Colonial Garden Club delights Ghiloni Park visitors with gnome villages

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Colonial Garden Club delights Ghiloni Park visitors with gnome villages
Photo/submitted
“Gnome houses” wait for gnome visitors at Ghiloni Park in Marlborough.

By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer

MARLBOROUGH – At first, the sightings were sparse but now the gnomes and their dwellings are creating a buzz and delighting all who come in contact with them while strolling through Ghiloni Park. 

Inspiration for idea

One of the Colonial Garden Club members, Deborah Jakubowski Russ, had this idea several years ago while walking her two Labradors in Framingham parks and other towns where they have these gnome villages. 

“It was so much fun to unexpectedly see a garden gnome while taking a walk through the woods. The sightings automatically bring a smile to anyone who spots one. I thought this could be brought to Marlborough and be a wonderful addition to Ghiloni Park,” said Jakubowski Russ. 

A family affair

Her husband, Chris, built some of the doors and houses that the gnomes “live in.” This year he also added stairs. Deborah recently visited the Tower Hill Botanical Garden’s “Yarn Bombing” installation and was inspired to add yarn flowers to the gnome villages. 

“My daughter, Rhiannon, has designed the gnomes that we place in the garden. They are all based on the native plants. The Jack in the Pulpit looks like the plant,” said Karen McEacherns, Beautification Chairperson of the Colonial Garden Club.

Colonial Garden Club delights Ghiloni Park visitors with gnome villages
Photo/submitted
“Gnome houses” wait for gnome visitors at Ghiloni Park in Marlborough.

Each year the gnomes get laminated and adhered to a stick. Then they magically appear in the garden to delight all who spot them while spending time along the public trails. Winter takes its toll on the gnomes and their villages and so each spring, they need to be given some attention before they will be placed back on the trail. 

There are nine garden sites but this garden within the Colonial Garden Club has been a family project. The spouses of their members have gotten involved trimming trees, watering, placing rocks to protect the plants and the gnome homes and more. 

A joyful surprise for visitors of all ages

“The attention the gnomes have brought to the garden is unbelievable. The gnomes bring joy to multi generations. But more importantly, they have made people stop and start paying attention to the garden and the plants around them,” said Valerie Cowan, President of the Colonial Garden Club. 

People take a moment of reflection and laughter can be heard once a gnome and their dwelling has been spotted. 

“Everybody laughs and although it might seem like such a simple thing, it is purely joyful,” said Jakubowski Russ. 

The gnomes get moved around each week so that each time a visitor comes, they will still be surprised by a discovery where there might not have been a sighting the last time. 

“The gnomes have become a civic engagement. They have a fan club,” said McEacherns. 

 The Colonial Garden Club started in 1959 and celebrated its 60th anniversary. The club works closely with the DPW and credits this wonderful partnership with many beautiful garden areas.