THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar24

Shears Or Power Tools?

Shears or power tools? What is best to use?

The Joy Of Shears

I love my Okatsune shears, the beautifully balanced red and white handled pruning shears from Japan.

They do everything you need, whether giving a little extra detail to a topiary piece or bashing their way through a hawthorn or beech hedge that boundaries a garden.

shears or power tools

Another pair of shears you may wish for, that are far sharper than any power tool ever needs to be, is this Tobisho made pair of curved, steel blades…

tobisho topiary shears

They are basically two samurai swords bolted together. So sharp they could cut sunlight. Yes… I would say they have that kind of mythic quality.

Lightweight and long-handled they are a joy to use and with good technique are amazingly quick at pruning boxwood topiary, spheres and organic hedges.

Topiary Maintain

Shears, whether the super sharp steel of Tobisho or the great value, great quality Okatsune, are where my heart lies and the first tool I reach for on a morning of clipping.

The Practicalities Of Power Tools

If I could, I would always use my shears.

However, as a professional topiary artist I do not always have the luxury of time and, there can be no doubt, a power tool is going to be quicker over big expanses of hedge. So what happens when I work somewhere time is of the essence, but quality must not be compromised?

I will use a power tool to remove the weight of growth from a topiary piece, or hedge, first. This gives me a chance to see what I am doing. The shears are then used to give a better finish, as well as give detail to the final piece – the blades and the angle they are set from the handles help me get into areas a power tool will never get to.

not made by power tools
Made with shears, not power tools

As power tools go, do I use petrol or electric?

I have used petrol tools, generally made by Stihl, for nearly 20 years. Last year I started dipping my toe in the water, trying electric tools. And found I loved them, and that with two batteries and a quick charger I never have to stop work.

Then last week I made the final decision to no longer use petrol tools and switch everything over to electric.

So I still use Stihl hedge trimmers, but now they are the lighter, cordless trimmers. Expensive yes – two batteries are almost as much as the machine itself. But this stops me getting a face full of petrol fumes every time I use them. That should benefit my lungs in years to come!

On top of that, the quality of these electric power tools is so much better than it use to be… I have been seriously impressed by the equipment so far and it has even had the power to cut hedges in the winter, when growth has hardened off.

Electric tools are a better option for reducing your carbon footprint, although not perfect as you do have to dig up lithium for the battery. But I recommend, as power tools go, to move onto them…

STIHL Hedge trimmers Hsa 56 + AK10 + Al101 Tagliasiepi Electric

 

For Better Or Worse – Shears Or Power Tools?

If you are working in your own garden, shears every time.

Even if you have a lot to clip, you can spread the work through the year (including winter.) It is healthy for you, better for the environment, less noisy and a joy to use the decent shears.

Get Your Shears Here

But if you are going to use power tools, because you are a busy bunny or you work professionally, then go for an electric hedge trimmer, before finishing the topiary with shears for better detail and a cleaner cut.

And if you use a green energy supplier, you can really knock some points off of your carbon footprint!

I use Bulb, do check them out!

May03

Selection Of Topiary Videos To Help You Clip

Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …

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May03

Mark Zlotsky – Topiary Tango In New York

Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …

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Apr27

Gardenista Interview – I Talk About Modern Topiary

Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.