Germany's Keeper of the Garden

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Germany's Important Residents

Spring is finally here and it's time for Germany's more than 25 million special little residents to be dusted off and sent to work.  They have been in a slumber for the cold winter months while their homes have been frozen, awaiting the first signs of spring.  When spring comes, they will jump back into their positions in the gardens, working around the clock to complete their mission. Who are these hard working beings?  The Garden Gnome!

The Father of Gnomes

Every year we try and send our families back home something fun and unique from Germany.  We've sent things such as beer steins, local wine glasses, Christmas ornaments, good luck symbols made of marzipan, chocolates, fun Haribo items, clothing and more.  One year in our search for something local, we discovered the Gartenzwerg!  We did our research and ordered a couple from the company who were one of the original producers in Germany.  This producer, Philip Griebel, was a mid-nineteenth century craftsman from a village in Thuringian called Graefenroda.  They specialized in ceramics and began to produce the Gartenzwerge in terracotta, who were starting to gain popularity throughout Europe. Their factory, titled Philip Griebel, has been family run for generations and takes exceptional pride in creating these wonderfully unique and authentic figures. 

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A Cultural Staple

Gartenzwerge, or garden gnomes, are a staple of German culture.  Take a stroll through any village and you will find these figures in most every yard.  Their beginnings are a bit of a mystery, but one theory stems from "Priapus", who was a fertility God in Greek-Roman mythology.  This figure was known to protect gardens, farm animals and agriculture, while "in real life" he was used as a scarecrow in Roman gardens.   The garden gnome has certainly evolved in appearance from a creature created from stone with an uglier, taller appearance to the more familiar cute, fat, and red cheeked gnome of today. 

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During the warmer months the Gartenzwerge will ensure the soil is perfect, the flowers are tended to, the lawn remains trim and the garden is protected from both evil and four legged creatures who dare intrude.  Germans are very particular about their gardens, and these gnomes ensure everything is in order.

Which garden gnome is for me?

 Philip Griebel factory

Philip Griebel factory

They have garden gnomes for all types.  They have gnomes playing instruments, taking pictures, family units, gnomes of different moods, and even gnomes that are doing naughty things or are naked.  My kids prefer a tyrannosaurus chomping on a few gnomes in our garden.  To get one of these very special gnomes, you can pop into most any garden store in Germany and find a nice selection, or you can  purchase from this family owned manufacturer in Germany.  Their website has a full selection of gnomes, each coming with an official "birth certification, and shipping is available.   Check out the http://zwergen-griebel.de and purchase a great memento of your time in Deutschland!