Fridays, February 7, 14, 28, and March 7 | Resilient landscape practices are connected to the evolving environment. Incorporating low-maintenance design, resilient landscapes sustain and regenerate under stressful environmental conditions, rather than falling victim to stressors. They are aesthetic, powerhouse systems providing ecological services; as such, they give the landscape professional the opportunity to evolve their business, adapting to the changing environment. Section I of the course focuses on examining and incorporating ecological design and the influential components of water, soils, design lessons from nature, and sustainable structural materials.
Now that the garden is put to bed, it’s a great time to read those books you’ve been meaning to get to all season long. Join the conversation as we discuss four acclaimed books featuring plants at their core. This year, to be sure everyone can participate, we will be conducting these conversations via Zoom. Just sign up, read the selection, and then join the group by logging into the Zoom discussion that day. Selections include: Life in the Garden, The Age of Wood, The Garden of Evening Mists, and Uprooted: A Gardener’s Reflections on Beginning Again.
The forest edge plays a significant role in ecological landscapes, both for wildlife habitat and landscape design aesthetics. In this webinar, Andy Brand and Irene Barber will discuss how and what to use to establish attractive forest edges. This “edge” concept can be very useful in urban landscapes, attracting and hosting birds and pollinators year-round. Talking points include selecting species for a variety of landscape conditions, hospitable plants for bird species, woody plants for year-round appeal, and what plants grow well together.
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.
Trevor Smith, owner of LandEscapes, is a Green Infrastructure (GI) expert for both residential and commercial properties. In this session, he will discuss how to reenvision a property’s water issues as positive and effective opportunities. Whether there's too little or too much, Trevor will explore problem-solving strategies such as water collection, retention, repurposing, or directing in order to support surrounding habitat.
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.
In orienting students to the Certicificate in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture, we welcome both new and continuing students. Classes are open to those not pursuing the certificate, though priority will be given to program enrollees.
This presentation highlights the ever-popular topic of growing, gardening, and designing with cut flowers. Because perennials are not endless bloomers, they often get overlooked as cut flower options. However, for sustained color all season long, there are plenty to choose from when planning a residential perennial border or farm field. John Bliss, co-owner of Broadturn Farm, and floral designer and grower Celeste Parke will discuss those hardy perennials, both herbaceous and woody, that offer fantastic, sustainable options for cut flowers, discussing details from cultivation to vase. For growers, gardeners, and landscape designers, this topic is gold.
Thursdays, April 7 and 14 | Delve deeply into depicting botanical subjects with graphite. Using fruits and vegetables, gain an in-depth understanding of how light affects individual shapes in nature including highlights, midtones, shadow areas, reflected highlights, and cast shadows. Great for beginners and those looking to refine their drawing and observation skills.
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.
Wildlife awakens upon the spring equinox, vibrant with the sound of a new generation. In this workshop, students will learn which species belongs to which sound, identifying frogs, turtles, salamanders, and other herps (Greek for “crawling things”). Learn about the Big Night and the citizen science initiative surrounding it. From the comfort of your home attend the live instruction featuring these exceptional wetland fauna.
Wildlife awakens upon the spring equinox, vibrant with the sound of a new generation. In this workshop, students will learn which species belongs to which sound, identifying frogs, turtles, salamanders, and other herps (Greek for “crawling things”). Learn about the Big Night and the citizen science initiative surrounding it. During the final hour of class, those onsite will explore CMBG’s vast wetland environments and practice identifying and observing these critical, fragile species.
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.
Wetland plants are wildly diverse and complex—take the marsh marigold or the wild calla, the native relative of the traditional calla lily. Join ecologist Ted Elliman for this online lecture and captivating visual presentation, and learn more about freshwater wetland plants. Ted will guide participants in identification, wetland classifications, habits, and the fauna that have co-evolved with these verdant plants, gaining a deeper understanding for their ecological value.
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!
Thursdays, April 21 and 28, May 5 and 12 | Delve deeply into depicting botanical subjects with graphite. Using fruits and vegetables, gain an in-depth understanding of how light affects individual shapes in nature including highlights, midtones, shadow areas, reflected highlights, and cast shadows. Great for beginners and those looking to refine their drawing and observation skills.
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.
Celebrate Arbor Day with this field-study class highlighting the value of our northeastern forests. Maine's macro- and micro-climatic regions consist of a wide assortment of deciduous and coniferous species valuable to thousands of living organisms. Whether you’re a land steward, forestry student, or simply passionate about the outdoors, join Allyssa Gregory, Maine District Forester, to learn about the successional development of the Maine forest, its ecological significance, management strategies, and the soils that anchor and sustain the trees. Learn how to identify many of Maine's trees, the history of its forests, and about silvaculture and climate-adaptive species. Students will leave with a native tree seedling to plant.
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.
The Photography Club meets every other Thursday morning at the Gardens, 7-9 a.m. Enjoy having the whole of our campus to yourself for two hours before we open to the public. Come and capture the stunning morning light, May-October. You must be a member of the Gardens to enjoy this amazing perk. The first meeting of the year is Thursday, May 12.
Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 21 | Learn how Maine’s native plants behave in their natural habitats. Guided by ecologist Ted Elliman, this comprehensive, two-day course will introduce students to several plant communities, the native plants living in them, and the natural processes affecting them.
Set up your easel and paint or sketch at the Gardens for free! Enjoy glorious spring weather and capture some brilliant color. The event is a bit earlier this year, and thinner crowds mean artists can spread out and enjoy the tulips and daffodils. There is no charge for entry, but you must pre-register for this event. You may attend one or all of our plein air days.
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.
For new and returning Botanical Arts Certificate students: join us to review 2022’s courses, the requirements needed to receive your certificate, and an introduction to this year’s instructors and their artwork. Those already enrolled in the program should sign up to attend, but there is no need to pay an additional fee. The presentation will be indoors and masks will be required; students must be members of the Gardens to enroll in this program.
Friday, May 27 and Saturday, June 4 | With a core understanding of plant biology, working with nature takes on a whole new depth. Beginning with basic plant anatomy, students will learn how every aspect of the organism works together to sustain photosynthesis, respiration, and water and mineral uptake.
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.