Friday, February 11, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet


Gnomeo & JulietYou either love or hate gnome garden ornaments - seldom are gardeners ambivalent about these little fellows.

My kids went through a stage where they would secretly deposit various unusual (and I mean unusual) garden ornaments around the yard.  That's how I become the owner of a little gnome.  He travels around the yard and woods at my whim.

Legends say the little round gnome was birthed in Germany around the late 1800s.  (Although some claim it's a Norse creation.)  They were made by a potter and were clay based.  The communists banned them in East German because they said they were capitalists. Come to think of it, I think Donald Trump might look a little like a gnome.  Perhaps it's his blue tie.

There are many gnome fables and superstitions repeated included luck, fortune, popularity, controversy, evil, dancing, spells and other witchery.  

The Traveling Gnome Game is when someone "borrows" a gnome from a yard and takes it on vacation.  They photograph the gnome in various exotic places.  The gnome and the pictures are returned to the owner - often secretly. 
Today, there is a resurgence of popularity although most gnomes are made in Asian countries from cheap plastics and resin.  Where the old world gnomes were sometimes bearded, grumpy, thin, and doing various work - the new ones are round little happy guys and girls. 

On the flip side, the Royal Horticulture Society of Britain has banned the appearance of garden gnomes from their official garden shows.  I could say a lot about this and make obvious comparisons but I won't today.  I may laugh at gnomes, but, gosh darn I respect the right to have gnomes in a garden or show if the owners want.  (That somehow came across sounding like Sarah Palin...I've got to watch my gosh darns...)  Who knew gnomes could be the center of such politics and debate.

As a side note:  I've heard Gnomeo and Juliet, in 3D, is a great movie for kids and adults.  I may have to borrow my three-year old granddaughter as my excuse for going to see this movie. 

As we laugh and play with our little gnomes, remember it wasn't that many years ago that people believed gnomes lived and had powers.  There is a whole culture about them based on the belief they are an actual race.  Maybe the kids didn't deposit my gnome - maybe he was living here all the time - maybe he moves around the garden at night - GOSH DARN I'm scarin' myself. 

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