Courgette plants

Les Saints de Glace

I’ve been itching to plant out my vegetable plants for weeks. The greenhouse is bulging, and my courgettes and gourds are practically walking out of the door, eager to get their feet settled in the potager. This year though, I have been patient, I have been very French, and I am waiting for the passing of the Saints de Glace (The Ice Saints) before planting anything out.

Courgette plants

The Saints de Glace is a name given to St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, and St. Servatius and their feast days fall on 11th May, 12th May, and 13th May respectively. It is widely believed here in France that these days can bring cold weather and the last frosts of the year. Plant out your vegetables before this date and the French are sure to frown upon you!

So this weekend the Saints de Glace will have passed and I plan to plant out what I can in the potager; beans, peas, courgettes, onions and gourds, though I think I’ll keep my sweetcorn in their pots a little while longer.

sweetcorn plant

But what about 25th May and Saint Urbain?

‘Mamert, Pancrace, Boniface sont les trois saints de glaces, mais saint Urbain les tient tous dans sa main’

’ Quand la saint Urbain est passée, le vigneron est rassuré’

Well if you can wait yet another two weeks, for the passing of Saint Urbain on 25th May, you’re practically assured that all risk of frosts will have passed and that your crops will flourish.

As for me, I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed and some fleece to hand, just in case…

A bientôt

Katherine x

P.S I did cheat a little and planted my potatoes out two weeks ago, luckily, despite a touch of frost last week, they are totally fine! (Impatient English lady!)

'Les Saints de Glace' have 4 comments

  1. May 12, 2015 @ 4:17 pm Phoebe @ Lou Messugo

    We planted our potager last week, but then I reckon in the south we’re pretty safe from frosts…famous last words! We actually didn’t even have one all winter and summer has well and truly arrived so if we get a frost tomorrow I’ll eat my hat! Looks like your plants are ready to go….I hope they flourish. Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance again.


  2. May 15, 2015 @ 11:31 am Di Warren

    I planted mine last week as the forecast was good only for the temperatures to go straight up to 31 deg + for 4 days straight.
    I’ve lost some of he smaller seedlings but the rest have shot up. One extreme to another!


  3. June 1, 2015 @ 7:48 am Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault

    We had near freezing temperatures up in Normandy just last week with a touch of frost in the valley below us. On year there was as widespread frost on May 28th and lots of expats were moaning on AngloInfo that farmers had spayed local crops and killed their beans etc … nope it was just the Saintes Glaces being a bit late that year. I therefore tend to wait until late May to plant out tender crops and watch the weather like a hawk, with fleece at the ready if a late frost is “prévu”. Popping by somewhat late from #AllAboutFrance 🙂


  4. June 4, 2015 @ 8:33 am Emily Commander

    It is interesting that you have started to look out for the Saints de Glace as an objectively observable phenomenon. I found myself doing the same this year, having previously scoffed at all such notions…


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Le Jardin Perdu 2018. All images and posts are the property of Katherine Forshaw

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