I was talking with a friend the other day and we were discussing the topic of garden gnomes. We were discussing if a garden gnome is wrong and what it means, and even where they should go if you have one.
A fairytale describes little brownie-like creatures called “Heinzelmännchen” as nocturnal helpers for mundane tasks dwelling in the city of Cologne, they may have set the paradigm for the garden gnomes with all their gardening tools. Today’s gnomes are traditionally thought of as being small, bearded and wearing pointed, colourful, conical hats. They live in natural areas close to the Earth and care for wildlife. That seems to have set the stage for the first garden gnomes, which were made in Germany, in the mid 1800’s. They were popular to keep the story going as to the helpfulness of the gnome’s willingness to work in the garden at night.
They are often the target of pranks, known collectively as gnoming: people have been known to return garden gnomes “to the wild.” Some kidnapped garden gnomes have been sent on trips around the world (the travelling gnome prank; this later became the basis for Travelocity’s “Roaming Gnome”). In 2008, a 53-year-old French man in Brittany was arrested on suspicion of stealing upwards of 170 garden gnomes.
So that brings us back to the question…”To Gnome, or not to Gnome?” I will leave the conclusion up to you.