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.

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.

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.

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.

Organic Vegetable Gardening (H, D) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Mar 6 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Classes meet on Mondays, March 6– April 3, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

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, bed preparation, 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), Solanaceae (tomato/eggplant/pepper/potato/sweet potato family) and Apiaceae (carrots/parsnips).

Instructor – Peter Salinetti, B.S.

10% discount for enrollment in 3 or more Spring Level III courses

Peter Salinetti Hort Certificate

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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