Here’s how it happened. I asked for good regional websites and you recommended Plant Amnesty in the Seattle
area. Turns out it’s way more than a website – it’s a whole damn movement, so naturally I got caught up in it. (Hey, gang, let’s have a march on Washington – you can all crash at my place!)
WHAT THE HECK IS PLANT AMNESTY?
It’s the brain child of a very cool missionary for better pruning named Cass Turnbull. She’s listed on that link as "Our Founder" but it takes more than organizational skills to start a group with this mission: "To end the senseless torture & mutilation of trees & shrubs." (What else does it take? A big, crazy personality, I’m guessing.)
But just like any normal nonprofit, Plant Amnesty has actual staff, officers, and a quarterly newsletter. Upon joining, they’ll start calling you a Photosynthesizer Sympathesizer (as in "Welcome, you’re a…!") and you’ll have access to the members-only info on their website. Members who are local to Seattle can also attend their workshops and use their referral service to find landscape professionals who’ve passed the Plant Amnesty test about horticulture and pruning. Currently there are over 900 members in 46 states.
Located as I am on the opposite coast from Cass and her gang, my favorite thing about joining was receiving Cass’s DVD "Six Solutions to the Overgrown Yard," aka "Pruning Horrors and the Pruning Micro-Course." I watched all 111 minutes of it because she’s a hoot, and a damn good teacher. Sure, the video includes those little drawings that demonstrate correct pruning practices but the fun part is Cass’s photo collection of the worst abuses in pruning, some of which you see here.
WHAT CASS HAS TO SAY
I managed to catch Cass indoors long enough to ask about her certification and referral program for landscape professionals. Anyone questioning the need for it might be surprised by her sober assessment that "80 percent of the people in the business of gardening don’t know what they’re talking about." Ooh, that’s bad. And Seattle homeowners have a way to find the other 20 percent but what about everywhere else?