Whilst there is snow in the garden early bulbs come into flower and there are only tentative signs of life, the business side of horticulture is in frantic overdrive to get their new products seen, reviewed and stocking orders to out retailers.
It is the same every year but this winter seems to have been especially short, or was last year’s ration of summer sun so mediocre, either way all the wholesalers and manufacturers are on the starting blocks super early in the hope of getting most out of the growing season. This means offering the cash strapped gardener value for money and new products he or she really needs.
So what do we need first:
Tools for the Jobs
Many of us are trying to find gaps in weather to still finish off jobs and projects that we would normally like to ‘get sorted’ before the Spring flourish. Things like moving plants, planting bare rooted stock and pruning.
I was struggling with some Wolf tree pruners at their maximum stretch in my and my neighbour’s garden. Apart from the ‘Heath Robinson style’ of design the whole set up was just too clumsy when there are telephone wires and, dare I say, power lines about. I remembered being impressed by the Fiskar’s Telescopic Tree Pruner last year at a garden show and was determined to give it a trial. With this pruner you have a bypass cutting blade operated by a sliding mechanism lower down the handle. The handle itself can be rapidly adjusted to any length from 2.4 to 4metre, enabling a cutting height of just about 6metres from the ground. The head and blade can be adjusted to any angle to enable the cutting of upright shoots from the ground. There are not strings to get snagged or caught up in the twigs or little pulleys to get clogged up with leaves or dirt. There is just subtle hidden mechanics that are a hallmark of Fiskar’s engineering and design.
Fiskars are Finnish and if there is anything the Fins know about then its cutting wood and that is what Fiskars tools have always done better than most. They do everything that cuts and slices from highly durable kitchen/flower cutting scissors, a range of axes, tailored for the size of the person doing the job and the type of wood to be cut. There are also very ergonomically designed garden tools aswell, many of which seem like they have ‘re-invented the wheel’. I must admit that when the product range went all black and orange and ‘plasticy’ I was horrified and thought that the had slid to the lowest common denominator. But having bought myself some of their smaller tools on recommendation, I was instantly a convert. The plastic is as strong as metal but super light. With loppers and pruners, the sharpness of the blades enables you too slice effectively through any hard wood that you can
get the jaws around, not just once, but week after week. The Power GearX tool range of loppers and shears make you feel like some bionic super-being with power and stamina to match any matcho tree feller. On top of that the simple gearing does not have any bushes or bearings to wear.
I was so impressed with their tools that when I turn up on their stand at a garden show just to see what’s what sort of thing, I find myself singing their praises and flogging their products on their stands to any unconvinced punters. The easiest tool to sell is their secateurs, particularly the new PowerGearX pruners that have a rotating handle. This seems at first sight rather like my Felco No7s, which because of the rotating handle reduces the friction of the fingers on the handle, thus providing an extra 20% more power to the closing blades. With the Fiskar PowerGearX pruner the rotating handle drives a gear ‘that makes cutting 3.5 times easier compared to standard mechanisms’ – so say Fiskar. This action of the handle and that extra power for less effort makes them especially suitable for arthritic gardeners – and believe me there are a lot of those about.
So I decided to compare them with my Felco 7s whilst cutting some elm suckers. On the same size or width of elm branch I struggled to get through, whereas the Fiskars tool cut through with obviously more ease. I will let you know how I get on with the Fiskar’s Telescopic Pruner when it arrives and tell you how it lasts along with the other tools have in the Fiskar range.