Brick Path and Koru Courtyard

Every gardener needs a garden project on the go, preferably one that's realistic and doesn't require mechanical diggers or bulldozers. My latest such project has been laying a small brick Koru (spiral) courtyard and path in the Dog-Path Garden.

In Memory...

On February 22nd 2011 Christchurch suffered a major earthquake aftershock, and a brick wall in Son of Moosey's house came crashing down. Two days after the event I was busy helping clear out the bricks, gloved and dust-masked. Those days were a puzzle, as the Moosey house and garden in the countryside had been spared any trauma. But my city had suffered - many buildings were destroyed, and there had been lives lost.

 The bricks, the cleaning, the start of the path and spiral...
Bricks From the Beginning...

I decided to build a small earthquake memorial in my garden. The bricks (many of which I'd shifted myself) would be laid level, so they could never threaten or hurt anyone again. I chose a Koru design. The stem would be the path, and the courtyard itself would then spiral in on itself. The Koru is a New Zealand Maori symbol of rebirth, and is the shape of an unfurling fern frond.

 I am so proud of myself!
Gardener and Dog on Spiral Courtyard

I found the perfect spot, in the depths of the Dog-Path Garden, where I'd recently dug out two huge oversized Phormiums. There was just the simple matter of axing out a huge old tree stump, removing a Hebe, and levelling the dirt. No problem. Ouch...

Let the Bricks Speak!

Brick path-layers with orderly minds should now stop reading. Because I deliberately let my spiral design create itself, totally on site. I had fun spiralling into the centre, wondering how to get the oblong bricks to turn the tight inside corners. I wanted to let the bricks speak, rather than use rulers and mathematical curves. And with the help of a brick cutting tool, and rather a lot of Moosey thinking, they finally did!

 Roses grow around the curve of the spiral.
Brick Courtyard - Winter Views

I've just set the bricks down in the soil (which is free-draining and sandy) and I've sprinkled sand over the top. They are not exactly level. The courtyard lies alongside a beautiful Copper Beech tree which did not deserve to have any of its roots destroyed. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

 Finished! Thanks to Fluff-Fluff my cat-model.
Brick Path and Koru Courtyard

I did wonder if the Koru courtyard should have some focal feature in the middle - a large pot? A sundial? A statue? Thankfully good sense and simplicity have prevailed, and I've kept it unadorned. The bricks are their own feature, and they do speak for themselves. A garden bench sits alongside the path, for quiet contemplation (by people or cats).

Looking Ahead With Hope

When I pass the Koru courtyard I always take a small moment to give thanks, and to look ahead with hope. The bricks look so beautiful, safely patterned in their spiral on the ground. It wasn't their fault that their wall fell down. And thankfully my family was safe.