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Gnome Sweet Gnome: Create a Whimsical Yard with Garden Gnomes

By Edited Nov 23, 2014 13 30

Make Any Space Special with Garden Gnomes

Garden Gnome PaPa(97415)
Credit: Introspective Pics

People just love their garden gnomes! Those little guys liven up any outdoor space. Gnomes have been referred to as trolls, elves, and fairies, but the garden gnome is by far the most popular for homeowners. Some are said to bring good luck, while others are nothing but bad news.

Gnome Sweet Gnome: Create a Whimsical Yard with Garden Gnomes

Got Gnomes? 

Rock Garden with Gnomes

People love to collect these little guys. There are even festivals that attract happy owners every year. Some of these folks belong to special clubs where they regularly meet to trade and collect gnomes (as if they were precious metals). These owners are quite serious about their hobby and are happy to share their knowledge on these whimsical garden ornaments.

 The traditional male garden gnome is a small character with an elf-like appearance and a head that is a bit too large for his body. They have human features, and most males have white beards. Some have pointy ears and a devious smile, while others possess a friendlier and more welcoming grin. Many of the males wear brown trousers, felt boots and a long sleeved shirt with a wide leather belt to hold their tool pouches. The males also sport a pointy hat, often red in color. The females wear long skirts and long-sleeved blouses with greenish colored hats.

Known for Gnomes

Do you love your gnomes? Do you meticulously decorate your garden space with these playful  little characters, putting them in just the right places? Are you known around your neighborhood for your gnomes? If you answered "Yes!" you're not alone. Millions of people, regardless of whether or not they have a "green thumb," enjoy collecting these amusing little Garden Gnomes with Lampgarden gems because they make any yard festive and fun.

Garden Gnome with Lamp

Old Gnomes

The garden gnome was originally handmade with terracotta clay. They were treasured and valued as collectible garden ornaments and usually passed down from generation to generation. The first known German garden gnome is reported to have been made sometime in the 1800's. While the first recorded appearance of a gnome in England is estimated to be around 1840 at the estate of Sir Charles Isham, the 10th Baronet of Lamport Hall. The tradition of garden gnomes in the United Kingdom is credited to Isham.[3682]

Two of the first individuals to generate these little characters in quantity around 1872 were Philipp Griebel and August Heissner. The Heissner gnomes were well known throughout the world, and it was considered good luck to place them in the home or garden.[3682]

The production changed in the early 1960s when companies began to mass-produce the popular garden decoration, using plastic and resin. This change resulted in the loss of popularity and value for the onetime cherished little garden guys.[3682]

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Gnome Life

Sleepy Garden Gnome

There are popular stories of garden gnomes, busily working around the yard at night, taking seeds from flowers and planting them elsewhere in the garden. These little folks cultivate the earth so that the look of the garden is constantly changing and unpredictable. But, not all fill their days with busy work. Some are a bit on the lazy side, preferring to catch some z's rather than labor in the yard.

These garden folks are popular decorations, but they're often the objects of desire for pranksters. These individuals steal these little guys to return them "to the wild." This practice, known as "gnoming," involves seizing someone's garden gnome, taking it on a trip, and then taking photos of the gnome in front of famous landmarks. The pranksters then send the photos to the brokenhearted owners.

Legend says that no person should remove a gnome from a garden because it "disorients" the little character, and it brings bad luck to the garden and the thief(s).[3683] Despite the warning, gnoming is quite popular, and there are clubs and groups dedicated to the practice of kidnapping them. Gnoming was also the basis for Travelocity's "Roaming Gnome."

Create a Whimsical Yard with Garden Gnomes

Travelocity Gnome

Types of Gnomes

Gnomes come from a variety of backgrounds and ancestry, and here are a few of the types:

Garden: This is the most common and beloved ornament. They live in gardens and enjoy cultivating the yard.

Forest: This is another common statue, but the forest type hardly ever comes in contact with humans.

House: These are said to be the "most knowledgeable." The kings are chosen from this lineage.

Dune: They are a bit larger in size to the Forest, and they wear lackluster clothing.

Farm: They resemble farmers.

Siberian: These are similar in nature to trolls, and they are said to have an awful temper. Legend warns - it is never wise to make this type angry because they enjoy getting revenge.

Credit: MorgueFile.com by kfjmiller

Gnome Anecdotes

  • They always give birth to boy and girl twins and the gestation period is 12 months. 
  • The average lifespan is 400 years. 
  • One of the most important places is their "Birthday Tree." Most build their homes beneath their tree. 
  • They are extremely small; the males are about 6 inches tall while the females are 5 inches. 
  • They say hello and bid farewell to each other by rubbing noses. 
  • The males enjoy smoking pipes and sitting on toadstools. 
  • The dwarfs from the movie "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" were fashioned after the German type.[5] 
  • The Oz series by L. Frank Baum had some characters known as "Nomes." Although the Wicked Witch of the West is the most famous of the evil characters from Oz, the Nome King, who was the chief adversary for the people of Oz, was equally as sinister. There is a book in the Oz series call "The Gnome King of Oz."[4] 
  • The Guinness Book of World Records lists the largest as 25 feet, 11 inches in height. The enormous gnome was made in Canada by Ron Hale.[3684]

Gnome Sweet Gnome

Whether you believe they are good luck or not, you have to admit, they liven up a garden. But not only a garden, these playful little folks brighten up any space. You can place them in rock gardens, out by the pool or patio area, next to the front or back door, or anywhere. Gnomes are cute and attracting, so be sure to keep an eye on yours, least you and your little guy becomes a victim of gnoming. But who knows, although you may not enjoy seeing photos of your long lost fellow in front of well-known historical sites, they may enjoy the adventure.

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Credit: mMorguefile.com By johninportland


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May 5, 2012 4:52pm
I love garden gnomes. They lend so much charm to a yard! Someone told me recently about a neighborhood where they pass a garden gnome around. People wake up in the morning and the gnome is in their yard. A few days later they sneak it into someone else's yard. What a fun neighborhood activity!
May 5, 2012 5:56pm
That sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks Deb.
May 6, 2012 10:31pm
I feel happier just reading about these cute gnomes. Now, I want one for my garden. Great read, as usual.
May 6, 2012 10:56pm
Gnomes add a playful element to a garden and I've enjoyed them. I hope you get that gnome - perhaps for Mother's day. :o) Thanks so much SG!
May 8, 2012 6:17pm
Soooooo cute, luv it!
May 8, 2012 7:30pm
Hi ShelbyD, thanks so much!
May 8, 2012 6:44pm
I love Travelocity's Roaming Gnome commercials. This is an awesome article and I love all your gnome photos - very cute!
May 8, 2012 7:31pm
I like the Travelocity commercials also. Thanks for reading and leaving such a sweet comment, Buffy10.
May 8, 2012 7:21pm
Very nice, Introspective.
May 8, 2012 7:32pm
Hello AJWEsq, thanks for the comment.
May 8, 2012 7:58pm
Every year there is a gnome convention near where I live, many people take gnomes quite seriously.
May 8, 2012 8:36pm
Yes, some folks take their gnomes very seriously. That's one reason I decided to write this as a "have fun with gnomes" piece, and not "the history of gnomes" type of article. Thanks so much for your comment, Etcetra.
May 11, 2012 8:01pm
Great article and really comprehensive. In West Australia, we have a Gnomesville, a collection of thousands in the bush near a crossroads but miles from civilisation. People bring gnomes and leave them for everyone to enjoy.
May 12, 2012 1:10am
That sounds like lots of fun! Thanks so much for the comment, Judy!
May 24, 2012 1:04pm
I once received a ransom note from a friend accompanied by a photo of my gnome with a bandaged arm.

Fun article! Thanks for presenting "little known gnome facts". Say that 3 times fast. :)
May 24, 2012 2:27pm
I hope you got your gnome back in "good health." :o) Thanks diva!!
May 30, 2012 12:23pm
If only they would cut the grass occasionally. They are so lazy, I have never seen them catching a fish either. Fun article, enjoyed reading it. Thumbs up.
May 30, 2012 9:15pm
Ha! It sure would be nice if those cute little gnomes could mow a lawn. Thanks so much for the comment, Tom!
Jun 5, 2012 12:59am
I have heard that some of the 'Gnome Kidnappers' do this:
A) bring the kidnapped Gnome on a vacation
B) Take a photo of the Gnome in the exotic vacation place
C) Sends the picture as a postcard to the previous owner - i.e. signed by the Gnome who might inform when he will return.
Jun 5, 2012 9:59am
Yes, that's known as "gnoming" and it's quite popular. Thanks for the comment, askformore!
Jun 5, 2012 10:39am
Look, I love you, but these gnomes just CREEP ME OUT completely. I imagine them as getting closer and closer and CLOSER to the back door of the house each night until one night you awaken in a cold sweat, feeling as if you;re being watched and there they are!!! Hovering over you, wielding machetes!

I'm giving you a thumb even tho' the gnomes give me the screamin' meemies, the willies, a huzz, the heebie-jeebies ... aw, you get it.
Jun 5, 2012 3:03pm
Oh my . . . sounds like you may have a case of gnome phobia, but we all have our hang-ups. I bet with your talent, however, that you could draw on your emotions and write a killer work of fiction about the little guys (and gals). You could call it something like "Gnome Boy - He Gets all the Babes".

Thanks so much for the comment and the freaked-out thumb, vicdillinger!
Sep 18, 2012 2:38pm
If you're bothered by gnomes, then do NOT search for zombie gnomes on etsy. Just sayin'.
Jun 6, 2012 11:45am
Great article and photos! I don't have any gnomes (yet) but the garden is graced with lots of other statuary. Now you've got me thinking that maybe they all need a new friend...
Jun 6, 2012 4:58pm
I highly recommend them! Thanks so much for the comment, Donna!!
Jun 18, 2012 7:01am
I haven't found my gnome yet, but I did find a Mets baseball one for my son-in-law, who has a totally awesome garden. Thanks for the shopping tip!
Jun 18, 2012 9:09am
Fun! Hope he likes it and I hope you find one for yourself soon. Thanks!!
Jul 23, 2012 12:41pm
I would never steal a gnome because of the chance of creating bad luck. LOL. They do add style to gardens, are very much human-like and feel that is why many people appreciate them. The pictures are awesome too. I'm passing this article along.
Aug 20, 2012 9:00pm
Wow, I just saw this comment. Thanks so much homebasedincome!!!
Sep 16, 2012 7:40am
Love those gnomes. Your garden must be a pleasure to hang out in with all the happy fairy folk in it.
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  1. "Kimmel Gnomes." Kimmel Gnomes. 1/05/2012 <Web >
  2. "Garden Gnomes." Garden Gnome Wander Rings. 1/05/2012 <Web >
  3. "Largest Garden Gnome." Guinness World Records. 1/05/2012 <Web >
  4. L. Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson The Gnome King of Oz. Chicago: by Reilly & Lee , 1927.
  5. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves ." Children's and Household Tales. 1/01/1812.

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