Garden Gnomes – The Mystical Garden Ornaments

Garden Gnomes – The Mystical Garden Ornaments

Garden gnomes, commonly used as garden ornaments, have an extensive presence in Western culture today. We can find tales of today’s garden gnomes through European folklore. Our unassuming garden gnomes were noted to be benevolent folk who, of an evening, rewarded the outstanding behavior of farmers, traders and housewives through lending assistance in fields, shops and gardens.

Ceramic garden gnomes first came into being in the German countryside. Phillip Griebel is noted to have created them in the mid-nineteenth century specifically for being garden ornaments. However, the garden gnomes were also used for superstitious and metaphysical reasons. His finely crafted charming garden ornaments were believed to ward thieves away from stockpiles of grains and vegetables in farmers’ barns.

Garden gnomes were introduced to England by Sir Charles Isham in 1847. Isham had the desire to liven up his rock garden with colourful garden ornaments and he decided that the charismatic German garden gnomes were the ideal way to do this. One of the garden gnomes that survived from Charles Isham’s purchase in 1847 has a current valuation of over two million pounds sterling. This humble garden gnome can be found in a museum on the Isham Estate grounds.


Griebel initially produced statuary in the form of deer and fairy figurines. When he began creating his garden gnomes, the demand for his creations exceeded his ability to create the garden ornaments themselves. The garden gnomes were a hit amongst his German customers.

The Griebel clan continued to create garden gnomes until the commencement of World War I. At this time, the ability to sustain production was halted as a result of the German war efforts. In spite of the war, however, the demand for garden gnomes was strong and production recommenced in the mid 1940s. Although the Communist police began to show concerns that the garden gnomes may be a conduit for smugglers, they eventually became the leading export of Eastern Germany.

Communism fell which opened up the garden gnomes market to cheap imported Czech imitations. Griebel’s original creation continues to carry on with the family’s original garden gnomes manufactory in Central Germany.

Garden gnomes have also been adapted to suit the interests and hobbies of their owners. Today’s garden gnomes can be found on motorcycles and even wearing roller skates.

Garden gnomes are still one of the most popular garden ornaments on the market. They can be made from plastic, concrete, cement and ceramic. These charming critters also come in the form of solar garden gnomes. Garden gnomes are traditionally less than 14″ tall although today they are available in all sizes.

Having garden gnomes in your landscape is an endearing experience that has been enjoyed by many a homeowner since 1847. Find a selection of solar garden gnomes at

Help your garden grow with

The Library of Work and Play: Gardening and Farming.

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

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