Garden snobbery is alive and well in 21st-century Britain. Driven by a small minority of ‘haughtyculturists’, these vocal and pretentious people judge certain aspects of gardens about which they only take a one-sided, ultimately biased, view.
Although garden snobbery may, on the surface, appear harmless and slightly amusing, there can be real damage done by recalcitrant opinions. As well as being hurtful and unpleasant to be on the receiving end as an individual, there are companies who make living selling products that are not considered ‘de rigeur’, and public snobbery and degradation can lead to lost sales and unnecessarily lost livelihoods.
So we thought we would tackle three of the most maligned targets of this garden snobbery, give you a little bit more information about them, and hopefully place them back into a category that goes by the more positive name of ‘quirky’, ‘specialized’ or even ‘unique’.
The garden gnome is seen as the epitome of British bad taste, but in reality, they originated from Germany in the early 1800s, manufactured from clay, and displayed outside homes in a bid to chase off evil spirits. Even today, there are an estimated 25 million gnomes living large in German gardens. As continental travel expanded, hundreds of thousands of these gnomes started finding themselves on British soil.
The British have a love-hate relationship with gnomes. Long since seen as a symbol of suburbia, many Garden Snobbery look down their noses at small front gardens that display a cornucopia of gnome life that has become iconic to suburban life. This love-hate relationship was personified by the 2011 hit film Gnomeo and Juliet, set to the music of Elton John, in which feuding red and blue gnome clans from neighboring gardens gave us another version of the famous Shakespeare love story.
Fortunately, gnome mentality has gone full circle, taking its rightful spot in the slightly ironic hearts and minds of most of the UK population. These little people with their iconic pointed hats have been taken into our affections and match that slightly wry sense of humor that helps us to color bleak days. Forget the snobs – they don’t know what they are missing!
Fake grass haters will lecture anyone who cares to listen about the evils of fake grass carpeting our outside areas with plastic which will melt in the sun, asphyxiate the soil, and prevent anything natural from growing ever again. They claim it destroys the biodiversity of a garden and is no better than single-use plastics such as drinking straws and disposable cutlery.
Actually, cheap, fake grass is pretty nasty, and really shouldn’t be used as a permanent ground covering. However, proper, premium artificial grass used sympathetically as part of an overall landscaping project is as suitable as a ground covering as wooden decking, concrete, or paving slabs.
Geraniums – the poor man’s rose:
Geraniums have long been considered a lowly flower, not worthy of a place at the horticulturalist’s table. Also known as ‘the poor man’s rose’, the geranium has been sneered at as that flower in Nan’s plant pots on the patio.
In reality, there are more than 1400 different varieties of geranium, representing a wide range of colors and scents. As a summer flower, they can infiltrate your outside space with the scents of lemon, orange, lavender, and cinnamon. We should indeed feel sorry for those Garden Snobbery who cannot understand and appreciate the power of the geranium, the humor of the garden gnome, or the essential role of artificial grass. They are missing out on so much!