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My old hedge trimmer has finally bitten the dust, it was no longer safe any more as it refused to switch off straight away when I took my finger off the trigger. Mind you I must have had it for about 20 years so it hasn't done badly!
So, time to look for something to replace it and a catalogue fell out of my Saturday paper showing the Garden Groom which is said to be safer and more effective than a traditional hedge trimmer. I was intrigued, I did some research on the internet, watched a brief video of it working and decided it was the product for me.
It comes in two sizes, the Midi, which I bought and the Pro. I decided to buy the Midi because it was smaller and lighter which is important to me as I felt carrying the heavier version would be tiring for me and also because the shrubs and hedges I need to trim were fairly small so it wouldn't be overworked. The Midi has a 300W motor and a cutting head diameter of 23cm (9 inch), it weighs 2.7Kg (5.9 lbs) as opposed to the Pro which has a 500W motor, 29cm (11.4 inch) cutting head and weighs 3.5Kg (7.7lbs).
Both models operate in the same way, with a rotary cutting blade encased in a protective cover with a safety shield on the front of the blade so that you can't accidentally cut through the cable (unlike traditional hedge cutters) and thus in my vied it is somewhat safer to use. However, as with all power tools, you do need to be safety conscious. You could injure yourself if you were foolish enough the put your fingers through the safety grille and they do recommend that you wear safety goggles or glasses and keep children and pets away from the area when you are using this. All just common sense really.
Another big advantage of the Garden Groom is that it shreds and collects the clippings as you go - yes really, no more need to spend ages gathering up the clippings after you have finished as the majority go into the bag so it is quite simple to gather up the few stray bits at the end. Plus, because it shreds the clippings they take up less space - a big boon from my point of view. It also comes with a volume bag attachment which you can use instead of the on board collector the collect the clippings. The advantage of using the volume bag is that you don't end up carrying the weight of clippings around but you are connected to the bag through the hose. The clipping collector is held in place by a metal clip and is easy to remove, empty and replace.
Buying the Garden Groom
The Garden Groom doesn't appear to be stocked by many of the main retailers which is a shame but it is easy to find on the internet. Prices vary considerably, the catalogue I had with my paper priced the Pro at £99.99 and the Midi at £79.99. I found the Midi on sale through Godfrey DIY at just £59.99 including delivery which I thought was pretty reasonable, I placed my order on a Sunday and took delivery before 8.00 am on the following Tuesday which I thought was an excellent service.
Using the Garden Groom
When you open the box you find the product in there ready to use, literally all you need to do is to take it out of the box and plug it in, there is no assembly at all, it is ready to go. However as this was a new product to me and it came with a DVD I popped the DVD into my PC and watched it through. The introduction on the DVD is from the inventor, Graham Wilson, a retired engineer. He briefly explains what led to him developing the Garden Groom but it isn't a lengthy introduction, just a brief background and easy to listen to with his pleasant Merseyside accent. I watched the DVD right through, it didn't take long and it did provide some helpful hints about the best way to cut your hedge which were to prove useful later when I used it so I do recommend watching it.
I started out using the Garden Groom on a small hedge at the front of the house. It was very simple to use, first I ran it over the top of the hedge to get that level and the design of the machine makes it easy to get a level cut. Cutting the sides was slightly more tricky as it was low to the ground and I did not want to invert the machine as I felt this would impede the clipping collection but using it sideways on worked just fine. If the hedge hasn't been clipped before or if there are long branches projecting it is best to start above the hedge and bring the machine down on to it so that they get cut by the rotating blade but for hedges that have been regularly trimmed you can just skim over the top surface to tidy up.
I was impressed, it was very easy to use and it gave a great finish. There were a few leaves on the path when I had finished but not very many and they were easy to clear so I was pretty happy. Next I moved on to some shrubs in the front garden which were a little unruly and that I wanted to tidy up. These presented more of a challenge to the Garden Groom as the branches were very fine and difficult to trim however with a bit of practice I developed my technique and managed to trim off about 2 ft of growth although to be honest this would have been an easier job to do with a more traditional hedge trimmer. To be fair to the Garden Groom it is a hedge trimmer and I was trying to adapt it to do something else.
Would I recommend it?
Yes I would. It felt much safer using this than a tradtional hedge trimmer and the finish it gave was very good. It is easier to get a level surface with this as you just use the flat surface on the base to keep it level. They recommend that you use it to keep hedges tidy every two to three months rather than let them get out of hand and that makes sense to me having used it. The fact that it gathers up the clippings and shreds them is an enormous benefit from my point of view as gathering them up at the end is a job I hate and the shredded clipping are far less bulky so they can be either composted or disposed of fairly easily.
Overall a great solution to a regular garden chore and I am happy to support an ingenious developer of a new product which works well.
My friend got one - he said great IN THEORY..but pactically there were bad points - he said If the hedge has more than a couple of inches growth to remove, you basically have to use a dropping and lifting motion over the area you want to cut. he said it was tiring after a short while and attached bag and tube is a nuisance - he said, it takes so long.his general feeling was you are far better off buying a long reach hedge trimmer for about the same money which is easier and faster to use. even though you have cut the hedge and gathered up the cuttings on a long hedge . After 3 uses, he sold it in a car boot for £40.00.
If you really want to try one you can get it cheap 24£ (maybe used) on the well known auction site.