Friday, May 18, 2012

Amazing, A-Maze-ing, A-Maize-ing, and a Giddy Lemming

"World's Largest Maze"
Dole Plantation, , Hawaii

"...In 2008, Dole Plantation's giant Pineapple Garden Maze was declared the world's largest maze. The maze stretches over three acres and includes nearly two and one-half miles of paths crafted from 14,000 colorful Hawaiian plants. ... one of only a handful of permanent botanical mazes in America. The fastest finishers win a prize and enter into the history of Dole Plantation, with their names recorded on a sign at the maze's entrance...."

The folks running Dole's Pineapple Garden Maze set eight stations inside, which the Lemming gathers must be found and marked before emerging from the maze. That's a pretty good idea: otherwise, someone might get a bearing on the direction of the exit, and barrel straight toward it, right through the hedges. Of course, some of those "colorful Hawaiian plants" probably have thorns, so maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea.

(Dole pineapple maze on Oahu (February 12, 2008) ErgoSum88, via Wikipedia, used w/o permission)

Eight-Acre Corn Maze

"Corn Maze"
Denver Botanic Gardens

"We invite you to get lost at this year’s Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield's 8-acre Corn Maze.

"Navigate the twists and turns of the newly designed cornfield this fall at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield's Corn Maze.

"Wind your way through acres of corn, view the design from two 15-foot tall illuminated bridges that overlook...."

Since "corn" is what folks in this part of the world call "maize," the Lemming thinks that names line "Corn Maze" are hilarious. Your experience may vary.

Hedge Mazes Predate Harry Potter

"Hampton Court Maze"

"...'It is the most famous Maze in the history of the world, and immeasurably the one most visited.'
(Ernest Law, 1926)

"The maze at Hampton Court was designed by George London and Henry Wise and commissioned around 1700 by William III. Originally planted using hornbeam and later replanted using yew, the Hampton Court maze covers a third of an acre, is trapezoid in shape and is the UK's oldest surviving hedge maze.

"The maze itself is referred to as a multicursal or puzzle maze and is known for confusing and intriguing visitors with its many twists, turns and dead ends. Before the creation of the Hampton Court maze, unicursal or single path mazes were the most popular form of maze in the UK. Unlike the puzzle maze, the single path maze has one path, usually in a spiral shape, winding to a centre point...."

Outdoor mazes were around for about three centuries before "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" hit the shelves: but it's still a rousing story. And another topic.

Ashcombe Maze

"Hedge Maze"
Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens

"Australia's oldest and most famous traditional Hedge Maze now standing over 3 metres high & 2 metres thick. With four mosaic flags to find in each half of the hedge maze, the hundreds of metres of winding paths take you through the South Maze into the Centre Garden before you tackle the North Maze. While not overly complicated it does take a little while to make your way through (some people take longer than others!) The North Maze is a totally different layout to the South Maze, so any tricks you worked out while making your way through the first part, mean absolutely nothing in the other!

"The Ashcombe Hedge Maze was planted in the 1970’s with more than 1000 Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) plants. They are planted at around 1 metre intervals, and each year the hedge gets a bit bigger (and the paths get a bit narrower!) Being a drought tolerant plant the hedge only needs irrigation in extreme heat waves. It now stands more than 3m high and 2m thick.

"We do not use string lines or straight edges to trim our hedge and the overall effect is very organic...."

That first photo gives a pretty good idea of how complicated and organic-looking the Ashcombe Maze is: but it's hard to tell just how big the thing is. Judging by this one, nobody's going to be looking over the tops of this maze. Not without a periscope. Assuming that's a normal-size human being. Come to think of it, we can't see the creature's face.

Which brings up an interesting point. Do the folks running these mazes keep track of how many people go in - and come out? And what do they do if the "in" and "out" count doesn't match?

What if more people came out of the maze, than went in?

Then there's this story about an absent-minded dude named Theseus.

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