Sunday, June 2, 2013

We Are Not Alone!

Last week, my friend Kim, sent me an article about the appearance of Garden Gnomes as decorations at the 100th Anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show in England.  The article, published in the New York Times, talked about how many British gardeners (I'm sure they consider themselves gardening purists at heart) were shocked and horrified that something as silly as a simple garden gnome could be allowed in such a sophisticated and historical event, while other Brits were glad to see a little whimsy and good humor finally make their debut into the stiff, upper-crust crowning glory of the British gardening world.  It's hard to believe that garden gnomes seem to have no place in the traditional English garden when the country itself is steeped with legend and lore about creatures such as these.  You know--like fairies and elves and leprechauns.

Gnome Ranger and his trusty frog.
Gnome Rider and his dependable turtle.
According to some, the gnome is often said to be the actual caretaker of any garden it inhabits, helping out with at least some of the smaller garden chores, once the lights of the house have gone out and everyone has gone to bed. I'm pretty sure we have all experienced a plant or two placed thoughtfully in the dirt without our assistance while more than a few weeds somehow got pulled when we were not looking and, quite frankly, I'm glad for the help mystical, whimsical or just plain practical.  Gnomes are said to enhance the harvest and help any and all creatures, great and small, that live in the garden.

An acorn-capped  happy little elfish gnome.
In any case, whether you believe or not, in the existence of gnomes, fairies and other mythical folk who mysteriously move around in the garden at night or in the day--things/movements that we see from the corner of our eye for a fleeting moment--we cannot deny the beauty of a garden and it's attraction of all things magical.  According to legend, gnomes are woodland creatures that represent the spirit of the earth.  They are said to bring good luck to the garden and the gardener who invites them in.

Next year, the Chelsea Flower Show will revert back to it's No-Gnome policy--at least no gnomes in the strict statuary sense, as we all know they are always out there, travelling through our neighborhood gardens and reaching far beyond our hometowns to points unknown, in search of the perfect poppy to sit and read under or count the birds and the butterflies flitting through the flowers--all very important tasks that fall into the realm of the cosmos, you know.

So, perhaps the powers that be of the Chelsea Flower Show should lighten up and welcome these decorative wee folk, in stone or terracotta, often painted in gay colors and sometimes not, especially since garden gnomes came to England way back in the middle of the 1800's from their homelands in Germany and Scandinavia, which means they have been gracing the English countryside and all over the world, including the good old U.S.A., long before the Chelsea Flower Show became the icon of "high-garden society."  Gnomes are here to stay and in plain sight or not, their presence is acknowledged and appreciated for their uniqueness, just as each bud, leaf, branch and flower are welcomed upon their arrival in the garden.
A gnome in the (garden) zone!

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