The Return of the Gnome

For the first time in over 100 years, garden gnomes have been allowed in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Everyone’s favourite novelty garden accessory have continuously been denied entry to this most prestigious of garden shows, with the RHS claiming that they distract people from looking at the plants. Many believe this is just plain class snobbery – gnomes are seen as a tacky suburban garden accessory, not for the hoi-polloi of Chelsea.

This year it is all change at RHS. There will be a 150 strong gnome parade to be inspected by the Queen, and a “best dressed” gnome category. Celebrity fans include Dolly Parton and the late Beatle George Harrison. After years of being snubbed, gnomes are finally to get their moment to shine.

The irony of the situation is that gnomes actually predate the show and the RHS itself (founded in 1805), and have been cited in literature, folk tales and poems since the beginning of the 18th century.

They aren’t just a British thing either – there is a strong gnome tradition in both Germany and Italy, they didn’t actually arrive on these shores until 1847. One of the original batches – nicknamed “Lampy” can still be seen at the Isham estate and is valued at around £2million!

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Author: Robert Smith

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