The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.
So wrote Philip Larkin in his poem The Mower. And from today the public can view one of Larkin's own lawnmowers (although, sadly, not the one that finished off the hedgehog) at the British Library in King's Cross.
The mower (a 160cc Victa Powerplus for all you mower anoraks reading this) features as part of the Writer in the Garden exhibition which aims to "explore the rich history of ideas associated with the garden from the middle ages to the present day...using the work of poets, novelists and dramatists as well as the ideas of essayists, philosophers, designers, scientists and professional garden writers."
Alongside Larkin's grass-encrusted mower visitors can also Dryden's translation of Virgil's agricultural odes, and the manuscript of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden.