“ Manufacturer: Artel / Type: Pruner „
I am reviewing a handy little Christmas gift which I received from my son. I was surprised to find a purple-coloured pair of scissor-type tools, about 10.5 cm long, in a purple plastic pouch, mounted on a card. They're called 'Herbies' and they are endorsed by The Herb Society. I think they're available in other colours, too. The card tells me that they're easier to use on some gardening jobs than tools like scissors, knives or secateurs because they have spring action handles. You don't use a scissor action - you just squeeze them between your finger and thumb with a pinching motion. You'll guess, from the name, that their main purpose is to assist in cutting herbs. They're also recommended to assist in propagation by taking cuttings between late spring and summer. At this time of year it's the healthy new growth on the tips that make good cuttings. The card says that they help keep the plant healthy, because you can snip with precision, which assists in maintaining a neat, bushy shape. Apparently they make it easier to reach into the centre of the plant. They are also recommended for deadheading plants - removing dead flower heads.
**A Note of Caution **
The Herbies have very sharp blades made of carbon steel. This helps them retain a sharp cutting edge. They need to be used carefully. I tend to be rather too casual around equipment and have had a fair few minor gardening accidents. I'm the kind of person who might just stick these in her trouser pockets while moving from one plant to another. I don't think I'll be doing that; I definitely feel these would be far safer kept in their little wallet. This does make me question whether, longer-term, the wallet will be robust enough to last, and I may need to find an alternative holder when the time comes.
** Put to the Test **
It's only in the last month or so that I've really had the opportunity to use them. It's not a great idea to do too much trimming in subzero temperatures! As the daffodils and other bulbs have bloomed and then faded, I have used this little gadget to dead head them. Many experts recommend dead heading, so that the plant puts its energy into restoring the bulb rather than on producing seed heads. This is purported to help the development of next year's blooms. They remove heads and stalks of tulips with ease. I needed to use very little pressure. Because my daughter is left handed I am aware that tools like these aren't always easy for lefties to use, so I tried them out left-handed and found they worked equally well that way. I've used them to snip off pieces of oregano and mint from my herb patch recently and was impressed with the ease and precision with which these snips worked. I found them far better than scissors or secateurs for this. I've taken a few soft tip cuttings and found these snips cut easily and cleanly, which is important if propagation is to have the greatest chance of success. I haven't tried them on anything thicker than a tulip stem and wonder how well they would cope with something more wooden, for instance, in dead-heading a rose. It's too early in the season to tell. I don't think I would use them on anything harder than that, as that's not what they were made for and I'm concerned that it might not be safe to push things too far. I guess I'll experiment carefully to see exactly what they can do.
I find that these little snips perform very well on their suggested uses. I do think they should be used carefully, and they are definitely not suitable for children: the blades are very sharp! These were a gift therefore I don't know what they cost, but prices on Amazon, gardening websites and others seem to vary between £3 - 4, which seems good value for money to me. I would have preferred them supplied with a more robust pouch, because I don't think the one supplied will last long, but I think that's a bit optimistic for the price. Five stars because they do what they are designed to do!
ARTEL UK Registered Design 4012736
EEC Registered Design 001738600-0001
Note: there is another, similar product called Deadhead Cutters. They look very similar in the photos, but I don't know if there are any subtle differences that would affect their function.
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