Laying a wreath on the grave of a loved one at Christmas is a tradition that many families want to share. It’s a heart-felt gift, a sharing of the festive season, with that special person who won’t physically be present. It’s one of the little things can help with the experience of loss, easing the pain of this difficult time of year. At Sun Rising we have done what we can to encourage families to lay wreaths that are in keeping with the nature reserve: no glitter and oasis, painted leaves, wires and plastics! This year florists Jacqui (Hope and Glory Flowers) and Jayne (Vale Garden Flowers) offered beautiful, simple, natural, ethical and wholly biodegradable wreaths for sale, with a proportion of the takings going to The Friends of Sun Rising.
When 6 January arrives each year, it is time to clear them all away. In the past, this has been a long, cold, disheartening job, with far too much rubbish that we’ve had to send to landfill. This year, with some welcome helpers (see Jacqui with me in the picture above), we cleared and dismantled over 80 wreaths. You can see all those frames on the right, made of straw, wood and moss (no wires) which can be re-used. The bag at the back is all the evergreen and woody material that will go into a brushpile: a habitat onsite that will be used by small mammals and invertebrates. Some of it will then be burned next autumn. On the left, the bag is compost: flowers and soft greenery that can go on our compost heap. The bag at the front is rubbish that has to go to landfill: wreaths constructed of wire, oasis, painted cones, plastic berries and so on. Let’s see if next year we can reduce it even further! Next job: looking out for the first snowdrops. There are primroses in flower, peaking out through the tatty winter grass. It won’t be long.