Learning for Adults

Wherever you are in your botanical journey, there’s something to discover in our education programs. Deepen your connection to the natural world through our adult education classes—from gardening to botanical art, ecology to photography, landscape design to garden crafts, choose from hands-on workshops, enriching lectures, certificate courses, and multi-day classes. Taught by CMBG staff and regionally or nationally renowned experts in the field, our classes take advantage of the outdoor, living classroom of the Gardens. New in the last year, we also offer online classes for distance learning. 

Adult classes at the Gardens strive to emphasize sustainability, enhancing biodiversity, and ecological horticulture. Our botany and ecology courses provide a chance to study Maine’s environment with some of the region’s experts and most enthusiastic teachers. No matter your level of experience, our course offerings inspire everyone to grow as a gardener, an observer of the landscape, and a steward of the natural world.

Annual Ina and Lew Heafitz Endowed Lecture 

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.  

This year, Abra Lee will discuss her garden roots from 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.  

Learn more about this year’s Heafitz Endowed Lecture.

Certificate Programs 

Our certificate programs are a great opportunity to learn new skills and nourish passions, whether for personal or professional growth. Graduates of these programs are awarded a certificate from the Gardens. 

The Botanical Arts program features courses in botanically-inspired arts like book and paper arts, botanical and scientific illustration, plein air painting, fabric design, and more. 

Tailored to fit Maine’s professional and amateur gardeners alike, the field-based Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture program focuses on Maine’s flora and its place in ecologically responsible horticulture. 

Discover our Certificate Programs 

Advanced Studies in Professional Horticulture 

Our Advanced Studies in Professional Horticulture program is designed to help those working in the green industry gain practical, applicable skills to support the expansion of sustainable landscapes across the state. Continuing education credits are offered through a variety of allied professional organizations. 

Continue your professional development with us and discover career-building programs that help advance your customers’ goals, your business development, and protect Maine’s environment. 

Join our Professional Horticulture program 

“These classes have been not only enjoyable but life-changing for me. I finally started my gardening business this season that I had hoped to start 30 years ago before my daughter was born.”

Meet Some of Our Instructors

Andy Brand

Andy Brand is Curator of Living Collections at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, and was formerly the nursery manager at Broken Arrow Nursery for over 20 years. He is a cofounder and past President of the Connecticut Butterfly Association and is also past President of the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association. He speaks to groups throughout the Northeast on a range of topics including native plants, new and unusual ornamentals, butterfly gardening, and the butterflies of Connecticut and their life histories. 

Melissa Cullina

Melissa Cullina is the Research Botanist for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Formerly a botanist with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Cullina specializes in aquatic and coastal botany, field identification, and rare species conservation.

Ted Elliman

Ted Elliman has been engaged in botanical work in New England and the Northeast for more than thirty years. Most recently, he was a botanist and plant ecologist for the Native Plant Trust in Framingham, Massachusetts, where he conducted botanical inventories, natural community surveys, invasive species control programs, and helped publish Wildflowers of New England.

Ann Kearsley

Ann Kearsley RLA, MLAUD, owner of Ann Kearsley Design in Portland, ME, is a landscape architect and urban designer. She specializes in ecologically-based landscape design, linking landscape form and spatial structure to the dynamics of a site’s natural systems. Her work ranges from public parks and urban plazas to private residential gardens and includes numerous public and private landscapes for art. She is on the faculty of Northeastern University’s Urban Landscape Architecture program

Lois Stack

Dr. Lois Berg Stack recently retired from her position as the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s ornamental horticulture specialist. In her role, she conducted applied research on plants that support native bees and honeybees and the production of chokeberry as a nutraceutical crop. She also worked extensively with home gardeners on landscape topics such as management of invasive species and selection and management of Maine landscape plants.

Doug Tallamy

Dr. Doug Tallamy is professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. He is also the author of the pivotal book Bringing Nature Home, co-author of The Living Landscape with Rick Darke, and, most recently, authored Nature’s Best Hope.

Grow your ability: come learn with us.

Our continuing education opportunities offer inspiration, discovery, and personal development in a broad range of botanically inspired topics.