Steeped in British history, Blenheim Palace has stood like a 'jewel in the crown' in the English countryside at Woodstock, Oxfordshire for over 800 years. In 1874, it was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, the greatest British statesman that ever lived. Today, Blenheim is the home of the Twelfth Duke of Marlborough and his family.
The entire estate consists of 12,500 acres which includes commercially farmed and environmentally managed land. Some 2,100 acres are directly connected to the palace by way of parkland and award-winning formal gardens, which were designed originally by Capability Brown. Last year over 750,000 visitors passed through the gates to experience the splendour of an exceedingly well maintained, historic property of significant national pride.
Managing the parkland and gardens is no mean feat! With such a wide area of parkland grass to keep under control, Head of Rural Enterprises, Roy Cox and his team have their work cut out, but a chance viewing by the Duke of Marlborough, of a Major Tri-Deck TDR20000 mower working at Kirtland Park Polo Club, made their lives a whole lot easier.
Commented His Grace, The Twelfth Duke of Marlborough, "I saw the Major Tri-Deck mower operating at Kirtlington Park Polo Club and it was leaving a fantastic finish." he said. "Right across the park there was a lovely striped finish, something we had always wanted to achieve at Blenheim. I knew right off that it would be the ideal mower for us and so I spoke with Mike Moss, Head Groundsman at Kirtlington Park Polo and we arranged for a demonstration through Farols at Milton Common, our local Major Equipment dealer."
The man responsible for grass maintenance at Blenheim is something of a legend in his own right. Ron Keay is 80 years old, has been working at Blenheim Palace for 65 years and he knows a good mower when he sees one.
"This Major Tri-Deck mower is fantastic," commented Ron Keay. "We used to use a sixteen foot mower, but this new Major is twenty foot and therefore we get across the ground quicker. It's easy to attach, simple to adjust the height of cut - depending on what type of grass we are cutting. It's very heavy duty, built strong for the job, simple to maintain and follows the contours of the ground perfectly, so we don't get any scalping. We cut around three thousand acres per year and the Major is well capable of handling that task."
Added Ron, "I've always loved my job and been very proud of my work, but this new Major mower leaves it with such a perfect, striped finish that I'm absolutely delighted with the result. It's the same striping effect you would get with a cylinder mower, but far less costly. Now I'm even prouder of my work."
There's something about a striped, well mown lawn that brings satisfaction to many a gardener. "Lord Randolf Churchill, Sir Winston's father always said as he passed through the archway, that Blenheim, was the finest view in England," added His Grace, the Twelfth Duke of Marlborough, "I'm sure he would feel just as much pride in seeing the beautifully mown and striped grass that we see here today." he concluded.