GNOME AWAY FROM HOME
Just two miles from my apartment is Garfield Park, a 136-acre haven on Indy's near-south side. Garfield Park is Indy's oldest city park, and is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Though, to me, the Park is still unexplored, it has a fair number of paths, playgrounds, shelters, and picnic tables, and, during the warmer months, is host to a variety of events held for the public. Within the grounds is the Garfield Park Conservatory. The Conservatory was built in 1954, as a replacement for the original 1914 structure. The Park was renovated in its entirety in 1997, and--according to the Conservatory's website--the renovations included "the introduction of the permanent rainforest theme ... that still exists today."
The Conservatory features special exhibits throughout the year, including a spring bulb show, an orchid show, and a holiday poinsettia show. The most recent exhibit? The whimsical Gnome Away From Home, where "garden gnomes from far and wide [gathered] at the Conservatory for a tropical vacation!"
As I had never visited the Conservatory before, and as it was a beautiful, warm, Sunday, and as, after a couple of rough days, I needed a smile, I decided to make the five-minute drive to the Park. Just inside the Conservatory was an easel with information concerning gnomes, which have been popular garden decorations since the early 1800s. The sign also stated that, for many decades, Germany led the world in "gnome production and appreciation." And, to touch on the mythical side, I learned that gnomes are reluctant to interact with humans, can move through the soil as easily as we do through air, and that they are believed to have knowledge of the future (in addition to hidden treasure).