Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Gnome for the Garden


     As spring approaches, gardeners are dusting off their yard ornaments and tucking pretty pieces in among their plants.  The cheerful garden gnome has been a popular collectible for home landscapes for decades.  Made of a variety of materials including plastic, terra-cotta, porcelain, resin, concrete, plaster, or cast iron, the industrious little figures almost always wear a peaked cap and tend to have happy expressions.  They have always been considered a harbinger of good luck in the garden.

     History says that garden gnomes originated in Switzerland in the 1840s, but Germany is the country that made them popular.  Two potters named Philipp Grievel and August Heissner lived in a little town named Grafenroda in the state of Thuringia.  They competed with each other producing Gartenzwerge, or garden dwarfs, during the 1870s.  Over 300 styles of the wee creatures were created, and other countries soon caught gnome fever.  In 1847 Sir Charles Isham purchased 21 gnomes in Germany and brought them home to his home, Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom. British gardeners loved them, and soon gnome-making spread throughout the world.

     Collectors who would like to chat with other gnome-minded folks can contact the Inernational Gnome Club.  More information is available at  Gnomes can be purchased for a variety of price points depending on age and rarity.  If one merely wants to add a smiling little face to one's garden, the American company Kimmel Gnomes is a good source for outdoor-safe, glazed gnomes that stand up well to the weather.  Their website is  Garden work always seems lighter when shared by an industrious little gnome pushing a wheelbarrow, digging in the soil, or merely supervising while smoking his pipe.