Oak Tree Overgrowing Labyrinth Path

January 15, 2017


It’s hard to tell because of the autumn leaves, but the labyrinth path is between the bricks and the white wickets. The foliage bed is to the right of the white wickets. This photo shows that the tree is encroaching on the path from the left, and the bush is overgrowing the path from the right. The path of a labyrinth should be free and clear for the one walking it.  The overgrowth illustrates the reason I am re-designing the labyrinth at this time. This happens with a living labyrinth.

tree-is-overgrownThis tree was about one inch diameter when it was planted.  The labyrinth had to be built around it.  I have re-built its brick edging at least twice, but it’s time to enlarge it again.

The last time I enlarged it, the brick edging was evenly spaced around the tree.  The oak trunk has grown mostly to one side so that it is flush against the bricks and dislodging them, plus pushing up from under the brick.

Accommodating this tree is a key factor in creation of the new design.


The tree has grown, primarily on this side, pushing against the brick.


I have brushed the leaves aside to show the tree base and roots growing out from under the bricks.






Cracks in Small Birdbath

January 15, 2017

small-birdbath-uprightcracks-in-birdbathWhile repairing the angel, I realized that this birdbath also requires repairs.  The birdbath was given to me by my friend Karen years ago.  Cracks may be a result of exposure to the elements — we have both freezes and excessive heat here.

It rained today, so I’m leaving it out to dry before repairing.

1/23/2017 update:

Once dry, I turned the birdbath over to see if the cracks reached the bottom of the pedestal.  They did.  In fact, the main fracture was quite substantial as seen in this photo.  You can see where I started to repair it with clear epoxy, but I switched to the (more appropriate) gray epoxy for metal and concrete by the time I was working on the visible parts of the birdbath.


1/27/2017 update:

The finished product.  img_2046


Fallen Angel

December 29, 2016


Winds were gusting up to 65 mph here last week.  My poor angel fell and suffered a concussion.  I set her up against the fence while I create a more stable location for her.

She’s always been a bit top-heavy.  I’ve wanted to pour sand into her to ground her but there wasn’t an opening.  There is now!  So I’ll get her weighted with sand today.

Unfortunately I haven’t yet found the missing piece because the high winds blew ALL the leaves off the oak trees.   I rummaged through them but couldn’t find it.  It must be there somewhere.

Meanwhile, a strategically-placed soup ladle will prevent her from becoming water-logged.


UPDATE 1/14/2017

We’ve had freezing temps, snow, and rain so repairs were a bit delayed, but I finally finished repairing the angel.

angel-baseThe first step was to decide where I wanted her permanently, because I wanted to take this opportunity to stabilize her.  I decided on the back left corner of the labyrinth.  I had to move a large stainless steel compost bin currently sitting on that spot, and sift the contents.  That took several days.  Then, I set up a platform of two concrete blocks covered by a large paver.

I have always thought that the reason this statue frequently falls over is that the wings make it top-heavy.  In fact, that is part of the problem.  The other part, I found, is that the base is not level.  So I attached some plastic “splints” to give it a steady footing.  Then, I used a funnel to insert an entire bag of sand in the base to give it weight at the bottom.

funnelNOTE:  I have owned this funnel longer than I have had a garden.  It was originally colored bright silver.  I wore it as a hat when I appeared as the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man in a costume contest. The silver spray paint with glitter that I used to slick back my hair was not removable by soap and water as had been advertised.  For the next two weeks, I had the appearance of a woman with very shiny dandruff.  The good news is, I won third place!

soccer-patchOnce the statue was stable, I repaired the hole.  A soccer ball had torn up in a nearby park, so I used a bit of that rubber as a base.  I threaded yarn through so I could pull the fragment tight against the stone from within, then seal with epoxy.  Once dry, I used exterior mortar to cover the patch.



1/21/2017 update —

The final result of the repairs:


Thanks to Dan Kijak for instructional video on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lws1IMH8jM





Labyrinth Re-design

December 29, 2016

garden-blueprintThe strange weather we had for a few years (serious droughts followed by heavier-than-normal freezing) destroyed much of the garden.  I started to replant in 2015 (as noted on this blog), but I realized this was an opportunity to also change some basic elements in the labyrinth.  I decided on a complete re-design of the garden instead of replanting.

In the dead of winter, I can see the skeleton of the garden and assess what I have to work with. The last couple of days, I’ve been collecting ideas on my Pinterest board. Today I got out the blueprint of the existing design, covered it with tracing paper and am beginning to make adjustments.  There’s a lot of work to be done.


The significant changes I plan to make are:

  1.  Move the entrance to the labyrinth from the back corner of the yard so that it is right off the deck.

    My foot catches in the rounded wire as I step over the beds.

  2. Replace edging.  When I first built the garden, I used a white wire wicket lined with hardware cloth.  I was using the Lasagna Method for my beds, so needed to be able to load organic materials pretty high.  I am no longer using that method, so don’t need that much height in the edging.  Secondly, I found that when I was walking across the bed’s pass-overs, my back foot would catch on the wicket as I stepped over, causing me to loose my balance.  For safety as well as practical application, that edging must be replaced.
  3. Install paths of gravel or crushed stone.  I have been using cedar mulch all these years, but it constantly has to be replaced in order to walk above water after rains.  I have to decide exactly where permanent paths will be and then do the construction.  (Considerably more work than dumping mulch on the ground.)
  4. Install another turn in the labyrinth.  I modified a 4-turn labyrinth into a 3-turn labyrinth to fit the space.  If I can, I’m going to put that turn back in so the journey to the center is longer.  I’m not sure I can do this  in the space available– I couldn’t find a way to do it originally.  So we’ll mark that as a stretch goal.

I’m sure there will be other changes as I go along.  Stay tuned.






Providing Water for Bees, World-Class Pollinators

March 30, 2015

Make a bee waterer to help hydrate pollinators.  Especially in drought conditions, bees need water.  Simply place marbles in a very shallow dish and fill with water to top of marbles.  In a divided dish like this one, I can fill some sections higher.  As water evaporates, there is always one section that is filled adequately.

The marbles are important.  If bees don’t have a place to land while drinking, they easily drown.