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.


Introduction to Natural Plant Dyes

with Jen Dunlap
Wednesday, August 23
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Learn some of the basic techniques for creating natural plant dyes, and about the history of natural dying in Maine. See first-hand some common materials and plants grown and foraged from our gardens that can be used for making natural dyes. Cotton muslin fabric will be provided. If you prefer, feel free to bring in a small piece of natural cotton or linen for experimentation.


Birds and Botany of Hog Island

with Bill Cullina, Melissa Cullina, and Steve Kress
Thursday – Sunday, August 24-27
Meet between 2 - 4 p.m. in Bremen 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.
Participants will meet at the mainland portion of the Audubon's Hog Island Camp. An email will be sent with further information. This class counts towards elective credits for our Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture program, but it is open to everyone..


Making Beneficial Herbal Teas

with Deb Soule
Wednesday, August 30
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!


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.


Foraging for Mushrooms

with Greg Marley
Saturday, September 9
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Coastal Maine is blessed with an abundance of wild mushrooms. The combination of cool coastal moisture, a diversity of trees, and the mixture of fields and forest bring with it a wealth of mushrooms. How many times have you wished you’d known more about the mushrooms and other fungi growing along our field and woodland trails? Which are edible? Which are poisonous? Is it true that all puffballs are edible, all red mushrooms not? And what is the difference between a mushroom and a toadstool? Mushrooms are surrounded with mystery, fear, folklore, and fantasy. Here is the perfect chance to get started under the guidance of a seasoned mushroom expert. You are invited to spend the day with noted amateur mycologist Greg Marley, building skills and confidence in identifying Maine’s mushrooms.


Perennial Favorites: Top Selections from Our Collection

with Diane Walden
Thursday, September 14
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Our 10th anniversary is the perfect time to reflect on the plants that bring us so much joy. Join staff horticulturalist Diane Walden for a hands-on tour of the selections our horticulturalists say they couldn’t live without, and learn the story of especially memorable plants from the past decade. We’ll begin indoors with a look at springtime favorites, then head out to our gardens to autumn favorites in all their resplendent seasonal glory.


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.


All About Rhododendrons: Cultivations, Cultivars, and Ongoing Care

with Jeff O’Donal
Wednesday, September 20
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

In honor of our 10 year anniversary, we’re highlighting the treasures of one of our first gardens, the Giles Rhododendron Garden. Jeff O'Donal, instrumental in selecting the diverse rhododendron collection, will present a highly informative class on the world of rhododendrons in New England. Jeff will inform you about rhododendron cultivation, propagation, growth habits, and winter preparation, along with details of new and traditional species and cultivars. We’ll also tour garden and enjoy slideshow imagery of its phenomenal spring blossoms. Come and celebrate the Giles Rhododendron Garden!


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.


Bigelow Café Sci at CMBG: Maine Sea Vegetables - Past, Present, and Future

with Bob Steneck, Shep Erhart, Seth Barker, and Tollef Olsen
Friday, October 13
5 – 6 p.m.
Co-Sponsored with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

A panel of four acclaimed speakers, marine naturalists, aquaculturists, wild-harvesters, and chefs will join us for a Café Sci at the Gardens. The panelists will share their passion and knowledge about the past, present, and future of edible sea vegetables in Maine. All are welcome at this free event.


The Ocean Garden: From Shore to Table
Join us for a weekend event celebrating Maine’s native superfood: sea vegetables! Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences team up to offer two informative events focusing on local sea vegetable aquaculture and wild foraging. Learn from Maine’s own experts about this growing industry, as well methods to identify, gather, and prepare delicious sea vegetable dishes on your own.


Foraging for Maine Sea Vegetables

with Nichole Price and Tollef Olsen
Saturday, October 14
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
At Shimmield Hall, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, East Boothbay
Co-Sponsored with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Learn to identify and harvest sea vegetables at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. The morning portion of the workshop will be offered in a classroom setting; in the afternoon, the class will head out into the field along the shores of Ocean Point in East Boothbay to forage for wild seaweeds. Included in the course are lunch and a cooking demonstration with Tollef Olsen, sea vegetable chef and president of Ocean’s Balance, highlighting delectable, approachable ways to include nutritious sea vegetables into your diet!


The Ocean Garden: From Shore to Table
Join us for a weekend event celebrating Maine’s native superfood: sea vegetables! Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences team up to offer two informative events focusing on local sea vegetable aquaculture and wild foraging. Learn from Maine’s own experts about this growing industry, as well methods to identify, gather, and prepare delicious sea vegetable dishes on your own.

Registration for this class will open soon.


The Secret Lives of Beekeepers

with Erin MacGregor-Forbes
Wednesday, October 18
4 – 5:30 p.m.

Come to the Gardens for a jam-packed session that’s all about bees and the secret lives of beekeepers. You’ll learn the history of why the Botanical Gardens started an apiary and how we manage nine hives and over 400,000 volunteer pollinators who make our gardens their home. This fun and engaging workshop will include a basic overview of honey bee biology & behavior, including the basic concepts of organism vs. superorganism and some of the amazing behaviors of a honeybee hive, including swarming and their life-sustaining roles as pollinators. Plus, we’ll cover how beekeepers interact with honeybee colonies, the long history of human-honeybee interactions, and a snapshot of the regional differences behind sustainable beekeeping in Maine. You’ll also get a sense of the differences between commercial beekeeping vs "backyard" hobby beekeeping and suggestions for how to go further if you’d like to have your own hives at home. We’ll wrap up with a taste testing of CMBG’s exclusive honey from our own hives. This introductory workshop is accessible for anyone who wants to learn a little more about bees, their fascinating behavior, and the beekeepers who love them.