If ever you are advised to make amends with gnomes, because of negative things thought and spoken about the wee little folk, there is a special place just for you. In West Putford, near Devon, England, there is a garden just for gnomes; in fact this pastoral gnome haven currently is the dwelling place for over 2,000 of them. And you are welcome to visit there.
The reserve was established in 1979 by Ann Atkin, a former art student. Ms Atkin created this idyllic gnome home on a 4 acre site, and is still the owner of the tourist attraction. The lush area includes various woodlands, streams and ponds, a meadow and a wildflower garden with approximately 250 labelled species of wild flowers, herbs, grasses and ferns.
When you bravely visit the Gnome Reserve, you will find the little people (all 2,000+ of them) going about their gnome lives, doing what gnomes do: playing chess, relaxing with a good book, getting married, fishing, or just enjoying the shade while smoking a pipe.
To benefit you, the intrepid visitor, whose main task is to spark a friendly, peaceful, and uncritical relationship with the garden gnomes, a red hat and fishing pole will be issued to you upon entrance to the reserve. Here you can have a sit in the shade, maybe hum a little tune, and light up your pipe, if you brought one.
This non-threatening behavior most likely will draw the gnomes your way. You will notice one who was lying on the grass across the stream is suddenly lying on the grass a few feet away from you. Perhaps, the gnome who was reading a book on a bench in shade from the tree next to yours will, at a subsequent glance, have closed the book and be looking skyward. Closer, ever closer they will approach; you’ll never see them moving, but you will observe their increasingly close proximity.
It is all in the peacemaking process. Little gestures, kind words, and as many starchy tubers as you can find mean everything. One of the best ways to show friendly intention is to put out a fine plate of carrots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, and radishes. Gnomes will find this a generous act of restitution for anyone who has been unkind to them in the past. Make the plate decorative, and let them take it. This, too, will help the gnome understand there are no longer any hostile nor fearful feelings present in the person who once felt terror at the very mention of the word gnome.
The actions will be a first step in making things new again. And keeping them friendly and positive will be a lesson well learned, making dwelling together a most beneficial experience for gnomes and humans in the garden of life.