A traditional no-no, gnomes will be welcomed -- this year only -- at England's famous Chelsea Flower Show.
Courtesy of Lynn Hunt
For the first time in its 100-year history, the Chelsea Flower Show has lifted its ban and will allow gnomes to be included in the prestigious garden displays.
For decades, gnome lovers in fancy dress have organized demonstrations outside the gates on opening day to protest the ban. This year their beloved garden statues will be welcomed with open arms.
Two nine-foot white gnome statues will greet visitors at the show entrance. There will even be a celebrity gnome-painting competition with a star-studded list of participants including actress Maggie Smith and "Downton Abbey's" Julian Fellowes.
This gnome-tolerant policy is a far cry from what happened as recently as 2009. A scandal was exposed at that year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show when a banned item was spotted in one of the lush display beds.
The illegal object was a garden gnome named Borage. Once he was spied, Royal Horticultural Society officials moved swiftly to have the gnome removed from the premises.
According to the Times of London, organizers were even more shocked to learn that one of the members of their own ruling council had been “implicated in the affair.”
Jekka McVicar, a 13-time gold medal winner at Chelsea (and prominent garden-book author) had put together what was described as a stunning display of medicinal and culinary herbs in the Grand Pavilion.