The Gonks of Brookside Garden Centre

The Gonks of Brookside Garden Centre

The Gonks of Brookside Garden Centre

The Gonks of Brookside Garden Centre

The Gonks of Brookside Garden Centre

The Gonks of Brookside Garden Centre


This is a little story 
Of how gonks came to reside 
In East Peckham’s garden centre 
That we call Brookside 

Many, many years ago 
Before both you and I 
There lived a group of little beings 
That were funny and sometimes shy 

They’d come here from the colder north 
And for decades, roamed these lands 
But changes made from years of progress 
Suddenly altered their plans… 

There was once a time when this part of the world 
Was famous for the mighty hop 
And wherever they were grown en masse 
Was where the gonks would stop 

It was only during winter months
That they’d need to search for homes
Otherwise, they’d be playing tricks
On local garden gnomes



They’d gather in the towering oasts
And snuggle when it was cold
And remained inside, spreading magic
Until the hops were sold

As time went by and life moved on
Changes came around quick
Oasts were sold, hop farms too
And the gonks began to get sick

Where once they’d see the winter out
Sleeping in barns and oasts
Suddenly they were no longer liked
Or welcomed by their hosts

So they wandered round the countryside
In search of a warm abode
But they searched in vain for many months
Down many a busy road

Weary, it was only a matter of time
’Til the days and nights got tougher
And with nowhere for them to call home
The gonks began to suffer

Their health declined at such a rate
And many didn’t last
The older gonks would sit every night
And talk about the past

But they couldn’t go back, that wasn’t a choice
They needed a new way to thrive
And the younger gonks come up with a plan
To help their brethren survive

Young Gribble and Gosh and Gerbin and Groon
Set themselves an almighty task
So leaving their friends and family of gonks
They left with questions to ask

As a smaller group they could easily hide
And they kept safe from would-be fiends
They slept at night under caravans and lorries
Living on tins of baked beans

They hiked across the frozen countryside
Until the snow was taller than they
But they found a barn on a local farm
And snuggled down in the hay


It was several days before they could venture out
But they’d restored their strength and vigour
And with naughty smiles, they all agreed
To hot-wire the farmer’s digger!

They didn’t feel too guilty though
For he’d kicked them out before
But despite Groon’s suggestion when the engine started
They stopped short of ramming the front door

The digger ploughed through the deep, deep snow
And saved the group several days
With renewed enthusiasm and less miles left
Digger and gonks parted ways

Before they did, Groon penned some words
Warning of a gonk uprising
But realising the farmer had unintentionally helped them
She left a note instead, apologising

A few hours walk and in Nettlestead Green
They found their primary aim:
A garden full of colourful gnomes
That had found a modicum of fame


Now, despite similarities and much debate
Gonks and gnomes aren’t closely related
They’re something like fifth cousins, eighteen times removed
But they’re future was definitely fated

Luckily for the little group
The gnomes they sought were friends
So there was immense hope and anticipation
That the gnomes would assist their ends

‘Good afternoon, Gnobby, you’re looking good
Do you remember us four folk?’
Gribble thought it better, given their reputation
To avoid playing a joke

‘Yes, Gribble! My word, is it really you?
How are you, my fine fellow?’
The wise little gonk had chosen Gnobby
Because his manner was kind and mellow

‘Not too bad, not too bad
But my friends and family aren’t good.’
Gribble explained the problems they’d suffered
In a nearby neighbourhood

‘Oh, that’s not nice, it’s such a shame
Can we help you in any way?’
Relieved, Gribble smiled and shook Gnobby’s hand
‘I’d hoped that’s what you’d say!’

‘We’ve spoken before, several times
About a famous gnome from around here
His name escapes me, I’m afraid, dear Gnobby
But I’m hoping maybe he lives near.’

‘Oh yes, that’s Warren, we know him well
He’s been a good friend to us
He found us our homes and these glorious gardens
And we moved in with minimum fuss.’

Gosh stepped forward, full of questions
Her eyes awash with glee
They would soon be safe from the winter chills
Their people would be free

She cleared her throat and stood up tall
Ready for another trek
But faced with twenty-two unfamiliar gnomes
She became a nervous wreck

Gerbin took her hand and squeezed it tight
He understood her fears
But he pulled her close to keep her safe
And questioned forty-four ears

‘So where is this gnome of which you speak?
Where does this Warren reign?’
‘Oh, that’s easy’, said Gnobby, ‘Brookside Garden Centre
At the bottom of Seven Mile Lane.’

Puzzled faces looked back at Gnobby
But he smiled and pulled out a pen
He drew a map and with optimism said
‘I reckon you’ll be there in ten.’

Grateful eyes and happy thanks
Saw the gonks promising to call
And although it took slightly longer than ten
It didn’t take that long at all

As they rounded the corner and saw the lights
That surrounded Brookside’s front door
The four gonks glared in disbelief
Momentarily lost in awe

Losing nerve, they looked around
No garden to be seen
So how could Warren, the mightiest gnome
Reside here with no carpet of green?

‘This is wrong’, said Groon, ‘They’re garden gnomes
It’s right there in their name
There are no gardens here, I can’t see a single one
It’s such an awful shame.’

But Gribble spoke up, more confident than most
And pointed to the sign
‘It’s a garden centre, they SELL gardens here
We’re going to be fine.’

When they entered the store, they were very confused
By all the products they saw
But fortunately, they found Warren quickly
Before Groon bolted for the door

Warren explained that gardens weren’t for sale
But all that a garden needs
Like tools and seeds and watering cans
And stuff to tackle weeds

The gonks could see Warren was working, keeping a check
On all the activity in-store
So they explained their dilemma in between customers
And then they explained some more

The gonks thought Warren was indeed the greatest gnome
Friendly and full of charm
When he heard the gonks’ tale and learned of their woes
He welcomed them with open arms

He showed them around and gave them free reign
And they ran around the place
Their loved ones would be safe and warm
And they’d never had so much space!

And so the gonks came, family and friends
And this is where they stay
They wander round the garden centre now
And you’ll see them most every day

But in summer months, you’ll not see them at all
They’ll never give you the chance
They’ll be outside playing and often mischiefing
In all the pots and plants



We never really mind, however
For they bring so much joy and fun
We’re happy knowing they’re all safe and sound
And their wandering days are done

And we’re very proud to have played a part
To help these gonks in their endeavour
But we always knew we were a halfway house
That they couldn’t stay here forever

It’s not that we don’t love all gonks
We adore them in all their glory
But now it’s time for some to move on
To start a brand new story

So next time you come to Brookside
And see gonks everywhere
They’re just looking for a forever home
And they have so much love to share

But if you decide to take them home
And then ignore and disrespect them
They’ll quickly turn, becoming mischievous
And they’ll cause all manner of mayhem

So treat them kindly, treat them well
Be respectful to their peers
And they’ll bring you happiness, joy and luck
For now and many years

© Cheryl Butler
No part of this may be reproduced without the permission in writing from the author




  • Lynn Otto

    Wonderful story. I love gonks and brought myself a new one today from your lovely shop

  • Sandra Pizzey

    We loved the brilliant story. Thank you it made us smile

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