Most people would think of gnomes as friendly dwarfish figures in pointy hats that adorn gardens. This modernized depiction of gnomes actually deviates from the olden days.
In Northern Europe mythology, gnomes are hideous dwarfish imps that live underground and guard mineral treasures. It was only in 19th century onwards that literature and fairy tales began portraying gnomes as domestic spirits who comes to tend gardens at night.
As ground-dwellers, gnomes are closely linked to the element of earth, which represents stability and abundance. Because they are also associated with gardens, Gnomes can also symbolize a love and care for nature.