Eisheiligen and Spring’s Folkloric Lesson

A bitter spring snow storm is a great reminder of the importance of listening to certain local folklore. One of my first homes in Germany was a cozy garden apartment and I spent many a day puttering around the garden with the my landlord’s elderly father.  He taught me many wonderful folk stories and many I still follow to this day.

One evening while we raced about finding containers and blankets to tuck in and protect our new little plants from the dropping temperatures and icy precipitation I was reminded of one very important lesson I was taught those many years ago. Here in Germany there are weather saints called the “Eisheiligen”, who dictate when you should begin your spring planting.  They serve an important purpose because it is easy to get lured by beautiful early spring sunshine to start plotting and planting your garden. Especially after a long hard winter.

The Eisheiligen are so important here in Germany that they have their own calendar which tells you when it is safest to plant each year. Not only do they have a calendar but they have names and their particular date which are as follows for 2017:

Termine 2017

  • Mamertus – Thursday, 11. Mai 2017
  • Pankratius – Friday, 12. Mai 2017
  • Servatius – Saturday, 13. Mai 2017
  • Bonifatius – Sunday, 14. Mai 2017
  • Kalte Sophie – Monday, 15. Mai 2017

For European farmers and gardeners 20-25 May seems to be the magical date deemed safe enough for animals to come out of the barns as well as seedlings to be planted. I have always wondered about this because many times people believe the first day of May to be the beginning of frost free time. But if you get the chance, you often see safe inside neighbors garages abundantly planted flower boxes waiting for the right date to be put out on display.

Creating those amazing flower boxes is an article for another day. Right now, as I sit here watching the snow fall I think I will put another log on the fire and go find my warm winter clothing I obviously put away too soon.



Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).