GARDEN GNOMES – If you really look closely at the Garden Gnome you will quickly realize that these are peculiar creatures. I really do not think there is any room for indecision when it comes to creating a garden and introducing Gnomes – you either love or loathe them. For those who treasure their Garden Gnomes these little creatures provide an array of color in the garden and transform it into a magical playground, where it is said, that Gnomes will come out to play at night.
Folklore has it that Gnomes are a Gardener’s friend and will happily toil away at night doing some weeding, keeping slugs and snails under control and all the while being unseen and unheard. I once heard a tale that someone introduced a few Gnomes around the garden pond, complete with little fishing rods. According to the story the owner found that fish were mysteriously disappearing from his garden pond at night and it is suspected that the Gnomes were rather keen on a fish supper. Did he ever remove the Gnomes from around his garden pond? Apparently not, as he felt that if a few fish kept his Gnomes happy then that was a small price to pay for these little guys helping out in the garden.
Did you know that the first garden gnomes were made in Gräfenroda? Gräfenroda is a town well known for its ceramics in Thuringia, Germany. The making of Gnomes goes all the way back to the mid 1800s where August Heissner and Phillip Griebel first started producing gnomes. So you see, these little garden helpers have been around for a very long time and since their production began they have spread all around the globe.
There is of course more than one manufacturer of Garden Gnomes and for those privy to Gnome Lore will know that each manufacturer has a unique style of Gnomes that they produce and for the serious collector the quality and uniqueness of each style is particularly important – no mixing of the Gnomes in my garden or there will be a riot and heaven forbid a war of Gnome Clans.
Gnome collecting is a serious business for some and in fact some Gnomes can be very expensive to buy. There have been reports in the press over the years of Gnome Kidnappings! Another story I once heard was that someone lost a Garden Gnome and was understandably very upset. However, just two weeks later a postcard arrived from another country, from the Gnome, telling the owner he was fine and was exploring the world. Apparently this went on for over a year and every few weeks a postcard would arrive with a postmark from a different country. A year to the day the Gnome went missing the owner woke up to find him on the doorstep, complete with little suitcase and a note that detailed his adventures.
Next time you gaze upon a Garden Gnome, even if you are not keen on the little fellows, try and appreciate that they have been around for over 200 years, have traveled the globe, have a deep and rich folklore and are truly loved by millions of gardener’s all over the world.
Do you have a Gnome Story? Please feel free to leave your comments below.