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.

Growing Your Own Food Series

Featuring the horticulturists of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Back by popular demand! Take any or all of the classes in this season-spanning six-part series at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Step by step, we’ll teach you the basics of growing, harvesting and preserving fresh, organic produce from your own vegetable garden! In six Saturdays between April and September, you’ll receive valuable information and hands-on practice that will help you reap your own harvest this very year. This series is open to any adult interested in vegetable gardening; no prior gardening experience is necessary. Discounted price for registering for whole series: $225 members/$270 non-members.

Growing Your Own Food: Planning Your Home Vegetable Garden & Starting Seeds

with Will Bridges and Diane Walden
Saturday, April 15
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

In this introductory class, staff horticulturists and longtime veggie growers Will Bridges and Diane Walden will help you decide what type of garden would be best for you and your home situation. They will describe different types of home garden approaches such as raised beds, containers, and traditional rows, and will introduce you to important planning considerations such as site exposure and drainage. They will go over essential garden tools and explain how to prepare new areas for planting, assess your soil conditions, and improve your soil for growing vegetables. They’ll discuss some soil amendment methods, including the how and why of composting. The basics of garden design and layout will be covered and students will be given tips and sources on how to develop their own site plans. Will and Diane will suggest favorite vegetable selections that work well for coastal Maine gardens, how to get them, and when to start different kinds of seeds. To wrap up the session, each student will be given a plug tray, 3 inch pots, and a selection of seeds so participants can “get growing.” Weather permitting, the group will assist with early seed sowing in the Burpee Kitchen Garden.

Growing Your Own Food: Planting and Tending Your Vegetables

with Will Bridges and Diane Walden
Saturday, May 13
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The “how-to” of creating your vegetable garden continues as Diane and Will explain when to plant each kind of vegetable crop. They will give you a planting time chart, review of average frost dates to be aware of, and discuss the difference in timing between planting a coastal vs. inland garden. Will and Diane will show you how to care for your plants once they’re in with a review of watering techniques, the pros and cons of various mulches, and identifying and managing weeds. Site plans that individuals have worked on will also be reviewed. Participants will then head outdoors to practice various planting techniques for different vegetables.

Seedling Rescue!

with Bill Cullina
Monday, May 22
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Countless thousands of seedlings sprout up under our varied plantings each spring. Participants will gather these desirable "volunteers" before they get weeded. Bill will begin with a lecture on seedling care and handling, plus the best potting mixes, containers, and fertilizers. Then he'll lead the class through the Gardens on the great seedling rescue mission! Go home with dozens of new ornamental seedlings to transplant to your own garden.

The Great Tulip Rescue

Members only - $25 per person
Reserve your spot for no charge - no payment due until the date is confirmed. Contact Melissa Cullina to reserve your spot.

Get ready for Tulip mania! Once our 38,000 beauties are past their prime, the bulbs are removed to make way for colorful annual displays. We're offering a hands-on opportunity to work with our horticulture staff to dig up the bulbs in preparation for new plantings. You'll learn about the many varieties of bulbs and leave with a bag of tulip bulbs for you to plant in your own garden in the fall. The date for this even will be determined by Mother Nature and will be confirmed by late May. Reserve your spot now. Everyone on the reservation list will be contacted with the date information. We'll take payment at that time.

Please contact Melissa Cullina at (207) 633-8030 to reserve your spot today.

Growing Your Own Food: Getting the Maximum Yield from your Garden Space

with Syretha Brooks and Anna Leavitt
Saturday, June 10
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Join staff horticulturists and “locavores” Syretha Brooks and Anna Leavitt for a workshop on how to get the maximum yield from your established garden space. Together they will describe how to water, thin, prune and pinch back your plants to maximize yield. They will explain why it’s important to practice crop rotation, showing examples of possible garden plans and how they could differ each year. They’ll describe how to get the most from a small garden space through companion planting (interplanting) and succession planting, and will take time to explain how to put in support systems used for growing trailing plants, like tomatoes, beans and peas, efficiently. Finally, join them on a walk through the gardens to see how CMBG horticulturists incorporate vegetable plantings among ornamentals.

Hydrangeas Demystified: Great Hydrangeas and Tips for Exceptional Flowering

with Kerry Ann Mendez
Saturday, June 17
1 – 3:30 p.m.

Unravel the mystery for having hydrangeas that will be the envy of the neighborhood! This vast genus of shrubs is divided into five groups; learn the differences and how to maximize the show from each. Kerry will also show you top-performing cultivars, and how to care and prune these beauties.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.