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!

Tree Care for Gardeners (H,D,NP) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Oct 21 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

This course meets on Fridays, 1-4pm, October 21 & 28; November 4 & 18.

Whether you are an amateur or professional horticulturalist, you are a steward of the landscape, and probably spend more time than anyone among the flowers, shrubs, and trees. This course is designed for those who might not necessarily be first to climb 100 feet up a Northern Red Oak or wrangle the chainsaw to fell a 36″ dead American elm. The goal of this class is to empower horticulturalists to better understand the largest plants in the landscape. Learn the basics of tree biology and identification, the tree’s role in the ecosystem, proper selection, siting, planting considerations, pruning of young trees, fertilization, pest identification, and when to call in the certified arborist.

Instructor –Tom Ingersoll, B.A., M.A.A., I.S.A. is a Massachusetts Certified Arborist and is also certified by the International Society of Arborists. He owns Ingersoll Landcare located in Sheffield, MA, and has worked in the landscape industry for the past 22 years. He serves on boards of the Berkshire Botanical Garden and the Sheffield Tree Project.

Landscape Design Clinic: Introduction to a Coherent Process (required level II) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Oct 29 @ 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Students in Landscape Design ClinicThis fast-paced, information-saturated clinic will introduce design students, home owners others to an opportunity-finding and problem-solving 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. Students will come away coherent examples of how design happens. An active discussion format will focus on common design principles. A step-by-step PowerPoint presentation will focus the discussion later in the afternoon. This all-day workshop is a prerequisite for Landscape Design Clinic Level II course offered in spring 2017. The field trip is held rain or shine. 

Instructor – Walter Cudnohufsky, M.L.A. is a long-time dedicated teacher.  Having founded and for twenty years directed the nationally acclaimed Conway (Mass.) School of Landscape Design, he has honed a reasoned approach to planning design. Currently his firm is engaged in many diverse and stimulating planning/design projects throughout the region.

Discounted price for 3 Fall Level II courses: $725

Soil and Soil Amendments (required) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Nov 1 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Rhus aromatica Grow LoClasses meet on Wednesdays, November 1-22, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

This course will explain how plant growth is affected by soils, from drainage to pH and nutrients. Learn how to evaluate soils, improve those that are less than ideal, and how to amend soils for specific garden uses. Fertilizers, soil amendments, making and using compost, moisture management and the pros and cons of mulching will be covered.  Students should bring a soil sample. 

Instructor – John Howell, M.S. is the former Extension Vegetable Specialist, for the University of Massachusetts and currently lectures on vegetables, fruits and soil management   Author of numerous newsletters for growers and is currently the editor for New England Vegetable Management Guide, published biennially by the University of Massachusetts.

Discounted price for 4 Fall Level I courses: $650

Planting Plan Design Studio (required level II) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Nov 2 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Hot August GardenClasses meet on Wednesdays, November 2 – December 14, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

Learn how to design a planting plan for private and public garden spaces.  Explore the manipulation of space by using plant material through a series of exercises dealing with form, color and texture.  Students will consider the nature of plant characteristics in specific design settings.  Style of house will be used for a source of inspiration while honoring the horticultural needs of each plant. Students will make presentations for each project and class critiques will be positive, instructive and essential to the learning process. This is a participatory class.  Required text: Professional Planting Design by Scott Scarfone. Prerequisites: Herbaceous Plants, Ornamental Woody Plants, Drafting for Garden Design. For materials list, click here.

Instructor – David Dew Bruner, ASLA is an award winning landscape architect and fine artist with over 35 years of experience ranging from Deputy Administrator of Riverside Park, NYC to amusement park design, historical restoration and all scales of residential design. Originally from New Orleans, he has a BLA and a BFA from LSU as well as a MLA form the University of Massachusetts.

Required text:
Professional Planting Design: An Architectural and Horticultural Approach to Creating a Mixed Bed
Scott Scarfone
John Wiley Publishers
ISBN-139780471761396  (pbk)

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.

Plant Health Care (required) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Nov 29 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Classes meet on Tuesdays, November 29 – December 20, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

Look at factors that affect plant health care including insects, diseases, pathogens and abiotic influences.  Basic diagnostic techniques will be taught.  Learn to minimize potential problems through proper site preparation, plant selection and placement.  Managing problems using biological, chemical, and cultural techniques will be discussed with a focus on IPM (integrated pest management).

Instructor – David Chinery, M.S. is an extension educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselar County, Troy, N.Y.  He is currently researching alternatives to pesticides for turf grass insect and disease problems, as well as improving and expanding the county’s Master Gardener Program.

Suggested text:
Weeds of the Northeast
R. Uva, J. Neal, J. DiTomaso
Cornell University Press   c.1997
ISBN 0-8014-8334-4 (pbk)

Discounted price for 4 Fall Level I courses: $650

Texture for front of Border Alchemilla, Geranium

The Science of Plant Propagation (required) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 3 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Classes meet on Tuesdays, January 3 – 24, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

Learn the art and science of plant propagation with a focus on the basic botany needed to understand and successfully propagate plants. Sexual and asexual propagation methods including sowing seeds, cuttings, grafting, layering and division will be covered. Students will learn the fascinating science behind propagation along with the various techniqes used to propagate plants. $35 materials fee.

Instructor – Adam Wheeler, B.S.

Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $585

15.10.31 Taking Cuttings woody Plant Propagation

The Business of Gardening (H,D,NP) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 12 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

017Classes meet on Thursdays, 1-5pm: December 12-26, 2017.

This course is a must for those working or planning to work professionally in the field of horticulture.  Participants will learn how to write a simple business plan, understand a team approach using subcontractors to a business advantage and ways to organize a business, from sole proprietor to incorporation (S-Corp, Inc., LLC). This course will cover dealing with employees, insurance, and tax write-offs.  Learn the industry standards for markups on materials and labor, what the going rate is to charge clients, and how to cost estimate projects.  Students will complete a cost estimate for a residential projectstart to finish. The focus will be on staying small, lean, and smart and, finally, how to make a profit

Instructor – Craig Okerstrom-Lang, ASLA, is a landscape architect located in Berkshire County.  His vast business experiences ranges from public to private projects.  He teaches a variety of programs for the botanical garden including graphic, design and business practices.

Landscape Design Clinic (required) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 25 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Classes meet on Wednesdays, January 25 – March 15, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

Learn skills essential for effective functional garden design that honor the site and meet client needs. Each week will cover a different topic or technique focusing on the importance of getting to know the client and site as a basis of effective and appealing design. Essential and easy-to-grasp design principles for those who design or install gardens will be introduced throughout the course, with the goal of practicing a form-finding approach to garden design. The tools taught will provide a vocabulary essential for assessing a property’s potential and problems, and for asking the right questions to realize a client’s wishes while avoiding common design mistakes. Learn how to make well considered and sustainable choices for the elements and materials commonly used in the residential-scale garden. Students will select a project and take it from creative concept to completed design plan, including schematic drawings and planting plans. Each class will involve instruction and evaluation of projects in progress and will include both class instruction and studio time. Students will make a formal presentation at the final class.

Instructor – Chuck Schnell, M.A.; Guest Instructor– Walt Cudnohufsky, R.L.A., M.L.A.

Greenhouse and Plant Conservatory Management (H) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Feb 2 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Classes meet on Thursdays, February 2- March 2, at 4 – 7pm.

This course will focus on the ins and outs of controlling the greenhouse environment. Whether maintaining a  conservatory collection of ornamental plants or producing greenhouse crops participants will learn how to grow, care for and maintain plants in a greenhouse. The relationship between temperature, water, light, fertilization, plant health and diseases will be covered with a strong emphasis on IPM (integrated pest management).

Instructor – William Florek, M.A., has been a landscaper designer for 30 years and currently teaches Horticulture at Monument Mountain Regional High School. He also concentrates his time on greenhouse management, growing plants for school programs and the highly successful plant sales held at the school. He has a degree from the University of Massachusetts in Landscape Design and an M.A.T. in Biology from Elms College.

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