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 18 – September 21
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.


Garden Arts Club

First Wednesday of the Month
2 - 4 p.m.

This group will meet every first Wednesday during the summer to paint together in the gardens. Enjoy meeting other painters who are interested in bettering their plein air skills and share your triumphs and trials of working outdoors. Facilitated by staff painter Vanessa Nesvig, each session will include some time for critique. These days are designed to get you out painting with others who share your interests and to get feedback in a nurturing environment.

This course counts towards the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Drawing and Painting Owls

with Katie Lee
Monday-Friday, June 26-June30
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

There are many species of Owls found here in Maine such as the Barred Owl, the Great Horned Owl, each with its own unique character and drawing and painting challenges. Photographs will be used to understand and observe accurately the owl’s structure, pigment patterns, feather textures, and eye detail, the most engaging part of any owl. A variety of techniques will be practiced to render the details of these fascinating birds.

This course counts towards the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Cultivating Herbs: Selecting and Growing for Many

with Irene Barber
Friday, July 7
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

In this hands-on workshop, experienced herb gardener Irene Barber will introduce you to the many ways herbs can be used. Using our CMBG plantings, she’ll instruct you in the basics of herb gardening – whether it be establishing a new garden, expanding and rejuvenating an existing one, or growing in containers. From plant selection to tending techniques, Irene will make sure you have the best information for a thriving herb garden.


Growing Your Own Food: A Healthy Vegetable Garden - Managing Pests & Diseases Organically

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

In this summer session, Gardens' educator Irene Barber will show you ways to manage your now-thriving garden and prevent it from falling victim to pests and diseases. At the top of the agenda will be the basic differences between organic and conventional gardening. We will cover concepts and practices that are applied to Integrated Pest Management, such as biodiversity, companion planting, mechanical methods including watering practices, and the use of crop rotation for healthy plants. Finally, we’ll learn which diseases and pests are of most concern in Maine, such as tomato blights, potato beetles and squash borers, with practical advice on how to manage and avoid them without spraying.


Introduction to Writing Nature Poetry: The Haiku

with Kristen Lindquist
Tuesday, July 11
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The centuries-old Japanese haiku has become one of the most universally popular poetic forms, in part because of its simplicity: in English, usually three, unrhymed lines totaling 17 syllables. In this introductory workshop we will look at the long tradition of haiku as nature poem and spend time in the gardens reading classic haiku and writing our own short poems. This non-critical class is meant to encourage your own writing using the natural surroundings as inspiration.


SCULPTURE at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

with June LaCombe
Wednesday, July 12
3 p.m.

This lively slide lecture by June LaCombe will look at past exhibitions, additional sculptures by the artists in the CMBG collection, and review siting considerations of placing sculpture on the landscape. This is an opportunity to learn more about the artists, sculpture materials, logistics in moving, and considerations for selecting sculpture for your garden. Reception to follow.


From Seed to Tree: A Propagation Workshop

with Michael Dirr
Thursday, July 13
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

According to award-winning woody plant expert Michael Dirr, “The art and science of plant propagation should be part of every gardener’s lexicon.” During this morning workshop, Dr. Dirr will lead you through hands-on propagation activities including seed collection and preparation, softwood and hardwood cuttings, along with demonstrations of grafting, budding, layering, stooling, and tissue culture. Come and share the joy of reproducing plants for your garden and for sharing with friends.

This class is an elective of our Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture program, but it is open to everyone.


Gone Wild: Maine Wildflowers in Watercolors

with Hillary Parker
Monday and Tuesday, July 17 and 18
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Be inspired by Maine's bounty of wildflowers and come join award-winning naturalist and botanical watercolor artist Hillary Parker for her 2- day workshop focusing on nature's "roadside beauties"! This fun and challenging workshop is open to all skill levels for students with previous drawing and watercolor experience. Students will create informative and delicate botanical studies using graphite and watercolors, while also being challenged to develop, build upon, and master skills in observation, drawing, composition and watercolor techniques such as washes and dry brush detail work. Please note that Hillary will be providing all art materials for use in the workshop, and there is a $10 watercolor paper fee.

This course counts towards the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Tree Identification: Why Make it Difficult?

with Michael Dirr
Friday, July 14
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Woody plant expert Michael Dirr will teach simple approaches for identifying difficult species. He’ll explain how asking the right questions starts the process of elimination, until a logical conclusion is reached. For example, all species in the genus Cercis (redbud) have similar leaf arrangement, leaf shape, flower, fruit and winter bud structure. When the plant in question is recognized as Cercis, then the use of identification keys, local experts, and extension staff can finalize the identity. The workshop will take place in both in the classroom and out in the Gardens.

This class is an elective of our Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture program, but it is open to everyone.


Introduction to Meditation

with Nancy Kelley
Saturday, July 22
3 – 4:30 p.m.
Registered through and co-sponsored with MaineGeneral Health Prevention and Healthy Living

Explore meditation and mindfulness in a beautiful setting. Join us to learn how daily practice can transform your physical, mental and spiritual health and how to initiate and cultivate your own meditation practice. Please bring a cushion to sit on and a blanket (chairs will also be available if needed). To register, call 872-4102 or visit www.mainegeneral.coursestorm.com.


Identifying Difficult Sedges

with Lisa Standley
Saturday and Sunday, July 22 and 23
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Carex subgenus Vignea contains the most difficult groups and hard-to-identify species in the genus. In this advanced two-day course, we’ll learn to recognize the major groups and common species, and how to use the keys and other identification tools. Day 1 will be an indoor lecture and laboratory session, and Day 2 will be in the field. Please bring a good field guide (Flora Novae Angliae, The Sedges of Maine, Field Guide to Carex of New England), a millimeter ruler, fine-pointed forceps, and a hand lens with 12X or higher magnification.


Day Trip to Saltwater Farm and Swans Island Company

Wednesday, July 26
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Meet in Lincolnville

Join us for an experiential learning trip to visit two gems of the mid coast: Salt Water Farm Cooking School and the Swans Island Company! Meeting at Salt Water Farm in Lincolnville, we’ll enjoy a private tour their beautiful edible gardens and learn how their cooking program inspires and teaches students to prepare simple, nourishing meals using ingredients from their gardens and the surrounding land and sea. We’ll cap of the visit with a freshly-prepared luncheon for our group overlooking Penobscot Bay. Next, we’ll travel the short distance to Swans Island Company for a behind-the-scenes tour showing the processes used to create their gorgeous yarns and handwoven textiles. We’ll learn how many of their yarns are dyed using botanical pigments like indigo and madder root.


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.


Sumi-e Asian Brush Painting

with Frederica Marshall
Saturday, July 29
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Explore sumi-e with Master Brush Painter Frederica Marshall. Basic brushstrokes, composition, and the philosophy of this ancient art will be taught. Subjects include bamboo (the traditional subject to learn brush loading and value control) and Maine landscape painting. Ink, watercolor and handmade brushes will flow on washi paper. Art materials supplied- the ink does not wash out of clothing! Feel the stream of wind off the tip of the brush!

This course counts towards the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


The Playful Colored Pencil

with Carol Ann Morley
Monday and Tuesday, July 31- August 1
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Learn to color the natural world with this playful medium. Find out how the versatile colored pencil can produce so many different effects. Blend rich colors for velvety petals. Scratch into layers of pigment to create deep textures. Burnish the pencil pigment for glossy leaves. Impress into the paper surface to produce fine engraved delicate lines. Sample papers that are dark, textured and colorful and see how the different toned backgrounds can help illuminate or emphasize the subject you have chosen to portray.

This course counts towards the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Creating Decorative Sugar Flowers

with Patricia Moroz
Thursday, August 3
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

During this fun and relaxed course, each student will learn to create a variety of beautiful and realistic edible sugar flowers, including hydrangeas, daisies and gardenias. These can be used on cakes, cookies, cupcakes and just about any baked goods! Each student will be provided a fresh cake covered with icing and fondant to decorate with flowers they make during the class. No previous experience is required and all tools and materials will be provided. Please bring an apron and wear comfortable clothes!


Garden Therapy

with Irene Barber
Friday, August 4
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Did you know that gardening can improve well-being and reduce stress? In this guided experience in our Lerner Garden of the Five Senses, Irene will explain what “Garden Therapy” is, and how it can help you! She’ll explain the many health benefits of gardening, and teach you uncomplicated ways to make it a part of your healthy lifestyle. Using all your senses, tour through our glorious summer gardens, and learn how to maximize the enjoyment and benefits of gardening at home!


Black & White Nature Photography

with Thurston Howes
Monday, August 7
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

In this digital nature photography class Thurston will encourage each photographer to understand their intention in making a black and white image as well as improve their technical skills such as correct exposure and editing. With an emphasis on aesthetic value, students can explore both realistic and abstract interpretations of a subject. Images will be reviewed and edited through Adobe Photoshop. Students are welcome to bring a laptop with Photoshop, although it is not necessary.


Introduction to the Native Flora of Maine

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


Butterflies, Caterpillars and the Plants That Feed Them

with Andy Brand
Friday, August 11
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

There are over 110 species of butterflies that call Maine home. Butterflies not only add color and grace to our gardens, they are also valuable pollinators of many plant species. Join Andy and learn which plants will attract butterflies to your yards along with the host plants on which eggs are laid and caterpillars eat. All things butterflies will be discussed from their remarkable lifecycle as well as how to identify some of the commonly encountered species. Following a slide presentation Andy will lead participants on a leisurely walk through the Garden and highlight plants valuable to butterflies and identify any species flying about.

This class is an elective of our Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture program, but it is open to everyone.


Growing Your Own Food: Getting the Most from Your Vegetable Harvest - Food Preservation Methods

with Patty Watson and Sharmon Provan
Saturday, August 12
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

As harvest-time begins, you won’t want to miss this workshop on how to enjoy your garden’s bounty all through the winter. Staff horticulturists Patty Watson and Sharmon Provan will teach you how to make the most of our well-earned harvest by demonstrating ways to preserve and store our garden vegetables and herbs. They will cover the specifics of root-cellaring and drying in the classroom, and canning, pickling, freezing, and making preserves in the kitchen. Participants will learn cooking and drying techniques and about food safety issues.


Birds and Botany of Hog Island

with Bill Cullina, Melissa Cullina, and Steve Kress
Thursday – Sunday, August 24-27
Prices include all meals, lodging and transportation to Hog Island

Join National Audubon’s Steve Kress and CMBG's Melissa and Bill Cullina for a special workshop featuring the botany and birds of Audubon’s magnificent Hog Island. The cool headwaters of Muscongus Bay and more than 100 years of protection have favored the growth of one of Maine’s most pristine spruce-fir forests. On this 300 acre sanctuary, you will find a dense moss ground cover and towering conifers interspersed by sphagnum bogs, meadows of hay-scented ferns and a rocky shoreline interspersed by sand beaches. The program includes practical methods for improving backyard gardens for birds using native plants, forest ecology and botany walks through the Hog Island forest, and a seabird cruise to Eastern Egg Rock. This class counts towards elective credits for our Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture program, but it is open to everyone..


Ina and Lewis Endowed Heafitz Lecture: The Art of Gardening

with Bill Thomas
Thursday, August 31
2 – 4 p.m.

Join Chanticleer's Executive Director and Head Gardener Bill Thomas for a visual tour and behind-the-scenes look at what the Washington Post calls “one of the most interesting and edgy public gardens in America.” Chanticleer is known for its residential-scale plant combinations featuring foliage textures and colors, its wide variety of containers, and its imaginative homemade furniture. This is a garden where the staff are the designers, competing with each other and with the horticultural world to make the garden fun, visually exciting, and environmentally responsible. Bill will offer insights on what inspires this special place.


Flora of Indiantown Island

with Melissa Cullina
Wednesday, September 6
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Registered through and co-sponsored by Boothbay Region Land Trust

Explore and “botanize” along the trails and shorelines of Indiantown Island on this excursion with CMBG botanist Melissa Cullina. Melissa will teach you about the plants adapted to life on the island, and will describe how understanding the island’s flora contributes to CMBG’s new collaborative project to document the flora of the Mid-coast region. Please bring a life jacket, hat, and hand lens (if you have one – we will have extras) and pack a lunch. Meet at the Knickerkane Island boat launch on Barter’s Island Road. Boat transportation to island provided by BRLT. Please contact the Boothbay Region Land Trust to register.


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.


Growing Your Own Food: Late-Season Plantings & Putting the Garden to Bed

with Diane Walden and Jen Dunlap
Saturday, September 9
9:30 am – 12:30 pm

In the final series workshop, staff horticulturists Diane Walden and Jen Dunlap will explain how to extend the life of your garden with additional late-season plantings, row covers, cold frames and hoop houses. They’ll also explain which crops can be left in the ground to harvest last, and discuss how to save seeds and plan for next year’s garden. They’ll show how the garden may be cleaned up and protected for the winter. Applicable cover crops will be discussed. An overview of local food banks and their community value will be emphasized. We’ll close out the session sowing some late season crops.


Nature to Soul: Plein Air Watercolor Painting

with Jill Hoy
Sunday, September 17
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Every person has a signature set of gestures, instincts and ways of seeing the world. In this is plein air class we will interpret what we see into painting, decisively simplifying first, then adding gestural detail. We will be strengthening our ability to see rhythm, form, composition, light. After demonstrating, Jill will have you choose a vantage point you wish to work from. Be open to working on two paintings. Student may use watercolor or gouache. Supply list will be sent.

This course counts towards the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


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.


Paper Flowers: Dahlias and Double Tulips

with Amity Beane
Saturday, September 30
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Engage your botanical muse with this meditative hand craft. Learn several techniques in paper flower making during this full day studio workshop. Join artist Amity Beane as she teaches how to dip-dye floristic crepe and make paper dahlias and double tulips. Choose from papers from Amity’s collection to learn batch cutting, shaping, and gluing the flowers, and use studio time to work with your own dyed-in-class papers to create a gorgeous bouquet that is everlasting. A complete supply list will be sent when you register.

This course counts towards the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


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.