It replaces the Massey Ferguson 135 that has been in operation at the Garden since 1969. The Garden staff deliberated long and hard to balance the opportunity of an improved piece of machinery with its ease of use against the familiarity and dependency of ‘a dear old friend’, as Estates Manager, Phil Starling put it. He went on to mark the end of an era by saying, ‘it’s only the Massey and perhaps one or two other members of staff that have been here longer than me!’
The purchase of the new John Deere is a major capital investment and the Garden is very grateful to receive this support. The new tractor will be the engine of the Garden and enable us to work more efficiently. It will be used for a wide range of operations from hauling trailers, loading and excavations, from improving paths to landscaping. It will be a multi-use tool and comes just at the right moment, with much extra work to do following the completion of the Sainsbury Laboratory. Landscape and Machinery Supervisor, Adrian Holmes, is looking forward to working with the new tractor, saying, ‘It will certainly make a big difference to the Landscape and Machinery Section, especially when working on those more labour-intensive tasks such as path maintenance and the turning of the Garden’s large compost heaps. Although it will greatly help with things like hauling trailers and supplies around the Garden, part of me will be sad to see it go as I have used it nearly everyday for the past ten years.’
This is a working Garden, and although wherever possible major horticultural tasks and developments are scheduled to be undertaken outside public opening hours, if you do spot the John Deere colours of green and yellow out and about in the Garden, please do remember to take care, particularly of children in your charge, and always be vigilant generally for machinery in use.