Tool Box: Cutting back on Millionaire's Row

A HINT of discord has crept into the usually peaceful atmosphere at Tool Box Towers. Stuart Gilham, the professional who does so much to keep our garden looking good, is not a great admirer of the latest Gardena Accu 4 edging shears. What he describes as a Millionaire's Row gadget, rather than a serious gardener's tool, has a compact, built-in battery pack that gives about 45 minutes' cutting time after taking 14 hours to charge.

Eight short words - 'It edges too slow and costs too much' - encapsulate his criticism.

On the other hand, anything that makes life a bit easier almost invariably appeals to a man as inherently indolent as yours truly. What you save, in this case, is the considerable amount of energy that would be expended with manual shears. I appreciate the implement's light weight and the optional handle, which is adjustable for length and enables the shears to be operated at eight different angles. That said, Gardena's mid- range model would be so much better if the blades operated faster.

The shears are listed at pounds 49.99, plus pounds 18.99 for the handle. This is another classic case of attempting to equate real money with something as unquantifiable as convenience. Try before you buy.

Gardena UK Ltd., Dunhams Lane, Letchworth, Hertfordshire, SG6 1BD (0462 686688).