Saturday Surprise — Return of the Gnomes!!!

Welcome to the weekend dear friends!  Do you have big plans for the weekend?  I am housebound this weekend, but that’s okay, for it is a bit too hot & humid to suit me anyway.  Most of you probably hadn’t stumbled upon my blog yet back in March 2016, and even those who were with me then may have forgotten about the gnomes.  Allow me to briefly summarize.

It all started in Little Buffalo State Park, in Pennsylvania, with a kind, retired gentleman, Steve Hoke, who noticed that a group of gnomes had made the park their home.  Being somewhat of a handyman, Mr. Hoke built several little homes for the gnomes – 38 to be precise.  The gnome homes were a huge hit with the gnomes, as well as with visitors to the park.  It was soon determined that more than 100 gnomes were living in the park! Children of all ages set aside their video games and came to the park to delight in seeing the little homes and occasionally even catching a glimpse of a gnome (gnomes, you know, are very shy).

Well, it wasn’t long before the park manager, Jason Baker, decided that the gnomes and their homes had to go, for he claimed the extra visitors were … wait for it … “packing down the dirt in the park” and disturbing the wildlife.  Mr. Baker, by the way, is a descendant of Ebenezer Scrooge.  So, the gnomes were evicted and Mr. Hoke retrieved the tiny little homes.  gnome1But then the following month I received an email from Mr. Hoke, who had seen my original piece, and he informed me that he had managed to re-home the gnomes in local community parks where they were living quite happily.  If you’re interested, here are the links to the original story:

Part I – The Gnomes Have Lost Their Homes

Part II – Update:  The Gnomes Have New Homes!!!

Well, I have never forgotten Mr. Hoke and the gnomes, and then today I came across a story about an entire gnome village in California!  The village is located on the campus of California State University in Carson, California, and was the brainchild of Peter Chance, one of the campus groundsmen.

It all came about back in 2014 when the university found that during periods of heavy rain, runoff and erosion on a small hillock near the health center were clogging up the drainpipes with silt.  No solution had been found yet when Mr. Chance related that for a long time he had been working on an idea, rather a dream.

“I remember walking down here one day and thinking it would be awesome to put a miniature village or fairy garden or FernGully. I’ve seen it in the back of my mind for years. I just would stand here and imagine: a house could go here, that could go here, and I started seeing some of the little nooks.”

The university gave the green light, and Chance, along with his fellow groundsmen Fernando Goncalves and Chris Evans, began transforming the hillside into a tiny village, using materials found at the university’s Physical Plant.The principal gnome building was created using a broken concrete electrical box; another gnome house was built using a tree stump and a plant-pot saucer topped with moss. They used small pieces of redwood to build stairways, doors and bridges, and leftover infield clay from the baseball diamond for the tiny roads and pathways. They then decorated the village with miniature plants, a spattering of bonsai trees (Chance is a bonsai specialist), and some large mushrooms, providing plenty of shade for the gnomes.All this creativity, of course, would have been for naught if the erosion continued. And no self-respecting gnome would live in a village with a landslide problem. So the team used baby’s tears (Soleirolia soleirolii, a plant with a moss-like appearance) as the main ground covering, which would help improve water retention and prevent silt from reaching the drains. Then, at the bottom of the village, they built a simulated dry riverbed filled with dead plant material, which would help hold back the silt while allowing water to filter through.

Not only did the village solve the erosion problem, it also added plenty of charm to the university campus. Today, the gnome village continues to thrive and grow, and Peter Chance and his team are always thinking of more details to add to the miniature hillside settlement.

No word on how many gnomes are living in the village – gnomes are hard to count, for they dart in and out, especially when humans with cameras are around.  But they certainly have wonderful little village, don’t they?

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

19 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — Return of the Gnomes!!!

  1. There are little gnomes living in woods

    They are faeries who do things they should

    Alive at night

    They move the light

    Guardians who watch humans are good

    Garden Gnomes figurine’s are seldom seen now in the UK…but they were once ubiquitous in front yards here.

    Cute post Jill. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jill,

    I don’t see how gnomes with a gnome village along the homes, pathways, gardens wouldn’t be welcome anywhere as they can’t help but add some levity to the neighborhood.

    What are parks for but to be visited and appreciated.
    Thank goodness the Carson California State University was more open minded.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great to know that gnomes are alive and well and working to save the land in California, but what about the Little Buffalo gnomes? Yes, they have new homes, but they lost their friends and neighbours! And the kids lost their play area! Who knows what kind of friendships could have been made there…
    I cannot believe the park manager was not reined in, and told to loosen up. (I think Diabolical Tothater took lessons from this guy.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These stories enchant me for a very special reason. As a child growing up in Southeastern Pennsylvania, I spent many happy times on my Gram’s 200+ acre farm. My Gram, also known as Miss Lydia, had faith in two things : 1) The Farmer’s Almanac and 2) The Garden Gnome. A colorful, but fading, concrete Gnome of approximately 12-14 inches in height was spotted in various places throughout her gardens of flowers and vegetables. Exactly how my diminutive and elderly Gram managed this feat remains a mystery of childhood…she never told and I never asked. All Winter, The Garden Gnome (no other name was ever given) resided in a place of honor on the sun porch, cozy and safe, until Spring returned. A Garden Gnome, not The Garden Gnome, has always been in my flower garden and a Tomte is always ensconced in my house. A Tomte was one of the first gifts that I gave to Benjamin for his nursery. Thank-you for this Saturday gift!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an enchanting story from your childhood, and what a wonderful lady your Gram must have been! I’m so glad you enjoyed this tale of the gnomes … I love writing about them, for they are so much fun! Please tell Benjamin I’m sorry I didn’t have a video for him this Saturday … perhaps Monday 🙂

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