Our in My Portmanteau series reveals a collection of Les Nécessités, those necessary items that must go with us wherever we go, whether linked to memories, are ever so practical, or simply just so darned fun and frivolous it’s a jolly laugh to keep. We like to view them as an extension of ourselves and give them their rightful place in our life, a celebration if you like of the simple yet necessary.
In my Portmanteau
Today I open the lid of my Portmanteau to reveal… wait for it…anticipation is building… I can tell…ta da… Secateurs.
Okay, I can hear it from here. ‘What, pray tell, are secateurs?’ (If you are already in the know, you obviously get outside more.) No, they are not some fancy French word for a new stinky cheese cutter, rather, they are a French word for garden clippers or pruning shears, that is a type of scissors for use on plants. But, oh, they are so much more.
A good pair of Secateurs, kept oiled and sharp, can cut away weeds, prune roses, but can also tackle something slightly bigger. I managed to cut away almost all but the most ferocious of tree suckers with my secateurs. I would argue that they are the most necessary tool in the garden. If one could only have one tool, this should be it.
You can’t spend enough money on a good pair of Secateurs. It truly is a matter of you get what you pay for when it comes to these garden scissors. That does not mean I broke the bank for mine, far from it. I went with what I could afford, but they are also at the top of my birthday list this year as I dream of something even better. (Pumpjack gets to use electric ones when he is pruning in the vines. Now that is top end!)
They should fit sweetly in your hand, as not all are created equally. My secateurs for example are much smaller than Pumpjack’s, he of the large hand variety. They should squeeze and cut easily. A bad pair will be to tight and your hand will begin to hurt after any real usage. And you must sharpen them regularly, so good quality steel blades are required. There are even left-handed secateurs for those lefty gardeners out there, so don’t be seen dead-heading with a pair for the right.
How does your Garden Grow?
There are of course additional tools I like to work with in my garden. I have a short antique pitchfork (ideal for cleaning out the chicken house), a hand hoe rake, a hand held trowel, and full-sized shovel (long handled for leverage and pointed at the bottom), and of course a sledge hammer. Truly, the latter seems to come in handy for all sorts of odd jobs. My list is actually infinite when it comes to garden tools, but when working to a budget, one must prioritize, and Secateurs are top of my list.
What’s top of your list of garden tools?
If inquisitive or in need:
I use Felco Secateurs
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