Hospital welcomes gnomes

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No place like gnome garden . . . Mercy Hospital linen services co-ordinator Sandra Laidler (left) and hospital gardener Emma Paul with a couple of garden gnomes in one of the hospital gardens. PHOTO: JOHN LEWIS

No man’s land is not traditionally a place people go for a peaceful and relaxing break from the world.

But the new gnome man’s land at Mercy Hospital is.

Hospital gardener Emma Paul and linen services co-ordinator Sandra Laidler have developed a formerly overgrown garden area between the Mercy Care East Building and the staff car park and adorned it with garden gnomes to make it a fun place for children to play and adults to relax.

“This is just a wild area where bulbs and shrubs are left to do their own thing,” Ms Paul said.

“We thought the gnomes would fit quite well in this area.

“Staff often have their lunch down here.”

Ms Paul said the initiative was inspired by the annual Mercy Family Day event where family members were invited to participate in activities on the hospital grounds.

“We thought that the children might find it fun to come out into the garden and do some kind of circular walk and count the gnomes.”

She said some of the children’s counts had been “a bit off” so far. Either they had counted some twice, or the gnomes were multiplying.

“I think at night when we’re not around, they probably come to life and look after the garden in their own way.”

There are about 40 gnomes scattered around the garden – some donated from Ms Laidler’s personal collection and the remainder were bought with funds she raised for the project.

The project started about six months ago when she managed to raise nearly $400 by handcrafting a teddy bear, and used it as a prize in a staff raffle.

She called on the community to give gnomes to help fill out the space in the area.

“We’ve got loads of room. It would be lovely to have them.”