London has just held the world-famous annual Chelsea Flower Show, which provokes in me a rapturous enthusiasm for all things horticultural for at least a week. I rushed out and generously endowed my garden and allotment with tender, juicy little plants. The slugs promptly enjoyed their annual post-Chelsea feast and I am left with some slobbered little stumps and fond memories.
They may not allow slugs or snails into Chelsea, but they did allow gnomes this year. Personally, I think gnomes are creepy, but I don’t mind Elton John’s fantastically embellished charity creation. Pink and glitter can make most things bearable.
I was gleefully fascinated by the story of the introduction of garden gnomes to England by an eccentric chap called Sir Charles Isham in the 1840s. He was obsessed by his gnomes, believed they were magically real and built them a gnome nirvana in the grounds of his country house. However, after his death, his two daughters apparently took out the lot – with air rifles! The only surviving gnome, who escaped by falling into a ditch and whose sinister little face I shall not include here, is now worth around £2 million. If the daughters had known just how much money they were blasting away, would that have stopped them, I wonder? Somehow, I doubt it – and I’m lost in subversive admiration!