Gnomeo under construction at Folly!

At Folly Farm Nature Preserve
1538 Dr MLK Street North, Safety Harbor, Florida

Sponsored by the Safety Harbor Garden Club

When Shannon Schafer, Recreation Superintendent, was approached with the sculpture idea for an art sculpture for Folly Farm she immediately produced some photos of giant troll sculptures created by Thomas Dambo.
(Thomas Dambo is an artist based out of Denmark. He has giant troll sculptures in place around the world and is currently building his 100th giant troll!)

They were fantastic! Inspired by the work of Dambo, the Gnomeo Project was born! 
Gnomeo, a friendly giant gnome,
would be constructed at Folly Farm Nature Preserve!

A construction team was assembled including Gary Sawtelle, local artist (and Safety Harbor Garden Club member) Chris Dotson. Sean Carberry, a local contractor with a keen sense of design, who had expressed interest in building a giant troll! Kumpa volunteered to create the massive head! And a collaboration was born.

A decision to create a giant gnome rather than a troll kept to themes already established at Folly.


Gnomeo will be constructed from discarded lumber
(*except for the head- see below).

He will stand approximately 17 feet tall.

Chris Dotson starting things off by creatingd the scale mock-up of the sculpture.

Sean Carberry designed the sculpture infrastructure and has committed resources from his construction company.    

*Kumpa is fabricating the head using foam and fiberglass. There will be additional treatments to make the appearance look like the wood used in the rest of the sculpture,

Shannon, Rebekah, Laura, Leslie, Heather and Celeste soon joined the team.  

Initial construction will begin mid-February and final assembly will have a March 26 deadline to coincide with the Folly Farm “Enchanted Garden Fest”. At that time, the public is invited to join in on a “community build” to complete any unfinished pieces!  


Gnomeo and Faeriette:
the beginning of their love story

a story by Laura Kepner


A long time ago, longer even than Once Upon a Time, but also not too far away, a little gnome came into this world surrounded by flowers, hummingbirds, and cookies. (All gnomes celebrate with cookies.)

Little Gnomeo grew, enveloped in the love of the hummingbirds, the bees and crows, the squirrels and wee creatures, and of course, the love of his family. And while Gnomeo played with his little Gnome friends amongst mushrooms and crickets, tall green grasses and yellow, orange, and pink flowers, he sometimes, once upon a rare season, found ways to be naughty.

On one such occasion, during one of those naughty spells, Gnomeo climbed the bark of an ancient oak tree. He wasn’t allowed to play in the barks but he simply could not resist the texture of the tree skins!

His mother Gnomina, gnoticed. “Gnomeo, what did we tell you? No climbing the oaks. That is where the faeries live and you are not a Faerie.”

“But I love the Faeries,” Gnomeo said. “I love everyone and everything.”

“And they love you too, son,” Gnomina said as she smiled. “But we all must keep to our own.”

Gnomeo did not agree that the Gnomes and Faeries should have such silly rules. Most Gnome rules were understandable: wash before eating, always say please and always say thank you, share whatever you have with those who need, and make every decision with love in your heart. But this rule—no climbing the oaks?  Who invented that anyway? No one knew. But still, it was how it always had been and how it always would be.  

When Gnomeo was flower-petal close to becoming a gnome-up, he gnew that soon he would no longer have the ability to touch the tree skins: it would be his job to tell the smaller, sillier gnomes to keep to their own. Gnome-ups were gnown for ruining fun.

On the next day before the last day of his younghood, Gnomeo rose with the moon and snuck to his favorite oak—the one with the thickest gray bark. He touched the coarseness of it and breathed in its oaky smell, feeling the love inside of him swirl in circles. He reached high and he climbed. He climbed and climbed and climbed even higher.

When Gnomeo got to the part of the tree where its first branch-elbow bent, he adjusted his cap and fluffed a clump of moss for a pillow. Gnot a second before he closed his eyes, a tiny voice asked, “Who are you? Why are you in my faerie tree?”

Startled by the sudden unfamiliar voice, Gnomeo lost his balance and he gasped, falling, falling, falling toward the grasses below. He tightened his eyelids and held his breath inside, waiting for the pain of impact.

But there was no pain. There was no impact. There was simply a cushion of love where he landed. He opened his gnome eyes. The faerie who had startled him giggled. Her arms kept him safe as she flew. Gnomeo giggled too. It felt delightful!

“I am Faeriette, and you are a Gnome and you must go home.” Faeriette landed and released Gnomeo.

“Thank you,” he whispered. His voice was too soft to come out the way he intended—gnomelike and strong.

Climb to visit me soon, and to meet my parents, the king and queen of the faeries,” Faeriette said.

“But Gnomes and Faeries stay to their own kinds,” Gnomeo said. He frowned.

“Sometimes,” Faeriette said, “rules must be respected but other times, they should be reconsidered. Don’t you agree?”

And we know their story has not ended yet, however, this part ends as all fairy tales should: with a happily ever and forever after.

Where did Gnomeo come from?

Gnomeo, Faeriette and Whimsy

Folly Farm Nature Preserve in Safety Harbor is called home by many magical creatures!

The three most famous are the giant gnome “Gnomeo”, his love “Faeriette” and their beautiful faerie child “Whimsy”.

Many, many years ago, Sir George Weiss (He donated the land for Folly Farm) and his Lady Lucille left the frozen fields of New York on a romantic honeymoon to the warm, sunny gardens of Florida. Unknown to the two love birds, they were not alone! Gnomeo (a giant gnome) and Faeriette (a beautiful young faerie) were magically dancing and prancing on the roof of their car!

(It is quite common for Gnomes and Faeries to catch a lift with travelling lovestruck honeymooners. They use all of that overflowing love to replenish their powers. And Sir George and Lady Lucille filled their powers to the top!)

As, you know, Gnomes and Faeries were created to make magic. This is the sole purpose of their existence.

When Sir George and Lady Lucille finally arrived at Folly Farm, Gnomeo and Faeriette were at the very peak of their powers! With the power of love supplied by Sir George Weiss and his lovely bride, Lady Lucille, a garden gnome and a Faerie princess magically created the Folly Farm faerie, “Whimsy”!

If you’re lucky, you may see the Faerie Whimsy at the Little Hollow fountain with her butterflies. Gnomeo and Faeriette like to roam the “Farm”. They are sometimes spotted near the fire pit!



You can be a part of this MASSIVE project!

Join us at Enchanted Garden Fest
at Folly Farm Nature Preserve on Sunday, March 26th
and help us finish Gnomeo's construction!
It's part of the Enchanted Garden Fest Celebration!

You can also donate to help defray our costs
by using the buttons below.

Thank You!