LAURA CARTLEDGE: Which side of the fence are you on when it comes to garden gnomes?

C101413-1 JPOS Chi Sept9 Staff   Photo Louise Adams''Laura Cartledge.
C101413-1 JPOS Chi Sept9 Staff Photo Louise Adams''Laura Cartledge.

I HAVE a slightly strange confession.

Okay, so it wouldn’t really be a confession if it was something normal, but that is not the point.

The point is that I think I am addicted to garden gnomes.

Controversial, I know.

They are the Marmite of the garden ornaments.

For me it started like most of my obsessions have – including toy tanks and computer keyboards... with an art project.

Only this one has lasted longer than most.

Taking a classic student stance I decided to subvert things.

The result saw a trio of paint-your-own gnomes painstakingly decorated with ornate designs inspired by Chinese ceramics.

Yes, you read that right.

The first was covered in classic blue and white mythical creatures.

The second cherry blossom and birds.

And the third depicted women in a garden wearing traditional dress.

Spending that long staring at a gnome is bound to send anyone loopy, but for me, I fell head over heels.

So, why am I telling you this now?

Because the little red-cheeked bearded fellows are making the headlines, that’s why.

It is partly good news as The Royal Horticultural Society has lifted its century-long ban on gnomes for the year’s Chelsea Flower Show, which takes place this week.

After 100 years, the pointy hats are finally being invited to the party. I can hear a clatter as trowels across the country fall to the floor in shock.

But it is true and what’s more, celebrities, including Elton John and Judi Dench, are getting in on the action by painting their own – which will then be auctioned for charity.

Brilliant, isn’t it?

While IKEA’s latest advert ‘say no to gnomes’ has seen supporters bite back, it seems the love-hate affair is far from over.