Advanced Studies in Professional Horticulture
Advanced Studies in Professional Horticulture

Advanced Studies in Professional Horticulture

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is proud to offer a new education initiative: Advanced Studies in Professional Horticulture. This program, unlike any we have offered before, will have changing topics relevant to landscape professionals and students. Participants are free to take either one-day seminars or to enroll in our in-depth certificate program, which can be completed over two years.

Learn more about our new certificate program below, or follow the link to view all programs and find our seminar offerings within.

This new in-depth program is designed to provide advanced and comprehensive content to support landscape practitioners in reaching the next level in their business. Class sizes are deliberately kept small to support discussion and peer-to-peer exchange.

Offered in two sections in early spring, students can choose to take both sections in one year or take one section per year (either section may be taken first). Each section consists of four weekly classes. Upon completing the entire course, students receive a certificate from CMBG. Each course counts toward recertification credits with the allied agencies listed below.

  • Maine Landscape and Nursery Association (MELNA)
  • Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA, AOLCP)
  • New Hampshire Landscape Association (NHLA)
  • Association for Professional Landscape Designers (APLD)

Students who wish to enroll must be current professionals in the landscape industry or enrolled in a college-level landscape, agriculture, or horticulture program.

Resilient Landscapes in Built Environments

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.

Students will receive a certificate in Resilient Landscapes in Built Environments from CMBG.

Section II: Plants and Practice

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME
Wednesdays, November 4, 11, 18 and December 2
2:30-5:30 p.m. | $200 member; $250 nonmember
(Please contact the Gardens to sign up for both sections at 207-633-8034.)

Sign up for Section II

Continuing the focus of resilient landscapes in built environments, Section II examines New England native plants for function in the landscape, including their biodiversity and beauty, achieving high performance with minimal input. Additionally, in the final two courses, the instructor will: provide step-by-step information on seasonal implementation and land-management practices relating to succession, identify concepts of green infrastructure, and discuss contractor-to-client communication essential for success. Courses are designed to be interactive, supporting students with a working knowledge of native plants to plan for the next level of design and maintenance.

Day 1: Native Woody Plants, Wednesday, November 4
with Andy Brand, Curator of Living Collections, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Andy will take participants on a virtual tour of native woody plants, from the rare to the common to several under-used species. He’ll discuss straight versus cultivated species and how they’re used in designed resilient landscapes. Instruction will include developing plant identification skills; evaluating and selecting woody plants appropriate for specific built landscapes; and recognizing woody plants, individually and communally, that contribute habitat and structure to the year-round landscape.

Day 2: Native Herbaceous Plants, Wednesday, November 11
with Heather McCargo, landscape architect and Executive Director of Maine’s Wild Seed Project
Students will continue to study a range of native herbaceous plants, such as those thriving in versatile conditions and those preferring specific cultural conditions, all of which lead to healthier ecological landscapes. Class content will cover trends in the native plant nursery trade, wildlife benefits, project testimonials, seasonal planting and management methods according to species’ habit and successional growth, and visual aesthetic for seasonal appeal.

Day 3: Sustainable Implementation Practices Wednesday, November 18
with Trevor Smith, landscape contractor and designer, owner of Land Escapes
This class will examine how green infrastructure (GI) sustainably manages the water and drought conditions that impact landscape performance and practices. Just as traditionally implemented landscape designs cannot be left alone, resilient landscapes also need long-term care as they naturally evolve.
Considering environmental factors and available resources, Trevor will discuss project timing and execution as well as how to evaluate timelines while ensuring minimal harm and maximum beneficial impact.

Day 4: Contractors and Clients in Unison, Wednesday, December 2
with Trevor Smith, landscape contractor and designer, owner of Land Escapes
The final step between knowing and practicing is often the hardest to take. This final class examines the minutiae of the business, from working with employees and sub-contractors to explaining goals and processes to clients who may not understand ecological systems. Students will leave confident in their ability to accurately communicate their ideas and methods about achieving a beautiful, resilient landscape.

Sign up for Section II


Section I: Design and Structural Components

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. Classes will illustrate concepts through case studies and provide evaluation of applications, methods, and materials.

1: Ecological Design for Resilience
This course is an introduction to the site-based, ecological design strategies that inform the development and management of resilient landscapes. Whether transitioning from an environmentally degraded urban site or a conventionally managed backyard, every landscape has the potential to contribute to the fight against climate change. Focusing on using site documentation and analysis to create an ecological baseline for design proposals, students will consider how soils and topography shape the growing conditions for different native plant communities and how to develop landforms, drainage networks, circulation patterns and plant palettes that support both human and wildlife habitats. In this interactive class, students will present examples of their own work in landscape design, construction, or maintenance, and be asked to highlight successful, unsuccessful and unanticipated outcomes. Students will consider additional and alternative project-based strategies for designing, constructing, and managing resilient landscapes.

2: Applied Soils: Restore and Engineer
This class focuses on soil ecosystems, with an emphasis on the biological, physical, and chemical properties of soil, and building healthy soil environments into landscape projects. Dr. Swallow will highlight the features and benefits of manufactured soil blends, identify methods for restoring degraded or compacted soils for a wide variety of landscape applications, and show how various blends were applied to several local and nationally recognized projects.

3: Systematic Solutions to Water Management
In this class, students will discuss simple methods to capture and reuse stormwater as well as explore other management solutions for stormwater runoff. Class will also focus on identifying updated materials and best practices for irrigation that results in water conservation, reduced poly-made materials, and hardier and healthier plants.

4: Sustainable Materials: Site Specific Features and Applications
This class will examine multiple methods of erosion control, discuss biodegradable materials to apply within and above the soil, explore innovative concepts that utilize locally derived and repurposed materials, and examine what materials are the most effective for a variety of settings. Class content will focus on features such as fences, access ways, patios, ponds, swales, stone walls, and terraces.