Vidler’s Gnome & Garden: Welcome Back, Garden Guardians!

September 27, 2023
Written by
Don Vidler
A figurine of a jolly gnome holding a camera.

It’s that time of year when sprouts begin to peek out from under the ground and flowers start to bud and bloom. Birds are returning after a long winter and the spring air is fresh around us. Among the bunnies and the blossoms, another sight you might see if you’re lucky, is the pointed tips of brightly colored hats sitting atop adorable little faces.

That’s right - gnomes!
It’s springtime and accompanying the budding of gardens comes the sighting of these mythical (*cough*) little garden helpers.

Hey there! I’m Damian, front man for Vidler’s gnome supply! Just grabbing your picture real quick for my personal records. Now that that’s done, Welcome to Vidler’s Gnome and Garden! As Spring begins to bloom, you may notice gnomes like me popping up on store shelves among the garden supplies, or already getting to work in your neighbor’s garden. We gnomes pride ourselves on being protectors and keepers of the garden, you know. 

A figurine of a jolly gnome holding a camera

For hundreds of years we’ve stood watch over homes around the world, working in your gardens and tending to your farms. People used to see us as a symbol of fortune and good luck, though now they mostly just think we’re cute! Let me tell you a bit more about the history of our kind.


Gnomes became popular in European folklore and fairy tales in the 16th century. Though many tales depicted us as gnarled, hunchbacked old men with sour demeanors, many of us today are rather cheery! It was told that we lived underground, protecting and tending the earth by night while keeping watch over the plants and guarding our own buried treasures.

The stories of gnome-kind are varied across parts of Europe, but share similarities to the leprechauns of Irish lore .

The name gnome comes from Greek and Latin words for “knowledge” and “earth dweller.” (Sounds about right!) Because gnomes were thought to be very knowledgeable and helpful in the process of plant growth, as we are, we became an important symbol for farmers in northern Europe until eventually, we could be found in household gardens all over the world!

An early 19th century terracotta garden gnome holding two bushels.

Antique Terracotta gnome from early 19th century

Our Gnome Ancestors

The first garden gnomes as we know them today were hand crafted from terracotta clay in early 1800s Germany, though various style gnome statues may have existed as early as the 1600’s. They spread to the UK and other countries by the 1840s and were being mass-produced in Germany by the latter half of the 19th century.

Philipp Griebel and August Heissner were the two most prolific and reputable creators of beautifully crafted garden gnomes in the 1800’s. Sadly, the majority of our original gnome ancestors and the German companies who produced them were lost during the world wars. 

We regained popularity in the U.S. and Europe in the 1940’s-60’s and have continued to evolve in personality and swagger ever since. Our popularity and widespread acceptance, however, is debatable. Instead of terracotta, we are more commonly crafted from ceramic and plastic, and instead of scowls and hunched back postures, gnomes of today can be seen adorning all different styles of clothing, and personalities.

Not all Gnomes Are Alike

Although many of us still resemble the gnomes of the past, sporting tall red hats and long white beards, you can find gnomes today adorning many different styles and personalities! There is a whole variety of us here at Vidler’s just waiting  for you to bring us home.

Let me introduce you to a few of the other gnomes here at Vidler’s!

Perhaps you’re looking for a cheerful garden helper, or a wise floral friend to tend to your indoor plants. We have indoor and outdoor-friendly gnomes, as well as mini gnomes who are excellent at crawling into hard to reach spaces or making a home in your potted plants!
Garden gnome figures of varying sizes and personalities.
A smiling garden gnome with a wheelbarrow full of flowers.


An assorted collection of figurines including gnomes, mushrooms, and birds behind a sign that says Welcome Gnome.
Although some of us have other hobbies, like me with my camera, we gnomes really like gardening most of all. Harry, with the red beard, loves to tend the flowers so much, he grows them right out of his hat! Can you spot him back there behind the mushrooms? 

Did I mention how much we gnomes love mushrooms? Sometimes we harvest them, sometimes we hide among them. Occasionally we even turn them into homes! If we’re not busy working in the garden, you can often find us frolicking among the mushrooms, or playing with the birds.

3 gnomes in a line with hats covering their eyes heave a 4th gnome back from falling off the shelf.

We have silly gnomes, grumpy gnomes, clumsy gnomes, and helpful gnomes. We have a whole community of unique gnomes with loads of personality in our family here at Vidler’s! 

A male and female garden gnome duo dressed as bikers in black leather and an attitude.

Check out the sass on our gnometown celebrity biker duo. (I’ve met them, and they’re surprisingly really down to earth!)

And although most gnomes live in burrows, we spend a lot of the evenings above ground working the earth. So if you really want to spice up your fairy garden, you can include some adorable mushroom houses, benches, tables and gnome-approved fire pits for our evening entertainment!

Fairy garden figurines depicting a miniature campsite.

However you decide to decorate your garden, just know, we the gnomes are here to help - even if all we do is make you smile.

Welcome Home Your Garden Gnome at Vidler’s!

Whether gnomes actually help tend our plants at night or bring us good luck and fortune is yet to be proven (or disproven! We leave the weeding to you giant humans.)

However, if their adorable faces and whimsical accessories bring a smile to your face or a giggle to your heart, then they’re worth it in our book! 

Come pay us a visit at Vidler’s 5&10 and let us know which gnomes you like the most! Explore our extensive collection of gnome accessories and trinkets, or take a peek at our pots and planters to add that perfect finishing touch to your indoor or outdoor oasis.

Our caring staff would love to help make all your gnome and garden dreams come true. With over 75,000 unique and nostalgic products, Vidler’s offers you a shopping experience like no other.

We can’t wait to see you!

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