Exploring mazes can be a lot of fun, but have you ever wondered how much work it takes to establish and care for a maze in a country garden?
Garden design reintroduced
The maze at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire was planted in 2010 and having become well established, is now thriving. Standing at 2 metres high and running for over 500 metres, the yew maze is an impressive site.
Head Gardener at Cliveden Andrew Mudge says ‘traditionally we would cut yew hedges in August and September, but we love how popular the maze is with our family visitors so my team tends to cut it earlier in the year.’
Some mazes at our places have been reintroduced as part of our dedication to traditional planting schemes. Like Cliveden, the maze at Belton House was originally planted in 1890, but became overgrown after the Second World War and was removed. Today, you and your family can enjoy the maze that was replanted in 2000.
Caring for a maze
Trimming the maze is a big job. It takes four gardeners 210 hours in total, including tea breaks, to keep the hedging meticulously manicured. A group of helpful volunteers then spend three days clearing up all the clippings, only the best volunteer jobs at Cliveden.
Yew isn’t the only evergreen which works well for a maze. The living puzzle at Glendurgan Garden in Cornwall is planted with cherry laurel.
The laurel is ideal for this maze as it is vigorous and tough enough to withstand regular trimming and footsteps around the roots. For additional texture palm trees indicate the four corners of the maze whilst a thatched summerhouse marks the sought after middle.
When is a maze not a maze?
In contrast to our tallest mazes, we also have very short mazes. The maze at Powise castle is as tall as a length of grass. We're not kidding.
Technically speaking the Powis maze is a labyrinth. A labyrinth is very similar to maze but rather than having many dead ends, all routes lead to the centre, albeit often by the most complex and winding of routes. To reach the centre of this labyrinth at Powis Castle, visitors will have to follow 854m of path.
General manager of Powis, Emma Thompson said 'There have been many different designs cut into the Great Lawn over the years from Welsh dragons to ‘Croeso. It’s sure to give families hours of entertainment.'
'As part of the our 50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾ campaign, we’re encouraging children to do it barefooted and tick off No.24 from their lists ‘Go on a walk barefoot’ the labyrinth is the perfect spot for that.'