Tool Box: Not exactly a snip, but it cuts the effort of pruning

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FIRST, apologies to readers and to the makers of the Longhorn Hoe featured here last week: in the sentence explaining how to use the hoe - 'The technique involves swinging the hoe backwards and forwards, a few inches at a time, while walking straight ahead and keeping the blade about half an inch below the surface' - the words 'backwards and forwards' were replaced with 'from side to side'. The offending parties will be sentenced to a period of familiarisation with the Longhorn Hoe.

But back to this week. Percy Thrower, one of the most famous of gardeners, was the local parks superintendent when I was a Shrewsbury Chronicle reporter. His advice about making horticulture as easy as possible - 'It's supposed to be a pleasure' - rings as true today as in the Sixties.

The Felco Professional secateur from Switzerland is designed to make pruning 30 per cent easier, the importer says. I didn't devise a way to measure its efficiency but am sure the lower handle does take strain off the fingers and wrist by rotating as pressure is applied. This is a more natural action, but I think cutting power is slightly reduced.

Felco earns praise for providing a simple guide to servicing, maintenance and sharpening. However, the little gadget that is supposed to eliminate the need for a screwdriver failed to budge any of the three bolts that hold the secateur together.

Its recommended price of pounds 44.95 reflects a high-quality product, but its appeal depends to a great extent on how much pruning there is to be done. If the workload is light, a basic secateur can be bought for about pounds 10.

Burton McCall Ltd, 163 Parker Drive, Leicester LE4 OYP (0533 340800).

(Photograph omitted)