How Many Beans…

My Dad has a  good saying about beans:

“The 8th of May the beans will stay”

I’m not sure if he made it up, but he always sowed his runner beans on or after the 8th… and we always had tonnes of runner beans!

Well, I only have a few plants. I sowed them early in containers, so they’re sprouting already. It’s the first time I’ve tried growing them, so we will see…

Another of my Dad’s sayings:

How many beans make five?

A bean, a bean, and a half a bean, a bean and a half, and a bean!

(I have inherited my Dad’s sense of humour! 😉 )


By the way, in German, if someone refuses to listen (especially to advice) they are said to have beans in their ears. (Sie hat Bohnen in den Ohren -She’s got beans in her ears)! I suppose we would just say in English “She never listens!”

Apple Blossom on the First of May

The view down to the river has changed drastically in the last few days. After a mini heatwave the apple trees are in full bloom, the birch and beech have turned green, and (almost) everything is looking fresh and full of life!


Old English Proverb:

Ne’er cast a clout till May is out!

This is something I heard time and again as a child, and I have always understood it to mean the month of May, i.e. don’t take off too many layers of clothing until the end of May! (Clout is old English for a garment). However, it is also believed to mean “until the May is in blossom”, May being hawthorn (Weißdorn).

This second explanation for the proverb seems more logical to me, especially in this age of global warming, but it is probably only more appealing for its romanticism rather than its accuracy!

The May in the proverb actually does mean the month of May…

Well, we were in shorts and barefeet with temperatures of 30°C at the weekend. I fear we will need to rewrite some of our weather proverbs pretty soon…


Today is May Day (National holiday/ Labour Day)

In this part of Germany, as in many other regions, the May tree stands on the village green.

Our village is so small, our May tree is not much to look at. (We don’t even have a village green!) However, some villages and towns have beautifully decorated maypoles. Here is a lovely example; the May tree on the Viktualienmarkt in the centre of Munich…

In Bavaria the May tree is usually the trunk of a tall evergreen, such as fir or spruce, which is renewed every year. The top of the trunk is not stripped of its small branches, and the trunk/pole is normally decorated with a white and blue ribbon wound around it (or is painted as in the picture). A crown is suspended with ribbons at the top, or sometimes lower down, and local businesses such as the carpenter, baker, butcher, brewery, etc. have a decorative sign which is attached to the May tree.


Wild Apple Blossom

Have a lovely May Day everyone!


As is the gardener, such is the garden.  

(Old Hebrew saying)

This garden(er)

  • is organized in an informal kind of way
  • can tolerate drought and heat but prefers not to!
  • is colourful
  • is growing and changing constantly
  • enjoys constant attention, but can survive without it!
  • does not like long, bitter-cold winters
  • loves bees, butterflies and other wildlife (except for lily beetles!)

What kind of gardener are you? 😉

April Showers

April showers bring May flowers.

April weather; rain and sunshine both together.

In the UK many reservoirs are low, and in some regions a hose-pipe ban has been put in force today. The winter and early spring were extremely dry.

Since I arrived here on Tuesday, however, it has rained almost non-stop!

The rain has inspired this haiku:

Raindrops dance on leaves

Flowers hang their heavy heads

Oh come, sunshine, come!

Rock(ery) Climbing

“A rolling stone gathers no moss”

English Proverb

I need to clamber about in my rockery in order to work there. Tricky at times since it is shady all through the winter, so still muddy and slippery, and finding a foothold is an art (which I am working hard at mastering!). Needless to say, I often end up with my nose in a lavender bush… or worse! On Saturday I came face to face with a mossy rock, and after the pain subsided I noticed how much life there was in this inanimate object. Life in a rock?

Take a look for yourself:

Wise Words on March


So many mists in March, so many frosts in May


March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers


A peck of March dust is worth a king’s ransom


As it rains in March so it rains in June


When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb


Well, March 2012 has come in like a lamb… fairly mild, a little misty, and no wind. Does that mean it will go out like a lion?

Words: Laughter (and tears…)

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

Victor Hugo

Laughter is the best medicine

He who laughs last laughs longest

Synonyms: giggle, guffaw, cackle, chuckle, chortle, snigger, titter, howl

(My personal favourite is giggle)


  • to laugh on the other side of one’s face
  • to laugh up one’s sleeve
  • to laugh one’s head off
  • to laugh all the way to the bank
  • to be good for a laugh
  • don’t make me laugh
  • you have to laugh
  • LOL




“Tears are the silent language of grief”


In October last year I wrote that we had planted a walnut tree a year earlier. It was given a nice strong bamboo cane as support, and planted in a clearing on the edge of the woods on our land behind the house.

Last week we noticed footprints in the snow leading up to it… and to our sorrow we saw there was just a stump left – about 30cm high. Following the footprints back to the path, there lay our small tree, broken, bamboo cane still attached. If it hadn’t been for the snow we would not have seen the footprints and would have assumed a wild animal had destroyed it…

I just wonder why?


If you don’t laugh you’ll cry