New Life

This new fall of snow has been quite different from that which fell in January.  Light and fluffy, it has settled on the lightest twigs and branches, and creating a canopy over the winter grass and natural litter under which little creatures can find shelter from the cold wind.  Under such a canopy the first snowdrops are coming through at Sun Rising.  Most are still hidden by the snow covering, but some are breaking through.  In this photo you can see the space under the snow.

snowdrops

The snow is starting to melt now so should cause no more disturbance to visitors.  However, after the very wet year, summer and winter, the ground is still waterlogged making it hard to keep the standards of tidiness and care that we aim for: nature is really getting the upper hand with respect to mud.
We’d ask visitors, too, to watch where they put their feet now if walking off the stone paths and tracks, for there are now the leaves of snowdrops, daffodils and other early arrivals, peaking through the earth.  A heavy foot can damage or destroy the plant all too easily.

Winter Blessings

The beauty of winter is now evident at Sun Rising, with deep hoar frost and layers of snow bring a very necessary freeze to the earth and plants.  Of course, it is also leaving visitors and funerals thoroughly frozen, but we are doing what we can to inspire our fellow human beings to wrap up in a dozen layers, and feel a little of nature’s wonder.

Frosty Saplings

Frosty Saplings

If you are intending to visit the burial ground during this period of snow and ice, please be aware that the lane is not treated with salt, and can be slippery.  Because of the toxicity of the salt, we use it very sparingly at the burial ground, as well, and the floor of the Roundhouse may also be icy.

Christmas Morning Mince Pies

Christmas Morning

Sun Rising is always a wonderful place to be on Christmas Day.  This year, with a break in the rain and the weather mild and still (we even had a rainbow), there was a steady stream of visitors, come to spend time with loved ones in the peace and beauty of the nature reserve.  I spend a few hours in the Roundhouse, with thermoses of hot tea and coffee, and mince pies warming on the brazier, for those who would like something.  Many of course return home or go on to family for the day, but some have a day alone.  Either way, it is good to share a little time at Sun Rising.

Christmas Morning Mince Pies

Christmas Morning Mince Pies

From all of us at Sun Rising, we wish you blessings for the new year.  May it be filled with a growing peace.

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://sunrisingburialground.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.