Sunday, January 11, 2009

Roomba for the Lawn?

Now there’s a scary thought, a Roomba type mower to cut your lawn. Imagine setting a lawn mowing robot loose on a Saturday afternoon; saving lots of time for more interesting garden activities. I can come up with a long list of things I would do with the time saved. However, the maternal gardener in me says, NOT SO FAST!

If anyone watched Paul James' TV show, Gardening by the Yard this morning, you would have heard about such a mower. A little self propelled robot. No hands needed. You simply define your mowing space with a thin wire sensor and let the robot go.

Am I going to trust a little wire, placed down where the grass grows, to protect all my garden babies? Would you leave your five month old infant on the living room floor with the Roomba in action? I don’t think so.

I personally was horrified at the thought of setting a robot loose on my lawn surrounded by hand edged, deeply curved garden beds…everywhere. I do not have stone edged gardens like Paul James.

From the moment Paul suggested there was such a mower, I envisioned my hosta collection, all 250 varieties, turned to mulch. How can I trust a little robot to do as I have instructed, when other electronics, like my laptop, have a mind of their own and think they are smarter than I am?

So I say NO to the robot mower. It's worth the extra time it takes to mow by hand and know my plants are safe from this potential mechanical monster. And my neighbors better not get any ideas either!

Hosta Great Expectations with flowering shrub Dutzia gracilis

Hosta Wolverine with Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Karmina'


  1. Hi Hostabuff, I'm with you! Let's get our exercise from mowing ourselves and feel confident that our edge plantings are safe!

  2. Hostabuff,

    I actually like the idea of garden robot. But I'll wait until they make some that help you weed or sow seeds.

  3. Call me puritanical, but I think robotic lawnmowers are really designed for people who don't like gardening. I actually quite like mowing. I agree with Mr Brown Thumb, I can think of better uses for robots in the garden. How about one that picks dead leaves/blossom out of the pond? Or one that keeps squirrels away from the bird feeders without frightening away the birds? Or one that finds your secateurs for you when you can't remember where you left them?

  4. No robots, thank you. Lovely blog Hostabuff. Will spend some time reading further. Wonderful photos.

  5. Hi Hostabuff, I'm glad I found your blog by visiting Francis' today. My husband bought me a robotic vacuum cleaner a few years ago, and like your mower, it acted exactly the same way. Of course it didn't eat hostas and lilies, etc, but it ran into the dog's waterbowl and spilled it, and anything else that might be 'lying around' due to a small child roaming the area. And let's not forget that small child, I mean, it scared the heck out of him! So, it's vacuuming by arm & back that I do...same with lawn mowing!
    Wow, you have hostas galore. I have the 2 you show in this post, and a few others, but not many more than maybe 4 or 5 types...but only a few of each. (I'm not sure where I would put them all).
    I will have to check in to see all of your hostas this spring!

  6. Hi Hostabuff, love your post! It did give me a rather frightening mental vision of the little "Lawnba" gnawing its way right into a bed of flowers... ouch!

    Your garden beds and hostas are gorgeous!

  7. I love my Roomba. I have had it for over a year and the battery still lasts about an hour and a half, which is more than enough time for my living room and bedroom. When I empty the bin in the Roomba I notice more dirt/dust/small particles than I notice when I empty my regular vacuum cleaner. I am considering getting another for my basement.


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