Gift / Grow

Robotic lawnmower inspired by sheep

Image: nixxphotography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This time of year is wonderfully bursty. The peas, beans and nasturtiums that were planted from seed into the back garden a few weeks ago are now beginning to climb up their frames; the herbs are recovering from being ruthlessly cut back in April and are issuing forth new growth; the jasmine is beginning to trail and show its first few blooms. And then there’s the grass. Even though the lawn was only seeded a month or so ago, the grass has gone from being fresh and tidy to uneven and straggly. Thus, a lawnmower is required.

As the lawn is barely big enough for a game of two-a-side, let alone five-a-side, the best option seems to be an old-fashioned push-along lawnmower (memories of public information films about the dangers of cutting through a lawnmower cable still stick in my mind from childhood. Plus it’s eco-friendly, which is nice.) My dad swears by picking up vintage gardening equipment on eBay as even the cheaper-end stuff from the 1950s and 1960s is much better quality than modern stuff. I shall be following his lead. However, a part of me can’t help but wish for a larger garden – and bank balance – so that I could justify the ridiculousness of a robot lawnmower.

The Husqvarna Automower was inspired by sheep, in that it cuts the grass ‘little and often’. This means that the clippings are short enough to be absorbed into the soil and fertilise the grass. It not only mows the lawn without needing any manual assistance (you just programme a timer), it also works its way around obstacles, heads back to the charging station when it runs out of energy and texts you if it gets into any trouble. Yes, you read that right. You could be having a night out with friends, feel your phone vibrate and receive a text from your lawnmower. However, £3,499 is rather a lot of money for an anthropomorphised garden gadget. I wonder how long it’d take to teach a sheep to send texts?

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