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!
This lecture is not just for gardeners but for those who know and cherish Beatrix Potter and her classic tales. Her characters exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens, a world born of Potter’s own passion for nature. In this engaging and delightfully illustrated talk, Marta McDowell takes participants on a personal journey. She traces the development and eventual blossoming of Beatrix Potter’s life as a gardener, from her childhood interest in plants, through her realization as an artist and author, to her final years as an estate farmer and naturalist. This richly illustrated lecture includes quotations from her books, letters and journals. A book signing and sale of Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life will follow the talk.
Marta McDowell consults for public gardens and private clients, writes and lectures on gardening topics, and teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, where she studied landscape design. Her first book, Emily Dickinson’s Gardens: A Celebration of a Poet and Gardener, was published in 2005. She is an active member of The Beatrix Potter Society.
Sign up for both classes on March 8 and receive a 10% discount: The Wonderful World of Maples + Woodland Treasures
Join horticulturalist Kevin Wilcox for an in depth look at Maples: the genus Acer. He will focus on the smaller species and cultivated varieties suitable for the smaller home landscape. Special consideration will be placed on Hardiness for Zone 5, specific cultural needs, and any exceptional features these trees may exhibit. Aside from the more common species of Japanese Maples, like Acer palmatum and Acer japonicum, Kevin will also explore many other lesser known species like Acer triflorum, the Three-flower Maple. Sorting out this enormous group of plants is a challenge and Kevin will help participants identify the best of the bunch!
Kevin Wilcox is an expert in the field of woody ornamental plants. He has worked in horticulture for 29 years and owns and operates Silver Spring Nursery in Bloomfield CT He is an active member of the Connecticut Horticulture Society and teaches widely throughout Connecticut. He is an active member of the Connecticut Horticulture Society and teaches widely throughout Connecticut.
Sign up for both classes on March 8 and receive a 10% discount: Woodland Treasures + The Wonderful World of Maples
Learn about the beautiful woodland plants grown by John Lonsdale from Edgewood Gardens, his family’s 1.7-acre garden in southeastern Pennsylvania. He will showcase plants that are Zone 5 hardy, including large and small species of bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, herbaceous perennials and small trees and shrubs suitable for a variety of site conditions. Primary flowering periods are February through July and September through November. At its peak in April and May, the woodland garden at Edgewood provides spectacular color as well as the more subdued greens and silvers of the “quieter” but no less valuable plants. The presentation will focus on methods for successful cultivation and propagation by division or seed. Genera discussed include Trillium, Helleborus, Hepatica, Erythronium, Cypripedium, Epimedium, Cyclamen, Corydalis, Asarum, Anemonella, Arisaema and Phlox.
John Lonsdale grew up in Sheffield, England and moved to the U.S. in 1995. He has developed a remarkable garden and plant collection in the genera listed above. He has been active as a participant and lecturer in many horticultural organizations, including the Alpine Garden Society, the Daphne Society, the Cyclamen Society and the North American Rock Garden Society. Lonsdale holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and works in the pharmaceutical industry to discover novel antibiotics. He lives in Exton, PA, with his wife and three daughters.
This class has been cancelled. For more information call the Garden at 413.298.3926.
Join the fascinating world of Linda Rutenburg, Canadian photographer and gardener, as she shares her five-year project in the US, Canada and England, documenting botanical gardens after the sun goes down. This program is not just for the avid photographer but also for lovers of flowers, nature, gardens and beauty. Learn how this project began and enjoy Linda’s extraordinary images from over 35 botanical gardens and arboreta. She will explain her techniques for photographing flowers and is sure to inspire both gardeners and photographers to get into the garden after dark.
Linda Rutenberg is a Canadian-born photographer. She produces work, teaches, lectures and gives workshops all over the world. The Garden at Night is a nocturnal garden series done in Canada, the US and England. In addition to her photographs, Linda has produced many books. Her award-winning Mont Royal: A World Apart reveals one year’s exploration of the Frederic Law Olmstead Park in the heart of Montreal, Quebec. She has also produced 11 books in a series with ECW Press on 13 North American cities. Her latest books, The Garden at Night (2007), After Midnight (2008) and The English Garden at Night (2009) take us on a journey through the most beautiful botanical gardens at night.
This is a three-day workshop that meets on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, March 19, 20 and 21, 10am – 4pm.
Bring a bag lunch. Materials list available here.
Learn the art of beautiful pen-and-ink rendering for botanical drawing. The quill pen is an expressive medium, rich in flowing lines and sparkling textures. Pen and ink has a long tradition throughout art history, favored by artists for illustration and calligraphy, with the original quill pen being a bird’s flight feather. Students will be working with the modern metal crow-quill, well known and liked for the ability to produce fine details. Begin the class trying out the nibs, learning how to hold the pen for different strokes and creating textures to achieve tonal values for shading. Have fun applying these techniques to your own ink drawings of botanical subjects. This workshop is suitable for beginners or those with previous ink experience.
Carol Ann Morley is a professional artist and dedicated teacher working in Milton, NH. She founded the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Program at the New York Botanical Garden and teaches botanical art and drawing at The New York Botanical Garden, The Wellesley College Botanic Garden and Sanctuary Arts in Eliot, Maine, in addition to the Berkshire Botanical Garden.
This class is full. To be added to the wait list, please call the Garden at 413.298.3926
Participants should dress warmly and bring pruners and a bag lunch. Directions available here. Snow date: March 30.
This demonstration/workshop will focus on the specifics of pruning stone and pome fruit trees and some small fruits, including cane fruits and ribes. Unlike ornamental woody plants, pruning for fruit is a special science that is designed to maximize fruit production. Learn the principles of pruning for shape, size and, most importantly, fruit production. Watch a structural pruning demonstration on newly planted fruit trees. Semi-dwarf orchard trees, including mature and newly planted trees, will be available for pruning.
Steve McKay 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 is near capacity. Please call 413.298.3926 to register.
Participants can choose to carpool or drive separately. Those joining the carpool should meet in the parking lot at Berkshire Botanical Garden for a 9 am departure. Carpool will return at approximately 2 pm. For directions, click here .
Learn from experts how to start seedlings, both vegetables and annual flowers, indoors for the coming growing season. Expert growers Maureen Sullivan and Mitch Feldmesser will lead a tour of their growing operations and explain how they select ornamental varieties for their plant vigor, flower form, fragrance and color. They also do extensive growing of herb and vegetable plants, selecting for flavor as well as garden performance and productiveness. Learn about growing techniques necessary to give garden plants a good start, and garner growing tips from these professionals. In addition to the tour, practice sowing and transplanting, and take home a few special plants to grow on.
Maureen Sullivan and Mitch Feldmesser own Left Field Farm, a certified organic farm located in Middlefield, MA. They grow hundreds of carefully selected varieties of heirloom and hybrid ornamental, herb and vegetable plants from their certified organic greenhouses.
Learn about the importance of native wildflowers and how to bring them into the garden setting. Wildflowers brighten the New England woodlands in spring and are more than just a delight for the eye and a lift for the winter-weary spirit. Each has a role in the environment and often has interesting interactions with pollinators and seed dispersers. Learn about the fascinating life histories of some favorite spring wildflowers. Topics include adaptations for early blooming, medicinal and other uses, the origin of wildflower names, pollination and seed dispersal. A book sale and signing of Carol’s beautiful newly published Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History will follow the talk.
Carol Gracie is a naturalist and photographer with a degree in plant studies from Lehman College of the City University of New York. She is retired from The New York Botanical Garden, where she headed the Children’s Education Program and the Foreign Tour program and taught in the Continuing Education Program. In 2006 she co-authored (with Steve Clemants) Wildflowers in the Field and Forest: A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States. Her latest book, Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History, was published in March of 2012.
This class is nearing capacity. Please call 413.298.3926 to register.
This presentation is designed to help you understand the various types of tomatoes, the best time to start them from seed and when to set them out. The pros and cons of different methods of growing will be discussed. In-season care, including mulching and pruning along with pest and disease control, will be described, as will harvesting and methods of preservation. Students will learn proper handling and transplanting of tomato seedlings via hands-on activities.
Ron Kujawski, Ph.D. is the former Landscape and Nursery Specialist for UMass Cooperative Extension. He is a garden writer, educator and researcher in IPM, plant nutrition and soil science. He teaches for the horticultural industry throughout New England.
Please call 413.298.3926 to register.
A list of suggested safety equipment is listed below although these items are not mandatory. Join beekeeper Jan Johnson for step-by-step instruction and demonstration on setting up a beehive, beginning indoors with a close-up look at how bees arrive for installation. Safety equipment, how to stay protected, structural components, assembly and siting of the hive will be discussed. Jan will then demonstrate how to introduce bees into a new hive. Participants will be able to observe from a safe distance. Protective gear should include a hat and face veil, long-sleeved shirt and pants (or bee suit) and protective boots. Gloves are helpful. Following the demonstration, Jan will be on hand to answer questions. Jan Johnson is a beekeeper and owner of Berkshire Wildflower Honey, an apiary located in Great Barrington, MA. She practices natural beekeeping and produces and sells raw honey, beeswax skin-care products and beeswax candles. She is certified through Cornell’s Master Beekeeping Program and studied with Nick Calderone, professor of entomology and head of Cornell’s Dyce Laboratory for Honeybee Studies.