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!

Contained: The Art of Planting Pots @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
May 18 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Containers1This program covers all aspects of container gardening, including soil preparation, plant and pot selection, fertilization and seasonal maintenance. Consider aesthetic concepts when using pots and also how to keep your containers and potted plants happy year round.  This class covers a wide variety of annuals and tender perennials.  Watch a planting demonstration and discuss different soil mixes suitable for a variety of plant types.  Discussion will include long-term maintenance issues and tips for keeping your plants thriving all season long. Evaluate a number of alternative and creative ways to use interesting and unusual containers and watch a planting demonstration. Finally take home a special plant or two to start your container garden at home.

Jenna O’Brien owns Viridissima, a garden design and maintenance business.  Her specialties include perennial gardening and design, container culture and design, and indoor gardening and houseplants. She teaches for area horticultural organizations and has completed the Horticulture Certificate Program at Berkshire Botanical Garden.

New Approaches to Supporting Local Farmers @ Berkshire Botanical Garden Education Center
May 22 @ 11:00 pm – May 23 @ 1:00 am

copy-copy-financingourfoodshed-book1Berkshire Botanical Garden and Berkshire Grown are co-sponsoring this evening presentation and discussion. Join Carol Peppe Hewitt, author of Financing our Foodshed: Growing Local Food with Slow Money, and Dorothy Suput, founder and executive director of The Carrot Project and Greater Berkshire Agriculture Fund, to talk about new ideas to support local farmers. A reception featuring local food will follow.

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.

Amazing Trees @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jun 6 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Amazing1Tour the grounds of Berkshire Botanical Garden, view the exceptional tree collection and learn about these gentle giants and their importance in the landscape. Continue the tour at Tanglewood Music Festival, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and learn about the importance of shade trees in the landscape. Consider the many varieties of shade trees, observe mature specimens and assess shape, size, and cultural requirements required to grow happy trees. This walking tour will cover the importance of selecting the right plant for the right site as well as the tenuous relationship between turf and trees. Enjoy the morning by walking, talking and admiring one of nature’s most magnificent gifts.

Ken Gooch is the Forest Health Program Director for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Additionally, he is a Massachusetts Certified Arborist and teaches arboriculture at the Garden.

Tasting Terroir: A Story of Earth, Wine and Human Hope @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jun 8 @ 8:00 pm

TastingTerroir1Consider the role of terroir throughout the history of wine.While highlighting the essential role of earth in the terroir that many people believe characterizes fine wine, author Paul Lukacsand wine merchant Jim Nejaimewill present a lecture and tasting. Based on his new book, Inventing Wine: a New History of One of The World’s Most Ancient Pleasures, Paul will present the intriguing investigation of terroir: its facts and fictions. Wines featured will demonstrate the significance of terroir. Paul’s new book will be sold following the lecture, and showcased wines will be available for order.

Paul Lukacs is the author of American Vintage and The Great Wines of America. A James Beard, Cliquot and IACP award winner, he has been writing about wine and its cultural contexts for nearly 20 years. He is a professor of English at Loyola University of Maryland, where he directs the University’s Center for the Humanities. Jim Nejames, a wine merchant, owns Spirited, a retail wine store located in Lenox, MA. He finds and sells great wines from around the world and specializes in wine consulting, stocking wine cellars, wine classes and wine tastings.

Wine tasting, book signing and sale to follow the talk.

At Home in a Potager Garden @ Offsite Location. Carpool to site from BBG
Jun 15 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

PotagerGrowing food at home in a beautifully designed potager garden is a combination of the best of both gardening worlds: utility and beauty. Visit a garden homestead with a focus on growing food, flowers and fruit in a secluded setting with extraordinary views to the west. Designed and cultivated by a husband and wife team, this is their vision of sustainable gardening. Consider design elements including paths, vertical structures, fencing, ornamental pots and layout. Also learn about plant selection, crop rotation, companion planting, mulching of both food and flowers, and don’t forget a trip to the compost pile. The owners will share their experiences with extending the vegetable season in cold frames and unheated hoop house. The owners invite students to picnic on the lawn or back porch following the workshop.
Elisabeth Cary is the Director of Education at the Berkshire Botanical Garden and has been gardening for over 25 years. She specializes in perennial, vegetable and mixed-border gardens.

Brina a bagged lunch and dress for the weather.  Enrollment limited.

Native Knowledge: Learning about Native Plants at Nasami Farm @ Meet at Berkshire Botanical Garden. Carpool to site.
Jun 20 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm

NativeKnowledgeExplore one of New England’s best native plant nurseries: Nasami Farm, the native plant nursery and sanctuary of New England Wild Flower Society, located on 75 acres in Whately, Massachusetts.  The staff at Nasami Farm propagates, sells and researches the native flora of New England. View hundreds of native plant species including perennials, trees, shrubs, vines, and ferns – many found nowhere else – a retail area, native plant borders and stock beds. This field study/tour will be led by head propagator Kate Stafford.  She will discuss propagation of native plants with a focus on wildflowers.  Following the program the group will explore the farm’s abundant wildflowers on display.  Of course there will be time to shop for plants and to picnic on the grounds of the farm.

Kate Stafford is Nursery Operations Manager and Propagator at Nasami Farm. She has a profound interest in plant communities, the life that they support and recreating this in the garden.  She specializes in propagating wildflowers from seed.

The Garden In Watercolors Session I: En Plein Air Watercolor Painting in the Summer Garden @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jul 8 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

This is a series of four class sessions held on consecutive Mondays, July 8, 15, 22 and 29. You can register for the whole series or, alternatively, sign up for any number of individual classes (see calendar listings on those dates below).

Seeing and painting the garden en plein air is the subject of this class. Students of all levels are welcome in either or both sessions; no experience is necessary. The first session will focus on drawing forms, finding compositions and simple, direct color schemes.  Composition will be stressed. Each class will begin with an introduction and demonstration by the instructor and then move into the garden to paint, with the instructor circulating among the students to provide input and answer questions. You may attend the whole series or pick and choose individual classes; however, everyone is encouraged to attend the first meeting, when the basics of watercolor, paint, brushes and paper will be explained. Click here to see the Materials List.

Ann Kremers is an artist and calligrapher. Her work is currently focused on watercolor and drawing media. She has received commissions for paintings, drawings, illustrated and calligraphed citations and awards, artists’ books and botanical drawings. Ann lives in Bennington, VT and teaches throughout Berkshire County. Examples of her work can be viewed at


Collecting Woody Plants @ Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jul 11 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm


Longing for that special hydrangea? Learn how to propagate easy-to-grow shrubs and trees. This workshop will cover how to collect, prepare and propagate shrubs and trees from softwood cuttings. Set at a great time of the year, participants will take cuttings, make a simple propagator and learn techniques to insure successful rooting. Easily propagated shrub varieties, cultivation requirements, timing and care will be the focus of this program. Participants will go home with wonderful selections from the Berkshire Botanical Garden’s collection.

Elisabeth Cary is the Director of Education at the Berkshire Botanical Garden and has been gardening for over 25 years. She specializes in perennial, vegetable and mixed-border gardens.

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