Mischevious Garden Comedians or Jolly Farm Protectors? What’s The Story Behind Lawn Gnomes Anyway??

Let’s Dive Right in…

You’ve undoubtedly seen these charming ceramic fellas adorning lawns across the US, delighting gardeners of all ages with their chubby bellies and bright hats. But what’s really the deal with lawn gnomes? To answer this, we have to travel way back in time to early England and Scandinavia. Both of these places have their own whimsical legend behind these interesting little figures. 

Bettie, AKA the Pupups Baby Gnome

Taking it Way Back…

Stories from the 1600’s told of garden protectors roaming about estates and properties, but a man named Sir Charles Isham really paved the way for Gnome popularity. He brought a bunch of terra cotta gnomes from Germany to decorate his England Estate, and these little cuties were an instant success among many English men and women. There were some, however, who were less amused as more gnomes popped up across the English landscape. Like today, people were quick to take sides, joining either Team Gnome Lover or Team Kitsch.

It’s no secret that here at Pupups, we are on team Gnome Lovers! Imagine your dog having their own personal protector with them at all times! That’s the secret behind our Gnome line of waterproof dog gear. Now, if these gnomes make your pup a little more naughty than usual, well….we take no responsibility for that. 😉 

The folklores surrounding Scandinavian gnomes emerged from the dark and gloomy winters of the early 1800s, when many folks would make clay gnomes to adorn their homes and properties. Gnome artists would think up wild and engaging stories to tell townspeople and family alike.  People were fond of passing the bleak Winter months by spinning yarns about the shenanigans of the mystical creatures. Ever hear of a gnome drinking a pint of the darkest beer and only leaving half a sip behind? Then you’ve most decidedly been in the presence of a mischievous gnomie! 

 Scandinavians believe their gnomes are rarely naughty and are given the job of protecting homesteads and farms. It is often thought that the original owners of a homestead give worldly insight to their gnomes to pass on to future generations. The lawn gnomes were charged with keeping the land beautiful, bountiful, and safe from all harm.  However, over generations of stories, tales of mischievous gnomes began to emerge. 

You’ll often hear tales of tiny little jokesters painting cows’ tails purple or chasing the farm dog through the foggy pastures. To be honest, the thought of tiny lawn enthusiasts playing tricks is one of the aspects of garden gnome lore we enjoy the most.

In Denmark and Norway, folks believe that their gnomes have the power to become invisible and sprinkle a little magic wherever they go. (Interestingly enough, this is why many people in the Pacific Northwest believe gnomes live in Sasquatch’s Forest.) 

Springtime Gnomes by MoonShine Ceramics

Norwegians call their gnomes “Nisse” and believe their little garden helpers to be either adorably funny or perfectly polite. These little fellas usually wore woolen, red pointed hats, and blue clothing, very similar to the popular lawn gnomes you see today.  There are endless variations of the gnome, from somewhat scary looking to ultra-cute. (We are team Ultra Cute, btw.) 

Swedish Gnomes, or “Tomte,” as best known for bringing good luck, good fortune, and good friends. Nocturnal in nature, gnomes were said to be most active at night, securing the farms and helping out the farmers who love them. Now depending on who you ask, they may tell you their culture’s gnomes are the luckiest. We think anyone who adopts a gnome is spectacularly lucky! 

How to Add Some Gnome Magic to Your Home

Moonshine Ceramics– has one of the most skilled artisans on this planet. She lovingly creates handmade gnomes of all sorts for her adoring fans. I am 10000% positive that the love put into making these is everything magical and wonderful in the world. 

Handmade rainbow gnomes by Moonshine Ceramics.

The Little Green Bean- Amazingly fun handmade gnomes packed full of whimsy and love. (The owners are big dog lovers, so that is always a bonus!) They even offer DIY kits that are such a fun way to make high quality crafts! I know you’ll love everything at this adorable small business.

PupupsUSA– Every gnome lover needs some gnome dog gear! Find hand drawn gnome dog collars and gnome dog leashes here!

More reading all about gnomes…

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