Geography and cultural history are pertinent factors 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 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.
New and ongoing students in the Certificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture will attend this online session. Learn about this comprehensive program, its curriculum, the core courses, the elective courses, and the instructors. The extensive program welcomes experienced gardeners, hobbyists, and professional gardeners interested in building their proficiency about New England native plants and the horticulture practices that support ecology in the landscape.
This online lecture and slideshow presentation will introduce students to the fundamentals of pruning and discuss the what, when, and how. Dormancy is a critical time, and pruning trees and shrubs in this window will prevent damage and promote healthy plant growth for the following growing season. Join us to lose your fear of pruning and discover just how much fun and approachable it is with the appropriate tools. Following this class, students can register for "Pruning Workshop: Practices and Plants," happening at the Gardens in April. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
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 present and allow practice in how and what to measure for a new garden or multiple gardens before translating the information into a scaled drawing. During this stage, students will begin developing a design key and practice drafting skills. A scaled base-plan will be necessary to properly pursue further design stages and enable the designer to practice sketching with trace paper and explore ideas. Upon registration, students will receive a list of supplies needed to pursue their own design project and to have ready for this class.
Join us for this online panel presentation and learn about 20 favorite trees and shrubs native to the northeast from three of our staff horticulturists, Lon Ames, Kelsie Birney, and Alison Webb. Native trees and shrubs provide a variety of ecosystem services that are essential to preserving the environment, perfect for any garden or landscape setting. We'll talk about the plants' wildlife habitat, design applications, ornamental features, and end with questions and answers. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
Growing from seed is enormously rewarding, especially when you're growing for the best flavors and nutrition. This two-part online class will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to successfully grow an assortment of vegetables and herbs from seed, whether you're growing on a windowsill, under grow lights, in a hobby greenhouse, or directly in the garden soil. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
Whether designing a secret garden or an extensive wildflower garden, it’s critical to evaluate, document, and sketch out a setting's details—built features, water movement, sun exposure throughout growing months, soil types and so on. This online session will help students develop longhand documentation and, more importantly, sketch 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 to have a scaled base-plan in-hand before moving forward with this stage. Upon registration, students will receive a supplies list that will be useful for designing a new garden.
Join us for this online panel presentation where we'll feature 20 hardy and resilient perennials selected by staff horticulturists Jen Dunlap, Courtney Locke, and Delaney Pitman. This group of plants includes those that manage challenging conditions such as dry/wet, windy locations, compacted soils, and which also regenerate quickly after major weather events, on the rise due to climate change. Come learn about plants that will lead to sustaining, high-performing, and beautiful gardens. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
Soils, mulches, and amendments are fundamental for growing plants successfully indoors and out, but it’s easy to be unsure, confused, and overwhelmed. 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. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
When we design a garden, we do so much more than simply create a space to show off favorite flowers—we create one that reflects 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 own personal projects. Upon registration, students will receive a list of supplies needed to pursue their own design project and to use during this class.
In this two-part online class, we will introduce, review, and practice the art of kitchen garden design. Kitchen garden designer, grower, and author, Ellen Ecker-Ogden, will feature a number of different designs and concepts to inspire you, then explain cultural considerations, artful elements, and plant selection. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
Once we have the conceptual ideas 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, which will ensure both pragmatic and inspirational function in our gardens. After this class, students will feel empowered to practice on the personal project that will help them prepare for the next class, Garden Design: Details in the Layers. Upon registration, students will receive a list of supplies recommended to pursue their own design project.
Practice your skills and learn more about the plants to prune during certain times of the year with Gardens Horticulturists Irene Barber and Brent McHale. In this hands-on workshop, we'll discuss the variety of pruning methods and techniques needed depending on plant setting, plant health, and any desired goals. Students will have the opportunity to use different tools during the workshop, learning when and how to use them properly as well as how to maintain them for optimal long-term performance.
Join us for an online panel presentation featuring 20 plants that attract winged companions like the birds, native butterflies, moths, and flying insects that are essential to our ecosystems. Many of the plants we’ll discuss are found in forests, fields, and other natural ecosystems, wonderful species for gardens and rewilding. Staff horticulturists Lesley Paxson, Alicia Miller, and Brent McHale will share their favorites, perfect for your gardens or wild spaces. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
Friday, April 14 & Saturday, April 22 | 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.
In this class 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, it’s easier to avoid becoming overwhelmed, and before you know it, your dream design is intact! Upon registration, students will receive a list of supplies needed to pursue their own design project and to use during this class.
Are you interested in growing hydrangeas in your garden? Or maybe your hydrangeas aren’t performing as well as you'd like? Join this online presentation with Horticulturalist Courtney Locke as she provides a thorough overview of the many different types of hydrangeas and how to successfully grow them for bountiful blossoms and sturdy structure.
Growing plants can be truly fulfilling, yet at times a bit overwhelming. Both new and seasoned gardeners constantly experience successes and challenges and realize learning curves along the way. In an effort to reduce some costly or aggravating trial-and-error, join us for some guidance and insight into horticulture. This class will provide practical information about sustainable gardening and will include an overview of plant biology, adaptation, habit, and cultivation. We’ll discuss soils, pesky problems, environmental and ecological factors, low-input management, and much more. The goal of this two-part online class is to help all plant lovers feel more confident in growing plants successfully, sustainably, and in abundance. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
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 your 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. In this collaborative workshop, students will be able to present their design projects, exchange constructive feedback and discuss the means for making the design come to fruition. In this final installment of our series, 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 to pursue their design projects and to use during class.
Ever wondered what wildlife is living in your backyard? In our seasonal series of field-study classes (register separately for each), participants ages 14-adult will learn more about the creatures that live in or around their garden, looking for shelter, food, and water. Join us in mid-spring for the first class and see spring animal-activity first-hand, an experience that will provide deeper insight into and appreciation for their roles in the ecosystem, better informing us how humans and wildlife can live together more harmoniously. With the return of spring, our wildlife awakens and begins actively foraging, preparing to find mates, establishing new homes, and more. In this session, we’ll focus on resident and migratory birds, amphibians and reptiles, and which mammals are active and evident this time of year.
Wednesday, May 17, Saturday, July 8, & Wednesday, September 13 | Presented in three parts, native plant expert Dan Jaffe-Wilder will introduce students to a wide variety of native perennials to use in a number of garden settings. Class sessions during May, July, and September will feature native plants and an overview of an extensive range of seasonally-relevant perennials. Discussion during online lecture and in-person field-study will include how to select the right plant for the right place in the right combination, cultivation variables, choosing plants for their ecological role, specialized garden communities, aesthetics, propagation, and proper plant procurement.
Whether you live in an apartment building, on a suburban lot, or on a rural property, this class will address the opportunities everyone has for composting at home. Instead of adding to the food waste that makes up 1/3 of America's trash, you can learn how to effectively turn it into a treasure, whether the method is indoor vermiculture or outdoor bins or piles. Join Don Morrison, Master Gardener and compost aficionado, to learn about the different methods, containers, and materials that both accommodate your lifestyle and successfully compost food waste and garden debris. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
From small bellflowers to 8" wide star blossoms, clematis can show off a wide variety of colorful ornamental flowers throughout the growing season. Grow clematis vines for vertical interest or as groundcover that naturally interweaves with plant companions. Clematis are most often affiliated with cottage gardens, yet you can find them growing on vertical features made of metal, wood, or rope in any garden design. Join Cindy Tibbetts, clematis specialty grower at Hummingbird Farm, to explore and learn about the extensive array of clematis at the Gardens, garden cultivation, and what species will work for you, in pots or in-ground.
Friday, June 16 & Saturday, June 24 | 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 pesticide and herbicides, responsible native plant acquisition, erosion control methods, plant forms for function, and so much more.
This one-day class will cover 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. State Horticulturalist Gary Fish will emphasize preventative measures and help students determine methods to mitigate further plant-pest problems.
Color, color, and more color! Join us and learn how visually stunning color combinations can be achieved effectively and harmoniously in container garden design. Sometimes too much color can be overpowering, but color can be expressed in many ways—through hue, tone, shape, and texture, creating wide-ranging visual appeal. Join Brent McHale, container-garden designer and Gardens Horticulturist, to learn how to create your own colorful container garden, one that achieves its effect through flowers, foliage, and seasonal succession. All planting materials will be supplied by the Gardens. The instructor will contact you to ask if you want a shade- or sun-loving plant selection. Please bring your own garden gloves and clippers.
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 on inspiration from natural plant communities in habitats like coastal plains, forests, wetlands, or mountain tops. This field-study and design workshop at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens will guide students through the process of selecting plants according to companionship, seasonal performance, and environmental considerations.
Water-wise gardening is another way of referring to designing with water in mind, especially relevant to drought conditions. Water-wise container gardens lend themselves to an exotic and creative assortment of annuals or perennials like succulents, alpines, and plants with fuzzy leaves, leathery-glossy leaves, or those with varied color- and textural characteristics. Join Gardens Horticulturist Jen Dunlap for this creative workshop and make your own drought-tolerant container garden. Students are encouraged to bring their own clippers, apron, and garden gloves. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
Weeds, by casual definition, are undesired plants found in a certain location. In this class, we will discuss the perception of weeds as well as their identification, cultural management, and ecology. Learning the identity of a “weed” may change the desire to remove it from the landscape as you realize its potential benefits. While sometimes weeds are just misunderstood plants, there are times they can be invasive or toxic, so it is important to properly identify and learn how to manage for these species. Join Delany Pitman, CMBG Horticulturist, in this mixed field-study and lecture class and broaden your awareness of why, what, when, how, and where these plants live and if they can be embraced or must be eradicated from a garden or landscape.
Water gardens are growing in popularity for a number of reasons: to attract wildlife like birds and butterflies, to add a melodic sound feature, to contribute light reflection, to offer a place for personal respite, and to cool down a garden space. Water gardens that incorporate unique and lush plants add bold shapes, forms, colors, defined lines, and textures to a garden space. In class, students will make and take home a small water garden container filled with personally selected plants supplied by the Gardens. We'll talk about the wide variety of plant options, materials, and different kinds of water garden designs. While this class is a part of our adult education offerings, it is open to advanced younger students, ages 14 and older.
Ever wondered what wildlife is living in your backyard? In our seasonal series of field-study classes (register separately for each), participants will learn more about the creatures that live in or around their garden, looking for shelter, food, and water. Join us and see summer animalactivity first-hand, an experience that will provide deeper insight into and appreciation for their roles in the ecosystem, better informing us how humans and wildlife can live together more harmoniously. This month, we’ll primarily focus on the diverse world insects, especially pollinators and beneficials, then learn about the mammals that are feeding and starting their families during these lazy days of summer.
Commonly referred to as vegetable gardens, yet frequently inclusive of herbs, fruits, and edible flowers, kitchen gardens are lifestyle-reflective. In this class, we’ll explore edible gardens at CMBG, including the gardens where edibles are planted along perennial borders. While we examine the different styles, from the traditionally-designed potager to more naturalistic designs known as “rewilding,” students will learn about style considerations like plant companions, pollinators, management, and aesthetic choices. The field-study class will include (brief) design time so students can practice integrating ideas into their own spaces.
Have you been gardening with hydrangeas and experienced challenges with blossom performance? Are you wondering what kind of hydrangea you have? Join Horticulturist Courtney Locke to learn more about gardening with hydrangeas in Maine, including best selection, cultivation, and care. Tour the Gardens and see the diverse display of our different hydrangea species and cultivars, and learn firsthand what environmental conditions are needed to successfully grow certain species and varieties.
In her presentation, Jennifer Jewell will discuss the philosophy of Cultivating Place, her National Public Radio program and international podcast. Her podcast is a voice for gardeners and nature-lovers and operates from the belief that gardens and gardeners are potentially powerful agents and spaces for positive change in our world, helping to address challenges as wide-ranging as climate change, habitat loss, cultural polarization, and individual and communal health and wellbeing. In this program, she will explore how the power of gardens and gardeners can be viewed through a lens of invitation—both the invitations we recognize and accept from our gardens in our roles as gardeners and those we extend to the greater world through our gardening practices.
Friday, September 1 & Saturday, September 9 | Over two days, online and in-person, learn about native woody plants that contribute so much to our landscapes and local biodiversity. 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. Online and in the field, Andy will recommend native species and cultivars, and explain cultivation, landscape uses, and soil and light considerations.
Friday, September 8 & Saturday, September 16 | 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 vital 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.
Ever wondered what wildlife is living in your backyard? In our seasonal series of field-study classes (register separately for each), participants will learn more about the creatures that live in or around their garden, looking for shelter, food, and water. Join us and see autumn animal activity first-hand, an experience that will provide deeper insight into and appreciation for their roles in the ecosystem, better informing us how humans and wildlife can live together more harmoniously. This month, we’ll discuss preparing your garden for winter while also supporting the wildlife that migrates or overwinters locally. We’ll primarily focus on the ways birds, mammals, and insects are starting to prepare for winter.
Support both healthy gardens and the health of Maine's landscape and ecology in this free community forum on integrated pest management (IPM), an environmentally sound approach to managing pests in gardens, farms, and forests. Five panelists will share introductory insight about common-to-emerging pest concerns, discuss practices, share resources available to Mainers, and feature recent studies and discoveries related to sustainable pest management.
Friday, October 20, Friday-Saturday, October 27 & 28 | 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. Online and onsite, examine the systems influencing design decisions, practice environmental site analysis, and design conceptual plot plans for a selected site.
Interested in learning about plants for pollinators? Want to understand why some plants attract pollinators better than others? For centuries, passionate plantspeople have collected plants from the wild, hoping to enhance floral or foliar displays or increase resistance to disease or pests. But where wildlife is concerned, beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Join us to learn from our pollinators and see what plants they choose. Join staff Entomologist Zac Smith-Hess to hear what the evolving research says about the ecological evaluation of native straight species, cultivars or non-native plants in built landscapes. We’ll talk about genetic diversity, clonal cultivation, pollinator syndromes, and their role in insect visitation and health.
Zac Smith-Hess’ passion for exploring and connecting people to nature has led him into both formal and informal education. Since graduating with a degree in zoology in 2014, he has spent much of his career working specifically with invertebrates in zoo and classroom settings. His students have called him a true lifelong learner; you can see this when you find him on grounds of the Gardens, providing wandering interpretation or, as he likes to say, just talking about bugs.