Grandmother, Grandmother, Jump Out of Bed

August 11, 2012

Out walking the dog today with my son I came across this plant. I think it might be a Greater Bindweed plant but I would not swear to it. You often see them in hedgerows with their distinctive trumpet shaped white flowers.

I picked one and said the rhyme, “Grandmother, Grandmother, jump out of bed” and then squeezed the green base. The flower pops out as if it is on a spring. My son looked at me as if I was mad. He then became rather fascinated and wondered why the flower jumped out when I said the rhyme. This led to a lot of experimentation with the flowers, saying the rhyme, not saying the rhyme and seeing if they jumped. He really enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun.

I have memories of my mum showing me how to do this when we were on country walks when I as a child. She told me that her mother had taught her.  I hope my son will be popping these flowers with his children in the years to come. However it did make me wonder, are we the only family that does this or is there an origin for this tradition? Are there more lines to the poem or is “Grandmother Grandmother, jump out of bed” all there is to it? I would really love to know if anyone else does this or knows the origins of the rhyme. If you do know please tell me!

10 responses to “Grandmother, Grandmother, Jump Out of Bed”

  1. Zoe says:

    We used to say that rhyme too – no idea where it came from but we’d go looking for the flowers whenever we went for walks as a family.

  2. Nina says:

    I’ve lived in the countryside all my life and never heard of this. I can’t wait to find some bindweed & try it out.

  3. We say Granny granny pop out of the bed !

  4. I am so glad other people do this and its not just me. Its great fun but I would love to know the origins 🙂

  5. Denise says:

    I used to do it too!!! Just found some of these flowers this year and showed my husband and daughter they thought it was great too!!!

  6. Taya Conlon says:

    I was just reading a book called ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ by Phillippa Pearce. It was first published in 1958, and in it a boy named Tom meets a girl from the late 1800s. The girl, Hatty, teaches Tom how to ‘nip off the top out of the grass-head [of wild barley] and then replace it; and, then, holding the grass in one fist, she would knock against it with the other,’ while repeating the phrase above. At the word jump she knocks hard enough to make the top spring out of the grass.

    • How interesting, I remember reading the book years ago but not that part

    • Glynn says:

      This is the one my mother taught me with the wild grass, we used to say Grandfather, grandfather jump out of bed, then we flicked the replaced grass out of the top of the stem with our other hand, to see how far ‘he’ could jump. I showed this to my granddkids yesterday, they were fascinated by this, so I had to google to see if it was ‘known’. Some variations on it, but glad I coud find something.

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