As of last weekend, the garden season was in full swing in our little corner of the world. According to German meteorological folklore, May 11-15 are the days when a sudden period of frost could damage plants set out too soon. These days, collectively referred to as the Eisheilige (literally 'The Ice Saints'), get their individual names from bishops and martyrs from the 4th and 5th centuries: Mamertus (May 11), Pankratius (May 12), Servatius (May 13), Bonifatius (May 14) and Sophie (May 15), also known as die kalte Sophie - cold Sophie. With past changes to the Gregorian calendar, the dates no longer really apply and many people start their gardens early, but there are still a few superstitious souls who adhere to the old sayings:
(never plant before Cold Sophie)
Pankraz, Servaz, Bonifaz
machen erst dem Sommer Platz
(Pankraz, Servaz, Bonifaz clear the way for summer)
We, of course, have been ignoring every rule in the book and sticking our tongues out at any mention of frost. The weather has been fabulous for weeks and it looks like there's no end in sight.
Just look at how the grass has been growing! We threw some grass seeds onto the bare place in front of the new steps and in a couple of weeks it looked like this.
Quite a miracle in a garden where the lawn usually ranges from a soggy, mossy swamp to a crispy brown desert. Too much shade and the wrong type of soil aren't going to win us any Perfect Lawn prizes, but what do we care? We just enjoy it the way it is and give thanks that fabulous weather conditions this year are helping in a big way.
So the grass is growing like crazy and lately when it comes time to get down to business we've been ignoring the electric mower and turning to this baby which runs on an environmentally friendly, renewable energy source - elbow grease.
The kids just looove the thing and will happily volunteer to mow the lawn whether it needs it or not. Interesting factoid: I was never allowed to use the lawnmower as a kid because my father was (and probably still is) afraid that I would cut my toes off! Still got all my digits, Dad!
In other news, my messy herb garden is coming along just fine. In between the forget-me-nots and dandelions you'll find parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (hmm, I think I feel a song coming on!) and lavender.
I love cooking with fresh herbs and everyone adores this (easy!) rosemary foccacia bread so I make it often.
The rhubarb plant is going great guns..
...but the strawberries still need to catch up.
The few nice red ones we did have were immediately gobbled up by a couple of naughty birds who think they own the place. Nets are now in use.
Since we just couldn't wait I did a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler trial run with fruit from the supermarket on the weekend. Yum.
Oops, is that the time? Gotta go pull some weeds!