The RHS has announced that its 100-year ban on garden gnomes is to be lifted!
To mark the centenary of the Chelsea Flower Show, celebrities have been invited to decorate and paint gnomes, which will feature in the show before being auctioned off to raise money for the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. Dame Maggie Smith, Rob Brydon and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen have already confirmed that they’ll be decorating gnomes for the campaign. 150 of the ‘decorated gentlemen’ will also be lined up in parade for inspection by the Queen!
The Chelsea Flower Show manual prohibits the use of ‘brightly coloured mythical creatures’, which includes fairies, pixies and gnomes. The main reason for the ban is that these items (including balloons, bunting and flags) distract visitors from the plants. Gnomes have been the source of minor disputes within the show for many years, with many people saying that the ban is down to snobbery and that the gnomes are too tacky for the presitgious show. Every year people dressed up as gnomes stage peaceful protests against the ban. Show garden creators, including herb garden expert Jekka McVicar, have even been known to sneak gnomes into their displays.
But don’t get too excited – gnomes are only allowed in show gardens for the duration of this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. Once it’s over, the old rules come back into place and gnomes will be banished once more…