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!

Jun14

The Telegraph Wrote About My Topiary Work Yesterday

If you have a subscription, you can check out an article about bespoke ideas for your garden in the Telegraph. There are some great crafts people there, so check it out. Click Here To See The Article About my Topiary Work In The Telegraph

Jun06

Lockdown Thinking, Changes A-Coming…

Topiary Modern Mint

Lockdown has given me a chance to look through old notebooks and begin, gently, to piece together some sort of narrative about Modern Mint and how it has grown over the last six years. And it has changed massively in that time! Modern Mint Now, June Lockdown 2020 I currently make and maintain topiary all over the UK for clients who love well-pruned hedges and sculptures. I love this job – it is a beautiful art. In the winter I prune wisteria, roses and fruit trees in orchards. Much colder, shorter work days… but equally satisfying work. I give talks …

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Jun06

The Garden In Motion

During lockdown I went through a number of old notebooks. I found a note about Gilles Clement and The Garden In Motion – Le Jardin En Mouvement. Underneath my note I had written: “To be researched more! Something to definitely think over!” Now, five years later I have looked again… and am thrilled by this idea. The Garden In Motion is about taking a piece of unused land, and then as the gardener you make choices to do ‘as much as possible for the land and as little as possible against’ it. You are talking about limited input – watering, …

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