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!

Opening Reception for Down to Earth: Architects Redesign the Potting Shed @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
May 4 @ 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm


This year, we’ve invited six architects to the Garden to give us their artistic interpretation of the Potting Shed.  The exhibit will run from May 5th through Columbus day, with an opening reception and cocktail party to be held on May the 4th from 5 – 7.   A great way to celebrate spring in the Berkshires and welcome the opening of our 2013 season at Garden.

This event is generously sponsored by:


Brooklyn Botanic Garden Annual Garden Tour @ Brooklyn Botanic Garden
May 23 @ 11:30 am – 10:30 pm

Please call the Garden to purchase tickets for this event as we are close to capacity.  413.298.3926
Brooklyn1Join the Berkshire Botanical Garden staff for a day-long adventure to the other BBG: Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This 100-year-old garden in the heart of Brooklyn is dedicated to displaying plants and practicing the high art of horticulture to provide a beautiful and hospitable setting for the delight and inspiration of the public. The horticulture staff at Brooklyn Botanic Garden will lead a personal tour of the gardens including the restored Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, new mixed perennial border at the Lily Pool Terrace, Alice Recknagel Ireys Fragrance Garden, Starr Bonsai Museum, Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery and many more horticultural wonders at this 36-acre botanical garden. Not to be missed is the Osborne Garden, a semi-formal garden with ten wisteria-draped pergolas framing an emerald lawn, large plantings of varied colors and textures and several stone features. Wander the grounds with Brooklyn Botanic Garden staff and consider the wonderful plant collections, including tree peonies, lilacs, cherries, orchids, roses aBrooklyn2nd magnolias. These annual field trips have become a favorite spring tradition for a wonderful group of garden members. Join the fun and meet a great group of plant nuts! A morning snack and late-afternoon refreshments will be provided, compliments of the staff at Berkshire Botanical Garden.

Dress for the weather, bring a bag lunch and wear comfortable sturdy footwear.


Opening Reception for Rare Earth: Garden Pots as Sculpture @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
May 25 @ 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm


Curated by Joyce Nereaux, who presented exhibitions of birdhouses in 2008 and benches in 2010, Rare Earth:  Garden Pots as Sculpture displays the work of Mark Hewitt in creating a wide variety of magnificent, huge containers.  Join us for the opening where there will be a cocktail party and guided tour – May 25th from 5-7.  All pots on display in this exhibit will be for sale.

For More information on Mark and his work, visit his website at:

We also feature Mark and the exhibit, Rare Earth, in this past issue of “Cuttings.”  Below is the article written by Joyce Nereaux.  To view the full issue of “Cuttings”  click here.

Rare Earth:  Mark Hewitt’s Mighty Pots

Garth and more 024_2_1Regional pottery traditions are like wildflowers that grow only in special soils and microclimates. Seen in this context, Mark Hewitt’s massive pots on display at Berkshire Botanical Gardens are like extremely rare and astonishingly beautiful blooms. North Carolina, where Hewitt makes his majestic work, is home to the only extant Anglo folk pottery tradition in the US, and Hewitt is one of its greatest contemporary stars.

Think for a moment about the music that the American South has produced – the Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, Country, even Elvis. This music is the foundation of contemporary American popular music. The cross pollination of cultures that produced these iconic musical forms also produced distinctive decorative arts – furniture, metalwork, and pottery. Yankee salt-glazing potters from Connecticut headed South in the early 19th century and met South Carolina potters who were in turn influenced by English journeymen and enslaved African-Americans. “It all came together in North Carolina, the place is a veritable melting pot, and has long been home to one of the world’s great ceramic traditions,” says Hewitt, “The potters produced utilitarian wares that rise above their functionality to become statements of design – classic forms skillfully made, fit for use, and fit for imaginative interpretation.”

Writing for the 2011 exhibition, “Mark Hewitt’s Big Hearted Pots,” at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans, Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, Christopher Benfey, plays with the musical connections in Hewitt’s work. “Crossroads: three young lads from Britain, Eric Clapton and his mates, listen to old records by Southern bluesmen from the 1930’s and came up with music utterly new and fresh, where you can feel the crossing in your bones of two traditions – rural and urban, African-American and alienated European, soft and very, very loud – in creative tension. Or a young lad named Mark Hewitt, from the Staffordshire “Potteries” in the English Midlands, listens to the music of Southern potters and comes up with his own distinctive kind of ceramic music, utterly new and fresh – and very, very big.”

North Carolina is to the pottery world what Broadway is to theater, and Hewitt has been a leading actor on its stage for the past thirty years. America’s preeminent folklorist, Henry Glassie, Professor Emeritus and the University of Indiana, writes, “At the center, with his colleagues from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, stands this tall, handsome man from England, Mark Hewitt – in place, at home – productively, inspirationally at work, a great American master.” How did he earn this accolade?

His background gives us some clues. Born into a family of industrial ceramists, where his father and grandfather were Directors of Spode, Hewitt was surrounded by pots from birth. But as a teenager he rebelled from this industrial aesthetic, finding beauty in Sung dynasty Chinese and old African pots instead. After university he apprenticed with legendary British studio potter, Michael Cardew, subject of Yale University Press’s recently published biography, “The Last Sane Man, Michael Cardew: Modern Pots, Colonialism, and the Counterculture.” His three year stint with Cardew included hitchhiking across the Sahara desert to study West African pottery – perhaps the phrase should be rewritten, “mad dogs and English potters go out in the midday sun.”

In 1979 he finally drifted ashore in Connecticut, just a few miles down Route 7 from Stockbridge, to work at Cornwall Bridge Pottery, serving a second three year apprenticeship with another ex-Cardew apprentice, Todd Piker, and while there, he fell in love and married Carol Peppe, daughter of Canaan, CT veterinarian, Dr. Vincent Peppe, and together they left New England for the South in 1983.

Benfey writes tellingly about the way Hewitt has absorbed North Carolina’s folk pottery tradition, “The vision of North Carolina that Hewitt conveys in his writing and in his work is audacious and compelling. He talks the talk and walks the walk; in so doing he has bent inherited tradition into potent new shapes. His big-hearted pots are on a truly heroic scale – heroic in conception and execution. They place him in the company of the great folk potters who have preceded and inspired him.”pots

Rare Earth feels like a homecoming,” comments Hewitt, now 57, “I’m back where I first arrived in America, bringing fresh blooms – my best new work – to New England from North Carolina. This group of big pots is the product of thirty years refinement of technique, materials, and a singular but ever-evolving aesthetic.” His big pots instantly command attention, whether they’re classically shaped vases or jars, or his more recent abstract ‘Sentinels.’ They fit majestically into a landscape, or even in an elegant interior, drawing your eye to them, challenging and consoling in equal measure, and, like old friends, you are always glad to see them. Henry Glassie writes, “Other ceramic confections cower in closets or parade across shelves, but Mark’s pots stand outside, braving the wind and weather, becoming part of the landscape, like houses, like barns, like temples.”

He continues, “Robust and beautiful, Mark Hewitt’s pots disturb distinctions, disrupt dichotomies. Inside and outside, folk and fine, old and new, native and alien, art and craft, the utilitarian and the aesthetic – Mark’s pots mix and merge categories in centered courage. They stand in the midst of life, where academic antimonies fade away, and work is good and true and human.”

Be sure to see this magnificent collection of big pots at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens. “Rare Earth” runs from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.

Contained Exuberance: Walk About Tour @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Aug 10 @ 3:00 pm


Each year we bring together some of the region’s most talented designers and invite them to create individual container gardens that we display in an exhibit we like to call Contained Exuberance.  Tucked away in different spots throughout the Garden, one of the highlights of this exhibit will be on August 10th at our Designer Walkabout, where we learn the stories behind the designers’ visions.  It never fails to yield insight and ideas.

The High Line and Battery Park City @ Field trip - Bus will depart from Berkshire Botanical Garden promptly at 7:30
Sep 19 @ 11:30 am – 10:30 pm

This event is almost full.  To make a reservation, please call the Garden at 413.298.3926.
Join the staff of the Berkshire Botanical Garden for a late summer visit to Battery Park City, located at the tip of Manhattan. We will tour this extensive landscape—perhaps one of the most concentrated parklands in America—with the colorful David Dew Bruner, who will focus on design. We will visit areas of the park including Michael Van Valkenberg’s Teardrop Park, Oehme van Sweden’s Rockefeller Park, two gardens designed by Lynden Miller and landscapes by Olin Partnership and other exceptional designers. In addition to these amazing gardens, there is abundant public art to view, including the Irish Hunger Memorial designed by Brian Tolle, the magnificent “Ice Wall” by Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercii and sculptures by Jim Dine, Louise Bougeois and many more.Highline

From Battery City Park we will travel north to the cutting-edge gardens of the High Line, New York City’s newest park, built on an elevated 1930s freight rail structure on Manhattan’s West Side. Tour the newly completed section of the High Line with native-plant specialist Drew Monthie and learn about the imaginative plant combinations of this naturalistic planting. These extensive gardens echo the wild, self-seeded landscape that grew up on the structure after the trains stopped running.

Enjoy a stimulating day in the city with some gardening friends. A morning snack and late-afternoon refreshments will be provided, compliments of the staff of Berkshire Botanical Garden.


Pine Hollow Arboretum Study Tour @ Pine Hollow Arboretum
May 8 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

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 1 pm.

14.5.8 PineHollow Arboretum Study TourFor woody plant and tree lovers, join staff from the BBG for an exploration of a lesser known horticultural gem, Pine Hollow Arboretum, located in Slingerlands, NY. In 1966, founder John W. Abbuhl, M.D., started planting trees around his home to create an attractive setting. His affinity with the land, his interest in horticulture and his love of trees combined to inspire the creation of an arboretum. The arboretum’s cataloged collection consists of over 3,300 unique trees, shrubs and other woody plants from around the world. This living collection is aesthetically arranged in a natural setting that includes 12 ponds and a succession forest, all easily accessible by a network of walking trails and bridges. Tour the grounds with the founder, Dr. Abbuhl, and learn about the small, flowering tree collections, including magnolias, dogwoods, crabapples and more. View cultivars of unusual genera, too, such as styrax, stewartia and heptacodium. A great way to view specimen plants in a naturalistic setting, just an hour’s drive away.

Annual Spring Trip: Down and Dirty in Rhode Island @ offsite
May 22 @ 11:30 am – 10:30 pm

This trip has neared capacity.  To reserve your space call the Garden at 413.298.3926.

Dress for the weather, bring a bag lunch and wear comfortable, sturdy footwear. Those wishing to order the take-out meal of fish ‘n’ chips will be charged an additional $20. Coach bus leaves Berkshire Botanical Garden promptly.

14.5.22 Down and Dirty in Rhode Island

Join the Berkshire Botanical Garden staff for a day-long adventure to the southeast coast of Rhode Island to explore an extraordinary garden, nurseries and more. Sakonnet Garden, in Little Compton, RI, will be the featured visit of the day. This “exceptional American garden” (as quoted by Marco Polo Stufano, former Director of Wave Hill, and John Trexler, former Director of Tower Hill Botanic Garden) is a garden full of inspiration. Sakonnet is a secret garden embedded within a native coastal fields landscape. At the diminutive scale of a cottage garden, it is conceived of as an intimate place to explore, with multiple paths leading one onward to unexpected experiences.

Owners John Gywnne and Mikal Folcarelli will lead a tour of their property. First, consider a restored meadow managed for endangered bobolinks. Learn about the ecological theory behind the meadow’s management and hopefully spot one of these wonderful upland meadow birds. Then, explore the small walled garden, designed as a series of small garden rooms. Following the tour, Ed Bowen from Opus Nursery of Little Compton, RI, will be on hand to sell some of his great Zone 5 plants.

Enjoy a picnic lunch on the lawn—or wait—for the next stop! As we leave the coast, we will stop at the head of the Sakonnet River for a take-out order of fish ‘n’ chips (optional, of course). Enjoy this Rhode Island tradition at well known Evelyn’s Clam Shack (as seen on the Food Channel: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, hosted by Guy Fieri). The coastal scenery, including boats in the harbor, will be a special treat for us upland creatures. On the return trip we will detour into western Connecticut for a tour of the fabled greenhouses of Logee’s. In business since 1892, this series of five connected greenhouses holds an extensive collection of tropical, semi-tropical and tender perennial plants, as well as orchids, begonias, scented geraniums, citrus and so much more. The staff of Logee’s will give an introduction to the group, and participants can roam the greenhouses and purchase special plants to take home. Enjoy the hosting skills of the BBG staff, including a mid-morning snack and afternoon wine and cheese.

The Especially Fragrant Garden of Page Dickey: Shrub Roses and More… @ North Salem, NY
Jun 4 @ 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Participants can choose to carpool or drive separately. Those joining the carpool should meet in the parking lot at Berkshire Botanical Garden for an 8:30 am departure. Carpool will return at approximately 3:30 pm.

14.6.4 The Fragrant Garden of Page DickeyJoin well known gardener and author Page Dickey for a private study tour of her garden at the height of the shrub rose bloom. Page will share her insights into gardening and will discuss the use of fragrant shrubs, with a focus on her favorite shrub roses. Learn about how she selects, designs and cultivates these fragrant beauties. This tour will inspire even the most casual gardeners to get down on their knees and plant shrubs. Following the tour, Page invites participants to picnic on the lawn. On the return trip we will stop at one of Page’s favorite local nurseries, Claire’s Garden Center, in Patterson, NY.

Page Dickey is a gardener and garden writer living and gardening at Duck Hill in North Salem, NY. Her books include Embroidered Ground, Gardens in the Spirit of Place, the award-winning Breaking Ground: Portraits of Ten Garden Designers, Duck Hill Journal: A Year in a Country Garden, Dogs in Their Gardens and Cats in Their Gardens. A contributor to numerous magazines over the years, she lectures across the country and is one of the founders of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program. She lives and gardens with her husband in the company of assorted dogs, cats, and chickens.

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