Sherry & Terry's Blog

There's No Place Like Gnome

A few weeks ago, my son's friend, Lisa leaves me a Facebook wall posting..."So, I was in your backyard yesterday looking at your garden, spotted your gnome and said to Fraser, "Weird...that gnome looks like David Suzuki and Fraser said, "It's because it is! My mom won a contest!"....Lisa's reply to Fraser...."Hahaha, oh my goodness, he's so cute!!!"

A few weeks before that posting, we had brought the gnome home from the David Suzuki Foundation office in Vancouver and carefully uncrated our prize. As Terry placed it in the garden, Fraser rolled out of the house to see our new family addition. As he approached the gnome, I excitedly anticipated a "Hey cool!" response when out of his mouth popped, "Gee, that's almost creepy."

Garden gnomes have been around since the mid 1800's. The first ones were created in Germany and then made their way to France and England. In 1847, Sir Charles Isham brought twenty-one terracotta figures from a trip to Germany to place in his garden in Northamptonshire, England and one of the original gnomes known as Lampy is today, still on display there and insured for one million pounds.

Terry and I both agreed that the Disney movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was where we first came across these little creatures with beards and pointy hats. The dwarfs were both kind and friendly but when the wicked queen appeared it forever associated dwarfs with danger and uncertainty.

My first garden gnome sightings as a young child were at a family friend's home. Mr. T was a Japanese gardener and had an exquisite flower and vegetable garden. He had created a lovely pond with goldfish and frogs and there standing guard at the pond's edge stood the little colourful men. (I never did see any lady gnomes.) In the light of day, it all looked cheery and whimsical but with the setting sun, my brother and I scurried with fear past these frozen figures, certain that they watched our every move with their stony eyes.

In the 70's, it seemed many gardens enjoyed having gnomes or animal figures like deer or frogs in their midst. Terry's mother's garden was adorned with pink flamingoes. My parents had no time, money nor taste for what they considered to be garden fashions or frivolities.

And who didn't have in their neighbourhood, the ol' eccentric lady who transformed her front yard into a Gnome Wonderland full of windmills, animal figures and artificial plants. Quite colourful and cute until you were spotted standing on the sidewalk and she rushed over to engage you in conversation. A few short stories later, you regretted ever stopping and wondered, if indeed, you wanted to see a gnome ever again!

But who could resist a David Suzuki lookalike gnome! I told Terry that I wanted to win one of these babies and that he needed to get on board to help me. At first, he was reticent, wondering that if we actually did win, if we would have time to blog and videotape our gardening season. But I reminded him that gardening is the one activity that we truly feel passionate about, keeps us sane and rejuvenated so what better reasons did we need than that.

Gnomes have a way of bringing both cheer or fear but our Little Dave brings conversation amidst the silence of our garden delights!

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