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Latest posts by Joe_the_Gardener


Posted: 28/01/2013 at 17:53
luke browning wrote (see)


I'm a keen gardener but also a mature student in my final year of a product design degree.

I am going to re-design the lawnmower because I feel it has some fundamental flaws in the way it was designed and has never been changed or adjusted, just modernised.

The main problem I see with the current design is its manoeuvrability and its inability to move in any direction that isn't forwards or backwards in a straight line.

Does every one have straight edges of their garden or flower beds, doing that silly dance at the end of your garden to turn it round. This dance consists of a 20 point turn or struggling to drag the mower round to head back down your garden. Would it be a good idea to have a lawn mower than can go in any direction, maybe turn on the spot or move like a car or one of the large expensive lawn mowers?

Other flaws i believe the lawn mower possess:
Electric mowers wire trailing behind
Cleaning and maintenance
weight of the mower
Turning the grass into a useful source for gardening such as mulching and cutting down on the amount of garden waste we create as a nation (this option would reduce the weight of the mower because you wouldn't be carrying any grass cuttings around in a box on the mower)
cutting close to trees, ponds, flower beds or any garden ornaments

Could you please list any problems or issues you have with lawn mowers as they are now, in appearance, the use of and maintenance and cleaning and power source?

Please could you contribute any ideas or features you feel a re-designed lawn mower should posses.

Any ideas or comments you have on this would be greatly appreciated


When I read your post I was reminded of the classic Dragons' Den line: "I think you're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist"

Among other things:

1.There's a lot to be said for a potentially dangerous machine like a mower to have a certain stability/inertia based on sitting squarely on the ground like a car. You don't want a mower that is easily overturned. If you use a Dyson-type ball roller, it's got to be stable on slopes and turns. Not everyone has a flat lawn (particularly round here!)

2. There comes a point where, if you can't handle a mower that's built to get through a lot of hard work, maybe it's time to get someone to do the job for you, rather than blame the machine for the fact that you are struggling.

3. Ditto in relation to cleaning.

4. Cordless mowers are bit like electric cars - the new technology doesn't do the whole job.

5. I don't really get your point about mulching: you've either got to leave the cut material on the lawn or take it somewhere as it won't just conveniently disappear. Not everyone wants their lawn mulched.

I can't really think of any reasonable feature that you can't buy, at a price, on a mower. There are good mowers and not-so-good ones, but having seen people buy cheap mowers and expect them to work like a tractor, I think there are more problems with the user than the mower.

Look forward to your reply,


squirrel shot for coming to the table.

Posted: 28/01/2013 at 15:53
Busy-Lizzie wrote (see)

"In France it's 150 metres from a dwelling but our local mayor told the local hunt not less than 300 metres from our house as we had children and animals when we moved here. Also he wouldn't let someone build a hide for shooting pigeons down our track because it was too close to the track and it's a public bridleway. So I would think it's 150 metres in the UK because of European law." 

Wherever I've stayed in France you've got to be a bit brave to go out into the countryside on Sundays and one other day of the week, because what with the armaments and the unruly dogs it's not at all pleasant. I'm amused that your mayor allows adults to be shot from 150 metres, but makes it just a bit harder to get the kids.

I think the control of the hunts is a bit variable across the France; in one place that I know, they seem to shoot anything that moves, and most of the locals despise them. I get the impression that the younger generations are not so keen on the hunt.

I don't have the information about UK law, but I doubt if it's the same as in France just because we're in the EU. We do all sorts of things differently.


small bird watch

Posted: 27/01/2013 at 21:00

That's not a bad list, nutty!

Tackling erosion

Posted: 27/01/2013 at 16:16

Which direction does the cliff-face face, CC?

fieldfare behaviour

Posted: 27/01/2013 at 16:11

I was watching a Mistle Thrush doing this to a flock of waxwings just after Christmas, and another one chasing away Long-tailed Tits from a hawthorn that still had some berries left. (Although of course the L-t Ts wouldn't have been interested in the berries!)

small bird watch

Posted: 25/01/2013 at 13:21

F.T., Waxwings have certainly been seen in Cornwall this winter. They are never seen as frequently as further north.

Harrogate, the British Trust for Ornithology do much more accurate surveys of bird numbers and trends; visit their website to get a flavour of it. But enjoy the Garden Birdwatch and don't worry too much about the science!


srong stone cleanrer

Posted: 24/01/2013 at 20:03

I like to see a happy gnome

Talkback: Orange ladybirds

Posted: 23/01/2013 at 10:16

I wrote my post without reading Kate's bloggy thingy, so no wonder it seemed a bit misdirected. Sorry folks - technology confuses me!

Talkback: Orange ladybirds

Posted: 20/01/2013 at 20:48


Could be.................the Orange Ladybird, Halyzia 16-guttata, which is fairly widely distributed in the south of Britain. It breeds on Sycamore, Dogwood and a range of other deciduous trees and, interestingly in view of your sighting, hibernates in, among other things, the foliage of Scots Pine.

The colouring and markings of some of the ladybirds is quite variable among individuals of the same species and according to age; some that are supposed to have spots don't, and the pattern variations can be confusing. The Orange Ladybird has white spots and apparently is generally less prone to colour variants than most, but I'm not any sort of an expert to be able to say whether a ladybird was actually a 'wrong-coloured' 10-spot, rather than an orange. It could be this summer's special subject!


small bird watch

Posted: 20/01/2013 at 17:23

They're pretty much the same size as Magpies, but without the long tail. I've just been watching three of them feeding on the little crab apples on next door's tree - like a Japanese painting.

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