I suppose the people (the common people that is), don't see much of him at all, and therefore can't really view him. They know that someone is helping them and are deeply grateful but that's about it.
I think that if he came out, there would be a lot of support for him. However with the system in place, it would be impossible for him to be placed in a position of significant power. On the other hand, if one of the nobility were to champion his cause and actually try to help their people instead of leaving them to their own devices, it's possible that he may have some influence with that Lord/Lady.
As for his name, it is a regional thing. He was born and raised in the Lower Valley (a region in the world I'm creating), those born there traditionally have family/house names related to flora.
Having left the hush of the upper halls, and crossed the depths of the Braeth (an underground river, which is not all that deep because bear in mind we're talking about gnomes here), you would find yourself in Wattling Street, the main road through Udnalor. It's actually a long, well-worn passageway which opens out eventually into the City Centre. The gnome-buildings branch off Wattling Street as small burrows or caverns with boulder-blocked doorways for privacy. You can find armourers and smiths (though their armour tends to be on the small side for humans to buy) and many other types of trader.
There are many streets, ginnels and cooies which run off Wattling Street, the most famous probably being Smell Street, the domain of the infamous gnomish alchemists, the eponymous smell being very distinctive: the stench of cooking fungus, the aroma of subterranean spices, the pungent reek of rotting carcasses (used in some of the more notorious experiments). An encounter with an alchemist can really be spiced up (excuse the pun) if you have a well-stocked herb cupboard, and actually make up the potions, elixirs and draughts as they are ordered by characters.