GALLERY: Aerial photographs reveal beauty of wildflower labyrinth

The pattern of the wildflower labyrinth in Bury St Edmunds' Abbey Gardens can be seen clearly from the air.

The pattern of the wildflower labyrinth in Bury St Edmunds' Abbey Gardens can be seen clearly from the air. - Credit: Paul Smith

A wildflower labyrinth in the cherished Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds has been described as a "natural piece of art".

Contrasting with the formal flower beds, this area of wildflowers on the former tennis courts is in celebration of the abbey's 1,000th anniversary.

This wildflower labyrinth is a perfect fit for the sacred site

This wildflower labyrinth is a perfect fit for the sacred site, carrying on the tradition of people visiting to be more aware of God. - Credit: Paul Smith

The abbey gardens is the site of the ruined Abbey of Saint Edmund. It is even thought St Edmund himself could be buried there, where the tennis courts used to be.

This area is now in full bloom, with a grass path winding through the wildflowers leading to the centre, where you can then retrace your steps to return to the beginning.

The wildflower labyrinth was the idea of Damien Parker, leisure and cultural services manager at West Suffolk Council.

Abbey Gardens manager Martina Georgieva and her team "made it happen".

The idea came from Damien Parker, from West Suffolk Council, and was executed by Martina Georgieva.

The idea for the wildflower labyrinth came from Damien Parker, from West Suffolk Council, and was executed by Abbey Gardens manager Martina Georgieva. - Credit: Paul Smith


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She said: "It's my pride and joy at the moment. I don't know how to explain it, but the Abbey Gardens is always seen as the jewel in the crown of Bury. 

"It's known for its horticultural excellence and everybody associates the Abbey Gardens with the formal bedding we do on the centre beds and there is so much more to this park."

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She added: "It was Damien's idea, but it cost me sweat and tears."

The flowers with the abbey ruins in the background.

The flowers with the abbey ruins in the background. - Credit: Jo Sweetman

The Bury in Bloom group has also been impressed by the wildflower labyrinth - so much so that they have entered it into one of the categories for the Anglia in Bloom competition.

They also commissioned photographer Paul Smith to take aerial shots of the wildflowers using a drone.

On its Facebook page, Bury in Bloom said it was "a natural piece of art".

Bury in Bloom has entered the wildflower display into the Anglia in Bloom competition.

Bury in Bloom has entered the wildflower display into the Anglia in Bloom competition. - Credit: Jo Sweetman

David Irvine, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, said: "It's the perfect place. The setting is stunning. The wildlife and bees are all over it, but it only lasts for a short period of time."

An information sign at the site says: "Down the centuries, visitors came here to the Abbey of St Edmund to be more aware of God. 

"This wildflower labyrinth continues that tradition on this sacred site."

A contractor had to be hired to dig up the site and disperse the seed due to the scale of the area. The wildflower seed mix area amounted to 741m2.

An aerial shot showing the Abbey Gardens in its setting next to St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

An aerial shot showing the Abbey Gardens in its setting next to St Edmundsbury Cathedral. - Credit: Paul Smith

Martina has been kept busy with weeding, maintenance and ensuring it is in good condition.

In September it will be cut, coming up again the following summer.

The planting will not hinder any archaeological investigations in the future.

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