‘Icy Saints’ bring night frost through mid-May

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Sensitive flowers should not be put outdoors too early

Farmers and gardeners are afraid of mid-May, because that’s the time when the last night frosts occur. The “Icy Saints” come Wednesday through May 15.

This means farmers wait to send their cattle to the pastures and gardeners don’t put sensitive flowers and plants outdoors. Also, people who like to decorate their balconies with geraniums and other balcony flowers should wait until the second icy saints days are over.

In earlier times, fires were lit to protect gardens, fields and vineyards from the frost. The smoke fog was supposed to cover blossoms and sprouts.

Yearlong observances by meteorologists prove of late cold snaps. Usually, the icy saints days come May 11 through 15. They are not always reliable, but at 60 percent accurate.

The icy saints days are called by their patrons. May 11 is St. Mamertus, May 12 is St. Pankratius, May 13 is St. Servatius, May 14 is St. Bonifatius and May 15 is St. Sophie, who also is called by her nickname “Cold Sophie.”

Farmers and gardeners in Northern Germany are mostly afraid of the icy saints ruling through May 13. In Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the last four days are known as the most severe.

Old farmers’ rules say that when “Urban” (May 25) has passed, it is safe to take care of the sensitive planting.