Pride of Place

brick wall treeTook a pleasant stroll down along the bottom of our bank yesterday. We used to call this area of our section, Tiger Country. But since R. has tamed it, keeping the long grass at bay, not one tiger has been spotted.

leaf heap

autumn sprawl 

Long gone now, the lawnmower-man Trev (not his real name) who insisted he knew how to cut lawns and trim weeds. He didn’t. We’d recently hired him to replace our previous, wonderful lawnmower-man, who had been cutting our lawns perfectly for well over ten years (although he hadn’t been paid to venture far into Tiger Country) .

leaves against the sky.JPG

our maple tree is always most reluctant to give up its autumn fashion statement

tree knot.JPGan oddly-shaped knot. I think it looks a little like a cowled figure. No doubt damage from a severed limb. 

So as ‘Trev’ was so bad at cutting what grass he was asked to cut, we made the decision to take back the lawn mowing. We opted for a push mower to do the job. And a battery-powered weed eater.


tree and wall.jpg

I’m a big fan of the clucking sound the push mower makes. It reminds me of hearing my mother mowing the lawns when I was a child; the smell of cut grass wafting through open windows. And my granddad mowing his lawns. Turns out, we’re a family of push mower owners.

winter berries.JPG

scarlet winter berries spilling from autumn pods 

Early in our marriage, we lived for a time in the North Island. Luckily this meant that for five years, we had the bonus of being near to where my mother also lived. She’d moved from Southland to Palmerston North sometime in the late seventies, living there for the rest of her life. Once on a visit to us in the Hutt, she had stashed in the boot of her olive-green Honda Civic, a present for us – tra-la! A second-hand, push mower spray painted gold, no less. Very kind of her. Just what we needed. (Although R. didn’t really appreciate the free rein she thought this now gave her to point out when the lawn needed mowing).

tall tree.JPGthese beautiful native trees have grown so tall since we moved here twenty-three years ago 

tree & grass.JPG

There’s a trend to let things revert back to their wild state. To save the honey bees. Bring back the frogs. Which I’m all for. However, bees are still visiting the many wild plants we leave to grow on the borders. Unlike a lot of suburbia, our section is not manicured to within an inch of its life. Far from it. There are still ragged edges. There’s still plenty of room for the bees to breathe and wild flowers to take root from bird droppings. The clucking mower simply brings a welcome touch of sweet order. And there’s no harm in that.


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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