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Garden Gnomes

643 of 1170 nominations


Garden Gnomes

Is this an icon?


Garden Gnomes

Where on earth did garden gnomes come from, and just how did they become a must-have accessory for the suburban garden? For many people, the little chaps brighten up the outdoor scene no end, with their permanently merry expressions, and their limited but supremely practical range of activities, chief among them fishing.

In 2006, garden gnomes decided to do their bit to support the England team in the World Cup. Dressed in the national strip and sporting the St George Cross, they were selling at the rate of five every second from Asda stores.

Garden gnomes don’t just sit there fishing. They are also a security feature, as was demonstrated by Mrs Jean Collop of Wadebridge in Cornwall, who awoke to find a potential burglar clambering over her roof. She dashed out in her night attire and resourcefully hurled one of her gnomes at the intruder. It bounced off his head, leaving him stunned enough to go quietly when the police arrived. Had he recovered, Mrs Collop was ready with the rolling-pin. “I didn’t want to break another gnome,” she commented.

Photo: Gavin Mallory


Your comments

Millions, perhaps, inhabit suburban gardens. Animating the greenery? A sign of obsession or sentimentality? Faith in the supernatural? They express something about the person who placed them and their garden.

Robin Stott



I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye