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.

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.

Planning for Pollinators: Appropriate and Aesthetic Solutions

With Dan Jaffe, Thomas Berger and Andy Brand
Friday, September 28
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Join us for an afternoon workshop with three pollinator experts. Responding to reduced pollinator numbers, landscape professionals and concerned homeowners are learning more about pollinators’ specific plant and habitat needs, then using that knowledge to make planting decisions. The result is increased biodiversity and increased pollination, translating into increased food sources for pollinators and other wildlife higher up the food chain. With guidance, your landscape designs and gardens will be part of the solution in support of living landscapes.
This course is offered in collaboration with the Ecological Landscape Alliance and is designed for landscaping professionals, but advanced gardeners will find the content relevant as well. For registration, please visit

Under the Spell of Succulents

with Jeff Moore
Wednesday, October 10
4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

This fall, come join us for a bit of botanical escapism! The Gardens is thrilled to welcome Jeff Moore, chief owner and operator of one of Southern California’s best known succulent nurseries, Solana Nursery, and author of several visually stunning books about succulents. Jeff will take us on a vividly illustrated tour of the many categories of succulents, from aloes and agaves to cacti and many other lesser-known varieties—all guaranteed to elicit oohs and aahs from the audience. Along the way, Jeff will share the story of his growing nursery, provide a window into propagation operations in California and share how he found his passion for this special family of ornamental plants.

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.

Winter Gardens Book Club

With Vanessa Nesvig
2-3:30 p.m.
Education Center

Now that the garden is put to bed, it’s a great time to get to those books you’ve been wanting to read. Join the conversation as we discuss four acclaimed books with plants at their core. Please sign up and read the selection, then come on the specified date to discuss the book while enjoying coffee and treats. This year, we will meet in the Education Center.
December 11: American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson
Lauded in the early 1800’s, Dr. David Hosack has been largely forgotten until now. Physician to Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, Hosack was driven by the idea of creating America’s first botanical garden in order to grow and test all the new botanical specimens found in the New World. Living in New York City, his proposed garden would have been right beneath where Rockefeller Center resides today. An irrepressible spirit, Hosack’s passion about plants, medicine and America’s botanical legacy make for entertaining and inspiring reading.
January 8: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel and How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben
In this international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: living together, caring for children, communicating and warning others of danger. Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining all the wonders he has observed in his woodland.
February 12: Abundant Beauty: The Adventurous Travels of Marianne North, Botanical Artist by Laura Ponsonby
In 1871, Marianne North, a brilliant artist with a keen interest in botany, set forth on a quest to travel the world to paint indigenous plants in their natural habitat. High-spirited and brave, she travelled by boat, train, mule, foot and palanquin to every continent except Antarctica. She circled the globe twice over fifteen years and accumulated more than eight hundred paintings, all of which can be seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London. Collected from her journals, these writings are rich with descriptions of botanica and local discoveries.
March 12: The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World’s Rarest Species by Carlos Magdalena
Carlos Magdalena talks passionately and humorously about his obsession with plants and how that obsession led him to work with exotic species at Kew Gardens, London. This native of Spain is not your average horticulturist, though, and is on a mission to save the world's most endangered plants. He has travelled to the remotest parts of the globe in search of exotic species to see where and how they grow in the wild. Renowned for his pioneering work, he has committed his life to protecting these plants from manmade ecological destruction and thieves hunting specimens for wealthy collectors.