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.


2016 Certificate in Native Plants & Ecological Horticulture Enrollment and Orientation Session

Orientation on Friday, April 15
10 a.m.

“The expert instruction and stimulating field and classroom studies have energized me to pursue more sustainable gardening methods and continue to be an active environmental steward.”
- Jean Rosenberg, Certificate Graduate

We enthusiastically welcome both new and continuing students into the Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture program. In addition, classes are also open to individuals who are not pursuing the certificate, though priority will be given to those enrolled in the program.

To enroll in the certificate program (a $25 fee), click the button below. For additional information, call Director of Education Melissa Cullina at (207) 633-8030.


Photography Club

Every other Thursday
May 19 – September 22, 2016
7-9 a.m.
Photo Club is for Gardens members only

If you love photography and enjoy talking with other enthusiasts, this club is for you! This year photo club will include mentoring sessions, discussion groups and critiques as well as the peace of having the gardens to yourself while the eastern light rises over the Great Lawn for two hours each morning. Gates open at 7:00 for members on ten scheduled Thursdays throughout the summer. Benefits include early bird class registration for Photography classes and eligibility to enter the annual juried exhibition.

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


Drawing and Painting the Detail of Rare and Extraordinary Plants

with Katie Lee
Monday-Friday, June 27-July 1, 2016
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Inspired by the rare and extraordinary plants found in the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden’s collection, Katie Lee will focus on capturing the details of these unique plants. Rendering the intricacy of these plants in graphite and paint will require close observation and understanding. The fundamental techniques of graphite and painting will be emphasized as you get the opportunity to see the close detail of these amazing plants. Material list will be provided. Lunch will be provided.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Natural Communities of Maine

with Ted Elliman
Wednesday and Thursday, June 29 and 30, 2016
10 a.m. - 5 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.


Artist Talk: Gary Haven Smith

Wednesday, July 6, 2016
4 - 4:45pm

Hear sculptor Gary Haven Smith speak about his work and inspiration for his extraordinary granite works.


Creating Pressed Flower Cards

with Lynette Breton
Wednesdays, July 6 and August 3, 2016
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Capture and preserve the beauty of summer flowers through this simple and time-honored technique. In this two-session workshop, Lynette Breton will introduce you to the art of pressing flowers to create one-of a-kind cards. In the July session, Lynette will teach students how to collect and preserve flowers from the Gardens using her own custom presses. In the August session, after the flowers have dried, Lynette will lead the class through the process of creating their own lovely cards using materials they preserved during July. All materials included with course fee; price includes both sessions.


Living Wreaths

with Irene Barber
Friday, July 8, 2016
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Succulents and Sedums are easy to grow and are especially beautiful arranged in a wreath displaying complementary textures, colors and forms. In this workshop, you'll create your own eight-inch “living wreath” to bring home and hang outdoors or place as a centerpiece indoors. All materials are provided.


Journaling to Observe Summer’s Extraordinary Bounty

with Clare Walker Leslie
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Join naturalist/artist and journal keeper Clare Walker Leslie for an adventure exploring ways to draw and record the plants and landscape here during the height of beauty in our summer gardens. A great class for interested artists, gardeners and curious naturalists. Clare will show simple and advanced techniques for drawing plants in pencil, pen, colored pencil, watercolor and watercolor pencil. She will also demonstrate ways for keeping an ongoing journal of both seasonal and garden records. Material list will be provided.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Horticultural Rarities: Treasures in the Gardens

with Dan Robarts
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
2 – 4:30 p.m.

Join staff horticulturist Dan Robarts for an exclusive tour of the CMBG collections featuring little-known and seldom grown plants and cultivars. Discover beautiful, exotic, and unusual forms you may never have encountered before. Dan will tell you about each of these prized treasures which he and the horticulture team have selected and nurtured – and how you can find and grow them, too!


Making a Seaside Wreath

with Diane Walden
Friday, July 22, 2016
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Capture the essence of Coastal Maine in summer! Use your favorite seaside flowers and greens to create a gorgeous, custom seaside wreath or swag. Designer and horticulturist Diane Walden will show you how to use bayberry, juniper, rose hips and other responsibly-collected local plants to craft a beautiful summertime wreath. For those who prefer a long-lasting wreath, there will also be a selection of dried material (poppy heads, eucalyptus) to work with. Bring favorite shells, sea glass or driftwood to embellish and personalize your creation!


Preparing Wild Rose Hips

with Anna DeGloria
Sunday, August 7, 2016
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Wild roses abound on our rocky Maine shores - their glossy, red fruits, called “rose hips” are tart and loaded with vitamin C. Join instructor Anna DeGloria to learn how to collect and prepare this local delicacy! She’ll describe which roses produce the tastiest hips, and demonstrate how to prepare rose hip jelly, rose hip tea, and even wild rose hip soup.


Establishing and Managing Native Wildflower Meadow

with Larry Weaner
Friday, August 5, 2016
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Demand for native meadows, particularly as lawn alternatives, is increasing and yet few types of landscape plantings are more misunderstood, with failures often resulting from inadequate planning and use of poorly adapted plants. Far better results can be achieved when the design is based on the plants, patterns, and processes of naturally occurring meadows. More than one-year wonders, meadows modeled on these ecosystems can provide long-term, easily managed landscapes that host wildlife and provide dynamic color and texture throughout the year. In this all-day workshop, meadow expert Larry Weaner will discuss the design, implementation, and management of native meadows, using case studies featuring meadows large and small, projects ranging in age from initial establishment to maturity, and meadows including special and rare plants. He will also illustrate how garden design principles can be used in meadows for subtle visual effect and to create graceful transitions to traditional landscape plantings.


Compose, Focus, Expose: The Fine Art of Photography

with Thurston Howes
Monday. August 8, 2016
9 a.m. - 6 p.m

Concentration on these simple elements will bring your photographs to a whole new level. Emphasizing exposure times, depth of field and compositional components, experienced instructor Thurston Howes brings lessons of photographers like Ansel Adams to help your photos be their best. Participants will get to know their camera better and have a chance to get and give feedback on the day’s work.


Introduction to the Native Flora of Maine

with Melissa Cullina
Tuesday-Thursday, August 9-11, 2016
10 a.m. - 4 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.


Bonsai: A Hidden World

with Colin Lewis
Friday, August 12, 2016
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Bonsai can best be described as Art and Nature working in harmony, each equally essential in achieving that temporary state of illusive perfection. Although shrouded in mystique, the aesthetics, horticulture and techniques employed in bonsai are all relatively straightforward and high quality bonsai made with native trees are within everybody's reach. In this presentation you will come face to face with award winning bonsai and learn how each was made. You will watch while various techniques are employed to start a raw plant on its journey to a work of art. Full explanations will be given and questions answered at every stage. Please bring notepads and camera.


The Art of Metalpointe

with Linda Heppes Funk
Monday and Tuesday, August 15-16, 2016
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Metalpointe is both a classical and contemporary art form. This two day class will focus on the history and technique of this beautiful and mysterious medium. Participants will learn how to prepare the ground on paper and be able to explore this medium in silver and copper. Usually referred to as Silverpoint, this technique has been used since the Renaissance to capture the most subtle and delicate detail. Previous drawing experience is recommended. Material list to be provided.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Sixth Annual Ina and Lewis Heafitz Endowed Lecture: Plant Explorations in Asia

with Daniel J. Hinkley
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
2 – 5 p.m.

Dan Hinkley’s quest for distinctive plants has led him on expeditions to China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Korea, Nepal, Chile, and remote areas of North America. Author of “The Plant Explorer’s Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials” and “The Explorer’s Garden: Shrubs and Vines from the Four Corners of the World,” Dan will travel from his home in the Pacific Northwest to give us a special glimpse his recent plant explorations in Vietnam, China, and Myanmar. Showing beautiful exotics he has brought into cultivation, Dan will explain why and how he collects these plants in the wild, and how he ultimately brings them to the marketplace in North America. Lecture will be followed by an iced tea reception, book sale and signing.


Meaning and Metaphor of the Flower in Art

Lecture with Gail Spaien
Friday, August 19, 2016
11 a.m.

Join Gail Spaien in her talk about how the flower has inspired art and artists. Relating the floral still life tradition to her own work, she explores how these images offer views of contemplation, well-being, mortality, abundance, decadence, denial, leisure and labor. She shows how these images naturally then become a commentary on the complexities of their time and the intersection of nature and culture.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Rare Plants of the Kennebunk Plains Preserve

with Don Cameron
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
at Kennebunk Plains Preserve, West Kennebunk

Join ecologist and botanist Don Cameron of the Maine Natural Areas Program on a guided field trip to visit the Kennebunk Plains, where Maine’s only population of the rare Northern Blazing Star will be in spectacular bloom. This ecologically important preserve contains rare grassland and pine barren communities, and several species of rare plants. Trails are located on old sand roads and are generally flat to gently rolling. Registrants will be contacted the week prior to the trip with directions and further instructions.


Linocultivation: Botanically Inspired Linocuts

with Holly Berry
Friday, September 2, 2016
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Education Center

Learn and experience all the basics of the engaging and meditative art of linoleum block printing! Design, cut and print your own stylized version of a rare or extraordinary plant to make an original work of art. Focus will be on developing cutting techniques to create variety in textures and patterns while striking a dynamic balance between negative and positive areas.
Materials list will be provided.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Trip to Endless Summer Flower Farm and Primo Restaurant

With Melissa Cullina
Friday, September 2, 2016
2 – 6:30 p.m.
Camden and Rockland

Meeting in Camden, we'll begin our trip at the glorious Endless Summer Flower Farm, where over 200 varieties of dahlias will be blooming. Owners Phil and Karen Clark, who grow the dahlias to sell as cut flowers and garden tubers, will give us a private tour and answer all our questions about growing these extraordinary flowers. We’ll next travel to the site of Rockland’s acclaimed Primo Restaurant, where the two-time James Beard Award Winning Chef, Melissa Kelly, makes the most of her four acre, organic farm. We’ll first enjoy a tour of the gardens that support her exceptional farm-to-table fare, and then sit down to a specially-arranged dinner for our group. Choose to register for the full trip, or Endless Summer Flower Farm only. Price of dinner (excluding alcohol) included with full trip; directions will be sent ahead.


Horticultural Ecology

with Bill Cullina
Thursday and Friday, September 8 and 9, 2016
10 a.m. - 5 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.


Understanding Soils and Soil Amendments

with Irene Barber
Friday, September 9, 2016
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

In a garden setting, soil, compost and mulches are key components for successful plant growth. Some plants grow well in “rich” soil types, while others thrive in “lean” or “poor” soils. Irene will explain the difference, and will provide an introductory list of plants according to soil preference, amendments and growing conditions. She’ll discuss fall planting and related soil improvement strategies.


Collecting and Sowing Wild Seeds

with Heather McCargo
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Learn all about wild seed with Heather McCargo, founder and director of the Wild Seed Project. The seeds of wild native plants have different germination requirements than the seeds of our common garden and vegetable plants. In this workshop you will get hands-on experience in native plant propagation, from seed collection and storing procedures to germination techniques. We will work with wildflowers, ferns, shrubs, and trees with an emphasis on outdoor seed sowing in pots or growing beds. Growing natives from seed is a great way to produce a lot of plants inexpensively and to protect the genetic diversity of our Maine native plants.

While this is an elective course in the Gardens’ Certificate Program in Native Plants & Ecological Horticulture, it is open to everyone, subject to availability.


Creating a Focal Point

with Michael Walek
Saturday, September 17, 2016
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Education Center

In this plein air workshop you will learn how to develop a strong focal point with the use of light and shadow. Emphasizing the elements that make a strong painting, you will use tools that help make sense of the garden setting and get tips on how to focus in on your subject. Participants may use watercolor or gouache. Material list to be supplied.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Sustainable Horticultural Practices

with Irene Barber and Gary Fish
Thursday and Friday, September 22 and 23, 2016
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 two-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.


Invasive Plants: Issues, Identification, and Ecology

with Ted Elliman
Thursday and Friday, September 29 and 30, 2016
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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. Join 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.
This class is co-sponsored with the New England Wild Flower Society.

While this is a core course in the Certificate program, it is open to everyone, subject to availability.


Selecting Native Woody Plants for the Maine Garden

with Justin Nichols
Thursday and Friday, October 13 and 14, 2016
10 a.m. - 4 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. 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.

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