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 17-September 20
7 – 9 a.m.
Resource Room and Gardens

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 for two hours each morning while the eastern light rises over the Great Lawn. On ten scheduled Thursday mornings throughout the season, gates will open at 7 a.m. for members. Benefits include early-bird class registration for photography classes and eligibility to enter the annual juried exhibition.


Nurturing Connections Horticultural Therapy

Sessions run June 11 – September 13, Monday through Thursday
10 – 11:30 a.m., 12:30 – 2 p.m., 2:30 – 4 p.m.

In these reserved sessions, participants nurture their connections with one another while they collaborate during a stimulating garden activity under the guidance of the trained Horticultural Therapist. These wellbeing sessions are designed for pairs—a loved-one and his or her parent, child, caregiver, friend or guardian—or for organized groups.

Nurturing Connections welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, and is particularly beneficial for people living with dementia, visual impairments, physical, developmental, emotional or social challenges. These 90-minute sessions will be modified to suit the participant’s needs, and are offered as either a one-time visit or, for groups, as part of a recurring series. Our Horticultural Therapist will contact the reserving party to discuss the appropriate accommodations and schedule any recurring sessions. Admission to the Gardens is included in all fees.


Ina and Lewis Endowed Heafitz Lecture: The Beauty Within Biodiversity

with Thomas Rainer
Wednesday, August 22
2 – 4 p.m.

In an era of climate change and mass species extinction, biodiversity matters more than ever. But designing and managing biodiverse plantings can be challenging in small gardens. Join landscape architect Thomas Rainer, a leading voice in ecological landscape design, to learn how plants fit together in nature and how to use this knowledge to create landscapes that are resilient, beautiful and diverse. Both practical and inspiring, this talk explores a synthesis of ecology and horticulture, resulting in an intentionally designed and managed plant community where population dynamics are encouraged within an aesthetic framework. Learn real-world strategies for crafting diverse communities of compatible species that cover the ground in interlocking layers.


Pests, Diseases and Deficiency in Your Gardens

with Sarah Scally, Carole Neil and Irene Brady Barber
Friday, August 24
1 – 4 p.m.

Gardeners can always benefit from learning more about pests, diseases and any curious issues that commonly occur in ornamental or edible gardens. This class will help you gain more confidence in properly identifying and diagnosing plant issues and understanding how to properly manage a response. Nutrient deficiencies can often be mistaken for diseases, and we’ll cover some common pitfalls. This class will include a lecture and question-answering indoor session as well as an investigative tour through the Gardens, where we’ll stop to look at some of the issues our staff are managing and monitoring this year.


Places for Pollinators: How to Create Habitat for Butterflies, Bees, and Hummingbirds

with Deb Perkins
Saturday, August 25
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Come learn how to create a habitat for butterflies, native bees and hummingbirds in your yard, garden, field or farm. This workshop will cover the basics of pollinator observation, identification, and ecology; pollinator habitat needs and environmental stressors; and how to create a high-value habitat in your own dooryard, farm, field or forestland. This workshop will place a special emphasis on fostering habitats for our native bee populations, and we’ll spend time in the outdoor classroom of the Gardens to see butterflies and bees in the landscape.

This class is an elective for the Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture.


Seabird Restoration in Coastal Maine

with Steve Kress
Monday, August 27
5 – 6 p.m.
Education Center

Join Dr. Steve Kress, Executive Director of the Seabird Restoration Program and Vice President for Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society, for a lecture on seabird restoration on the coast of Maine. In particular, Steve will share the successes, challenges and findings of Project Puffin, the work he initiated in 1973 to reestablish Puffin populations on Maine islands.


DIY Organic Body Care

with Sara Tryzelaar
Friday, August 31
1 – 4 p.m.

Plants that grow in your garden or out in the wild can be effectively used to create homemade body care products—salves, oils, tinctures, cleansers, balms, lotions, shampoos and more can all be made by you. St. John’s wort, sweetfern, witch hazel, hazelnut, juniper, yellow birch, lavender, calendula, basil, rosemary, roses and chamomile are just a few of the plants that you can grow and harvest for use in your body care projects. In this workshop, Sarah Tryzelaar, farmer and herbal body care creator, will introduce you to some of the botanical properties that make certain plants perfect for body care. All participants will leave with products of their own creation.


Horticultural Ecology

with Bill Cullina
Tuesday and Wednesday, September 4 and 5
10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Explore the ways in which plants interact with their garden environment. Join instructor Bill Cullina as he covers such topics as specific adaptations to environmental conditions; interrelationships between garden plants and their surrounding biotic and abiotic influences; and concepts such as competition, symbiosis, parasitism, pollination and dispersal.

While this is a core course in the Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture program, it is open to everyone, subject to availability.


Field Trip to Damariscove Island

with Boothbay Region Land Trust and Melissa Cullina
Saturday, September 8
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Hop on board a boat to Damariscove Island for a day of exploration. Currently a Boothbay Region Land Trust Preserve, Damariscove Island is one of Maine’s earliest settlement sites, dating back four centuries to the arrival of the first European fishermen. On the boat ride out to the island, a BRLT representative will share information about the island's history and natural features. Once ashore, five miles of hiking trails, great tide-pooling, picnicking and a small rustic museum make for a fun day trip. While on the island, participants can join the Gardens’ Research Botanist Melissa Cullina for a closer look at the plants that call the island home. Melissa specializes in aquatic and coastal botany, field identification and rare species conservation.
Offered in partnership with Boothbay Region Land Trust. Please contact Boothbay Region Land Trust at 207-633-4818 or brlt@bbrlt.org for more information or to purchase tickets.
$40 member, $40 nonmember


Asters of Coastal Maine

with Melissa Cullina
Tuesday, September 11th
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Education Center

Coastal Maine’s diverse array of asters is in its full glory during the beautiful late summer days of September. Join Research Botanist Melissa Cullina to learn all about Maine’s different kinds of asters, including how to distinguish them and where they grow. Students will observe plants in CMBG’s wild habitats, as well as in the classroom, using dissecting microscopes and herbarium specimens. Please bring trail-walking shoes, lunch and a hand lens if you have one (extras will be provided).


Designing the Entry Garden

with Jen Dunlap and Irene Brady Barber
Friday September 14
1 – 4 p.m.

How better to celebrate the Gardens’ new Visitor Center and Entry Garden than by holding a class featuring its design? Join CMBG horticulturalist and Entry Garden designer Jen Dunlap for an insider’s tour of the new garden. Jen will provide insight on the site’s variables, plant selection and her design process. In addition, co-instructor and landscape designer Irene Brady Barber will discuss the significance of an entry garden, including a slideshow highlighting the details essential to ensure a dynamic and inviting design. No matter the scale, quaint or large, every home, building or public main entrance could greet visitors with a warm, safe and attractive entry garden. Participants will come away with practical ideas for their own entryways. Class will meet at the new Visitor Center in our Aerie Conference Room.


Perennials for Four Seasons: Plants for Autumn Color

with Anna Leavitt and Irene Brady Barber
Saturday, September 15
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

In the autumn section, Anna Leavitt and Irene Brady Barber will present a substantial list of late-summer and autumn performers in our Cleaver Event Lawn Garden. The tour will highlight some of the Gardens’ favorite plant varieties during what is one of the most beautiful times of year.
A common sentiment among many gardeners is that it is hard to achieve year-round color or focal interest in the garden. This class series will inspire you with our own staff’s selection of favorite perennial plants perfect for showing off each period of the year. Seasonal flower shapes, colors, textures and plant forms are all key features that lead to strong and beautiful performance in the four-season landscape. During this four-part series, come learn from our horticulture staff how to overcome the challenge every gardener faces.


Capturing Iridescence in Watercolor

with Marjorie Glick
Monday and Tuesday, September 17 and 18
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

In this two-day studio workshop, learn to use the flow and spontaneity of watercolor along with the color theory needed to capture the iridescence of nature. Working with tight cropping of a photo (or specimen) of a butterfly, bird, fish, flower or shell, students will explore how composition, scale and placement can be used to express an iridescent subject. Demonstrations, a photo session in the Gardens, and additional instruction on transparent layering will also be included.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Growing Memory into Memoir at the Gardens

with Barbara Burt
Monday, September 17 to Friday, September 21
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

In five days, transform a potent memory into a short memoir inspired by the natural beauty of the Gardens. The sights, textures and scents of the surrounding environment will create pathways to explore buried recollections and release dormant literary creativity. Participants will spend part of each morning walking in and observing nature, then gather in the Gardens’ library to write, listen to and share work. In addition to on-site morning sessions, the workshop will also include assignments to be completed and shared the next day. On Friday afternoon, workshop writers will celebrate their progress with a public reading at the Gardens. The only prerequisite for this workshop is an open mind and a willingness to honor each other’s writing efforts.


Sustainable Horticultural Practices

with Irene Brady Barber and Gary Fish
Thursday and Friday, September 20 and 21
9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Our landscape practices affect the balance of our ecosystem both above and below the soil surface and in the quality of our waters. In this intensive two-day course, 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 low-impact sustainable horticultural practices.

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


Making an Image from Capture to Finish

with Rob Smith
September 25, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 1:00p.m.


Students will learn the basics of Adobe Lightroom, starting with the capture through creating the final image. The course will include shooting tips, cataloging tips and image selection and processing in Lightroom. Students should bring a camera and a portable computer with Lightroom already loaded.
Weather permitting, time will be spent in the Gardens shooting, then working in the classroom for hands-on processing.


Research Lecture: Horticultural insights into climate change and plant conservation

with Jesse Bellemare
Thursday, September 27
5 – 6 p.m.
Education Center

Rapid climate change is expected to be one of the top threats to plant biodiversity in coming decades. In particular, many plant species are likely to face severe dispersal limitations as they attempt to adjust their natural distributions to rapidly changing environmental conditions, risking population decline or even extinction. In this context, native plant horticulture provides critical insights into species' fundamental climate tolerances and might even highlight new geographic regions that are becoming suitable for future population survival, north of species' current native ranges. This lecture will focus on forest plants of the Eastern US and evaluate conservation options informed by native plant horticulture, such as "assisted migration.” Risks of these novel approaches, such as invasions, will also be reviewed.


Planning for Pollinators: Appropriate and Aesthetic Solutions

With Dan Jaffe, Thomas Berger and Andy Brand
Friday, September 28
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Join us for an afternoon workshop with three pollinator experts. Responding to reduced pollinator numbers, landscape professionals and concerned homeowners are learning more about pollinators’ specific plant and habitat needs, then using that knowledge to make planting decisions. The result is increased biodiversity and increased pollination, translating into increased food sources for pollinators and other wildlife higher up the food chain. With guidance, your landscape designs and gardens will be part of the solution in support of living landscapes.
This course is offered in collaboration with the Ecological Landscape Alliance and is designed for landscaping professionals, but advanced gardeners will find the content relevant as well. For registration, please visit www.ecolandscaping.org/events.


Invasive Plants: Issues, Identification, and Ecology

with Ted Elliman
Thursday and Friday, October 4 and 5
9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Wondering what all the fuss is about? Join ecologist Ted Elliman to find out why invasive plant species have been getting such bad lip service from botany, ecology, horticulture and conservation professionals alike. In this two-day course, students will be introduced to the basic ecological problems surrounding these aggressive and tenacious plants, the complicated (and sometimes political) issues surrounding invasive plant species and the process by which a plant becomes labeled “invasive” in the first place. Finally, through images, specimens and short local field visits, students will familiarize themselves with some of New England’s most common invasive species. Please bring water, a lunch, hand lens, and warm, sturdy clothing in which to go afield for short forays.


Watercolor Journaling in the Fall Garden

with Hannah Ineson
Saturday, October 6
10a.m. – 4p.m.

This class will focus on fall’s colorful foliage, butterflies and the plants they enjoy as well as many other highlights from our autumn gardens. Simple drawing, watercolor techniques, and decorative lettering will be taught. A drawing pen and pencil, small watercolor kit and journal are the only tools needed. Take home a journal overflowing with inspiration from the Gardens, packed with ideas for many projects to come.
This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts


Under the Spell of Succulents

with Jeff Moore
Wednesday, October 10
4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

This fall, come join us for a bit of botanical escapism! The Gardens is thrilled to welcome Jeff Moore, chief owner and operator of one of Southern California’s best known succulent nurseries, Solana Nursery, and author of several visually stunning books about succulents. Jeff will take us on a vividly illustrated tour of the many categories of succulents, from aloes and agaves to cacti and many other lesser-known varieties—all guaranteed to elicit oohs and aahs from the audience. Along the way, Jeff will share the story of his growing nursery, provide a window into propagation operations in California and share how he found his passion for this special family of ornamental plants.


Selecting Native Woody Plants for the Maine Garden

with Justin Nichols
Thursday and Friday, October 11 and 12
9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The aim of this class is to increase participants’ knowledge and appreciation of North American woody plants useful in northeastern landscapes. We’ll cover the motivations and philosophy behind using these plants in the garden as well as recommended species, cultivars and sources for materials. Horticulturist Justin Nicholas will introduce students to native trees and shrubs to use in different horticultural settings, based on their habitat preferences in nature. During forays into the field, students will encounter and discuss caring for native plants, soil considerations, invasive plants and more.


In the Shadow of Edwin Hale Lincoln

with Mike Kolster
Saturday, October 13
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Using Edwin Hale Lincoln’s photographs as primary inspiration, this photography class will explore the value of close observation of botanical specimens. In addition to questioning the relevance of Lincoln’s work to our current moment in time, we will include careful consideration of the roles framing, focus and lighting play in our own photography. We will generate images and view results as a group.


Field Trip to the New England Botanical Studies Exhibit

with Frank Goodyear, Kat Stefko, and Melissa Cullina
Friday, October 19
2 – 3:30 p.m.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick
Join Frank Goodyear, Co-Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Kat Stefko, Director of Bowdoin’s George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, and the Gardens’ own Research Botanist Melissa Cullina to explore the New England Botanical Studies exhibit. The exhibit examines the rich body of work by two exceptional New England botanists and artists, Kate Furbish and Edwin Hale Lincoln. Desiring to record their discoveries, each created a vast pictorial archive of their work. Furbish’s chosen medium was pencil and watercolor, while Lincoln’s was photography. Though they did not intersect during their lifetimes, they pictured many of the same species, and their projects were motivated by similar ambitions. Directions and meeting location will be sent to participants in advance of the trip.


Perennials for Four Seasons: Winners for Winter

with Andy Brand
Friday, October 26
1 – 4 p.m.

To conclude our series, Andy Brand, the Gardens’ Plant Curator, will highlight the forgotten beauty—the skeletal forms of deciduous trees, the berries on shrubs, and more—exhibited by certain perennials during the late fall and winter months. Come and explore the vast possibilities available for you to plant for a stunning winter landscape.
A common sentiment among many gardeners is that it is hard to achieve year-round color or focal interest in the garden. This class series will inspire you with our own staff’s selection of favorite perennial plants perfect for showing off each period of the year. Seasonal flower shapes, colors, textures and plant forms are all key features that lead to strong and beautiful performance in the four-season landscape. During this four-part series, come learn from our horticulture staff how to overcome the challenge every gardener faces.


Pruning through the Seasons - Autumn

with Syretha Brooks and Will Bridges
Saturday, October 27
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This final class in the series will cover putting the garden to bed for the season. We’ll review a large group of plants that can be pruned or cut back through the fall, accompanied by a discussion of plants you might want to leave intact for winter interest or bird habitat.
In this three-part series, learn straight from two of our own pros as they demonstrate and guide students in the best pruning practices suited to home gardeners, no matter the season. In each class, learn considerations behind pruning decisions, get the lowdown on the best tools for the job, and have a chance to head out into the Gardens to see firsthand our staff’s pruning practices. The class will also highlight seasonal cut-back and trimming of your herbaceous garden plants. With a few rules of thumb and a little assisted practice, this series will help you overcome any pruning apprehensions you may have, resulting in the confidence of knowing what, how, why and when to prune certain plants.


Botanical Subjects of Kate Furbish and Edwin Hale Lincoln

with Melissa Cullina
Wednesday, November 7
Noon – 1 p.m.
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick

Join Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Research Botanist Melissa Cullina for a special tour of Kate Furbish and Edwin Hale Lincoln: New England Botanical Studies at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. The exhibit was developed in celebration of the opening of the Roux Center for the Environment, a new building on Bowdoin’s campus supporting interdisciplinary environmental scholarship. During the tour, Cullina will speak about the plants so carefully depicted by Lincoln and Furbish, noting natural history features and habitat preferences of each. She’ll also shed light on the artistic and botanical pursuits of the artists themselves. This tour is free and open to the public.


Making Festive Holiday Greens

with Diane Walden
Saturday, December 1 and Saturday, December 8
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Kulp Horticulture Building

Back by popular demand! After several years’ hiatus, the Gardens’ own Diane Walden will once again gather a diverse assemblage of greens, ribbons and cones for this festive workshop. Make a swag, wreath, centerpiece or garland to take home. All materials needed to create beautiful designs will be provided. Participants are welcome to bring favorite ornaments or supplies from home, too. Beginners and advanced students alike are welcome. Please bring gloves, pruners and old wreath rings if you have them, along with optional cookies or treats to add to the day’s merriment! Please note: this hands-on workshop will be held in the Kulp Horticulture Building.


Winter Gardens Book Club

With Vanessa Nesvig
2-3:30 p.m.
Education Center

Now that the garden is put to bed, it’s a great time to get to those books you’ve been wanting to read. Join the conversation as we discuss four acclaimed books with plants at their core. Please sign up and read the selection, then come on the specified date to discuss the book while enjoying coffee and treats. This year, we will meet in the Education Center.
December 11: American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson
Lauded in the early 1800’s, Dr. David Hosack has been largely forgotten until now. Physician to Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, Hosack was driven by the idea of creating America’s first botanical garden in order to grow and test all the new botanical specimens found in the New World. Living in New York City, his proposed garden would have been right beneath where Rockefeller Center resides today. An irrepressible spirit, Hosack’s passion about plants, medicine and America’s botanical legacy make for entertaining and inspiring reading.
January 8: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel and How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben
In this international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: living together, caring for children, communicating and warning others of danger. Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining all the wonders he has observed in his woodland.
February 12: Abundant Beauty: The Adventurous Travels of Marianne North, Botanical Artist by Laura Ponsonby
In 1871, Marianne North, a brilliant artist with a keen interest in botany, set forth on a quest to travel the world to paint indigenous plants in their natural habitat. High-spirited and brave, she travelled by boat, train, mule, foot and palanquin to every continent except Antarctica. She circled the globe twice over fifteen years and accumulated more than eight hundred paintings, all of which can be seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London. Collected from her journals, these writings are rich with descriptions of botanica and local discoveries.
March 12: The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World’s Rarest Species by Carlos Magdalena
Carlos Magdalena talks passionately and humorously about his obsession with plants and how that obsession led him to work with exotic species at Kew Gardens, London. This native of Spain is not your average horticulturist, though, and is on a mission to save the world's most endangered plants. He has travelled to the remotest parts of the globe in search of exotic species to see where and how they grow in the wild. Renowned for his pioneering work, he has committed his life to protecting these plants from manmade ecological destruction and thieves hunting specimens for wealthy collectors.