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!
Classes meet on Thursdays, September 11 & 18 and October 2 & 9, at 6-9pm and on Saturday, September 27, 10am – 1pm.
This is a survey plant identification class covering horticultural significant North American native plants that thrive in the Berkshires and surrounding tri-state region. Both herbaceous and woody plants will be covered with special focus on plant communities and garden worthy, low maintenance plants that work well in the managed landscape. Herbaceous plants including wildflowers, woodland and meadow plants, grasses, sedges, and ferns will be the topic of the first three classes and flowering shrubs, ornamental trees, evergreen and shade trees will complete the final two classes. Information on cultural requirements, maintenance, plant combinations and associations will form the framework of this course.
Instructor – Drew Monthie, M.S. is a horticulturalist, garden designer and ecologist working in upper New York State. He is committed to teaching about the importance of using native plants to provide beauty and preserve biodiversity in yards and gardens. He has a special interest in ethnobotany.
10% discount for 3 or more Fall Level III courses
This class will explore invasive plants, including their history and introduction intentionally or otherwise into Eastern North America. Learn how these species cause biochemical changes that affect soil microbes, which in turn cause major shifts in plant community populations. Identification, control strategies and the degrading effects of these species on ecosystems, including their effect on native plants and animals, will be covered. A morning lecture on plant identification will be followed by a short field trip to observe the effects of these troublesome plants.
Instructor – Drew Monthie, M.S., is a horticulturalist, garden designer and ecologist working in upper New York State. He is committed to teaching about the importance of using native plants to provide beauty and preserve biodiversity in yards and gardens. He has a special interest in ethnobotany.
Classes meet on Tuesdays, 6-9 pm: January 6, 13, 20, 27, 2015.
This is a beginning course in plant anatomy and physiology that covers a wide range of topics. The relationship between structure and function of seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits will be addressed. An understanding of how plants grow and respond to their environment is fundamental to the successful planting and cultivation of this enormous class of organisms. This class can be taken as a core requirement for the Horticulture Certificate Level I program, or as an individual class.
Instructor – Joyce Hemingson, Ph.D. earned her degree in Botany from the University of Connecticut on the pollination biology of Clethra alnifolia (Sweet Pepperbush). She worked for many years as Director of Publications for White Flower Farm, located in Litchfield, CT. She is an active gardener and a longtime member of the North American Rock Garden Society.
Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $475
Classes meet on Wednesdays, 6-9pm: January 14, 21, 28; February 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4; and Saturday, March 14 (10am – 3pm).
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 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. Features including fences, decks, terraces, garden furnishings, containers and ornaments will be covered with a focus on expanding the designer’s vocabulary and palette. 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. Frequent group discussions and exercises will put the skills learned into action. Students will make a formal presentation at the final class. This course is the culmination of the Level II Certificate in Garden Design although all students are welcome.
Instructor – Chuck Schnell, M.A. has both a BA and MA in landscape design. He works in planning and design for WCLDA in Ashfield, MA. He is a recipient of the Garden Club of America McLaren Fellowship to study abroad. He has strong knowledge of ornamental plants, landscape design and construction expertise.
Guest 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.
Classes meet on Mondays, February 2, 9, 16 and 23, from 6 – 9pm.
This course will cover the production basics for strawberries, brambles (raspberry/blackberry), blueberries and grapes for New England conditions. Site and soil requirements, planting systems, pruning practices and integrated pest management practices will be covered for each fruit type. If time allows, other fruits, such as currants and gooseberries, aronia, saskatoons, etc.) may also be discussed.
Instructor – Sonia Schloemann, M.S., has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Plant and Soil Sciences, both from UMass. She has worked in the area of small-fruit production since 1987, with a focus on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and sustainable practices. She is interested in and promotes non-chemical methods for insect and disease management (e.g., biological control of spider mites using native predatory mites), introduces innovative production practices (e.g., greenhouse raspberry production), demonstrates new crops and cropping systems (e.g., cold-climate table grape and wine grape production) and helps fruit growers cope with some of the most intransigent pests (e.g., spotted-wing Drosophila). Her interests also include promoting native pollinator conservation and soil health improvement for commercial fruit growers.
Classes meet on Tuesdays, 6-9pm: February 3, 10, 17, 24, 2015.
Learn about the maintenance considerations that should be integrated into the design process. Students’ horticultural knowledge will expand to factor sustainable maintenance concerns with cost effectiveness into plant selection. Learn procedures for perennials, woody plants and lawns including transplanting, staking, fertilizing, winterizing, mulching, plant pathology and pest control with an emphasis on deer control. This class can be taken as a core requirement for the Horticulture Certificate Level I program, or as an individual class.
Instructor – Brad Roeller, B.S. is a private landscape garden supervisor for Altamont Estate in NY. He is the former Garden Manager for the New York Botanical Garden and has spent his entire career in horticulture with a focus on sustainable gardening. He lectures extensively and instructs at the New York Botanical Garden, Berkshire Botanical Garden and for New England Grows.
Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $475
Classes meet on Mondays, 6-9 pm: March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 2015.
Focus on the “big picture” and learn the principles of design, importance of drainage, and view slides of both successful and troubled landscapes. Site selection, design concepts and client presentations will be addressed and students will complete landscape design assignments. This class has 5 sessions.
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.
Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $475
Classes meet on Tuesdays, 6-9pm: March 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31, 2015.
Designed for those starting or caring for a vegetable garden, this course will include discussion of soil and nutrient management, seed selection, crop rotation schemes, seeding and planting, pest management and specific plant cultivation, all in the context of the different vegetable groups. Each week, students will investigate a different vegetable family to insure all questions are answered about cultivation of these important food groups including Fabaceae (peas/beans/other legumes), greens (lettuce/mustards/arugula/mache and more), herbs (perennial and annual), perennial vegetables (asparagus/rhubarb/horseradish) , Chenopodiaceae (beet/chard family), Brassicaceae (cabbage/cauliflower/kale/brussels sprout family), Cucurbitaceae (squash/pumpkin/cucumber/melon family) ,Poeaceae (corn family), Allioideae (onion/garlic/leek/shallot family) and Solanaceae (tomato/potato/eggplant/pepper family). This class can be taken as a core requirement for the Horticulture Certificate Level II program, or as an individual class.
Instructor – Peter Salinetti, B.S. ,with wife Jenn owns Woven Roots Farm, a small family farm and CSA that grows vegetables and culinary herbs using traditional farming practices. For over ten years they have grown local produce for Berkshire County families. Their vegetables are grown using environmentally sustainable gardening practices, and they produce amazingly top-quality, delicious produce. Both Jen and Peter are committed to raising awareness about the importance of the local food supply, along with teaching technical information on how to do so. They have lectured on growing food for both NOFA and other regional organizations.
10% discount for 3 or more Spring Level III courses
Classes meet on Fridays, March 13 & 20, from 2-5pm and on Friday, March 27 (date changed from what was previously published because of snow cover), from 10am – 3pm.
Learn about the art and science of planting and caring for a fruit orchard, including both pome and stone fruit trees. All aspects of establishing and cultivating an orchard will be covered, including site and tree selection, how and when to plant, cultivation and maintenance, fruit evaluation and pest control. Dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard-size trees will be evaluated for space requirements. A special focus on how fruit with low pesticide use will be discussed candidly. The all-day Saturday, hands-on outdoor workshop will focus on the specifics of pruning stone and pome fruit trees to maximize fruit production. A variety of stone and pome fruit semi-dwarf trees in various stages of growth will be available for pruning. This will also include a demonstration on pruning espaliered pear trees.
Instructor – Steve McKay, M.S., is the former Grape and Small Fruit Specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension in eastern New York State. He has a B.S. in entomology from U.C. Davis and a M.S. in pomology. He own Micosta, a fruit nursery located in Hudson, NY. He specializes in traditional and unusual fruit tree and small fruits.
This class meets on Saturdays, 9am – 4pm,September 19 and 26, 2015. Rain dates are September 20 and 27.
Learn horticultural techniques essential for the professional gardener. This tw0-day, hands-on clinic will focus on professional renovation of established and old perennial beds, including how to read a planting plan. Techniques will include lifting and dividing perennials, “double-digging,” soil assessment, application of compost and needed amendments into the lower soil profile and replanting the perennials according to the planting plan. Students will learn how to assess the growing conditions of the bed and determine what amendments should be added to insure optimal plant performance. This course also serves as a foundation for establishing new perennial beds. Please come dressed for gardening. Tools and materials will be provided. (limited to 12 students)
10% discount for enrollment in 3 or more Fall Level III classes