Learning for Adults
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learning-for-adults
learning-for-adults
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. You can also view Grow!, our printed calendar of events as a PDF by clicking here.

Art & Photography


2014 Photography Club

Every other Tuesday, 7 - 9 a.m.

Now in its third year, the Photography Club at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens kicks off the season on May 13 and meets every other Tuesday through the end of September. Members enjoy the benefit of early admission on club days, early bird sign-up for photo classes, Flickr instruction/Flickr group for sharing images, and the chance to exhibit on this year's theme, Pollinators in the Gardens. Includes reception for Pollinators exhibit and coffee/tea on club days. There are no rain days for Photo Club, please come prepared for the weather.

Know your Coastal Maine


Distinctive Lichens of Coastal Maine with Dr. Steven Selva

Thursday, September 18
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Lichens are growing all around us – in the trees and on rocky outcrops, and growing up out of the soil. Learn about some of our most frequent and charismatic – such as Old Man’s Beard, British Soldiers, and Reindeer Moss – from lichenologist Dr. Steven Selva. In the classroom and out on the Gardens’ grounds, Steven will introduce you to lichens’ dual nature, three main growth forms, how to find and collect them, and resources for further study.

Dr. Steven Selva is a professor of biology at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, where he has assembled one of the largest lichen herbaria in New England.  His research focuses on the use of stubble lichens as environmental indicators, both in reference to the age of a forest and its level of pollution.

This class is part of the Know Your Coastal Maine series.


Common Mushrooms of Coastal Maine Botanical Garden with Greg Marley

Thursday, October 2
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Our woodland fungi serve two vital roles in the ecology of our forests. They are the main rotters and recyclers of the nutrients bound up in dead plant material and as such are the mechanism that ensures the fertility of forest soils. Many other fungi form beneficial symbiotic relations with trees and shrubs delivering mineral nutrients to the plants in return for food from the plants. Some of these fungi produce mushrooms that are premium edible, like the Chanterelle or Black trumpet, while other mushrooms are inedible or even toxic. Join Maine mycologist Greg Marley for a morning devoted to our common mushrooms and where they fit into the health of our forests.

Greg Marley has been collecting, studying, eating, growing and teaching mushrooms for 40 years. Marley shares his love affair with mushrooms through walks, talks and classes held across New England.

Marley is the author of Mushrooms for Health; Medicinal Secrets of Northeastern Fungi, (Downeast Books , 2009) and the award winning Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares; The Love Lore and Mystic of Mushrooms, (Chelsea Green, 2010). As a volunteer mushroom identification consultant to Poison Control Centers across New England, he provides expertise in mushroom poisoning cases. He lives and mushrooms with his family along the coast of Maine.

This class is part of the Know Your Coastal Maine series.

Certificate in Native Plants & Ecological Horticulture


Sustainable Horticultural Practices with Irene Brady Barber

Thursday - Friday, September 25 - 26
10 a.m. - 5 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 – from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, September 25 and 26, 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 3, 2014 to October 4, 2014
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

This class at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, October 3 and 4, 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

Thursday - Friday, October 16 - 17
10 a.m. - 5 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.

More Adult Programs


Maine’s Heirloom Apples with John Bunker

Tuesday, September 23
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

From the Pound Sweet to the Blue Permain, Maine’s Heirloom apples come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Join us as we navigate the diverse world of these apples with Maine’s own “Apple Whisperer,” John Bunker. First, we’ll explore the history of Maine’s heirloom apples—learning about their past and current uses. Next, we will go outside to identify heirloom apples here at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. John will show you the techniques needed to identify these unique varieties and better understand their significance.


Making Beeswax Candles and Flowers with Kim Scheimreif

Friday, October 24
1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Join Kim Scheimreif of Shepherds and Such Farm for an afternoon of crafting with beeswax. Kim will discuss the many uses of beeswax and demonstrate how to make beeswax taper candles and wax-coated flowers. Then, with her guidance, we’ll make our own beeswax creations - perfect for holiday gift-giving!


Fireside Book Club

Tuesday Discussion Dates, November 11, December 9, January 13 and February 10
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Price includes refreshments and all four sessions.

Back by popular demand! Your garden is put to bed – and now is the perfect time to get cozy by the wood fire with books. Director of Education Melissa Cullina and last year’s club members together have selected four diverse books that blend the botanical and the literary – specially chosen for plant and garden enthusiasts! Gather around the Gardens’ fireside one Tuesday afternoon per month to discuss the book and enjoy coffee, tea and treats. Please sign up, and then simply read and come to the Visitor Center on the discussion date to share what you’ve experienced through reading each book.
November 11
Flower Confidential: The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful
by Amy Stewart
December 9
The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins her Life's work at 72
by Molly Peacock
January 13
An Island Garden
by Celia Thaxter
February 10
The Signature of All Things
by Elizabeth Gilbert


Making Festive Holiday Greens with Diane Walden

Saturday, December 6
9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Tis the season to take part in the marvelous tradition of making holiday greens at the Gardens!

Once again, floral and horticultural designer Diane Walden will gather a diverse assemblage of greens, ribbons and cones for our festive workshop. She’ll then guide us through process of creating our own unique style of holiday greens. Choose to make a swag, wreath, centerpiece or garland to take home, and develop a skill you can use to deck the halls in your own personal style year after year. All while enjoying the fun holiday refreshments and music!

All materials (including wreath rings, wire, greens, cones, ribbons, containers and oasis) needed to make gorgeous traditional designs will be provided. As always, participants are welcome to bring favorite or themed ornaments or supplies from home, too. Beginners and advanced students alike are welcome – we’ve extending the class length this year to accommodate everyone.

Please bring gloves and pruners if you have them and cookies or other treats if you’d like to add to the day’s merriment!