There is something for everyone at the Berkshire Botanical Garden.  Below is a list of our scheduled events classes, and exhibits.  For details on any individual listing, just click on the event for more information.  If you still have questions, feel free to call the garden at 413.298.3926.  See you at the Garden!

Cheese-Making @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Oct 22 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

There is a 10% discount if you register also for Farmhouse Cider-Making on October 22 from 11am – 2pm. Call 413-298-3926 to register if you are taking both workshops.

Learn how to make a simple, delicious cheese in your own kitchen. BBG’s own Chris Wellens will cover equipment, supplies, and basic techniques used in making most types of cheese. Each participant will make a batch of fresh mozzarella from start to finish, as well as take home instructions and a set of ingredients to make a batch or two at home. This workshop is for beginners, and participants will learn by doing.

$5 materials cost paid to the instructor

Farmhouse Cider-Making @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Oct 22 @ 11:30 am – 2:30 pm

In New England, cider-making is to autumn what maple sugaring is to the spring season: a cultural activity. Cider expert Dennis D. Picard will teach us the history and process of this American tradition from the selection and collection of apples to the pressing of the fruit which results not merely in apple juice, but the extracted liquid from apples which is capable of fermentation. Picard will teach us how the fermentation process can result in 4% to 8% alcohol content in the cider that allows it to be kept from just after it is made all the way to the next season’s apple harvest. This program includes a slide presentation, a lesson on apple selection and varietal characteristics, grinding and pressing techniques, and an understanding of the art of fermentation.

Dennis D. Picard has been a museum professional in the “Living History” field for over 30 years. He began his career at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA, where he eventually spent 12 years filling various positions, including “lead interpreter,” where he researched and designed many public programs that are still offered by that institution today. He is presently director at Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, MA.

16.10.15 Cidermaking Denis Picard

Landscape Design Clinic with Walt Cudnohufsky @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Oct 29 @ 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

This class is co-enrolled with the Horticulture Certificate Program.

To have your project considered, call 413-298-3926 for details.

This fast-paced, information-saturated clinic with noted landscape architect Walt Cudnohufsky introduces design students, homeowners and gardeners to methods of problem-solving as part of the design process. It will lead to the basic conceptual elements of a landscape master plan. All attendees will participate in the process of observing and designing and will come away with an understanding of how a good design evolves from evaluation and analysis. An active discussion format will focus on common design principles. A step-by-step presentation will focus the discussion later in the afternoon. The field trip will be held rain or shine. Dress for outdoors, wear waterproof footwear, and bring a bag lunch.

Walter Cudnohufsky is owner of Walter Cudnohufsky Associates Landscape Architects, Land and Community Planners, Ashfield, MA. He is the founder and for 20 years was the director of the Conway School of Landscape Design.

16.10.29 Landscape Design Clinic

Enemies with Benefits: Are Some Non-Native Weeds Friends? @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Nov 5 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Although many invasive plants seem to cause only harm, certain long-present, abundant species may provide important ecosystem services, including providing habitat for native plants and wildlife. Join Director of Hudsonia, Erik Kiviat, for a deeper understanding of the benefits and detriments of some nonnative plants, including, but not limited to, commonly feared invasives such as Phragmites, purple loosestrife, and knotweed.


Rooted in Place: Creating Gardens that Respond to the Local Landscape @ Berkshire School, Sheffield, MA
Nov 13 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Conference cost: $85 (includes lunch)

headshot_Claudia WestClaudia West
Gardening in a Post Wild World: Creating Stunning Plant Communities That Stand the Test of Time
Ecological plantings are gaining popularity, but also face challenges due to environmental conditions and cultural expectations. When these plantings fail, it discourages future ecological landscaping efforts. This problem will not be solved if we continue to design as if it we were painting on canvas, perceiving plants as individual objects in space. It is time for a new practical and inspiring approach: a plant community that evolved from the world of ecological science.

Join Ms. West as she explains how plants fit together in the wild and how we can use this knowledge to create landscapes that are resilient, beautiful, and diverse. She is the co-author of a book of the same name as her lecture along with landscape architect Thomas Rainer and is the ecological sales manager for North
Creek Nurseries, where she works closely with ecological design and landscape restoration professionals.

16.11.13 Rooted in Place Tom WesselsTom Wessels
Self-organization and Co-Evolution: How Nature Models Sustainable Systems
Tom Wessels will take on the concept of the garden and local landscape as an ecological outpost to be considered as part of a larger ecosystem that strives for balance and inclusiveness. He is an ecologist and founding director of the master’s degree program in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. He is the current chair of The Center for Whole Communities that fosters inclusive communities that are strongly rooted in place and where all people regardless of income, race, or background have access to and a healthy relationship with land. He is former chair of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. His books include Reading the Forested Landscape, The Granite Landscape, Untamed Vermont, The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future, and Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to reading the Forested Landscape.

16.11.13 Rooted in Place Annie WhiteAnnie White
Top Native Perennial Combinations for Northeast Gardens
Choosing native plant species is just the first step to successfully incorporating more native plants into the landscape. Gardeners also need to know how to combine them and design with them effectively. As a native plant enthusiast, researcher, and landscape designer, Annie White will share some of the top native perennial combinations for northeast gardens and how to design native gardens that are as beautiful as they are functional.


headshot 2Thomas Christopher
Ecological Garden Maintenance
Learn the secrets of working with your garden’s ecology to win the war on weeds, to control invasive species, and to read the seed bank so that you can predict what will grow naturally in your garden. Thomas Christopher, co-author of Garden Revolution (Timber Press, 2016) will share the techniques of working with your garden’s ecology, techniques that will save you work and money, and yield a beautiful, resilient landscape in tune with the local ecosystem and wildlife.

A graduate of the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture, Thomas Christopher has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times and Better Homes and Gardens, and has served as a contributing editor to Martha Stewart Living. He is the co-author with Ruth Rogers Clausen of Essential Perennials, a complete reference to 2,700 perennials for the home garden.

Making More Plants: Propagating Your Own Woody Plants @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Nov 19 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Materials fee: $20

Back by popular demand! Join woody plant specialist Adam Wheeler of Broken Arrow Nursery for a workshop focused on hardwood and evergreen propagation.  This workshop will cover how to collect, prepare, and propagate evergreens and other woody plants by cuttings. Set at the best time of the year for collecting, participants will learn techniques needed for insuring successful rooting. Cultivation requirements, timing, and care of easily propagated varieties will be covered. Take home a selection of unusual deciduous and evergreen plant material in a simple propagator to grow on. Participants will be able to collect a very interesting selection of woody plant material on the grounds of the Berkshire Botanical Garden. 

Adam Wheeler is the Propagation and New Plant Development Manager for Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, CT, a specialty nursery with a focus on woody plants. He teaches woody plant propagation workshops throughout New England.

16.11.19 Taking Cuttings woody Plant Propagation

Bark and Buds: Winter Identification of Trees and Shrubs @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Dec 10 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Discover the many plants that lend bark, buds, fruit, and structural interest to the garden in fall and winter. Join garden expert Brad Roeller and develop or enhance your ability to identify winter trees by twig and bud anatomy, bark features, and plant architecture. Students will practice their skills with winter tree dichotomous keys. This class will be held indoors primarily, and participants will work with collected specimens. Class enrollment is limited. Bring a bag lunch. Dress for limited outdoor fieldwork. 

Brad Roeller is a private landscape garden supervisor for Altamont Estate in New York. He is the former Garden Manager for the New York Botanical Garden and has spent his entire career in horticulture, with a focus in sustainable gardening. He lectures extensively and instructs at the New York Botanical Garden, Berkshire Botanical Garden, and New England Grows.

All the Presidents’ Gardens @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Dec 11 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Take a break from partisan politics and discover the majesty of the White House Grounds. Join us as Marta McDowell, the author of Emily Dickinson’s Gardens and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, goes to Washington with her latest book, All the Presidents’ Gardens. The White House Grounds have been an unwitting witness to history—a backdrop for soldiers, suffragettes, protestors, and activists. Kings and queens have dined there, bills and treaties have been signed, and presidents have landed and retreated. All the Presidents’ Gardens tells the untold history of the White House grounds, starting with the seed-collecting, plant-obsessed George Washington and ending with Michelle Obama’s kitchen garden. Filled with fascinating details about Lincoln’s goats, Ike’s putting green, Jackie’s iconic roses, Amy Carter’s tree house, and information on the plants whose favor has come and gone over the years and the gardeners who have been responsible for it all, this is a must-read for presidential scholars and anyone interested in the red, white, and green.

Marta McDowell lives, gardens, and writes in Chatham, NJ. She writes and lectures on gardening topics and teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, where she studied landscape design. She also consults for public gardens and private clients. Her particular interest is in authors and their gardens, the connection between the pen and the trowel. She is the author of Emily Dickinson’s Gardens and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life

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Great Gardens of the Italian Lake District @ Italian Lake District
Apr 22 all-day

Tour Arranged by Classical Excursions—April 22-29, 2017

The Italian lakes have seduced travelers since the time of the ancient Romans, who made them a favorite holiday destination, building villas along the shores or near them.  Later on, the lakes enchanted and inspired travelers on the Grand Tour – among these were Byron, Stendhal, Rossini, Bellini, Shelley, Turner, Liszt, Dickens and Henry James, who wrote to his sister Alice, “One can’t describe the beauty of the Italian lakes, nor would one try if one could…it lay before me…the long gleam of the Major [Lake Maggiore]…”

With these glorious descriptions in mind, the Berkshire Botanical Garden invites you to join an eight-day excursion arranged by Classical Excursions of some of the most breathtakingly beautiful gardens and scenery in all of Italy, on Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Verona and surrounding areas.

Judith Chatfield, veteran Italian garden expert, lecturer and author, will introduce you to the captivating villa and garden magic of the Lombardian lake region.  Retrace the steps of centuries of travelers to experience such villa and garden sights as Isola Madre, Isola Bella, Villa Taranto, Villa San Remigio, Villa Carlotta, Villa Balbianello, Villa della Porta Bozzolo, to name just a few.  Lunch at Villa Giusti, Grand Hotel Villa d’Este, Villa Cicogna, Villa Rizzardi and others.

Judith Chatfield is a lecturer and author of such books as A Tour of Italian Gardens and The Classic Italian Garden; she lived in Italy for a number of years. Over the years, Judith has lead many tours of Italian villas and gardens. For further information, contact Lani Summerville, director of Classical Excursions, at 413-446-8728, Tour price $3,700 per person based on double occupancy. Single supplement available.

For a complete description of the tour, click here.

Tour leader Judith Chatfield will speak at BBG in September. More details to follow.


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