Learning for Adults
Learning for Adults

Learning for Adults

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is committed to providing educational opportunities that are timely and of interest to many audiences. We hope you find them informative and inspiring.

You can view our current offerings here, click through by category to the right or if you prefer to search by date, go to the Calendar of Events and click on the day(s) when you’ll be visiting.


2015 Botany Club

First Tuesdays of the month, 2-4 p.m., from May through October
Bosarge Family Education Center
Cost: $25 (Members only)

Do you love wildflowers, ferns, trees, grasses, pondweeds and everything green in between? Then join our new CMBG Botany Club! We’ll meet once monthly in the Education Center to study and enjoy the plants of coastal Maine. Club meetings will be a fun mix of looking at and identifying different kinds of plants, plus sharing photos, materials and resources. Optional field trips will be planned during our meetings. Club members will also have the chance to help organize and contribute to our new herbarium, a curated collection of pressed, dried plant specimens.


Selecting Native Herbaceous Plants for Your Maine Garden, with Bill Cullina

May 21 and July 16, 2015
10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

The use of native herbaceous plants in a horticultural setting will be the topic of this combination classroom and in-garden course for second-year certificate students at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. On one day in the spring season (May 21) and one day in summer (July 16) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, native plant expert Bill Cullina will introduce students to native plants species to use in different horticultural settings based on their habitat preferences in nature. Native plant selections for different combinations of soil pH, sun and shade, and wet to dry substrate will be considered. Selecting plants for aesthetic factors such as color and texture, as well as broader ecosystem considerations, will be introduced. Finally, Bill will explain the use of native plants in niche garden types, such as woodland or meadow gardens, and in ecological restoration.

Although this course is part of the Certificate Program in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture, it is open to everyone, subject to availability.

Bill Cullina is Executive Director of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Previously Director of Horticulture and Plant Curator for the Gardens, Cullina has also worked for many years as the native plant Nursery Director for the New England Wild Flower Society. He was recently awarded the Scott Medal for lifetime achievement in horticulture. The 2010 winner of the American Horticultural Society’s Communication Award, he is also the winner of numerous American Horticultural Society Book Awards. A well-known author, photographer, and recognized authority on North American native plants, Cullina lectures on a variety of subjects to garden and professional groups and writes for popular and technical journals. His books include Wildflowers, Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines, Understanding Orchids, Native Ferns, Mosses, and Grasses, and most recently, Understanding Perennials, published in 2009. He is co-author of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens: A People’s Garden.


Cultivating Native Ferns with Bill Cullina

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Ferns add complexity, texture and grace to the garden setting. In this class, learn 30 great choices of native ferns for Maine gardens. Executive director Bill Cullina, author of “Native Ferns, Moss and Grasses,” will begin with a slide presentation unveiling the biology and ecology of ferns, and then will discuss the requirements and sources for each of thirty of his favorite native ferns. He’ll then guide the class on a walk to illustrate how ferns are beautifully incorporated into our plantings here at the Gardens.


Natural Communities of Maine with Ted Elliman

July 24-25, 2015 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Cosponsored with the New England Wild Flower Society A truly comprehensive understanding of native plant materials must necessarily include an understanding of how native plants behave in their natural habitats. In Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ two-day introduction to the natural communities of Maine ecologist Ted Elliman will introduce students to several of Maine’s characteristic assemblages of plants, their defining physical environments, and the natural processes that affect them. In the classroom and in the field, students will learn the differences between community types such as salt marshes, red maple swamps, northern hardwood forests, bogs, and floodplain forests. Ted will also cover some of the common plants that occur in each natural community type, and what plant adaptations are a key to competing successfully in the various communities. The primary reference for this course will be Natural Landscapes of Maine: a Guide to Natural Communities and Ecosystems by Susan Gawler and Andrew Cutko. Bring a lunch, sturdy shoes that can get wet, and your sense of adventure for this not-to-be missed learning experience. While this is a core course in the Gardens’ Certificate Program in Native Plants & Ecological Horticulture, it is open to everyone, subject to availability. Ecologist Ted Elliman is Vegetation Management Coordinator for the New England Wild Flower Society, where for the past six years he and his dedicated corps of volunteers have located, documented, and controlled invasive species in natural areas for land trusts, conservation organizations, and state agencies across the New England landscape. In his present position he also conducts botanical inventories, rare plant and natural community documentation. Previously, Ted worked as a contract ecologist for the National Park Service and several other agencies doing rare plant and natural community surveys and invasive management projects on the Appalachian Trail (from Maine to Pennsylvania) and the Boston Harbor Islands. He has been a natural history tour guide to western China for the last 16 years.


Intro to the Native Flora of Maine with Melissa Cullina

August 25 -27, 2015
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Interested in gardening with Maine’s native plants? First, come and meet them in their wild habitats! During this intensive three-day course with Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ staff botanist, Melissa Cullina, students will learn how to recognize 50 (or more!) frequent coastal Maine plant species. Beginning with an introduction to basic plant identification skills, terminology, and botanical names, Melissa will then lead you through the Gardens grounds and on forays around the region. Bring a bag lunch, water, and a hand lens if you have one; and be prepared to walk on trails.

While this is one of the core classes for the Certificate Program in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture, it is open to everyone.

Melissa Cullina is Director of Education & Staff Botanist for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Formerly Botanist with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Cullina specializes in aquatic and coastal botany, field identification, and rare species conservation.


Horticultural Ecology with Bill Cullina

September 10 and 11, 2015 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. This Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens class, also part of the Certificate Program in Native Plants & Horticulture, is subtitled “Biological Interactions of Garden Plants and Environment.” In this class you’ll delve into topics of how plants interact with their garden environment. Topics instructor Bill Cullina will cover include specific adaptations to environmental condition and interrelationships between garden plants and their surrounding biotic and abiotic influences. He’ll also discuss concepts such as competition, symbiosis, parasitism, pollination, and dispersal. While this is a core course in the Certificate program, it is open to everyone, subject to availability. Executive Director Bill Cullina previously served as Director of Horticulture for the Gardens and before that was Nursery Director for the New England Wild Flower Society. He is a well-known author and recognized authority on North American native plants. He lectures on a variety of subjects to garden and professional groups and writes for popular and technical journals. His books include Wildflowers; Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines; Understanding Orchids; Native Ferns, Mosses, and Grasses; and most recently, Understanding Perennials.


Sustainable Horticultural Practices with Irene Brady Barber and Gary Fish

September 24 and 25, 2015
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Our landscape practices affect the balance of our ecosystem above and below the soil surface and the quality of our waters. In this three-day intensive course at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens you will learn how to apply ecologically safe gardening practices to existing landscapes and garden beds. Topics covered will include different methods of composting and other eco-friendly soil amendment techniques, alternatives to pesticides and herbicides, responsible acquisition of native plant materials and other techniques that follow low-impact practices to our natural surroundings.

This course is part of the Certificate Program in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture but is open to all, subject to availability.

Irene Brady Barber is horticulturist and landscape designer at Irene Brady Barber Greenscape Designs. She’s also coordinator of the Therapeutic Horticulture Program at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. An experienced educator, Irene has degrees in horticulture and communications along with a Certificate in Horticultural Therapy. Irene brings her enthusiasm for connecting people with plants to her work at the Gardens.


Invasive Plants: Issues, Identification, and Ecology with Ted Elliman

October 1 and 2, 2015
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

This class is co-sponsored with the New England Wild Flower Society. It is part of the curriculum for the Gardens’ Certificate Program in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture but is open to all, subject to availability.

What’s all the fuss? Invasive plant species have been getting a lot of bad lip service from botany, ecology, horticulture, and conservation professionals alike.

Ted Elliman, Vegetation Management Coordinator for the New England Wild Flower Society, to find out why. In this two-day course, Ted will introduce you to the basic ecological problems surrounding these aggressive and tenacious plants. He’ll delve into the complicated (and sometimes political) issues surrounding invasive plant species, including the process by which a plant becomes labeled “invasive.” Finally, Ted will introduce you to some of New England’s most common invasive species through images, specimens and short local field visits. Please bring lunch, a hand lens, water, and warm, sturdy clothes to go afield for short forays.


Ecologist Ted Elliman is currently Vegetation Management Coordinator for the New England Wild Flower Society, where for the past five years he and his dedicated corps of volunteers have located, documented, and controlled invasive species in natural areas for land trusts, conservation organizations, and state agencies across the New England landscape. In his present position, he also conducts botanical inventories, rare-plant and natural-community documentation. Previously, Ted worked as a contract ecologist for the National Park Service and several other agencies doing rare-plant and natural-community surveys and invasive-management projects on the Appalachian Trail (from Maine to Pennsylvania) and the Boston Harbor Islands. He has been a natural history tour guide to western China for the last 15 years.


Selecting Native Woody Plants for the Maine Garden, with Justin Nichols

October 8 and 9, 2015
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

The use of native woody plants in a horticultural setting will be the topic of this combination classroom and in-garden course for second-year students in Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Certificate Program in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture. The course is open to all, subject to availability.

During this, the final class in this two-year program, staff horticulturist Justin Nichols will introduce students to native trees, shrubs, and vines to use in different horticultural settings based on their habitat preferences in nature. Recommended species, cultivars and sources of materials will be covered. To see authentic examples of woody plants in natural and landscaped settings, Justin will take the class on short forays into the Gardens and locally.

Staff Horticulturist Justin Nichols has been professionally maintaining gardens for more than 20 years, the last six here at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. He has a master’s degree in education and enjoys teaching horticultural topics to people of all ages.


2015 Photography Club

7 a.m. every other Thursday
Starting May 21, ending September 24.
Kerr Hall to check in, Gardens grounds
$25
(Note: same time, new day, new location to check in!)

Have you ever wondered what the Gardens are like early in the morning, with the eastern light breaking over the Great Lawn, and just the sounds of nature to accompany you? If you are a Gardens member and photo enthusiast, you will love the opportunity to join the Photo Club! Gates open at 7 a.m. on ten scheduled days throughout the season for club members. Benefits of joining include “early bird” registration for photography classes, plus a chance to contribute to a seasonal exhibit in Kerr Hall. Join us!

There are no rain days for Photo Club, please come prepared for the weather.


Creating a Flag Book with Blossoms, Foliage, and Wildlife with Rebecca Goodale

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

This book structure delights both maker and reader. It opens with a dramatic flutter, revealing its bountiful contents. In this class, we'll consider community groups of plants and the birds, amphibians, and insects as we design paper cutouts for pages and arrange the flamboyant contents.

Admission to the Gardens and a box lunch of your choice from the Kitchen Garden Café are included. Papers and glue are also provided.

Rebecca Goodale makes unique and limited edition books. Her current project, Threatened and Endangered, is inspired by Maine's rare plants and animals. Her work is in numerous collections including Bowdoin College Library, The Maine Women Writers Collection, New York Public Library, Herron Art Library, Hawai'i State Art Museum, and the White House Ornament Collection. She is the Faculty Director of the University of Southern Maine's Book Arts at Stone House.


Tunnel Books: Making Sculptural Gardens with Rebecca Goodale

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Explore the gardens for inspiration for each of these charming structures. In the morning we will compose botanical parts and panels from paper and arrange them to create a Tunnel Book. We will compose a paper garden into a book that collapses flat and then pops out to represent a specific garden or one from your imagination.

Admission to the Gardens and a box lunch of your choice from the Kitchen Garden Café are included. Papers and glue are also provided.

Rebecca Goodale makes unique and limited edition books. Her current project, Threatened and Endangered, is inspired by Maine's rare plants and animals. Her work is in numerous collections including Bowdoin College Library, The Maine Women Writers Collection, New York Public Library, Herron Art Library, Hawai'i State Art Museum, and the White House Ornament Collection. She is the Faculty Director of the University of Southern Maine's Book Arts at Stone House.


Artist Talk with George Sherwood

Saturday, July 18, 10:00 a.m.
Education Center

George Sherwood's kinetic sculptures are both highly refined and elegantly simple as they move with each breath of wind. Inspired by nature, his abstract work is reminiscent of flocks of birds, schools of fish, shimmering leaves, waves of light and water. His choice of durable stainless steel reflects color and light brilliantly, and when sited on the landscape, Sherwood's dynamic sculptures animate their setting and celebrate their place. Five monumental pieces, shown in the Hudson River Park in New York City last year, form the core of this show, with additional new works in a variety of scales.


Pisun yut: "It is medicine" Plants in Wabanaki Healing Traditions with George Neptune

Friday, September 4, 2:00 p.m.
Education Center

The Wabanaki Confederacy of the northeastern United States and Canada have lived on this land for countless generations. An intertwined relationship with the landscape, seasons, and natural resources have given Wabanaki people an intimate knowledge of the plants in the area and their medicinal uses. In this program, George Neptune will discuss many of the medicinal plants that he has learned since childhood.


Making Hypertufa Pots with Denise Sawyer

Friday, July 10, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Part of the Gardening for Life Series.

Get ready to get messy! Learn how to create your own “hypertufa” pot at the Gardens. Hypertufa is made of a lightweight mix of materials that simulate a natural, porous, limestone rock called “tufa.” The mix is easily molded into durable, textured outdoor planters that look like stone but are deceptively lightweight and portable. Denise will describe what types of plants are best suited to grow in hypertufa, and how best to care for your new pot. Bring a pair of sturdy rubber gloves and an old, large t-shirt for a smock.


Gardens in Miniature with Irene Barber

Friday, August 14, 2015
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Part of the Gardening for Life Series.

This fun, hands-on workshop will have you exploring your garden creativity in miniature! First, participants will learn and draw inspiration from several different types of miniature gardens, including “fairy gardens” and Japanese gardens. Then, using wide, shallow containers, small plants, and other tiny elements, students will create their own personalized miniature gardens to take home. All materials provided.


Introduction to Companion Planting with Irene Barber

Friday, September 11, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Part of the Gardening for Life Series.

“Companion planting” is the cultivation of different kinds of plants together in the same area in order to benefit one or more of them. Learn techniques for combining plants to help one another - by providing structural support, altering nutrient availability, and otherwise improving growth conditions. This class will unveil some mysteries and reveal helpful tools that will promote gardening success and ease!


Great Dixter House and Garden – A Historic Paradise in the 21st Century

Fifth Annual Ina and Lewis Heafitz Endowed Lecture:
Wednesday, August 12
2 pm – 5 pm
Education Center

Fergus Garrett will talk about the past, present and future of Great Dixter House and Garden in Northiam, East Sussex, England. He will describe Nathaniel and Daisy Lloyd’s family life at Great Dixter at the beginning of the 20th century, and their son Christopher Lloyd’s extraordinary plantsmanship. Lloyd created the world-famous Great Dixter gardens – in Fergus’s stewardship since 1992 as Headgardener. Fergus will show the tradition, continuum and the constant change of Great Dixter Gardens, keeping Christopher Lloyd’s credo of never standing still, alive.


Aphrodisiacs: Love and Romance in the Garden with Rodney Eason

August 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Education Center

Did you know that many plants from the garden can be natural aphrodisiacs? There are herbs, vegetables, spices, and nuts that when consumed over time, can arouse the senses. Rodney Eason will lead class participants on this evening garden tour to visit different plants, talk about their natural effects, and even sample some recipes and drinks featuring these herbal aphrodisiacs.


The Language of Flowers with Nancy Wetzel

Friday, August 7, 2015
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

In Victorian times, sending coded messages through flowers was all the rage. Each kind of flower symbolized a different sentiment; for example, larkspur represented ‘fickleness’, iris ‘hope’, and sweet pea ‘farewell’. We'll revive this delightful tradition when flowers of all kinds abound in here our summer gardens! Garden historian Nancy Wetzel will explain this fascinating tradition and unveil the meanings of different flowers. Then, each person will learn to assemble their own Victorian "tussie-mussie" - a nosegay of meaningful flowers to surprise a friend or loved one.


Garden Photography with Tom Lawrence

August 8, noon - 5 p.m.
and August 9, 8 a.m. - noon

A photographer with a background in field biology, and geology, Tom Lawrence is able to bring awareness to unique photographic opportunities that may otherwise go unnoticed. This two day course will cover essential techniques which will help the photographer achieve captivating images such as understanding tonal range, depth of field, the focal plane and macro composition. This workshop will take advantage of the morning and afternoon light over two days.


Garden Ayurveda with Rodney Eason

August 18, 8:00 am
Education Center

Most people have heard of yoga but fewer know that there is an accompanying lifestyle called ayurveda. This lifestyle promotes balance and there are many garden plants that can be incorporated into this way of living.
In this class, students will venture out into the gardens with Rodney Eason to seek out some of the plants that are essential to healthy living. Then, we will see how the gardens are a natural spot for practicing yoga and meditation. Students should bring comfortable clothing, a yoga mat, and water bottle.


Strawberry Banke Gardens Tour

Thursday, September 17
10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Join Education Director Melissa Cullina for a specially arranged insider tour of the beautiful heritage gardens of Strawberry Banke, a 10-acre outdoor history museum in the heart of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We’ll begin our day with a horticulturist-guided tour of the many period gardens throughout the original waterfront neighborhood. After visiting the Victorian Children’s Garden, the Herb Garden, the Sherburne Garden, and many others, we’ll enjoy a group picnic (pack a bag lunch). The afternoon will be free to explore the museum's historic homes, collections and exhibits.


iBotanical: The Gardens Through the Lens of Your iPhone with Kimberly Post

September 19, 2015
1-4 p.m.

Are you ready to take your photography to the next level using the camera that’s always with you? Join us for an afternoon of creative nature appreciation with your iOS device. Apple’s iPhones and iPads offer an amazingly intuitive experience for photographers and artists of all levels and abilities. Along with tips on how to get the most out of the iOS camera, we will cover some of the most popular editing apps, explore processes unique to the technology, and learn how to “see” through the lens of the iPhone.


Making Gentle Herbal Tinctures with Deb Soule

Friday, July 17th, 2015
1 pm - 4 pm

An herbal tincture is a remedy made by macerating beneficial herbs, such as lavender or echinacea root, into a solvent such as vodka or vegetable glycerin. Tinctures are taken in drop doses, in either water or under the tongue. In this workshop, Deb will demonstrate her time-honored methods for tincturing a fresh herb collected from the garden along with discussing appropriate ways to use tinctures. She will bring a few of her favorite tinctures and glycerites for participants to sample.


Making Beneficial Herbal Teas with Deb Soule

Thursday, August 13, 2015
1 pm - 4 pm

Creating your own herbal tea is a simple way to enjoy your own home remedies. Deb will begin by introducing the class to some of her favorite herbs for making healing teas, like catmint, lavender and lemon balm. She’ll then instruct the class in proper collecting, drying and storing techniques. Sample several hot and cold infusions for yourself!


Making Simple Syrups and Elixirs with Deb Soule

Thursday, September 3, 2015
1 pm - 4 pm

In this workshop, Deb will share her unique method of making delicious-tasting syrups and elixirs. Sometimes used to ease and sooth a cough, elixirs and syrups are also used to prevent colds or improve digestion, among other things. Elderberry and rose elixirs are some of Deb’s favorites, and being both beautiful and tasty, make lovely gifts. You will gain confidence in making and using your own syrups and elixirs and Deb will bring a few of her own for participants to taste.