First of the Snow

Winter Colours

The frost has been beautiful at Sun Rising, with a softening of the greens and greys under white hoar frost, and then a few days ago we had a few inches of snow, looking brilliant against the last of the rose hips.

First of the Snow

First of the Snow

It has been perfect weather for tree planting.  Over the past few weeks we have put in about 120 trees, all native deciduous species, as memorial trees and around the nature reserve, in sunshine, with frost underfoot.  What an honour to be a part of this beautiful project in this beautiful landscape.

Wild Service Trees

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.

Autumn colour of the Wild Service Tree

Autumn colour of the Wild Service Tree

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.

Common Blue

Friends of SR Greetings Cards

We are very happy to present a series of 12 photographs of Sun Rising as blank greetings cards for sale in aid of The Friends of Sun Rising, our charity.  The full set of 12 can be found here : Friends of SR Cards Set or have a look at our Friends webpage.  Here’s an example …

Common Blue

Common Blue taken by Emma Restall Orr

The cards are £1.50 each or £15 for a full set of 12.  I have yet to work out postage and packing for those who would like them sent, and we’ve not yet got an online shop working!  So simply get in touch if you would like to buy some : Contact Us.

Teasel and Ash

Autumn

With beautiful blue skies, the burial ground has a sense now of quietly waiting for autumn.  The first leaves are starting to fall, the field maple and viburnum turning gold and red, the younger saplings having already dropped their foliage.  When the sun is not warming the skin the winds can be chilly.  After such a wet summer, these are sunny days we must make the most of: in a month the leaves will have gone and the nights will be long and cold.  I particularly liked this photograph, which I thought gave a real feel for the dignity of this time of year.

Teasel and Ash

Teasel and Ash

 

Newsletter and Activity Days

The Autumn/Winter 2012 Newsletter fro Sun Rising is now complete, the PDF posted on our webpage at :  https://sunrising.co.uk/visiting/newsletters.html.  All those who are on our email mailing list will receive a note letting them know it is up and ready to download and read.  Postal recipients should have their printed copies by the end of this week.

In line with the Newsletter, we have also updated our News and Activity Days pages.  Do have a look, come along to join us for an event, or let us know if there is anything we can help with.

 

The New Interpretation Board

New Interpretation Board

The interpretation board at the entrance of the burial ground was designed in 2006 just before we first opened.  Much of the wording expressed what we hopedto create, and the map showed a vision of how we thought the nature reserve would develop.  We have now updated the board.

The New Interpretation Board

The New Interpretation Board

The words speak of what we are creating, and most of the pictures are those taken at the burial ground itself.  The hare and butterfly pictures are of our residents, as is the meadow of flowers at the bottom of the board.  The map of how we are developing the site is also updated, showing fewer tracks and more woodland than we originally intended.

We hope you like it!

Late Summer Meadow

Late Summer Meadow

There is something so beautiful about the wildflower meadow in late summer.  It is no longer the burst of colour that it has been since May.  Now it is a dozen shades of brown, from straw to mud, with the occasional splash of white (the last oxeye daisy or a white butterfly), purple (thistle, scabious, betony, knapweed or teasel), or yellow (toadflax or buttercup).  Sitting in the meadow as the sun slides towards the western horizon this evening, there were more moths than butterflies, and the hum of grasshoppers, the occasional squeak of a shrew or mouse, and the chatter of a woodpecker in the hedgerows filled me with peace.

Late Summer Meadow

Late Summer Meadow

It is a tatty time of year!  Although the verges are mown, and the grass is again now thick and green where the hay was taken off a few weeks ago, the meadow itself is a getting wizened with the year.  As I walk past, I let my fingers move through the seedheads, feeling the precious little things scatter into the breeze, each one potentially the beginning of a beautiful new plant. In a few weeks we shall be mowing the meadows and tidying up, but for now, the magical work of nature is at work, seeding a new generation …

The first English apples are in the greengrocer.  Autumn is almost here.

Corncockle

Nature Watch

The Nature Watch on 11 August was a glorious day, with sunshine and soft breezes, and a steady flow of amateurs and enthusiasts visiting, helping to record everything that was seen on the day.  The butterflies are now around, having been noticeably absent for much of this cold wet summer, but many were recorded, including the Small Copper, Peacock, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Common Blue.  The flower lists are growing, with a good deal more Betony evident in the wildflower meadow this year than in previous summers, and other new plants for the list, including Musk Mallow, Prickly Lettuce and Corncockle.

Corncockle

Corncockle

In a few weeks we’ll be scything down the meadow and preparing for the autumn.  At this time the wildflowers are all drying, going to seed, and although it can look untidy compared with a well kept garden, these are precious weeks in the cycle of the burial ground, when the wind spreads the wild seeds across bare earth.  I sit quietly and hope that next year this self-seeding will bring even more delight and healing to all who visit the site.

Creativity Day

Creativity

Thank you so much to all who attended our Creativity Day at the beginning of August : florists and families alike, bringing flowers and seedheads, willow, corn, beads and ribbons.  The most beautiful arrangements were made, some taken home and some left on the graves of loved ones at Sun Rising.  It was such a success, we are hoping to do it again next year!

Creativity Day

Creativity Day

 

Knapweed and Bedstraw

Nature Watch 11 August

Just before the wildflower meadow goes to seed, the soft purples of the knapweed are beautiful against the white bedstraw and yarrow.

Knapweed and Bedstraw

Knapweed and Bedstraw

There are butterflies all over the meadow now, and with some sun-blessed days ahead, we are hoping for a glorious Nature Watch this Saturday, 11 August.  We’ll be at the burial ground from 2 pm – 8 pm, and all are welcome to come – experts and amateurs, adults and children.