Labyrinths are recorded in ancient Greece, Italy, Egypt, India and Europe, also in North America Indian and Aztec cultures, both Plinny and Socrates wrote about the Labyrinth.
A Labyrinth differs from a maze: it does not branch out and confuse, it is a single path, a unicursal tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. Labyrinths have been used since ancient times for amends and reparation, they are thought to bring about a change of heart from sin to virtue In medieval times monks walked them on their knees as penance. Framing the labyrinth are allium plantings this plants legend being – if onions are planted expect to learn much more than the lessons you first sought!
The design of the allium plantings surrounding the labyrinth were initially based on Thomas William Backhouse’s (1842-1920) extensive work the ‘Catalogue of 9842 Stars, Or, All Stars Very Conspicuous to the Naked Eye, for the Epoch of 1900′ undertaken from his West Hendon House Observatory, Sunderland. (With the preface explaining its application to the use of 14 large star maps on the gnomonic projection, designed for meteoric observations.) The alliums planted are a representation of the stars but as the onion legend foretold we have learnt more than we sought – areas of soil compaction were discovered and we are in the process of adding sand, grit and leaf mold, increasing drainage in these areas.