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JULY 2017
St. Tryphon was a goose herder from Lampsada, who by
the power of his prayer turned back a plague of locusts, thus
protecting his village from decimation and starvation. Regarded
in the Russian Orthodox Church as the heavenly protector of
Moscow and a patron of birds, he is usually shown carrying
a scythe, with a falcon on his arm. He could perhaps be
instrumental in the control of garden pests.
After finding an image that resonates with a particular
garden’s needs and purpose, proceed with carefully designing
the garden space. Strive for a combination of elegance and
practicality, symmetry and movement, which will together
create a perfect sense of quiet communion with nature.
Historically, garden enhancements
and statues were available only to
the wealthy due to the prohibitive
expense of marble, and so
individuals of lesser means found
ways to decorate their gardens
with mystical creatures mostly
made of cement.
Today, these ubiquitous garden
ornaments resemble small human
figures, are typically males,
and generally wear red pointed
hats. In the Renaissance period,
the artist Jacques Callot drew
a series of hunchback dwarfs
that became the inspiration for
the Derby Porcelain Company
to create gnome figurines in the
century. Following that, the
popularity of garden gnomes
spread rapidly.
It is said that gnomes are much like people—they love to
socialize, eat, play, and do mostly anything that we do—except
they do it at night and sleep during the day.
Garden gnomes were introduced to England in 1847, when Sir
Charles Isham brought twenty-one of them from Germany. The
only original survivor, whose name is Lampy, is purported to be
worth $1.58 million dollars.
The Royal Horticultural Society recently lifted its one-hundred
year ban on garden gnomes.
The largest garden gnome in the United States goes by the
name of Gnome Chomsky and stands 13 feet, six-inches-tall.
A common practice of Mediterranean fishermen was to wear
white hats at night to be more easily seen. Since gnomes prefer
not be seen, they wear red hats.
Gnomes’ spirits are alleged to protect livestock, fruit plants, and
of October 4
for the blessing of animals and
livestock. As the patron saint of garden birds,
animals, and ecology, he is often portrayed
preaching to the birds.
A classic soul in the garden is the Virgin
Mary, patroness of all things, who is revered
by individuals hoping to be blessed by her
spirit and strength.
Angels will inspire a sense of serenity in a
garden—seen sleeping, praying, or simply
gazing in contemplation, this particular
heavenly being is celebrated for its role as
the intermediary between humans and the
For a feeling of Zen or Feng Shui, position
a Buddha in a prominent location. The
traditional Buddha is a symbol of relaxed
meditation, while the lady Buddha Kuan Yin is
known for compassion and mercy.
St. Patrick is another favorite garden sculpture, said to be
the patron saint of organic gardening. He is especially popular
among the Irish because as legend purports, he drove the
snakes from Ireland.
San Ysidro-Isidore is the patron of farmers, large gardens, and
sheepherders, while St. Valentine watches over lovers and small
intimate gardens.
For healthy crops in a vegetable gardens, consult St.
Werenfrid, an English Benedictine missionary who is often
depicted standing on a ship. He may also be called upon to
assist with symptoms of stiff joints from all that kneeling,
stooping, and crouching.
L i t t l e
f a c t s