OMG! A gnome at Chelsea!


We will have a thorough Chelsea Flower Show report on Thursday, written by someone who has actually judged the show and knows what he’s talking about, but I could not resist noting this shocker:

Jekka McVicar, who is on the ruling council of the Royal Horticultural Society, is in flagrant breach of the rules by placing her gnome called Borage amid her gorgeous array of organic medicinal and culinary herbs.

I love the idea of gnomes—though I possess none—and never so much when I saw them used in this village of Dunster gnomerama (during a 2004 Somerset trip):


Now that’s a gnome display. I like how they are given their own space, rather than being exploited as mere accessories. And see how they are fenced in—for their own protection, I’m sure.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. We only have one, over my protestations, picked out my my daughter. He’s relatively harmless although a tiny bit tacky. If I embrace the tackiness only a little, is that still tacky?

  2. Wonderfully tacky! Would be right at home amongst my pink flamingoes!

    Ever since viewing the film Amelie, I cannot see a gnome without smiling, and thinking of one’s global adventures.

    Thanks for bringing a smile to my day!

  3. Have to say… Jekka only put the gnome there in order to generate comment in the media! BTW – did you know that back in the sixties she used to play flute in a rock band called Marsupulami – they played at the first Glastonbury Festival which last year attracted Leonard Cohen.

  4. It worked!

    Glastonbury is quite a place, Graham. I never saw the festival but loved touring the lovely if bogus King Arthur burial site, climbing the tor, and seeing the little sacred garden place. All the tacky hippie trappings in the village kind of reminded me of the way Haight Ashbury is now.

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