Apparently late September in the Pacific Northwest is not Garden Gnome season. I get it, really I do. Most people consider the garden gnome’s habitat to be a traditional garden, one of flowers or vegetables. I, however have to disagree. I think garden gnomes are quite lovely in a veggie patch or peeking out from amongst the perennials but a true garden gnome is also quite comfortable in the non-traditional garden, sitting on a log next to a forest path, sleeping in a sunny corner of a mossy patch, or simply hanging out under a rhododendron bush.
Lots of people give gift cards, books, or vases of flowers as a gift to someone having a birthday or celebrating an anniversary and I do this as well. But sometimes I just feel that only a garden gnome will suffice. When some very good friends of ours were having a house warming party a couple years ago we came with a cute little garden gnome in hand. At the end of last school year it was a couple potted plants, a card, and a garden gnome that we gave Cody’s kindergarten teacher. She was thrilled and happily proclaimed that she had never been given a garden gnome before and what a cute one it was. So when we got the invitation from a couple of friends to a simple cake and champagne gathering celebrating their ten year wedding anniversary tonight I thought a nice garden gnome was in order. Both of them like to garden and are salt of the earth people. A garden gnome would be perfect.
So it was that Carter and I found ourselves on the hunt for a garden gnome. We went to several places. A few of them told us that they normally carry garden gnomes but that it was just not the season for them or that they had to make room for the fall decorations of turkeys and pumpkins. One store had several but they were made of some type of a resin material and were lightweight and, well, just not of the right material to be called a true gnome. We left each store empty handed and I soon began to wonder if we would find one worthy of our friends’ garden.
We finally stopped by the gardens that we walk by everyday on the way to and from Cody’s bus stop. In fact the bus stop is on the corner of this garden’s property. I knew that they carried some larger sculptures and some art work from local artists and that these things had high price tags so I was not expecting to find him. But there he was on the bottom shelf in the front row surrounded by little statues of mice, cats, and decorative birdbaths. I scooped him up quickly lest he disappear before my eyes.
He is sitting on an overturned apple basket holding a long handled pipe and looking rather contemplative. He is heavy, made of concrete I think, and ready to withstand the cold winter months ahead. I like him and I hope our friends like him too.