One of the first of John Deere's new rear roller mowers sold in the UK is already earning its stripes at English Heritage's Osborne House on the Isle of Wight - Queen Victoria's palace by the sea.
The gardens and grounds are maintained by head gardener Debbie Goodenough and her team, who bought their first John Deere walk-behind mower, an R54RKB model, from local dealership R Hunt at Ventnor in April. Hunts were recently appointed John Deere's main homeowner dealer on the island.
The roller mower is being used to finish off the outside edges of the estate's larger grass areas, following a cut with a John Deere X595 lawn tractor equipped with a rotary deck and rear-mounted collector. It is also used to stripe the grass borders around planted features on the House's terrace gardens, which look out over the Solent.
"We've tried quite a few different lawnmowers at Osborne House over the years, but this is first time we've used a John Deere machine," says senior gardener Nigel Brown.
"I have to admit I was a little bit sceptical at first when I saw it on the brochure, as it looked quite lightly built, but it's proved to be a very good quality, solid mower, and we're really pleased with it. It gives a wide 54cm (21in) cut, and it has a big grass box that fills right up, which saves you having to empty it too often."
The photographs, taken in early May, show the new John Deere R54RKB rear roller mower working alongside Osborne House's south facing herbaceous border, adjacent to the walled garden, with the X595 lawn tractor in the background; and a view of the striped borders in the terrace gardens.
English Heritage's Osborne House & Gardens, Isle of Wight PO32 6JX, is open every day this summer from 10am to 6pm (house closes at 5pm) until 30 September 2008. Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk for further details of admission costs, special events and visiting times during the rest of the year.