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As spring is in full swing, thunderstorms and rapidly changing weather patterns are to be expected. One of the trademarks of spring weather includes hail; and hail is not easy to measure. However, diameter and measuring are essential for verifying and improving forecasts. Now you can help MétéoSuisse measure hail through an App.


The labels "coffee beans" and the "tennis balls" are two of the six size categories that users of the Météosuisse App can report as observed hail sizes. Thanks to the collaboration with the Laboratoire Mobilière de recherche sur les risques naturels of the University of Bern, a hail report option was introduced in the App in May 2015 and facilitates one of the greatest challenges of modern research: observing and measuring hail.

hester Schilliger

Hester has kindly offered one lucky reader a copy of the book! Read below for competition.

Most everyone knows of Hester Macdonald. She not only voices her way into your life via the radio, but also runs her own garden design company HM Garden Design, as well as the Swiss Gardening School, and provides guided tours for the garden at the Château de Prangins. Mother of two, she is an empty-nester and is always on the lookout for a challenge. Is this her next baby? Gardens Schweiz/Suisse/Switzerland, a 52-page delight for the eyes, the senses, and the emotions is a must-have for anyone with a passion for the neat, the natural, and the unusual. The only thing missing would be the wonderful scents these gardens release... in the early morning, baking in the afternoon sun, or at rest at dusk. Switzerland has many of the world’s finest gardens. British garden expert Hester Macdonald features 52 of them in her new book. Gardens Schweiz/Suisse/Switzerland is the first multilingual guide to Swiss gardens to date.

We asked Hester to give us some background on this new venture and here is what she said:

What prompted you to do this book?
I'd visited lots of amazing gardens in Switzerland, I thought they were easily as good as many famous gardens I'd visited elsewhere in Europe, and thought it was time that Swiss gardens were recognised in their own right as a reason to visit Switzerland. I also wanted to to help them become better known for people living in and around Switzerland, who may not know that there was a gem of a garden, waiting to be discovered, right on their doorstep! I was introduced to Richard Harvell of Bergli Books, by Ian Smith at WRS, and Richard loved the idea of doing a book about Swiss gardens from the start.

Did you comb through every garden or were you invited?
I had already visited dozens of gardens, for my radio show Dig It, over the years, so I already had a significant number of great gardens I wanted to include. I then asked advice from colleagues, friends, other gardeners, in person, and via various FaceBook pages, as to which gardens they thought warranted a visit. I made a huge list, grouped by area, and tried to visit them all. Some were amazing, some were disappointing, and I also revisited gardens that I had liked previously. For some of the gardens, I went "officially", because I was going to interview the head gardener or the curator or creator, and for some of the gardens, I was just a member of the public, who asked some pretty specific questions!

VideoGeneva group

Following up on an article knowitall.ch published last August at this link, we were contacted by Jaumesse about the result of the project!

A song and video, Geneva, was released in January and after months of hard work, the team are happy to announce the project, in a long line of future hopeful projects!

The song "Geneva" is a collaboration between several musical artists: Stefano Pollastri, Geni Deli and Jaumesse. Jaumesse explains, "Half of the money we raise will be donated to an important cause which is very close to our hearts, the association "On va parler ensemble" that helps migrants and promotes their integration in Swiss society. The association teaches French to immigrants free-of-charge through conversation groups giving them the confidence to integrate."

VideoGeneva night


Seed packages always look so beautiful suspended together and it is hard to ignore them when browsing. These photos were taken at Jumbo Brico this week. With the sun shining and the warm weather upon us, it is hard to believe that a few weeks ago we were shoveling snow! But at the same time, it brings the desire to get gardening again.

Normally, this subject might not warrant an article but have you ever seen such a variety of types of tomatoes, hot peppers (see photo below), forgotten veggies, and unusual flowers? Seeing the colors, the varieties and amazing selection, who wouldn't want to start a little garden plot? Maybe you could just start with 3 pots to get the hang of it, and enjoy seeing the growth everyday! It would make a lovely gift as well with a thoughful collection of packets, some potting soil, and a garden tool.

Some annuals are best seeded directly in the garden in spring whereas some can be nurtured in little starter plug pots and then transferred outdoors once the freezing temperatures have finished. Side note on this subject, known in French as Saint de Glace, here is an excerpt from the latest Know-it-all passport®:

saint de glace

postcard vintage hearts

The tradition of sending postcards and letters, especially with Valentine's Day nearly here, is not completely lost in this day and age of electronic emails and well wishes. But the excitement of thumbing through your letterbox and seeing a hand-written address, with a beautiful stamp, is a great feeling! Why not make a commitment to sending out at least one letter or card per month to the person of your choice? You know it will make their day and you will also be keeping a tradition alive!

Again, here is an excerpt from the latest Know-it-all passport®. Do you have your copy yet? Click here to see where to purchase your copy.

Special stamps
There are so very many interesting stamps on the market but often the post offices aren’t stocked. However, go online and order whatever you like and they will be sent to you at no extra charge. At the moment, there are some super stamps with images of fondue and cheese set on a fondue pot (see image below, 12 x Fr. 1.- stamps only cost you Fr. 12.-). Or maybe you prefer one with animals, circus, or transport? There are so many to choose from and you don't pay anything for delivery!