Is it worth trying to sharpen cheap secateurs?

Definitely. You don't necessarily need to dismantle them, either. Just hold firmly and use a sharpening stone or tool. But first use an abrasive kitchen pad to clean off any hardened sap or other residue, then decide whether the blade needs sharpening on both sides or only one - that is, both edges of the cutting blade on anvil secateurs, but just the outer edges of the blades on bypass models. Sharpen to the same angle as the blade was when bought.

Can you suggest a few shrubs with foliage suitable for floral arrangements?

My favourite is osmanthus, an attractive evergreen with variegated holly-like leaves that last for ages in a vase. Holly itself also lasts well in water, as do small branches of variegated coprosma, rosemary, dwarf and full-sized nandinas, fresh weigela foliage and, in winter, the twisted branches of corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana contorta). Flax is also popular with floral artists. Most pittosporums work well, and you might consider proteas, leucodendrons and waratahs.

If you have a gardening question,  email Glenys at glenyswoollard@clear.net.nz