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Garden Gnomes

Garden gnomes are those colorful dwarfs, usually bearded and wearing pointed hats, who live in people's gardens. Claiming to be descended from the stories of German and Scandinavian legends, these little people lived underground in the mythical past but later emerged to inhabit the forests and eventually moved into our gardens. The original figures were manufactured in Germany starting in 1872 by August Heissner. They were glazed earthenware figures that proved to be so popular that they were soon exported in large numbers to England and the United States. The gnomes were selected by Walt Disney as models for the dwarfs in his animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

These older ceramic figures are very valuable today if they are in good condition. If you would like to invest in these collectables, look for ones that are not cracked or chipped. Avoid any that have been obviously repaired, as this drastically reduces their resale price. Dealers can be located online.

New gnomes are readily available at garden centers, through catalogs, and online. The modern production process involves molding, baking, and spray painting weather resistant PVC. Try to avoid the poor reproductions made in third world countries, as these will not have the detailed quality that lend these figures their charm.

There are several hundred models to choose from --- gnomes engaged in a large variety of old fashioned outdoor activities, celebrating holidays, or just quietly living in the garden. A vast array of gnome accessories can also be purchased, such as wells, houses, carts, windmills and toadstools to name just a few. You can also give the gnomes the company of pets, birds, and other garden creatures.

Gnomes are also made from wood, stone or concrete, but these are usually not painted.

Remember to be mindful of your local weather extremes if you plan to leave your gnomes in your garden all year.

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