14th May 2023

Every year something different catches my attention.

Not that it wasn’t there before.

Previously it just did not get my focus.


During my early childhood days in England, a lawn was something people were very proud of.

It had to be mowed to a particular length and those lines had better be straight!


white and gray wooden house near grass field and trees

(Pexels provided an example.)

Dandelion on your lawn?

Off with your head!

How times have changed.


Google maps allowed me to sneak a look at the lawn I used to mow, circa 1964-76.

Looking a bit more respectable than when I was responsible for it πŸ™‚

No lines for me. I mowed the same way I vacuumed. Erratically.

Dandelions were less prolific then.


My lawn-mowing days on Long Island.

Wendy and Jill were my aunt’s beloved Cocker Spaniels.

Better known as “the Monsters”.

The sight of a Cocker Spaniel now always grabs my heart. Too many memories.


Apartment living had a lot to be said for it.

Until I purchased a house with a garden, I never had occasion to think about lawns or dandelions or any other kind of weed.

Although, that’s not quite right….


When my parents left Barbados, their whole lives reduced to 13 pieces of baggage, they eventually re-established themselves in Florida.

Eventually is its own story, but they lived for some years in St Petersburg, in a house with far too much grass.


The house in Barbados had a large garden, but it consisted mostly of large flowerbeds full of exotic blooms.

The small amount of grass grew slowly without much enthusiasm, so it was not a problem and there was a lad who could always be summoned if it had a sudden growth spurt.

Not so in Florida.

Father surveyed the grass, realising it would be his responsibility. The only mower he was familiar with was the manual kind.

This was what he must have. The search took us the length and breadth of St Petersburg. It was cause for congratulations when we found one.

Not that congratulations were offered.


“Mission accomplished”, I thought, as I flew back to New York.

Contentment lasted until the first time Dad attempted to cut the grass.

Machine and man not equal to the task.


In due course a motor mower of some sort was obtained and the grass was beaten into submission.

But not the mole-crickets. They emerged one Spring, destroying large patches of the grass.

There was a good deal of moaning about the mole-crickets but dealing with them was beyond my capacity.

So I listened sympathetically but could offer no advice.


Mum would probably have been grateful to have something as simple as a dandelion to deal with.

Florida had been selected as a temperate climate but proved to be a disappointment when frost arrived to slay my mother’s flowers.

And in summer, crushing humidity.


The move to Florida, in large part was to be near old friends but sadly, within mere weeks the husband succumbed to cancer and his wife went back to Washington DC.

My only input had been to facilitate the move and sponsor my parents as US residents.


Advice to young people:

Do not allow your parents to believe you have influenced them. You will be forever deemed responsible for everything that occurs thereafter.

Mum needed a hip replacement. With no health insurance, this would be expensive.


What I had no way of knowing was that my parents could have afforded it. It would certainly have been cheaper by far than moving back to England and all that entailed.

Foolishly, I had told them that if it was what they decided, I would assist.

Running full tilt into a brick wall would have been a better idea.

Anyway, they went back and for a few years I travelled back and forth to visit them in Wiltshire.


For all the moaning and complaints, I think the move was for the best and I got to spend a little time in the country of my birth that I had really never had a chance to know.


It was a good many years later that I acquired the garden wherein grew this splendid clematis.

Additionally, I had some very wonderful trees and a tiny rose that I nursed back to health after it was crushed beneath a falling branch.

It was my first real encounter with dandelions to which I will admit I had been programmed to object. Foolish hours of energy were discharged in the attempt to remove them.

In my mind, I think I was trying to create the sort of garden that would have met with my mother’s approval.


Years after she was gone, I was trying to make myself into what I thought she wanted me to be but never was.

One can only be who one is, not something you believe someone else will like or love.

Trying to fit yourself into the wrong mold will never work


Now, dandelions are my friends. I see them in clusters like people hanging out chatting.


As I walk through the meadow, they seem to look up at me. To notice me passing by.


“Hello! Are you well?”

As if it matters to them.


Fanciful rubbish, of course but who’s to object?

Suddenly I have a whole hillside of friends.

They’ve been there all along.

But now I’m noticing them.

5 thoughts on “Mowns?

  1. Isn’t it amazing how the inclusion of a picture of dogs can immediately result in a (bot generated?) response from a dog site! You’ll no doubt have dandelion lovers commenting too – just like me!

  2. As so often with your posts, I become completely immersed in some piece of biography and then finding myself wishing I could see the whole of it on one place.
    But that’s me being selfish.

    1. When I allow my fingers their freedom they roam in completely unplanned detours. Maybe I should re-write some of my earliest posts?

  3. My brother and I often had to help my dad cut our lawn on a Saturday morning (well, we kind of helped – actually we just held the cord of the lawnmower and in between picked the dandelions and waved them in the wind). After that my dad gave us a few cents which we immediately used to buy ice cream at the cafe around the corner! I love the Cocker Spaniels photo – miss ours too πŸ’Œ.

  4. When my parents bought their first house in 1967, my dad immediately bought a Suffolk Punch motor mower so he could have the ‘lines’ in his lawn. When I moved to Beetley, I bought a Flymo; no lines, just short grass. I used to uproot the Dandelions, but gave up on that in 2018.
    Now, because of Atrhritis, I have had to resort to paying someone to mow the lawns. I told him ‘no lines’, so he uses a rotary motor mower. I came to love the Dandelion flowers, and the colour they bring to the lawns.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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