Certificate Program
Certificates Program

Certificate Programs

Our two certificate programs, Botanical Arts and Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture, are a great opportunity to learn new skills and nourish passions, whether for personal or professional growth. Graduates of the program(s) will earn a certificate awarded by the Gardens, which may be used as a marketable resume item, or simply as a statement of personal growth celebrating learning for learning’s sake.

Each program consists of 11 required courses and several elective workshops or trips. Students may progress through the curriculum at their own pace; a highly-motivated student can complete the program(s) over the course of nineteen months (two growing seasons). Instructors include a combination of on-staff and expert guest instructors with a variety of specialties. Courses are held on Gardens’ grounds in our LEED-Certified Bosarge Education Center, and in the field on the beautiful Boothbay Peninsula and beyond.

For more information, and for a full list of required courses, please see our informational fliers. If you have further questions, or to enroll, please contact Daniel Ungier, Director of Education, at (207) 633-8038 or dungier@mainegardens.org.

“I have so enjoyed all of the classes in the certificate program as well as the interesting and helpful electives… These classes have been not only enjoyable but life-changing for me. I still have sooo much to learn even though I’ve been gardening since I was three. CMBG is truly a botanical gem!” – 2017 Certificate Program graduate

Certificate in Botanical Arts

The beauty of gardens and plants inspire artistic expression in many forms. CMBG celebrates this broad palette of expression in our Certificate in the Botanical Arts program. Instructors from New England and beyond teach courses in several varieties of botanically-inspired arts, including book and paper arts, botanical and scientific illustration, plein air painting, fabric design, wood block printing, and more. Offerings are unique and ever-changing, but all incorporate our stunning gardens for subject study and inspiration.

There are two core classes required for graduation: Fundamentals of Botany, and Drawing and Painting with Katie Lee. Completion of the program depends on a final independent project overseen by a mentor. Final projects can be in any media with the approval from the Education Department. Development of a body of work and a thesis will consolidate the ideas and practices of each individual student. There is a fee associated with this project.
For more information about our Botanical Arts program, please see our informational flier.


Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture

The field-based Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture program instructs both amateur and professional gardeners about Maine’s diverse flora and its uses in ecologically responsible horticulture. The program is tailored to Maine gardeners by featuring the climate conditions, specific challenges, plants, and natural communities found right here in the Pine Tree State.

Students benefit from engaging, hands-on courses describing native plants, how they function and reproduce, their natural habitats, and best garden applications. Optional workshops and field trips focusing on specific skills, such as seed collection and propagation, identification of wild plants, creating green roofs, methods of composting, etc., allow students to customize the program to suit their own interests.

To ensure a top-quality experience for participants, admission to the program is limited to only 15 new students per year. The full schedule of courses for the year is typically posted in January.
For more information about our Native Plants & Ecological Horticulture program, please see our informational flier.


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.


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.


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.


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.