From afar, the maze looks as healthy as ever. Up close it's a different story - the maze needs a lot of care and attention. As with everything in gardening we know that sometimes maintenance isn't enough. The time has come for us to carry out restoration of the maze to ensure that it remains attractive, enticing and most of all fun.
The much-loved summer house in the middle of the maze was damaged by storms in the winter of 2013/14 and by the end of last year had to be dismantled. Thanks to the generosity of donations we've been given so far we can now build a replacement, stronger little hut ready for the 2016 open season.
Here's what else we need to do to care for the maze:
We cut the cherry laurel hedges up to three times a year using battery-powered hedge-cutters. This keeps them looking crisp and neat but it does mean that dead stems can build up inside the hedges. We need to spend additional gardening time to cut this dead wood out to prevent disease and to encourage healthy new growth. Cherry laurel makes a great hedge as it's vigorous and tolerant. However even this plant needs a bit of tender loving care.
Our maze is given extra interest and viewing potential due to its position on one of the many slopes of the valley garden. This means that within the living puzzle there are 165 steps - most of which are beginning to rot and fail. We need to replace all of these steps to ensure that the paths and hedges are protected and that all our visitors can safely find their way through the maze.
If all the paths in the maze (including dead-ends) were laid out in one line they'd be as long as seven football pitches. These well-trodden routes through the maze have been eroded through the years and are now causing water to build up and flood in places. The hedges between the paths are suffering from additional compaction due to the lower levels. We need to lay down new path surfaces throughout the whole maze to stop these problems occurring.
How can you help us?
We're aiming to raise £50,000 to set up a 'hedge fund' to restore the health and infrastructure of the maze and to secure its long-term care. We've estimated that this amount of money will cover the ongoing costs of restoration for the next 30 years. Twice in the last 40 years the maze has had to be closed to visitors for at least a year to carry out invasive work to restore its health and condition. We know we can avoid this if we can raise the funds this year.
As a charity completely independent of Government we rely on fundraising to help us carry out projects like our maze restoration. Just visiting Glendurgan helps us with fundraising and you can also give donations or buy raffle tickets on your visit.