Some friends we know keep chickens, others keep dogs, cats, or hamsters. We keep garden gnomes.
Our garden gnomes, Chrys(anthemum), Poppy, and Larky (Larkspur), are great to have in the garden – not only for their entertainment value, but they can also be a big help. They won’t tell you, but weeding is one of their many talents and loves.
Going on 4 years old now, our gnomes have entertained us in many ways; they have also shown a pattern of traits. We found, on occasion, they can get into mischief; but honestly, that is part of their charm.
By their very nature, garden gnomes like to travel. Most days, they travel about the garden. Occasionally, one will leave for an extended period of time When they leave Helen’s Haven, they always travel alone, never in pairs. It may be days before we discover one has gone off. However, they usually let us know their whereabouts by sending a post card. Once, while we were traveling in London, we actually saw Larky on the BBC with other gnomes on holiday he hooked up with. This is just like something Larky would do.
Invariable, when one takes off, the other two miss their companion and will even pine in his absence. On such occasions, one or both will act out to gain attention. A couple of times, we found them inside the house. We didn’t let them stay though, even when they said, “pleeeeeeeeaaase.” Their place is in the garden.
We only have male gnomes. This is probably not good feng shui, but garden gnomes need space to fully thrive. To many in a small area may restrict their good nature. We have only read this as fact. We don’t want to test the theory in the event the literature is right. Some things in nature just shouldn’t be done. If we had females, we are likely to have babies and then we may not have enough space to support them. Besides, three is a good number. At least it works for us.
My kids have found Chrys, Poppy, and Larky in the most interesting places. Here are six of their favorite places in the garden:
- Under the bird bath in the Mixed Border. They like feeling the splash the birds make.
- Sitting on the table on the back porch. Here, they like to look inside the house. This was kinda creepy at first, but we got use to it.
- Near the butterfly mudding dish. Note – they will not hurt or eat the butterflies. They just enjoy them up close and personal.
- Under the fig tree. They do like their figs.
- Under the bird feeder. One of their favorite past times is to sneak up behind the squirrels and say “boo.”
- Near the speakers so they can hear the music. They can do a mean electric slide.
Our gnomes have been to London, Cairo (they said they wont go back, because a camel spit on them), St. Thomas (they said they didn’t want to come home; thankfully, they did) and they have been to NYC a few times. They like the City. In the end, they always came home…but then again, they haven’t been to Paris…if they do go, I fear they will never return; once you see Paris….
Copy and photos by Helen Yoest
Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening With Confidence Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her Facebook page, the Gardening With Confidence fan page. Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum.