Geography and cultural history are pertinent when making garden design decisions, particularly in New England’s unique and diverse landscapes, from river valleys to rolling fields to narrow, rocky corridors. In this online class, students will learn how to establish a sense of place and belonging wherever their prospective garden will be located in New England. 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. Class Level: Intermediate
Practice your skills and learn more about the plants to prune during certain times of the year with the Gardens' Arborist and IPM Specialist, Garth Welch, and Horticulture Educator, Irene Barber. In this hands-on workshop, we'll demonstrate and discuss the variety of pruning practices selected according to timing, setting, plant health, and desired aesthetic goals. Class Level: Beginner-Intermediate
Evergreens offer our New England landscape contrast, depth, and year-round appeal. Staff horticulturists Kelsie Birney, Courtney Locke, and Alicia Miller introduce 20 of their favorite evergreen species. From groundcovers to trees, broadleaf to conifers, they'll highlight a variety of species that will fit small or large garden spaces.
Class Level: All Levels
Creating 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! This in-person class will combine presentation and practice on how and what to measure for a new garden or multiple gardens and how to translate it into a scaled drawing. Students will begin developing a design key and practice drafting skills. This scaled base plan will be necessary to pursue further design stages and enable the designer to practice sketching with trace paper and explore ideas. Class Level: Intermediate
Knowing the basics of soils, mulches, and amendments is essential for growing plants successfully indoors and out. In this webinar, we'll demystify and instill confidence by reviewing various in-ground and above-ground applications, from perennial borders to container gardens. This class is perfect for all gardeners, either starting out or in need of a refresher. Class Level: Beginner-Intermediate
From ornamental to functional benefits, there are many opportunities to use native shrubs in any landscape. It's time to scratch privet off the shopping list and add New England native plants, northern bayberry or fragrant summersweet. In this online presentation, we'll see examples of various native shrubs and discuss their applications and plant combinations. Whether you're doing a formal garden perimeter or a wildlife habitat naturalizing project, we'll share management practices and plant selection to help you meet your design goals.
Whether designing a secret garden or an extensive wildflower garden, it's critical to evaluate, document, and sketch out a setting's existing details—built features, water movement, sun exposure throughout growing months, soil types, etc. This online session will help students develop longhand documentation and, more importantly, mark the assessed information, resulting in a visual diagram that provides a clearer understanding of any variables to consider. The more informed you are as a designer, the better a designer you'll be! We strongly recommend students have a scaled base plan before moving forward with this stage. Class Level: Intermediate
Growing plants can be truly fulfilling and enjoyable, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. Gardeners learn by trial and error; however, it can be costly and frustrating. In this two-part online class, Dr. Sonja Birthesel will help you save money and increase gardening success with guidance and insight into horticulture. We'll provide practical information about sustainable garden practices, including an overview of plant biology, adaptation, habit, and cultivation. Class Level: Beginner-Intermediate
Perhaps you love to cut and arrange flowers from your garden, but have you considered growing them from seed? In this class, you'll learn how to grow your favorites and new varieties from seed, including annuals, biennials, and perennials, from cut-flower grower and aficionado, Courtney Locke. As the grower, you'll get to nurture and manage the quality of your plants and save money. Plants grown from seed acclimate to your garden better than those grown elsewhere.
Class Level: Beginner-Intermediate
When we design a garden, we do much more than create a space to show off favorite flowers; we reflect personality and a sense of place, incorporating circulation, function, and design principles. Join us at the Gardens as we explore the conceptual process that awakens creativity and trains the brain to draw freehand while learning how to use graphic tools. We’ll practice with onsite spaces and have time for students to apply newfound skills to their projects. Class Level: Intermediate
Staff horticulturists Jen Dunlap, Catherine Kaczor, and Lon Ames share their top 20 plants for erosion control in this online panel discussion. While these plants can be functional to support our soils, they are beautiful and can be utilized in combinations as ornamental as any traditional garden. Learn about the various heights, habits, and ideal environments.
Class Levels: All Levels
Once conceptual ideas are narrowed down to one or two general schematics of our garden spaces, we can start shaping them with program and structure. Structure and movement consist of more than a row of shrubs, a fence, a path, or a wall at your property line – this is how you shape a space, create a sense of enclosure, and lead the eye to landscape destinations. This online lecture and demonstration will identify features and design principles captured initially on trace layers, ensuring pragmatic and inspirational functions in our gardens. Upon registration, students will receive a list of supplies recommended for the class and ongoing design projects. Class Level: Intermediate
Soil is a living matrix of chemical and biological interactions, and a fundamental understanding of soil science is critical when selecting well-adapted native plants or choosing amendments needed by native plant communities. This two-day hybrid class for the ecologically-minded grower will discuss soil texture, chemistry, water-holding capacity, the biologically diverse life in the soil, and how these dynamic relationships can affect a plant’s health. Class Level: Intermediate
In this class hosted at the Gardens, we’ll look at the palette and plant choices that coordinate with the structure and movement of our design space(s), along with personal and environmental considerations. Using a base plan, we’ll focus on implementing the layers of details, from ground to canopy, onto layers of trace paper. By constructing your physical garden’s layers on layered drafts of trace paper, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed, and before you know it, your dream design is intact! Class Level: Intermediate
Viburnums are an important genus in New England landscapes, offering essential habitats for wildlife and attractive seasonal floral and berry displays. Join Lon Ames, horticulturist for the Haney Hillside Garden, in his online class to learn about native and non-native viburnums that can be used in your garden borders. Discussion will include sizes, habits, ecological benefits, and characteristics that make viburnums stand out in your displays.
Whether you're working on a new garden design or revising an existing one, this class at the Gardens will address both the large-scale process and the detailed specifics of design. After a brief recap of the design process to ensure comprehension and strengthen the core intent of our designs, we'll address how to merge the layers of design details, ensuring legibility is maintained. Through a collaborative workshop, students will present their design projects, exchange constructive feedback, and discuss the means for making the design come to fruition. As the series final installment, students should come prepared with a design project they've been working on, no matter the stage. Upon registration, students will receive a list of supplies needed. Class Level: Intermediate
Presented in three parts, native plant expert Dan Jaffe-Wilder will introduce students to various native perennials to use in garden settings. The course will include two online presentations in May and September and an in-person fieldwork day in July. Through the series, we will discuss selecting the right plant for the right place in the right combination, using the best quality for the application, cultivation variables, choosing plants for their ecological role, specialized garden communities, aesthetics, propagation, and proper plant procurement. Class Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Kick off Memorial Day weekend with this field-study class honoring our northeastern forests and learning more about their fragile ecosystems. Wabanahkik (Dawnland), the broader territory that includes the area now known as Maine, consists of a variety of climate conditions that host an assortment of deciduous and coniferous species valuable to thousands of living organisms. We'll discuss individual tree species, their ecological roles, and management practices that support the health of the living matrix. Class Level: All Levels
Ecosystem balance, soil, and water quality are all influenced by our landscape practices. This extensive, two-day sustainable horticulture class will help students apply the principles of ecologically safe gardening practices to their garden or landscape. Through online and in-person sessions, we’ll examine composting, techniques for eco-friendly soil amendments, alternatives to pesticides and herbicides, responsible native plant acquisition, erosion control methods, plant forms for function, and so much more. Class Level: Intermediate-Advanced
State Horticulturalist Gary Fish leads this one-day class, which covers extensive ground on the insects, diseases, and deficiencies found on plants in the landscape. Applying principles of integrated pest management (IPM), the course will help students identify, monitor, and prevent poor plant health and, when necessary, deal with treatments. Mr. Fish will emphasize preventative measures and help students determine methods to mitigate further plant pest problems. Class Level: Intermediate
Habitat loss is the primary cause of declining wildlife populations, and learning how vital native plants are to wildlife and how much our landscape choices matter is one of the most critical steps we can take to divert such loss. Combined with a short online lecture followed by an interactive workshop and field study at the Gardens, students will learn how and what to manage in the landscape and how to incorporate certain native plants to create welcoming habitats that attract wildlife, conserve natural resources, and encourage biodiversity. Class Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Learn about native woody plants that contribute so much to our landscapes and local biodiversity in this two-day hybrid class. Andy Brand, Director of Horticulture at the Gardens, will discuss identification, habitat, and the role woody plants play in plant reproduction and management as hosts for insects, birds, and other wildlife. You'll leave with recommendations for native species and cultivars and guidance for cultivation, landscape uses, and soil and light considerations. Class Level: Intermediate-Advanced
To design landscapes inspired by—and inclusive of—nature, it is essential to study 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. Online and onsite, we will examine the systems influencing design decisions, practice environmental site analysis, and design conceptual plot plans for a selected site. Class Level: Intermediate-Advanced