Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a maze and a labyrinth?
While they both offer a sense of intrigue, a maze is designed to create confusion whereas a labyrinth offers the chance for contemplation. Rather than featuring wayward paths and dead-ends, labyrinths are unicursal, meaning they have a single path that weaves to the center and subsequently meanders back to the entrance. Many people find labyrinths to be a meditative experience.
Visitors have been enjoying the labyrinth at Sunnylands since the Center & Gardens opened in March 2012. Designed by the Office of James Burnett, the labyrinth at Sunnylands was a feature that Leonore Annenberg was delighted to have incorporated in the gardens. Leonore supported having reflective elements available throughout the gardens, including the labyrinth, as well as the twin reflecting pools and various walking trails. This is in the vein of designing our outdoor space as an aesthetic garden rather than a botanical garden with specimen labels placed all throughout the planters.
Various styles and materials are used to make these mindful walking paths. The Sunnylands labyrinth is a lithocrete walking surface lined with low-growing wedelia and surrounded by mesquite trees and leucophyllum that bloom violet in the spring.
All labyrinths are quiet, contemplative places. Taking turns entering the labyrinth and keeping a respectful distance are part of the courtesies. Yet, children use labyrinths differently as their mindful techniques are often playful and free formed.