See the garden gnomes lurking in the corners of this Austrian garden?
The recent Gnomeo & Juliet animated feature film inspired a dear friend-reader to suggest I get to know garden gnomes a little better. Great idea.
Now I know in some circles garden gnomes are considered déclassé (banned from the great Chelsea Flower Show, UK for one). The mass consumerism associated with garden gnome ornaments—and their bold colors—make for cautious use in today’s residential garden.
But regardless of where they stand in our individual taste-meters, it is interesting to note that these figurines actually originated in the 19th century in Germany, where they became known as Gartenzwerg (“garden dwarf”).
In addition, according to Wikipedia, Philip Griebel made these and “terracotta animals as decorations . . . based on local myths as a way for people to enjoy the stories of [their] willingness to help in the garden at night.” Popularity quickly spread across Germany and into France and were “first introduced to the United Kingdom in 1847 by Sir Charles Isham, when he brought 21 terracotta figures back from a trip to Germany and placed them as ornaments in the gardens of his home, Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire.”
Perhaps back in 1847 garden gnomes were smaller and of earthier tones. Can you imagine today’s gnomes here? http://www.lamporthall.co.uk/
My research seems to have hit a wall, but feel free to send in your gnome encounter stories.