Brenda Kieser poses near the gnome village she and her husband Don started building during COVID. The village has expanded considerably since then. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
Gnome gardens and villages have gained significant popularity in recent years, capturing the imagination of both young and old alike. These miniature worlds, often nestled in gardens or indoor terrariums, provide a whimsical escape into a tiny, enchanted realm. They typically feature little figurines, including gnomes, fairies, and animals, and carefully crafted miniature landscapes with small houses, bridges, and pathways.
Like many who have become fascinated with creating a gnome garden, Morinville couple Brenda and Don Keiser started small.
“It was a work project during COVID, and it kept us off the streets and in the backyard,” Brenda Kieser said with a chuckle. “It was just supposed to be a little project in the backyard, and it just grew.”
The Kiesers had a tree in their yard that fell in a windstorm. But the surviving portion was too interesting and attractive not to be put to use. That trunk became the base for the village’s housing.
A couple of blocks away, the Kiesers saw a gnome village in a front yard and were inspired.
Near the couple’s son’s house, Don Kieser saw a bunch of willows already cut and chopped. Those repurposed willows wound up forming rooves, doors, and other amenities of the gnome village.
Don and Brenda worked with the willows and the surviving part of their tree to build the village’s infrastructure.
“We just started going, and it was the imagination,” Kieser said, noting she was surprised by the variety of gnomes available for sale online. “We wanted to redo our backyard, and it just grew.”
For many, the appeal of gnomes lies in their ability to ignite creativity, offering a canvas for personalization and storytelling.
That village that started from a creative idea during COVID now takes up a lot of the Kieser’s backyard area.
“I just fell in love with them, and the more you could see and the different ones you could get,” she said, noting one of her favourites includes some yoga gnomes.
Keiser estimates she has spent about $2500 on gnomes so far.
However, she has yet to name the village.
“I might have to ask my grandkids [and see] what they come up with,” she said. “some of the names could be a little off the wall.”
The Kieser’s Gnome Village. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
Two gnomes sit on a swing in the Kieser’s backyard. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
A photographer gnome takes some shots from the balcony. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
A gnome sits on a mushroom with the village towering above. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
The Kiesers built the village on a fallen tree with some found and repurposed willows. – Stephen Dafoe Photo