Gardening and Horticulture
Gardening and Horticulture

Gardening and Horticulture

Our current selection of Gardening and Horticulture classes and workshops for adults for this season at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.


Gardens for the Senses: An Intimate Garden Conversation with Tim Smit

with Tim Smit
Friday, June 22
noon – 3 p.m.

Join us the day after our Annual Garden Symposium for an exclusive and unforgettable lunch with Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the multi-award winning Eden Project in Cornwall and ‘discoverer’ and restorer—along with John Nelson—of The Lost Gardens of Heligan, now one of the UK’s best-loved gardens. Enjoy an intimate group setting as Tim elaborates on themes covered in his Symposium lecture, including his vision for regenerating landscapes, human well-being, and the deeper meaning and purpose of placemaking. Following lunch, the group will tour the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses, then reconvene for tea and a final discussion. Register soon! Limited to 12 participants.


Slow Flowers

with Diane Walden
Thursday, July 12
1 – 5 p.m.

Thanks to the extraordinary strides made in the national food and culinary scene in placing emphasis on local sourcing and organic choices, there has been a sea change in the way we eat—this is the “Slow Food” movement. Apply that same thinking to sourcing your flowers, and you arrive at the “Slow Flowers” movement: Where do our flowers come from? How are they grown?

Any gardener has an up-close-and-personal relationship with flowers. They are a source of wonder and constant change as bud turns to bloom turns to fruit or seed or drupe. This diverse class—part-lecture, part demonstration, and part hands-on work—will provide you with an opportunity to share some of Diane Walden’s floral harvest from the Gardens, to learn about the evolving “Slow Flower” movement, the state of the global flower market, our own Maine-grown local markets, and to create your own arrangement. Foraging, conditioning and design tips aplenty provided.


Beyond the Traditional Butterfly Garden: Maine Butterflies and their Host Plants

with Andy Brand
Friday, July 13
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Among the species of butterflies that call Maine home, there is tremendous diversity in habitat needs and plants relied upon to live. Did you know that it’s not only monarch caterpillars that are such picky eaters? Many species specialize in the host plants on which their eggs are laid and on which caterpillars eat. Meanwhile, the nectar plants of adult butterflies often bear no connection to these hosts. In this class, learn about which plants will attract butterflies to your yard and what host plants will boost populations. Also included will be a quick overview of butterfly identification and commonly-seen species. The course will include a visit to the Butterfly House, highlighting the host plants growing here at the Gardens.

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


Day Trip to the Kennebunks: Snug Harbor Farm and Blackrock Farm

Thursday, July 19
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Join us for an experiential learning trip to visit two gems of Southern Maine: Snug Harbor Farm and Blackrock Farm. This pair of nurseries located in the Kennebunks are each unique, inspired by their owner’s visions and singular talents, and home to a loyal and dedicated following that stretches well beyond their region. At both locations, we’ll be treated to behind-the-scenes tours of the operations and have a chance to hear the story behind each business. At Snug Harbor Farm, we’ll also take part in a brief succulent-planting workshop, and each participant will be able to bring a small planting home with them. To top it all off, between visits we’ll dine for lunch at The Colony Hotel, a 1914 Kennebunkport landmark, well-recognized from both land and sea. Come join us for an unforgettable tour of some of Maine’s best-loved nurseries!


Perennials for Four Seasons: Summer Showstoppers

with Irene Brady Barber
Saturday, July 21
1 – 4 p.m.

In our summer class, Irene Brady Barber will lead you through the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses and the Arbor Garden to identify some of midsummer’s perennial beauties. It’s not just the flower power, but the plants’ forms and foliage that make them effective garden performers.
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 - Summer

with Syretha Brooks and Will Bridges
Saturday, July 21
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This summer class will identify pruning, trimming, pinching and deadheading techniques for specific woody and herbaceous plants, helping to extend their vigor and bloom performance. Gardeners often omit midseason pruning or trimming to extend plant performance, which we’ll highlight in this class.
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.


Meadows and Grasslands for Butterflies and Other Winged Companions

with Heather McCargo
Wednesday, August 1
1 – 4:30 p.m.

Meadows are complex landscape forms that provide a plethora of ecological functions, such as habitat for butterflies, pollinators and fauna. In addition, in our New England landscape, a meadow almost always brings with it a history of cultivation and human use, which adds another layer to the meadow’s ecology. This class will explore how to start, sustain and manage existing or derelict New England meadows, based on their different conditions and dominant communities. Class will begin indoors at the Gardens before traveling to an old farmstead meadow owned by Boothbay Regional Land Trust. Here, we will take stock of the landscape and evaluate the unique details on-site, treating the meadow as a case study for putting principles into action.
Offered in partnership with Boothbay Regional Land Trust.


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.


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.


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.