Planting on a Grave
At Sun Rising, graves are left to settle naturally. This may take a good six months, wet weather helping the natural process. The raw clay can look harsh on a new grave, but gradually sunshine, rain and frost will break up th soil, softening it and allowing seeds to take hold and grow. In the first summer, a grave may begin to green over, but the first arrivals are always those rather tatty plants we tend to think of as weeds: dandelions, charlock, wild carrot, sowthistle and other thistles. In the second year, however, the wildflowers will begin to show. Like so much in nature, the process requires our patience.
At a natural burial ground such as Sun Rising, families are encouraged not to tend individual graves, instead leaving us to tend and manage the site as a whole. Any disturbance can hinder the growth of the wildflowers that will naturally green a grave.
However, sometimes it is possible to give nature a helping hand, and where families would like to sow seed, put in bulbs or little plants, this may be fine - but only if what is sown or planted is on our list of acceptable native plants. The following are pdf documents that can be downloaded to read or print. You may wish to use a black-and-white or 'draft' option on your printer.
Please note that each year we do remove a few buckets of bulbs, including cultivars of daffodils and snowdrops, particularly those with large and double flowers, together with tulips, hyacinths, Spanish bluebells, and other non-natives. We also remove plants that have been put in, such as small roses, pink primulas, love-in-the-mist, and other plants that are common in our gardens, but are not native, so not appropriate for the nature reserve.
At some times of the year, we have packets of wildflower seeds that are espeically selected and appropriate for the natural burial ground and nature reserve. These are just £2.50 per packet, and can are best sown in spring or autumn. Let us know if you are interested.
In October each year we have a bulb planting day, and can supply native bulbs to families who would like some. There are also a few well-reputed suppiers who sell bulbs, seed and flowers that are guaranteed native and ethically grown. We would recommend : the National Herb Centre at Warmington, who aims to hold a supply of native wild flowers which families can buy that are indigenous to this area and will thrive on our heavy clay soil. If you have something particular in mind, give them a call beforehand, making sure you let them know it must be native because it is to be planted at the nature reserve that is the natural burial ground. NB: Not all their 'wild flowers' are acceptable for Sun Rising.
Memorial trees are planted in the early winter, with families invited to attend. Coffin burials in woodland areas taking place between August and November will need to wait until the following year before the tree can be planted. Please look at our Memorial Tree page.
If you feel you'd like to get more involved with the development of the nature reserve, and would like your loved one's grave planted more fully or quickly, let us know and we can talk through options and possibilities.