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.


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.


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.


Plants in Our Past

With Melissa Cullina
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Porter Preserve of the Boothbay Region Land Trust, Boothbay
Co-sponsored with Boothbay Region Land Trust

As part the Boothbay Region Land Trust’s 2016 theme "Looking Back, Looking Forward", join Melissa Cullina, Director of Education and Staff Botanist, as she delves into the historical significance of plants in the colonial household. Melissa will investigate and identify the plants of Porter Preserve that were known and used by our Boothbay Region ancestors. To register, contact the Boothbay Region Land Trust at brlt@bbrlt.org or 633-4818.


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.


Pastel Practice: Developing your Field Studies

with Vanessa Nesvig
Thursday and Friday, October 6 and October 7, 2016
3 - 6 p.m.

Learn new skills to make pastel painting outdoors enjoyable and part of a routine. By paying attention to your supplies and keeping them simple, you can make pastel painting part of a regular practice. Emphasis will be not on the finished product, but on the process itself. All abilities welcome. This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Plants and Flowers of Maine: Kate Furbish’s Watercolors

With Richard Lindemann and Melissa Cullina
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Education Center
Co-sponsored with Bowdoin College

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens invites you to celebrate the publication of a two-volume set featuring the stunning artwork of Maine’s own pioneering botanical explorer, Kate Furbish. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Brunswick native Kate Furbish travelled the length and breadth of Maine, devoting herself to the collection, study, and illustration of the wild flora of the state. She gave her extensive collection of meticulously-rendered botanical illustrations to Bowdoin College near the end of her life. Now, through a collaboration of Rowman and Littlefield and Bowdoin College Library, and with support from Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, this rare, limited run edition makes Furbish’s artwork available for collection and study. Join us to learn more about the life and works of the remarkable Kate Furbish, the collaborative effort to publish her work, and how to acquire a copy for your own collection. A reception with cider and treats will follow the lecture.


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.


Field Trip to the "Botanizing America" Exhibit

with Kat Stefko
Thursday, October 20, 2016
10 am – 12:30 p.m.
at Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick

Join Kat Stefko, Director of Director of George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, to explore the new “Botanizing America” exhibit at the Bowdoin College Library. The exhibit, curated by Stefko, examines the rich history of botany in the United States through a selection of breathtakingly beautiful early botanical imprints, U.S. field reports, and personal sketchbooks, including the work of Kate Furbish, who documented the wildflowers of Maine. After viewing the exhibit, Kat will provide our group the very special opportunity to browse through some of Furbish’s original watercolor folios. Directions and meeting location will be sent to participants in advance of the trip.


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.