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Cass Turnbull Garden

Updated: Apr 23, 2022

Photo credit: Plant Amnesty
Photo credit: Plant Amnesty

A garden has been developed on land donated by Kay Bullitt to celebrate the memory of Cass Turnbull. Cass started Plant Amnesty, a non-profit group dedicated to educating the public about pruning trees and shrubs correctly. Cass believed that one could prune trees to frame a spectacular view with no need to cut down or to top trees. She presented a humorous slide show/lecture at one of our community meetings years ago and showed her disdain for topiary where gardeners try to contort a tree or shrub into a shape unknown in nature. She gave talks at the annual Flower and Garden Show and wrote books on pruning. Her Guide to Pruning 3rd Edition is still available in print and for Kindle.

Cass Turnbull. Photo credit: Plant Amnesty
Cass Turnbull. Photo credit: Plant Amnesty

I had been trying to schedule another meeting with her, but her board meeting (Plant Amnesty) clashed with our 1st Wednesday meetings. It was shortly after our last conversation that the news came out that she had died suddenly while vacationing in Hawaii. She was a delightful speaker and endlessly creative in her efforts to educate the public. We quote from her obituary: “From the beginning, she used humor and creativity to draw people close enough to hear her message. She published photos of distressing gardens in the "Ugly Yard Contest” and she made refrigerator magnets with photos of comical pruning disasters. Always willing to be silly, she dressed as Father Weedo Sarducci to hear plant confessions of gardeners and landscapers.”

(Published by The Seattle Times on Feb. 5, 2017)

We should visit this lovely hillside garden and remember this innovative woman.

~Diane Snell


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