Seminar Spotlight – The Art of Pruning

Seminar Spotlight – The Art of Pruning

Pruning is one of those necessary evils of good garden maintenance. Do it incorrectly, and you risk creating an ugly, misshaped shrub or tree, or worse, and unhealthy one prone to diseases. Do it correctly, and you never really see the results – you only see the splendor of your shrubs, vines or trees, aging gracefully, growing in a natural form and adding beauty to your garden. No flying saucer shapes here!

I confess, pruning is one of those things I don’t do as well as I should. It’s not that I don’t know how, it’s that I don’t do it often enough. Consequently, my trees and shrubs can get a little out of hand. (Just ask Cass Turnbull, who was itching to get at a weeping birch in my garden a few years ago. It was driving her nuts because it was so congested with twiggy growth.)

Fortunately the show has a number of excellent pruning seminars for you (and me) taught by some of the region’s most respected pruning experts. Each has a different focus, so you can attend one or more best for you. Budding gardeners can gain valuable insights and tips from these professionals, and seasoned veterans can brush up on their skills.


Yuki Nara's seminar will show you how to 'read' a Japanese maple before pruning.

Yuki Nara – Aesthetic pruner & owner of Way of Maple
Yuki Nara is an Aesthetic Pruner who was born in Japan, and she specializes in the pruning of all varieties of Japanese Maples through her Berkeley based company, Way of Maple.  She has also been an Aesthetic Pruning instructor for all levels of gardeners and arborists, from beginners to professionals. Yuki is an instructor in the Horticulture Department at Merritt College and has also been a lecturer at many symposiums and seminars in the US and Japan, teaching the art of Aesthetic Pruning. Website:

Pruning Japanese Maples for Grace & Beauty
Discover the Art of Aesthetic Pruning
Wednesday, February 23 at 1:45 pm in the Hood Room
Why, when, and how to prune the Japanese maple throughout the year to reveal its grace and beauty. This seminar will focus on pruning in the urban context, which include the art of container use on the deck or in a small area. Aesthetic pruner Yuki Nara will introduce how to “see” the grace of a maple, and talk about various pruning techniques that give added beauty to Japanese maples for  year –round enjoyment.


Cass Turnbull – Founder, Plant Amnesty & author, Guide to Pruning
Cass Turnbull’s
name is synonymous with the art of good pruning. As the founder and President of Plant Amnesty, her mission has been to “end the shameless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs.”  She left the Seattle Parks Department in 1986 after 11 years to start her own landscape maintenance and consulting business, Cass Turnbull Gardening Services.  She is the author of Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning (Sasquatch, 2004 & 2006) and The Complete Guide to Landscape Design, Renovation and Maintenance (Betterway, 1990).  Visit the Plant Amnesty exhibit at booth # 2314. Website –

Wisteria must be pruned to keep it from taking over your entire house. Cass Turnbull will show you how.

Devine Vines
A Pruning Primer on Unruly Twining Vines
Thursday, February 24 at 11:00 am in the Hood Room
Vines are an important part of the garden, and they can provide years of beauty on otherwise boring walls, fences or eves. But how do you prune them? If you’re confused on the rules of vine pruning, this is a must-see seminar. Cass covers pruning and management of some of our most common ornamental vines: wisteria, clematis, Boston ivy & Virginia Creeper, honeysuckle and trumpet vine.


Bess Bronstein – Consultant, arborist & EdCC instructor
Bess Bronstein is a consulting arborist and horticulturist based on the Kitsap Peninsula in Kingston, WA.  She has been an instructor for the Edmonds Community College horticulture program since 1989, serves as a Regional Education Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society for Arboriculture, and is an ISA Certified Arborist.  Bess has been involved in the local horticulture community as an arborist, landscaper, designer and educator for over 20 years.

All the Right Cuts
The ABC’s of Pruning Ornamental Shrubs
Sunday, February 27 at 12:45 pm on the DIY Stage
Join ISA Certified Arborist Bess Bronstein and learn how to easily prune a variety of ornamental shrubs. Once you are able to recognize growth habits and identify flowering and fruiting branches, pruning your forsythia or viburnum becomes a piece of cake. Proper pruning saves you time and money in the long run, and makes for healthier and more beautiful shrubs.


Mallory Gwynn – Portland TV host, “Simply Gardening”
Mallory Gwynn’s connection to the gardening world began early – he was born in the middle of a strawberry harvest on his parent’s farm. His parents had him out in the fields when he was only three days old.  Mallory has grown up loving plants. He enjoys sharing what he knows with anyone who will listen. He started television appearances in 2002 and now hosts his own garden program, “Simply Gardening – Anybody Can Do It!” Mallory has offered gardening advice on KPAM 860 for the past five years. His “Simply Gardening Minute” is aired Monday through Saturday on the station. Mallory writes a monthly gardening column for the Woodburn Independent, Canby Herald, East County Gazette and the Molalla Pioneer.  Website:

Mallory Gwynn will talk about how to prune your hydrangeas so they provide awesome blooms such as these.

Learn to Prune Your Favorite Plants
Taking the Confusion Out of Pruning Popular NW Plants
Saturday, February 26 at 5:00 pm on the DIY Stage
When it comes to pruning, roses, hydrangeas, Japanese maples, flowering shrubs and fruit trees are the five most asked-about plants, confusing both beginning and well-seasoned gardeners alike. TV personality Mallory Gwynn takes the guesswork out of pruning these plants that are found in Northwest gardens everywhere. You and your plants will be glad you learned to proper pruning techniques for all these beautiful plants! Handout provided and even a plant give-away.


Christina Pfeiffer – Horticulturist, arborist & co-author, Month-by-Month Gardening
Christina Pfeiffer
is a Seattle area horticulture consultant, garden writer and instructor.  She holds a master’s degree in Urban Horticulture from the University of Washington, a bachelor’s in horticulture from Michigan State University, and is an ISA Certified Arborist. Christina has nearly 30 years of experience in the field, including landscape management responsibilities for the Holden Arboretum in Ohio, for the Washington Park Arboretum for 14 years, and most recently as a consultant. She is a co-author with Mary Robson Gardening in Oregon and Washington Month by Month (Cool Springs Press, 2005). 

How to Prune…
So You Don’t Have to Prune So Often!
Friday, February 25 at 9:30 am on the DIY Stage
Proper pruning is a vital part of being a good gardener. But it can be a chore if done incorrectly! Join horticulturist and arborist Christina Pfeiffer for this invaluable demonstration and discussion of how to time and place cuts when pruning shrubs and hedges to moderate the return growth and reduce the frequency of pruning needed to keep shrubs healthy and in good form. Pruning less often saves labor and energy and reduces green waste volume.

For more details on the show’s seminar program, visit our website at And did you know you can sort the entire seminar schedule by speaker, date or topic? It makes it easy for you to look up your favorite speakers, or to find out who is speaking on the days you want to attend. But with 125 seminars to choose from, you’re going to want to check out the 5-Day All Show Pass. At only $65, it’s the best value. That’s only $13 a day, for 11 hours of gardening nirvana. The garden show packs more education and entertainment in five days than any other garden show in the world. And don’t forget – no seminar passes will be required! ~ Janet

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