I dubbed the "Roman Road".

As the idea for the Labyrinth took shape, it became necessary to build a second entrance to the site, so the wall was rearranged as needed – a few times, to be honest.

Once I had the seven-path pattern laid out, I began to line it with rocks.

With the outline in place, I began to lay flat stones to walk on in between the border stones.

I added stone steps and slate signs to identify the entrances to the Labryinth and the Roman Road.

Sign at the entrance to the Roman road through the labyrinth. One of my colleagues served in Syria, and gave me a stone he brought back from a real Roman road. It is placed near the entrance.

My brother Dale provided the iron dragon, which I initially named Gorm den Gammel (Old Gorm), the first King of Denmark.  Our Chinese neighbours advised that their name for a dragon is “Long”, so I revised his name to “Long Gorm”.  There are two entrances and three exits from the Labyrinth enclosure, and Long Gorm keeps watch on the centre exit.

We also have a garden gnome who keeps his shovel handy for whatever odd jobs he may be needed for.

...and what would a labyrinth be without fairies keeping an eye on the lightness of being in visitors - this one is Owen and Auli's particular favorite.

A little Dutch girl that once graced the front porch of George and Alma's home in Charlottetown, now adds some colour in the labyrinth.

The hydrangea almost completely covers the rock wall that encloses the labyrinth, when it blooms in the summer.

...and Faye adds the most colourful combination of flowers to enhance the view!

The rhododendrons add great splashes of colour to the rock wall!

Our grandchildren, Cole, Ashley, Owen, Auli and Bauer, like to collect stones at the seashore and bring them home for grandpa to place in his labyrinth - each chosen stone has a place of honour here.

...and of course there have to be sea shells to examine!

It took awhile to dig out and rearrange the stones, much like a giant section of Lego. This is how part of the path looked in June 2006.

I eventually made room for rows of plants and flowers, lining the route with white quartz, and added a silver ball. This how it appeared in June 2021.

My mother (Beatrice) found a huge chunk of quartz on our family farm near Lakeville, 135 km North of us, and brought it back to her house with my father (Aage)'s tractor mounted fork lift.  It likely weighs more than 250 lbs.  She thought it would brighten up the path to the Labyrinth and with my brother Dale's help, we got it into my car and moved it to a fine place in the garden in front of the Labyrinth entrance. These are some additional big chunks of quartz making up the inukshuk.

We do get a bit of snow in the winter, this is the entrance to the Roman road that converts to my cross-country ski trail - and this is April 2020.

Our Maple tree is pretty bare in the winter...

...but beautiful when the frost casts its cloak over it...

...but fantastic in the summer...

...and absolutely glorious in the fall.

The view when you are enjoying the lawn chairs in the labyrinth.

...another view.

View of the rock wall from our back deck.

...and a view of our back deck from the labyrinth.

Faye refinished an old cast iron wood stove she collected at an auction of her Uncle Colin's estate. It now serves as a flower stand on the deck.

...its always pleasant to get up and check out the evening view of the Experimental Farm from the the back of the labyrinth...

...sometimes ferociously so - I took this photo after a heavy rainstorm!