Gardening: Tool Box: The great lawn order debate

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GENERAL Winter has been fighting a ferocious rearguard action in my neck of the woods, but the garden is now bright with flowers and the lawn-mowing ritual has started once again.

My partner for 1994's first outing was the new Qualcast Quadtrak. Priced at pounds 79.99 and aimed at young, first-time buyers, this is a plastic-bodied rotary mower with height-adjustable wheels at each corner and an electric motor. The deal includes 40ft of cable, complete with a fitted plug, but an extension will be needed if your patch of greensward is much bigger than a tablecloth. The plastic grassbox's size is compatible with a small lawn.

Backed by a five-year guarantee, this lightweight mower is easy to assemble and use. The main quibble is that even the lowest of its cutting heights is not quite low enough to satisfy gardeners who believe in really close shaves.

As always, the convenience of being able to plug into the mains - rather than going to the garage for petrol - is offset by a slight concern about the risk of cutting through the flex.

I have also been testing the new and more up-market Atco Consort. Watch this space.

Atco-Qualcast Ltd, Suffolk Works, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 1EY (0449 612183).

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