Interested in gardening with Maine’s native plants? First, come meet them in their wild habitats. During this intensive three-day course with CMBG Research Botanist, Melissa Cullina, students will learn how to recognize at least 50 frequent coastal Maine plant species.
In this conversation Abra Lee will discuss her garden roots from the dirt-road country of the rural South to a lesson in family history that helped define her life’s purpose. This is a story of failure, persistence, and how taking her Mama’s advice to “don’t be no educated fool” led her on a journey to uncover Black America’s legacy in ornamental horticulture.
Abra Lee is a national speaker, writer, and owner of Conquer the Soil, a platform that combines Black garden history and current events to raise awareness of horticulture. She has spent "a whole lotta time" in the dirt as a municipal arborist, extension agent, airport landscape manager, and more. Lee is a graduate of Auburn University and alumna of the Longwood Gardens Society of Fellows, a global network of public horticulture professionals.
The Ina and Lew Heafitz Endowed Lecture celebrates leading thinkers in horticulture, landscape design, sustainability, and more. These nationally-recognized speakers address cutting-edge and timely topics, presenting enriching talks centered around their work in nature-related fields. The annual lecture is free for all.
In this interactive walking-tour, students will gain insight in including art in the landscape, at any scale, while viewing examples located throughout the Gardens.
Paint a beautiful silk scarf with a botanical theme. Specimens will be provided by the Gardens to inspire your creativity and design. Students will go home with a lovely scarf and a fun new skill. Materials are provided for a $20 fee, collected on the first day of the workshop.
Interested in gardening with ornamental grasses, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to commit or how to apply them in a garden? At Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, we have a plethora of ornamental native and non-native grasses through which Syretha Brooks, gardener and garden designer, will guide you. By studying the variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and colors, students will clearly understand how to use grasses effectively in perennial gardens or naturalized settings. Discussion will include grass management, cultivation, and habits.
To provide safe, in-person classes at the Gardens, classes are held entirely outdoors and have been reduced to 12 students. We are practicing Maine CDC social-distancing protocols. This course is alternately available in an online format.
Syretha Brooks is a horticulturist and project manager at Pretty Flowers, a landscape and design company based in Brunswick, Maine. A native of Harpswell, Maine, she has a degree in fine arts from Smith College, which has greatly aided in developing her eye for plant designing and curation. Syretha was formerly a horticulturist at New York City’s Wave Hill Gardens before returning to her home state of Maine and working as a horticulturist here at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for four years.
Wednesdays, September 1 and 8
Explore the ways in which plants interact with their garden environments. Join instructor Dan Robarts as he discusses specific adaptations to environmental conditions; interrelationships between garden plants and their surrounding biotic and abiotic influences; and concepts such as competition, symbiosis, parasitism, pollination, and dispersal. The first session consists of an online slideshow and introduction. A week later, class will convene at the Gardens to study the content in-depth with plants in cultivated and wild settings.
Rain date: Thursday, September 9, 2021.
Learn from expert wreath maker Jen Dunlap, whose amazing and imaginative harvest wreaths feature dried floral and foliar cuttings from the garden. Walk the Gardens with Jen and learn which plants are perfect for dried wreaths and other dried compositions. Jen will discuss the proper time to cut and drying methods. This class pairs perfectly with the online tutorial, Making a Harvest Wreath, happening in October.
This late-season Burpee Kitchen Garden session will showcase eggplant, tomato, sunflowers, and dahlias and share leek, ornamental corn, and herb-harvesting knowhow. File away seed-harvesting tips for next year’s garden, and learn how to establish late-season crops like kale and radishes.
In this class, Courtney Locke, bulb grower and Staff Horticulturist, will discuss the world of bulbs beyond tulips and daffodils. Although the latter are beautiful and deserve attention, there are many varieties that bloom later into the summer and fall. Aconites, Camassia, and fall crocus are just a few that will be featured. Courtney will take you on an online visual journey; learn how to landscape with these bulbs, including naturalizing or gardening within an ornamental border, and how to manage bulb species over time—most bulbs are perennials, perfect partners in sustainable gardening.
Seeds are miracles of the plant world – a lot of power packed into a small case that sustains nature’s biodiversity. Former horticulturist and lead propagator of Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary and native seed specialist, Leslie Duthie, will guide students through the process of growing meadow plants from seed. Whether you’d like to convert a lawn into a mini meadow-scape, diversify an existing field, or start a large-scale meadow from scratch, Leslie will share the secrets of making meadows succeed. Using the palette of the Gardens’ naturalized areas, discussion will include seed collection, storage, and plant selection as pertaining to the environmental conditions of a setting.
Leslie Duthie is a lifelong gardener. She was formerly employed at the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary where she was the horticulturist and plant propagator for over 38 years. An accomplished grower of ferns and wildflowers, she says you can't really know a plant until you have grown it from seed. Now retired, she continues to volunteer at various gardens and works to protect land for her local Conservation Commission and land trust.
This class will explore the motivation and philosophy behind using woody native plants in the garden, discuss straight species, cultivars, and sources for materials. Andy Brand, the Gardens' Curator of Living Collections, will expand on the ecological relationship between host plants and the insects and pollinators critical in maintaining the balance between management and reproduction.
Celebrate the natural world by creating a work of art honoring the relationship between an animal and a plant. Block printing, a form of relief printing, is the oldest, simplest, and most direct approach to making an impression. Experience all aspects of the process, from handling and care of tools through inking and printing your own images by hand.
In the northeast, when the warm season comes to a close, it’s hard to say goodbye to nature’s lushness and our container and in-ground plants. However, there is an opportunity to preserve and transfer some favorites into the home. As a bonus, houseplants offer therapeutic benefits and enhance indoor air quality. Learn from Brent McHale, Staff Horticulturist and houseplant enthusiast, about which outdoor plants can succeed indoors, and nurture your connection to nature. From tropical plants to flowering annuals, herbs to succulents, there’s an array of plants to choose from.
Plants of salt marsh communities are uniquely adapted to tolerate and survive the stress of repeated, daily salt-water flooding. Learn which members of our wild flora can withstand these harsh conditions and the various mechanisms they’ve evolved to cope with—and even thrive in—environmental conditions that would kill most plants. Melissa will lead you on a low-tide botanical journey into an iconic and vulnerable Maine habitat. Please wear boots or sneakers that can get wet (and maybe redolent of the salt-marsh…).
Whether grown from seed or transplanted as seedlings, native woody species can adapt to changing conditions and challenging environments, benefitting urban communities and rural developments or woodlots by filling in empty spaces and protecting and bringing nutrients back to the soil.
Drip, pour, drag, layer, heat, and incise! Learn the art of encaustic painting in this hands-on workshop using pigmented wax and a heated palette! Through a rich variety of marks and surfaces, explore the various painting techniques of this seductive medium. We will also look to CMBG’s gardens as sources of inspiration.
Students will examine naturally occurring systems that influence design decisions, practice environmental site analysis, and design conceptual plot plans for a selected site. Instruction will take place online for days one and two. On day three, students will meet at the Gardens to critically examine applied design features that address ecological principles and components.
Deepening your connection to nature through moving meditation offers enormous benefits for personal well-being. Follow Tracey Hall, certified guide in the ancient Japanese practice, Shinrin Yoku, or forest bathing, as she gives you the tools to begin your own meditation practice. In this gentle class, experience how the simple practice of walking mindfully through a forest can provide deep serenity. By engaging with the forest with all five senses, we enhance awareness and presence. Despite a busy lifestyle, taking time for ourselves is enormously important—what luck that we can do so by walking in the forest!
Using autumn plants and flowers, learn and/or further your colored-pencil skills. We’ll discuss how to observe and draw a specimen, then transfer the sketch to a final piece. The ability to draw and/or sketch is required for this class. Learn how to pick out pencil colors and combine those colors using layering techniques.
For two days, dive into learning the basic ecological problems surrounding invasive plants, the complicated (and sometimes political) issues surrounding the species, and the process by which a plant becomes labeled “invasive.”
Our Northeastern forest genera consists of a wide assortment of deciduous and coniferous species that vary throughout the macro- and micro-climatic regions of Maine. Understanding these species helps inform landowners about management, the local ecology, soils, and successional development. Join us and learn how to identify many of Maine's forest trees and about concepts like silvaculture and climate adaptive species. Autumn is the perfect time for this exploration—beyond the natural spectacle, the range of fall colors provides Allysa Gregory, Maine District Forester, the perfect palette by which to explain trees and their color choices. Leave feeling more connected to our forests and confident in identifying trees in your area.
While there are beneficial bugs, fungi, and bacteria in nature, there are also those indigenous to an ecosystem that become invasive. In this class for experienced gardeners or landscapers, State Horticulturist, Gary Fish, will cover extensive ground on the insects, diseases, and deficiencies deemed harmful to wild or cultivated landscape plants. Applying principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the course will help students learn how to identify, monitor, and manage poor plant health. Instruction will focus on prevention as a means of management, cultural practices and plant selection, and the decision process and actions to take if an infestation occurs.
Gary Fish is the State Horticulturalist at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. He is a past coordinator of the Maine YardScaping Partnership and manager of the Pesticide Control Board. He has a B.S. in forest and wildlife management from the University of Maine, College of Forest Resources and has been a licensed professional forester since 1985. An aspiring landscape and nature photographer, he attributes his love of plants to his mother and her beautiful rose and rock gardens.
Ever wanted to preserve your garden after the season has ended, extending the enjoyment of its bounty? Join Staff Horticulturist Jen Dunlap and learn the process of making dried wreaths from cuttings collected from your garden or surrounding property. Jen will take you through this art and craft, step-by-step. A materials list will be supplied upon registration, as will a list of suggested cuttings to have on-hand, if you’d like to make a wreath during class. If you won’t have the dried cuttings, you can still learn and keep the recorded class demonstration as reference.