A lot of gardeners use Felco secateurs, I am one of them and have two pairs. They are wonderful and I wouldn’t be without them. They are my constant companions and, thanks to Helen Yemm’s advice column in the Daily Telegraph, I now even send mine away each year to Burton McCall in Leicester to be serviced, sharpened and cleaned. BUT….despite their undoubted quality and celebrity following, there are certain issues……..
Firstly, like all precision tools, they are ‘reassuringly expensive’, although they do come with a lifetime guarantee. If they were a foodstuff, they would only be sold in Waitrose. I have seen them for sale in various outlets for between £30 for the Economy version which nobody would want to own, to over £65 for the all singing, all dancing No. 7 with one revolving handle which “spreads muscular force evenly over all fingers, reducing the effort by a third and preventing tendonitis and inflammation“.
Secondly, judging from their weight and size, they are generally made for people with a large hand span, although there is a compact version No.12 for just £55!
The third problem is that you really need a holster on your belt for the Felcos because they are too big and heavy to fit in your pocket. If you leave them lying around there is a real danger of losing them. Personally, I don’t use a holster, I slip them in my back pocket and just hope they don’t fall out.
My wife, who has small hands, finds my Felcos too big and heavy for cutting flowers for the house, deadheading the annuals and general pruning. Instead, she uses an ancient, but small pair of cheap secateurs we probably got free with a magazine subscription, now blunt and useless.
Then I came across the Pocket Pruner from Burgon & Ball, a beautifully crafted pair of secateurs weighing just 150g and only 17cm long. Guaranteed for five years and with carbon steel blades, a sap groove to prevent sticking, an easy to operate and reliable finger lock and cushioned handles make them almost as good as Felcos, and the smaller size fits my wife’s hands perfectly. Best of all they just slip into her pocket and, at the time of writing, are just £12.95 from Amazon!