The Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis) was fairly common on the clay soil of south Warwickshire at one time. It was called the checker tree, and the fruits are edible. Indeed, they are said to taste rather like dates, although I’ve yet to try one. Once they were regularly planted because they were used in the brewery trade, to flavour the beer – when hops became the staple, across the nation, the checker wasn’t deemed such a useful tree.
It is a beautiful tree though, and we are so happy to be reintroducing it to its native landscape at Sun Rising. They are elegant, straight trees, with large maple like leaves, and this year, when the autumn leaf colour has been so exceptional, the wild service tree has been one of the most exquisite.
The other trees with remarkable colour this year have been the guelder rose, whose leaves have gone deep burgundy red, and the blackthorn, surprisingly, with a vibrant pale gold that seems to shimmer even without sunshine. As the last of the leaves disappear in the storms, we are happy to be approaching tree planting time, and full of hope for another generation of trees.