My gran doesn’t do quite as much gardening as she used to. The rose bed in the front garden has gone, but she still puts in a big block of pillar-box red pelargoniums every year. There’s also the hedge. Or to give it its proper respect, The Hedge. The Hedge is a thing of solid precision, with crisp lines and a reassuring permanence, and my gran takes the same pride in it that certain neat-minded men take in a well-tended lawn. However, it’s become increasingly difficult for her to trim it. The hedge trimmer quickly gets too heavy and the manual shears are a tiring effort.
It was a bit of good luck then that Argos got in touch recently to ask Plantedd to review one of their gardening products. I decided to try the Bosch mini hedge trimmer (the Isio Shape and Edge) to see if it was worth getting one for my gran. It could be the lightweight alternative that ensures that The Hedge continues to get its short back and sides. The tool also doubles up as a lawn edger, but I’m primarily reviewing it as a handy way to keep hedges and topiary tidy.
To the review then.
The mini hedge trimmer comes in a metal tin, with a hedge trimmer attachment; a lawn edger attachment; an instruction manual and a charger.
The manual says it can run for up to 50 minutes on a full charge – enough time to clip the average household hedge, but perhaps not for your larger jobs.
It’s a reasonably light thing. I weighed it on the kitchen scales and it came in at around 600g (about the same as a jar of marmalade incidentally…). There’s a good grip to it, with soft non-slip plastic on the top and the underside of the handle, and the whole thing feels quite well made. Although I’m reviewing the tool as a hedge trimmer, I did swap the attachments around to see how that works. It was a bit of fiddle. You need to line up a hole in the attachment with a metal nub on the device and then slide and click the base lid back on. It’s not the most straightforward click-click and away-you-go sort of process, but it’s ok once you get the hang of it.
I decided to put it through its paces by giving my box ball a haircut. When is the right time to prune a box hedge or topiary? The second half of June is a good bet, so when Wimbledon kicks off then that’s your time but really any point from May through to the end of June is ok. The box plants put on most of their new growth from April to June, so you’re cutting back the new growth to encourage it to be bushy. And then most people give the hedge or topiary a second trim in August to tidy up the shape.
Here’s how my box ball looked before and after its visit to the barber.
I’m happy with the results. The hedge trimmer was easy to use, and because it’s relatively small you can wield it with good control so the awkward angles or tricky bits are a little less awkward and a little less tricky. The cuts were clean and it didn’t ‘chew’ the stems. There’s a safety catch that you have to push before you can press the trigger all the way to make the device come to life, and if you release the trigger then the safety catch locks back on. I didn’t have any problems with the hedge trimmer, but it did occur to me when I was using it that my gran might find it difficult to keep squeezing the trigger for too long. Perhaps holding it with both hands, like a lightsabre, would help.
There’s enough bite to it to tackle the sort of occasional trim that most of us would need to use it for. The mini hedge trimmer is a good choice for people who are maintaining the shape of a couple of existing hedges or some topiary. If you’re at the other end though and you’ve got a hedge maze or a whole zoo of topiary animals, then it’d be like trying to dig a hole for a big tree using a trowel.
All in all, I think it’s a good wee gadget. The verdict is a thumbs-up for this handy little power tool.
Argos have kindly supplied an extra one of these Bosch mini hedge trimmers to give away to one of you lucky people.
To be in with a chance of winning, you can enter the prize draw below. Either use your Facebook account or your email address to log in. Everybody has up to six entries but each chance to enter is earned, for example, by leaving a comment or by tweeting.
The prize draw is only open to those 18 and over with a mainland UK postal address (sorry to disappoint anybody out there!). The winner needs to respond within 7 days of contact because failure to do so will mean that another winner gets picked.
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Argos sell the Bosch Isio Shape and Edge mini hedge trimmer as well as other tools for the garden on their website and in their stores.