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.


Certificate in Native Plants & Ecological Horticulture Enrollment and Orientation Session

Orientation on Saturday, April 15
10 - 11:30 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.


Certificate in the Botanical Arts Enrollment and Orientation Session

Wednesday, April 26
10 a.m. - noon
Education Center

Our Certificate in the Botanical Arts program at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens offers a broad palette of botanically inspired classes. Enrolled students select courses that suit their artistic interests, and work toward certification through completion of course hours and final project. Learn more about this program and decide if this creative curriculum inspires you!


Ecological Landscape Design

with Lisa Cowan and Irene Brady Barber
Wednesday-Friday, May 3-5
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

This course is focused on environmentally sound landscape design practices using plants and materials appropriate for Maine. Landscape architect Lisa Cowan will show you how design principles are effectively applied in an ecological landscape design. Landscape designer Irene B. Barber will train you to plot and analyze a site, determine priorities according to usage, and create and install an eco-friendly design featuring Maine natives and locally sourced materials. Sustainable design considerations such as understanding and anticipating runoff in Maine’s frequently shallow-to-bedrock soils, minimizing erosion and siltation, and conserving and protecting the site’s natural features (such as existing trees) during construction will be emphasized. Suggestions for low-input designs, such as how to incorporate drought-tolerant and nitrogen-fixing native plant selections will be offered. Instruction will take place both in the classroom and out on the grounds using the ecological designs surrounding the Bosarge Family Education Center as a living example of low-impact landscape design using native plants.

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


Soil Science for Gardeners

with Dr. Lois Berg Stack
Tuesday and Wednesday, May 9 and 10
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Learn the basic properties and functions of soils in this class for the ecologically-minded grower. A fundamental understanding of soil is critical to selecting well-adapted native plants for different situations, or choosing soil amendments that will mimic the natural community conditions needed by suites of native plants. Lois will explain soil texture, chemistry, water-holding capacity and why they are important for plants.

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


Selecting Native Herbaceous Plants for the Maine Garden

with Bill Cullina
Friday, May 12 and Sunday, May 21
10 a.m. - 5 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 19) and one day in summer (July 21) 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.


The Great Tulip Rescue

DATE TO BE DETERMINED
Members only - $25 per person
Reserve your spot for no charge - no payment due until the date is confirmed. Contact Melissa Cullina to reserve your spot.

Get ready for Tulip mania! Once our 38,000 beauties are past their prime, the bulbs are removed to make way for colorful annual displays. We're offering a hands-on opportunity to work with our horticulture staff to dig up the bulbs in preparation for new plantings. You'll learn about the many varieties of bulbs and leave with a bag of tulip bulbs for you to plant in your own garden in the fall. The date for this even will be determined by Mother Nature and will be confirmed by late May. Reserve your spot now. Everyone on the reservation list will be contacted with the date information. We'll take payment at that time.

Please contact Melissa Cullina at (207) 633-8030 to reserve your spot today.


The Life of a Plant: An Introduction to Botany

with Lauren Stockwell
Tuesday-Thursday, June 13-15
10 am - 3 p.m.

In this course with Lauren Stockwell at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens you'll explore the biology of a flowering plant through its life, from seed germination and seedling establishment through fruiting and dispersal. Along the way, we'll review the parts of the plant and see how they work together to sustain it through processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, and water and mineral uptake.
In the gardens and in the classroom, Lauren will give you a whole new perspective on what goes on in the life of a plant! The required textbook will be Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon, available for purchase from the Gardens on the first day of class.

While this is a core course in the Gardens' Certificate Programs in Native Plants & Ecological Horticulture and Botanical Arts, it is open to everyone, subject to availability.


Natural Communities of Maine

with Ted Elliman
Thursday and Friday, July 27 and 28
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.


Introduction to the Native Flora of Maine

with Melissa Cullina
Tuesday and Thursday, August 8 and 10
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.


Horticultural Ecology

with Bill Cullina
Thursday and Friday, September 7 and 8
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.


Sustainable Horticultural Practices

with Irene Barber and Gary Fish
Thursday and Friday, September 21 and 22
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, October 5 and 6
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 12 and 13
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.


Fireside Book Club

with Melissa Cullina
2 – 3:30 p.m.
Visitor Center
Members only

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 has chosen four diverse books that blend the botanical and the literary – specially chosen for plant and garden enthusiasts! Gather around the Gardens’ fireside one Tuesday per month to discuss the book and enjoy coffee 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 8, 2016

All the Presidents’ Gardens by Marta McDowell
This book tells the untold history of the White House Grounds, starting with the plant-obsessed George Washington and ending with Michelle Obama's kitchen garden. Filled with fascinating details about Lincoln's goats, Ike's putting green, Jackie's iconic roses, Amy Carter's tree house, and information on the plants whose favor has come and gone over the years, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the red, white, and green.

December 13, 2016
Lab Girl
by Hope Jahren
Lab Girl
is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

January 10, 2017

The Invention of Nature
by Andrea Wulf
Andrea Wulf reveals the forgotten life of the visionary German naturalist whose ideas continue to influence how we view ourselves and our relationship with the natural world today. Alexander von Humboldt (1769 - 1859) was an intrepid explorer, the most famous scientist of his age, and the forgotten father of environmentalism.  Wulf brings the man and his achievements back into focus; with this brilliantly researched and compellingly written book, she makes clear the fundamental ways that Humboldt created our understanding of the natural world.

February 14, 2017

The Writer's Garden: How Gardens Inspired our Best-loved Authors by Jackie Bennett
Great things happen in gardens. No one can doubt the importance of the garden in Roald Dahl's life, as it was there that he created James and the Giant Peach. And where would Jane Austen have been if she had never seen a 'walk', an ornamental lake, or a wilderness?  Gardens hold a special place in many author's lives. In this book of 18 gardens and 20 writers, the author examines how the poet, writer, novelist derived a creative spirit from their private garden, how they tended and enjoyed their gardens, and how they managed their outdoor space.