Join dahlia lover and horticulturist Courtney Locke to learn the best methods for growing these stunning gems. We’ll cover all aspects of locating, planting, and growing dahlia tubers, including purchasing, site planning, soil preparation, staking, feeding, pest protection, and (finally!) cutting and enjoying these sumptuous flowers. Learn how to identify the parts of a tuber, the different types of dahlia flower forms, and determine the best fit for your garden. As CMBG’s official dahlia grower, Courtney knows first-hand the exceptional cultivars that produce the jaw-dropping blooms that are truly worth the wait.
In this panel presentation, four CMBG horticulturists will review their top five perennials, from longtime favorites to new darlings from the 2021 growing season. With so many beautiful perennials at CMBG, each showing off unique foliage, flowers, structure, and wildlife benefits at various times of the year, it’s difficult to choose which ones to feature—but these top-20 are a good place to start!
Choosing native plants for your landscape should be fun and creative, not daunting or complicated! When you consider plants in simple groupings, or guilds, it becomes a lot easier to design a landscape with appealing texture, color, and wildlife value throughout the seasons. Native plant guilds draw inspiration from naturally occurring plant communities in habitats like coastal plains, forests, wetlands, or mountain tops. Leave this introductory webinar inspired, with plant lists for various light and soil conditions or landscape functions and the tools necessary for selecting your own plants for beauty and biodiversity.
Whether designing one garden or several, the first step is to understand the history and significance of garden design before diving into its fundamentals. Irene Barber, landscape designer and the Gardens’ Adult Education Program Manager, will introduce students to garden themes from different cultures and civilizations, all of which relate to the principles and elements of design relevant today.
Geography and cultural history are pertinent factors for decisions made in garden design, particularly in New England’s unique and diverse landscapes, from river valleys to rolling fields to narrow, rocky corridors. Students will understand how to establish a sense of place and belonging, wherever their prospective garden is to be located. No matter what cultural elements and influences you want to incorporate, this class will help you get creative while staying true to a sense of place.
Growing vegetables is enormously rewarding, especially when you start them from the tiniest of seeds. Witnessing and nurturing the growth of a plant, particularly one that nourishes in return, provides immeasurable fulfillment. Join professional vegetable grower John Fromer as he guides students through the selection and process of growing vegetables and herbs, whether started in your home or sown directly in your garden bed.
Whether as a refresher or a first foray into pruning, students gain confidence in this workshop and demonstration covering pruning fundamentals. Learn to know what, how, and when to prune, even if you’ve attempted it in the past with unsuccessful results, or you've been too afraid to try for fear of damaging your plants. We'll discuss appropriate tools, timing, goals, and techniques to assist you in your dormant pruning projects. Demonstrations will include fruit trees, berry bushes, some semi-herbaceous, and cover the timing for shrubs such as lilacs, rhododendron, and more.
Beginning a base plan for a plan-view design of your garden may not be the most exciting part of the process, but it is an all-important one! Join us as we discuss everything from how and what to measure for a new garden to translating that information into a scaled drawing on paper. Once a base plan is established, the designer can get creative, tracing over it until they are happy with (and excited about!) their design, the topic of discussion in the next class: Dreams to Design. Students will be responsible for their own design materials, supply list available upon registration.
In this panel presentation, four CMBG horticulturists will review their top five annuals, from longtime favorites to new darlings from the 2021 growing season. With so many beautiful annuals at CMBG, each showing off unique foliage, flowers, and structure, it’s difficult to choose which ones to feature—but these top-20 are a good place to start!
Tuesdays, March 22 and 29
Countless new terms and often-conflicting advice can make gardening intimidating, not only for newcomers, but also for those who have been gardening for years. In this course, we’ll set gardeners up for success in the potentially overwhelming world of horticulture. Using practical, real-life examples and engaging activities, we'll review how plants are named and classified, basic plant anatomy, and how environmental factors can influence plant growth. Participants will leave with the knowledge necessary to help them make informed decisions, improving both indoor and outdoor gardening success.
Soils, mulches, and amendments are fundamental for growing plants successfully indoors or out, but it’s easy to become confused, overwhelmed, or unsure. In this webinar, we’ll review what’s what, addressing in-ground and above-ground applications pertinent to vegetable, woodland, or container gardens. We’ll also discuss the variety of manufactured soil and soilless blends, mulches, amendments like composts and mineral additives, the basics of the soil chemistry and biology, and making sustainable choices.
Whether designing a secret garden or an extensive wildflower garden, it’s critical to run an assessment of the setting—built features, where water flows, and how much sun hits the area between growing months. We'll discuss what a site assessment and inventory looks like and how sketching this information gives designers a visual diagram, providing a clearer understanding of any variables to consider. The more informed you are as a designer, the better a designer you’ll be! Students will be responsible for their own design materials, supply list available upon registration.
Orchids are amazing plants—and an engrossing indoor hobby for us northern gardeners. In this fun and enlightening class, learn from CMBG horticulturist Courtney Locke how to successfully grow orchids year-round as houseplants. With so much advice out there, it’s inevitable that confusion would arise. Learn from a true orchid grower and enthusiast, and soon you’ll be on your way to nurturing these intoxicating plants in a variety of arranged containers.
When designing a new garden, it’s tempting to dive right in and start selecting plants – it’s what we plant nerds love best! But we’re doing more than creating a space to show off favorite flowers—we’re creating one that also incorporates and considers circulation, function, character, and scale. Join us as we train our brains and sketching hands, learning how to use graphic and conceptual tools to think bigger about the possibilities of place-making.
Monday, April 11 and Saturday, April 16 | Soil is alive, and a fundamental understanding of soil science is critical when selecting well-adapted native plants or choosing amendments needed by native plant communities. A two-day class for the ecologically-minded grower, students will gain an understanding of soil's dynamic relationship with a plant's health.
From gardening to landscape projects, the right tool makes the process easier, less strenuous, and more efficient. A chef wouldn’t use a butter knife to slice a roast, and a carpenter wouldn’t secure an inch-thick board with a half-inch nail! In this behind-the-scenes look at the CMBG horticulture staff's favorite tools, you'll learn why certain tools are appropriate for certain jobs. We’ll also discuss the more effective and ergonomic options out there—it might be time to replace that splintering, 30-year-old spade you're still using!
Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 30 | Learn how plants adapt, compete, and depend on surrounding living and nonliving influences, and get familiar with concepts like parasitism, pollination, and dispersal. After day one’s online session, spend day two in the living classroom of the Gardens.
Once we’ve got the bigger picture of our garden spaces in mind, we can start shaping them with program and structure. In garden design, structure is more than a row of shrubs, a fence, or a wall at your property line – it’s how you shape a space, create a sense of enclosure, and lead the eye to landscape destinations.
In this session, we’ll look at palette and plant choices, focusing on personal and environmental considerations, and take our design dreams and translate them onto paper. Utilizing the base plans created in an earlier session, we’ll look at the current garden space, visualize what we want it to become, and articulate that onto paper in several conceptual drafts.
In this active field-study class, students will learn more about our resident and migrating birds. We'll discuss identification and the New England avian lifestyle, from habitat to birds’ roles in the balance of the ecosystem and how we can better support them in the changing climate. We suggest students bring a pair of binoculars.
Whether you're working on a new garden design or revising an existing space, this final installment of our garden design series will address both the large-scale process and the detailed specifics of your personal design. We’ll work together in a collaborative workshop, presenting and providing constructive feedback on students' unique design efforts.
Mondays, June 13 and July 11, and Saturday, August 27 | Native plant expert Dan Robarts will introduce students to a wide variety of native perennials for use in a number of garden settings. Class begins with an overview of the extensive range of perennials available and how to select the right plant for the right place in the right combination.
Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 25 | Ecosystem balance and soil and water quality are all influenced by our landscape practices. This extensive, two-day study of sustainable horticulture will help students apply the principles of ecologically safe gardening practices to their existing garden or landscape.
Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 17 | Learn how native woody plants enhance both our landscapes and local biodiversity. Over two days, study these plants, from identification to habitat to their role as host plants for the insects and pollinators critical for plant management and reproduction.
Habitat loss is the primary cause of declining wildlife populations. This interactive course teaches students how to incorporate select native plants and mechanical practices into their own landscapes to create a welcoming habitat that attracts wildlife, conserves natural resources, and encourages biodiversity.
Fridays, October 21 and 28 and Saturday, October 29 | To design landscapes inspired by—and inclusive of—nature, study essential design principles through the lens of natural systems. In this three-day course led by landscape architect Lisa Cowan and landscape designer and horticulturist Irene Barber, students will learn to identify and incorporate the components of ecological landscape design.