Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Garden Gnome~ Persona Non Grata

Perhaps, you are as behind the times as I am and are just now asking the question, “What is the deal with garden gnomes?” Let me say up front that I am solidly against too much yard art. An occasional tasteful piece is acceptable, but peppering the yard with tchotchke yard trinkets is just plain tacky. 

Now that I’ve offended you, let me say that I am having a hard time adhering to my own stand on this issue. The problem manifested itself after I did some research on the “life and times” of the garden gnome and because recently, I have come across a plethora of hilarious pieces of yard art that I haven't been able to resist. Yes, I too am a tacky yard art owner

As such, I thought I should become more knowledgeable about these decorative fine artworksI visited the website Mental Floss to become educated on the history of the garden gnome and came across the following report.

At the risk of accidentally sounding biblical, we regret to report that gnomes have been banished from the garden. To be a bit more specific, gnome figurines, those whimsical, pointy-hatted denizens of home gardens and front lawns, have been banished from gardens entering England's famed Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.

According to the article, the restriction has actually been in place for a long time, but it was challenged and indeed, openly defied in the 2009 competition. The worst of it was that the tacky traitor who introduced the offending gnome was one of their own. You can read that hilarious story here. The Society (RHS) is lifting the ban on gnomes at this year's show as part of the its centenary celebrations and to raise funds for the nationwide RHS campaign for school gardening. But the ban has only been lifted for one year. Seems a bit sacrilegious if you ask me.

As I’ve been in and out of various garden nursery’s I’ve noticed a plethora of these strange little figures with a bright red hats and bushy beards staring out at me from every nook and cranny.

When and why did it become popular to put short bearded figures – gnomes – in gardens? And what is a gnome anyway? And what’s with all these stories of people stealing garden gnomes and even taking them on trips around the world?  

The stories surrounding these little creatures had me in stitches.

What is gnome roaming or gnome-napping anyway? The premise is simple: A neighborhood garden gnome is stolen and sent on adventures. The gnome-nappers usually photograph the gnome's exploits along the way or send postcards to the befuddled gnome owner, before returning the gnome, often with his new photo album of vacation shots, to his garden home. Hilarity ensues.  

There is also an official site dedicated to the liberation of garden gnomes and they even have garden gnome Facebook pages. You can buy t-shirts and mugs to support the cause, stop oppressive gardening and help free the gnomes.

The Mirror revealed yesterday how Murphy the gnome was nabbed from Eve Stuart-Kelso's garden in Gloucester, only to turn up safe and sound seven months later with holiday snaps from 11 different countries.

But Murphy was one of the lucky ones. Many never make it back.

And it's not just gnome-lovers in Britain who are being targeted.

The GLF is an outfit that can strike anywhere, at any time - and they seem to be particularly active in France.
It seems gnomes have been kidnapped, held for ransom, and 11 gnomes were found strung up, hanging by their necks under a bridge in the city of Briey in 1998. 

I don’t live in Britain or France, but to be honest, I’ve become a little concerned that this may not be as funny as initially I thought it was. I think this gnome napping is taken seriously in many places and I fear for my own little gnome’s safety.

Any good gnome stories out there? Anybody have a favorite gnome, or any strong opinions about gnomes in general?


  1. Funny! But maybe not so much if one is without one's gnome for 7 months. That would be a long time to endure a gnomeless garden that one had gone to the trouble and expense of gnoming in the first place!! Isn't there a commercial with a roaming gnome... I wonder if this 'prank practice' came from that?

    I wonder if a person could apply for a job as a 'gnome nanny,' to travel all-expenses-paid and care for the little traveler? After all, it must be so inconvenient to find gnome sitters on a moment's notice.

    Going out now to get a yard sign: gnome gnanny for hire....

  2. Hi Holly!
    This was a really cute post~! I have seen gnomes, but didn't know much about them~ Thanks for the info and the smiles~ Happy Gnomes~! ♥♥♥

  3. Oh! Good one!! thanks for the wonderful share!!
    garden gnomes