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, May through October
2 - 4 p.m.
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.

Intro to the Native Flora of Maine

with Melissa Cullina
Tuesday - Thursday, August 25 - 27, 2015
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.

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
Thursday - Friday, September 10 and 11, 2015
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 Brady Barber and Gary Fish
Thursday - Friday, September 24 and 25, 2015
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 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 - Friday, October 1 and 2, 2015
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 - Friday, October 8 and 9, 2015
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.

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.

Introduction to Ecological Restoration Techniques and Methods

with Lisa Cowan
Friday, October 23, 2015
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Education Center

Ecological restoration is the practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment by active human intervention and action. Well planned, sustainably designed installations are more likely to succeed and require less maintenance. This class will focus on proven low impact methodologies and techniques for restoring and enhancing wooded areas, meadows, streams, wetlands, buffers and eroded slopes.

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

2015 Photography Club

Starting May 21, ending September 24.
7 a.m. every other Thursday
Kerr Hall to check in, Gardens grounds
(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.

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.

Fall Colors in Pastel

with Vanessa Nesvig
Sunday, October 4, 2015
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Fall is a great time to see the shape and structure of the gardens! Vanessa Nesvig, our new Interpretation and Exhibits Coordinator will simplify the outdoor painting experience so you will be encouraged to make painting en plein air a regular practice! In this pastel workshop, the focus will be on choosing a view and capturing the essence of the texture and color in front of you. All experience levels are welcome. Material list will be sent. This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.

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

with George Neptune
Friday, September 4,
2 - 3:30 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Strawbery Banke Gardens Tour

with Melissa Cullina
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 Strawbery 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
Saturday, 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.

Collecting and Preserving the Herbal Harvest

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Join us as we take in the herbal harvest from our Myth, Magic and Medicine gardens! Learn how to gather and preserve herbs and medicinal plants. We’ll use the herbs we’ve collected to demonstrate many drying methods including microwaving, salting and freezing. Then we’ll sample and share some of our favorite recipes such as herbed butter and honey, liquors and herbal skin salve. Afterward, make your own herbal treat including herbed honey, infused vinegar, and herbed salt to take home.

Making Beneficial Herbal Teas

with Deb Soule
Thursday, August 13, 2015
1 - 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 - 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.

Making Festive Holiday Greens

with Diane Walden
Saturday, December 5, 2015
9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Education Center

A CMBG Tradition! Once again, Diane Walden will gather a diverse assemblage of greens, ribbons, and cones for our festive workshop. Make a swag, wreath, centerpiece or garland to take home. All materials needed for beautiful designs will be provided. Participants are welcome to bring favorite or themed ornaments or supplies from home, too. Please bring gloves and pruners if you have them, and cookies or treats if you’d like to add to the day’s merriment!