Did You Know “Loners” Used To Be Hired As Ornaments In Gardens?

3 min readMay 19, 2021
Artwork by Incrediville

Hate your job? Think again. This is one of the worst jobs in history.⁠
🎨 by @incrediville

The socialites in the 18th century probably just had too much time to mess around with. When it came to gardening, they would hire people to live inside. Plus, they’d also be asked to cosplay as hermits, aka artsy hippies at the time, to make their gardens more — elegant?⁠

It wasn’t just randoms hobos that were called upon to live in the garden. There were specific bars they needed to meet to apply as a hermit in the greens. First of all, they were only allowed to move around between a cabin and cave inside the garden. Second, there was no bathroom. We don’t know how they went potty, but we know for sure that they weren’t allowed to take a shower for years. Gross.⁠

Some of the hermits are just professional posers. And others were like bored volunteers you see in the museums, but useful. They’d provide answers and tips to visitors. And visitors could also feed them and pet them? Weird.⁠

Again, they’re not just homeless people who got lucky picking up random garden gigs. In fact, they were kinda like low-key artists. So these hermits have a secret talent for making rich people impressions. They’d need little props and be able to capture the gloomy depression of socialites back then.⁠

So the 18th century doesn’t actually sound too bad if you are a loner and obnoxious towards capitalism?⁠

An illustration of a hermit. (credit: Atlas Obscura)

Garden hermits are heavily influenced by this fluffy, smart guy from Celtic myths — Dagda. They were believed to be able to talk to trees and animals and just hanging around in the woods making friends. Just imagine Hagrid and you’d get the picture.

Hagrid from Harry Potter would always be my favorite.





Illustrating science since 2017 from Taipei. We serve fast food for the thought in this town. (っ◔◡◔)っ This is where we keep our fact sources and art.