Accessible gardening: tools to keep lawns and hedges trim
Born with two fingers, very short arms and dodgy hips, Niki Preston has been on a long mission to find tools to make her life easier. She has found two battery-powered tools which help her keep her garden tidy.
Both tools are made by Wolf-Garten. The battery-powered lawn and hedge trimmer comes with a telescopic handle and nifty wheels for lawn edging. I cannot bend easily so lawn edging is most definitely not something I would have tackled in the past. The fact that it is battery-powered means that there is no annoying cable to worry about either.
Using this product as a hand-held hedge trimmer has been invaluable to me, especially for mass deadheading, where you remove dead flowers and plants. I have five large Erysimum Bowles Mauve plants and deadheading can take a very long time - especially as I keep having to take a break due to constant pain. But one quick sweep over the whole area and, hey presto! Deadheading done.
The interchangeable blades will be quite easy to change for most people. The operation requires you to use both hands and I was unable to hold the tool and slide on the new blade at the same time so I had to ask my husband James to help me out.
A quick trial as a lawn edger proved tricky because I was unable to change the length of the telescopic handle. A good grip and a relative amount of wrist strength is needed to reposition the handle to a suitable length, but the action of pushing the edger with its wheels attached is smooth and it is lightweight to push.
The secateurs are weighted very nicely and I can even hold them in my very small hand. I have found that these are ideal for thicker stems and branches that I simply would not have the strength to attempt before. I have trimmed several roses, a huge lilac bush and found cutting back our rather large ceonothus was a doddle.
The only problem I have is the complicated way to start the blades. A thumb and finger action is required to release the safety button before you can squeeze the trigger. The only way I could manage this was to hold the secateurs carefully between my knees. Once the blade is working though it will continue until you release the trigger, so only one safety button release is needed.
The red and yellow colours of both tools are great and if, like me, you tend to put things down and forget where you put them, they are easy to spot. They come with a rather smart carry case which is useful because you will always know where your charger is.