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 Wednesdays, 6-9pm, November 5 – December 17 (no class November 26).
Rendering is a drawing skill necessary for communicating garden designs to clients. This course is the next step for gardening designers following drafting. Structured as a studio class, students will learn the softer side of drawing for design using the B range pencils. Practice illustrative rendering such as sections, elevations and plan obliques. This course will enable designers to better communicate their designs to clients. Non-professional gardeners and artists are encouraged to join this class. This class can be taken as a core requirement for the Horticulture Certificate Level II program, or as an individual class.
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.
10% discount for 3 or more Spring Level III courses
Classes meet on Thursdays, January 15 – February 5, 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.
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: 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
This workshop meets on Friday, October 2, 2015. 10am – 1pm is the time onsite in Pawling, NY.
Join head gardener Robin Zitter for an exploration of garden design through the lens of ecology, history and culture. A private, extraordinary garden in her care, located in Pawling, NY, will be the site of this workshop. Robin will encourage observation and understanding of the ecological, historical and cultural aspects this landscape. Through site analysis, with an understanding of client needs and goals, participants will explore how a dynamic, coherent landscape is developed. The evolving design is guided by native plant communities as well as plants with historical context. Working with the natural processes, we strive for the gentle blendings of the built and natural environments. We celebrate the land by connecting the various wetland, woodland and meadow environments to create a functional and aesthetic whole, drawing people into and through the landscape with ease and surprise. The site is an old farmstead that represents a land stewardship collaboration of the owners, horticulturist and crew for almost 30 years.
Instructor – Robin Zitter
10% discount for enrollment in 3 or more Fall Level III classes
Learn how to extend the season’s harvest to enjoy your own garden greens throughout the late fall and early spring months. Consider growing under cover in an unheated greenhouse, cold frame or high/low poly tunnels, and learn techniques needed to achieve a true four-season harvest. Investigate a variety of structures and learn the pros and cons of each. Crop selection, soil preparation, timing, planting, cultivation and harvesting will be covered, with a focus on early and late season production. Spend the afternoon at Woven Roots Farm, Tyringham, MA where Pete will lead an in depth tour of the farm’s season extension structures and will explain the various growing techniques.
Peter Salinetti, B.S., with wife Jen owns and operates Woven Roots Farm, a small family farm and CSA that grows vegetables and culinary herbs using traditional, no-till farming practices. For almost 15 years they have grown local produce for Berkshire County families. Their vegetables are grown using environmentally sustainable gardening practices, and they produce amazing top-quality, delicious produce. Both Jen and Pete 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.