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 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.
This class is near capacity. Please call the garden at 413.298.3926 to register.
Participants should bring hand pruners and work gloves and dress for the weather.
Is that old lilac refusing to flower? Spring is a great time to assess your woody shrubs for shape and structure. This hands-on workshop will focus on when, why and how to renovate or rejuvenate your woody plants. Learn about tools, timing and specific techniques available to the home gardener. Following a lecture and several pruning demonstrations, participants will learn by doing.
Ron Yaple, A.A.S. Forestry, MCA/CLA, owner of Race Mountain Tree Services, has developed a regional reputation as one of the premier arborists. His company serves the tri-state region and is a full-service company. He is a dedicated and knowledgeable teacher of arboriculture.
Bring work gloves and dress for the weather.
Learn by doing in this hands-on shrub and tree planting/transplanting workshop. All aspects of successful planting will be demonstrated, and participants will assist in transplanting a multi-stem shrub and planting a small tree. Learn how to successfully transplant shrubs by correct timing and placement and techniques designed to create minimal disturbance and ensure smooth transition to a new site. Consider the differences between bare-root, container-grown or balled-and-burlapped trees and understand the importance of siting.
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.
This class is nearing capacity. Please call 413.298.3926 for availability.
Participants can choose to carpool or drive separately. Those joining the carpool should meet in the parking lot at Berkshire Botanical Garden for a 9:45 am departure. Carpool will return at approximately 1:30 pm.
Join well known gardener Jeffrey Steele for an in-depth program on naturalizing daffodils at visits to two private gardens. Each garden demonstrates extensive plantings using contrasting methods for naturalizing daffodils. Timed for the height of the bloom, this program will cover the planning, varietal selection, planting and cultivation to enable participants to successfully create daffodil meadows or woodlands. A short history of daffodils will be included in the program.
Jeffrey A. Steele is owner of Ashley Falls Nursery, a landscape and garden design and consultation firm with a special interest in historic gardens. He was previously with the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Wilcox Park (a Victorian strolling park restoration in Rhode Island) and was a past director of BBG. The daffodil is his favorite flower, and he has been building a collection for the last 15 years.
Consider the showgirls of the garden, the small flowering trees. At a perfect time for planting, join Elisabeth Cary for a comprehensive tour of hardy trees under 30 feet tall. Each selection will be discussed for garden-worthiness, growth habit, aesthetic consideration, siting, planting, cultivation and maintenance. Tips on how to integrate these beauties into the mixed border or woodland setting, or to use as a focal point, will be covered. Following the talk, tour the Berkshire Botanical Gardens to view what’s in bloom and discuss the merits of each tree.
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.
Gardeners have always loved peonies but recently have refocused their interest on the genus Paeonia. With new availability of woodland peonies, tree (suffruticosa) peonies and the explosion of intersectional crosses, gardeners are taking a closer look at this much loved genus. Join Dan Furman from Cricket Hill Garden for a lecture that covers basic botany, wild species descriptions and cultivation history in China, Japan and the US. The program will also cover practical aspects for creating a successful peony garden, including growing requirements for New England and discussion of select cultivars for the peony lover.
Dan Furman is a second-generation peony grower at Cricket Hill Garden in Thomaston, CT. Since joining the business in 2010, he has worked to expand the peony hybridization and production programs at the nursery. In addition to peonies, he is interested in growing pawpaws, persimmons, Asian pears and other unusual fruits in northwestern Connecticut.
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.
For 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.