“ Artel / Type: Pruners - Snippers „
This spring, I decided that my garden needed brightening up so I dug a little border and filled it with flowers of all shapes, sizes and colours! It certainly had the desired effect, and I've really enjoyed having the flowers as a focal point when I'm out in the garden. While it's been very low maintenance, my mum, who's a much more experienced gardener, suggested that I should deadhead the flowers to prolong the flowering life of the plants- apparently, removing dead flowers in this way helps conserve the plants' energy, encouraging it to continue flowering throughout the summer. It's also not a great look to have a flowerbed full of withered, wilting flowers, so it serves an aesthetic purpose too! To encourage me in my deadheading endeavours, my mum bought me a little pair of these deadheaders- I think she bought them at a National Trust property, as they're often available in their gift shops, but you can also get them online through the Artel website for £3.99 each. They're available in three colours- pink, yellow and blue, and I have the latter. These little snippers are very simple in design, consisting of a sturdy plastic spring action handle with carbon steel blades attached. They are very compact, at around 10cm long, and come in a small plastic sleeve that's handy for storage. They're very easy to use- the sides of the handle can be gently squeezed to bring the blades together, snipping off the dead flowers with a clean cut. Their small size also makes them ideal for getting to the dead flowers without disturbing the rest of the plant. The blades, however, aren't particularly sharp, so you can't really use them for anything other than deadheading flowers. This is their intended purpose, but it would be handy if they were a little more powerful as there are plenty of plants around the garden that need cutting which these just aren't strong enough to handle. I recently tried to use them to trim the roots of some garlic I'd grown, but trying to cut through even a small bundle of roots with these resulted in the blades becoming disaligned, making it impossible to cut with them. They soon snapped back into shape, but it did make me realise that the all-in-one handle design limited their usefulness for tackling other jobs around the garden. The other downside to these Deadheads is that I'm not sure they're even necessary in the first place! The kinds of flower stems that these can cut through could be easily severed with a pinch between fingernails, without the need for a tool of any kind. I did read that a clean cut was somehow better for the plant, but I wasn't totally convinced. I have been using them despite my doubts, however, partly because I don't want them to go to waste, and partly because there's something strangely satisfying about snipping away! For me, that's the main advantage of these- because I enjoy using these Deadheads, I'm more likely to remove the dead flowers than if I was just pinching them with my fingers. So, while they're not strictly necessary and have limited usefulness, they do make deadheading a bit more fun, and certainly provide a quick, clean cut. For the job they're designed for, they're sturdy enough, but don't expect them to be up to any tougher jobs around the garden. Overall, I'd give them 2.5 stars, but I've been generous and rounded it up to 3.