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!

Dancing Flowers: The Gardens of Jacob’s Pillow @ Offsite: Jacob's Pillow
Aug 14 @ 8:30 pm copyNot only is Jacob’s Pillow one of the Berkshire’s most celebrated cultural institutions and famous dance festivals in the world, it is also home to an incredible display of  annual and perennial gardens. Join garden designer Valerie Locher for a behind-the-scenes tour of these much admired gardens. Concentrating on annuals, Valerie will discuss her design concepts and will share tips and techniques for keeping gardens beautiful throughout the summer. Following the tour, participants are welcome to attend a free performance at the Pillow’s Inside/Out theater.

Valerie Locher owns a local landscape design and gardening business and has been cultivating the grounds of Jacob’s Pillow since the early ’80s, when she first donated four hanging baskets to the Ted Shawn Theater. Since then she has worked to renovate the Tea Garden, the Meeker Garden and the Inside/Out theater, helping the gardens to become a beloved part of the spirit of Jacob’s Pillow. It is her way to contribute to the dance community and help set the stage for all of the great performances that occur there each summer.

Late Summer Garden Beauty: Field Study to Hollister House & Brush Hill Gardens @ offsite in Washington, CT
Sep 4 @ 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm


This class is near capacity. To register, please call the Garden at 413.298.3926.

14.09.04 Hollister House and Brush Hill GardensBring a bagged lunch. 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 pm. Program time in Washington, CT, is 10am – 1:30pm.

Learn how to extend the beauty of the summer garden on this study tour of two exceptional private gardens in Washington, CT. Gardeners tend to concentrate their efforts in early and mid summer, but late summer can be an exceptional time of beauty…if one knows how to achieve it. Join George Schoellkopf as he leads you through Hollister House Gardens at its late summer peak, in tip-top shape for their annual study weekend. Learn about gardening in early September as summer cools and fall advances—a beautiful time to be in the garden. Then we will travel just up the road to Brush Hill Gardens, a horticultural gem created by Barbara Paul Robinson and Charles Raskob Robinson. This 40-year-old garden “is very much a gardening partnership: Charlie sculpts the land, designs and builds all the garden structures and opens new ‘canvases’ for Barbara to paint her plants upon.” Join Barbara Robinson for a tour of her garden with an eye for structure and form, in addition to a sophisticated plant palette. We are invited to picnic on the lawn of this magnificent property. Elisabeth Cary, Director of Education at Berkshire Botanical Garden, will be the tour leader on the trip.

Native Plant Selection and Identification (Herbaceous and Woody) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Sep 11 @ 10:00 pm – Sep 12 @ 1:00 am

Asclepsis natvie plant communities.

Classes meet on Thursdays, September 11 & 18 and October 2 & 9, at 6-9pm and on Saturday, September 27, 10am – 1pm.

This is a survey plant identification class covering horticultural significant North American native plants that thrive in the Berkshires and surrounding tri-state region.  Both herbaceous and woody plants will be covered with special focus on plant communities and garden worthy, low maintenance plants that work well in the managed landscape. Herbaceous plants including wildflowers, woodland and meadow plants, grasses, sedges, and ferns will be the topic of the first three classes and flowering shrubs, ornamental trees, evergreen and shade trees will complete the final two classes. Information on cultural requirements, maintenance, plant combinations and associations will form the framework of this course.

Instructor – Drew Monthie, M.S. is a horticulturalist, garden designer and ecologist working in upper New York State. He is committed to teaching about the importance of using native plants to provide beauty and preserve biodiversity in yards and gardens. He has a special interest in ethnobotany.

10% discount for 3 or more Fall Level III courses


Invasive Plant Identification, Removal and Control Strategies @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Sep 13 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

This class will explore invasive plants, including their history and introduction intentionally or otherwise into Eastern North America. Learn how these species cause biochemical changes that affect soil microbes, which in turn cause major shifts in plant community populations. Identification, control strategies and the degrading effects of these species on ecosystems, including their effect on native plants and animals, will be covered. A morning lecture on plant identification will be followed by a short field trip to observe the effects of these troublesome plants.

Instructor – Drew Monthie, M.S., is a horticulturalist, garden designer and ecologist working in upper New York State. He is committed to teaching about the importance of using native plants to provide beauty and preserve biodiversity in yards and gardens. He has a special interest in ethnobotany.

Growing Inside and Out: Field Study of Smith College Arboretum and Lyman Conservatory @ offsite in Northampton, MA
Oct 15 @ 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

14.10.15 Smith College tTourParticipants can choose to carpool or drive separately. Those joining the carpool should meet in the parking lot at Berkshire Botanical Garden for a 9am departure. Carpool will return at approximately 3 pm. Program time in Northampton, MA, is 10 am – 2 pm.

Cost of lunch is not included in the fee.

Join BBG staff for an in-depth field study of Smith College Arboretum and Lyman Conservatory. First, tour the exceptional collection of woody plants at the height of the fall foliage with Landscape Manager and arborist, Jay Girard. Consider shrubs, small ornamental trees and large trees that thrive in our gardening zone that are particularly beautiful during the late summer and fall. Then explore the extensive collection of tropical, citrus, semi-tropical, succulent and cactus collections with longtime Lyman Conservatory Manager, Rob Nicholson. After studying this extensive collection of plants, participants can choose to purchase lunch at Paul & Elisabeth’s, a popular Northampton restaurant in walking distance of the college. Director of Education, Elisabeth Cary, will lead the tour from BBG and will contribute her “two-cents” on the wonderful woody plant collection.

Landscape Design Clinic with Walt Cudnohufsky @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Nov 1 @ 1:30 pm – 8:30 pm

14.11.02 Landscape Design ClinicAll levels (co-enrolled with Horticulture Certificate Program)

(To have your project considered, call 413-298-3926 for details)

Dress for outdoors, waterproof footwear and a bag lunch.

This fast-paced, information-saturated clinic will introduce design students, homeowners and others to opportunities to problem-solve the design process. It will lead to the basic conceptual elements of a landscape master plan. All attendees will participate in the process of observing and designing and will come away with coherent examples of how design happens. An active discussion format will focus on common design principles. A step-by-step PowerPoint presentation will focus the discussion later in the afternoon. The field trip will be held rain or shine.

Walter Cudnohufsky is owner of Walter Cudnohufsky Associates Landscape Architects, Land and Community Planners, Ashfield, MA. He is the founder and for 20 years was the director of the Conway School of Landscape Design.

Terrain for Garden Shoppers:Terrarium Demonstration and Shopping Experience @ offsite in Westport, CT
Nov 12 @ 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Unfortunately, this trip has been cancelled.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

14.11.12 Terrain Terrarium Workshop

Join mad garden shopper Elisabeth Cary for a trip to the newly opened, fabulous garden/lifestyle store, Terrain, located in Westport, CT. The brain-child of the founders of  Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, this gardening emporium is a treasure-trove of fabulous lifestyle products with an emphasis on GARDEN. Known for an exceptional selection of terrarium supplies, unique glass containers and phenomenal plants, join a terrarium specialist for a terrarium demonstration. The day will include the demonstration, time for shopping and lunch at the cafe. This program is scheduled for  the beginning of the holiday season, so save your pennies! For more information about Terrain, visit

Botany for Gardeners @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 6 @ 11:00 pm – Jan 7 @ 2:00 am


Classes meet on Tuesdays, 6-9 pm: January 6,  13, 20, 27, 2015.

This is a beginning course in plant anatomy and physiology that covers a wide range of topics.  The relationship between structure and function of seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits will be addressed.  An understanding of how plants grow and respond to their environment is fundamental to the successful planting and cultivation of this enormous class of organisms. This class can be taken as a core requirement for the Horticulture Certificate Level I program, or as an individual class.

Instructor – Joyce Hemingson, Ph.D. earned her degree in Botany from the University of Connecticut on the pollination biology of Clethra alnifolia (Sweet Pepperbush). She worked for many years as Director of Publications for White Flower Farm, located in Litchfield, CT. She is an active gardener and a longtime member of the North American Rock Garden Society.

Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $475



Landscape Design Clinic @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 14 @ 11:00 pm – Jan 15 @ 2:00 am


Classes meet on Wednesdays, 6-9pm: January 14, 21, 28; February 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4; and Saturday, March 14 (10am – 3pm).

Learn skills essential for effective functional garden design that honor the site and meet client needs. Each week will cover a different topic or technique focusing on the importance of getting to know the client and site as a basis of effective and appealing design. Essential and easy to grasp design principles for those who design or install gardens will be introduced throughout the course with the goal of practicing a form-finding approach to garden design. The tools taught will provide a vocabulary essential for assessing a property’s potential and problems, and for asking the right questions to realize client’s wishes while avoiding common design mistakes. Learn how to make well considered and sustainable choices for the elements and materials commonly used in the residential scale garden. Features including fences, decks, terraces, garden furnishings, containers and ornaments will be covered with a focus on expanding the designer’s vocabulary and palette.   Students will select a project and take it from creative concept to completed design plan including schematic drawings, and planting plans.  Each class will involve instruction and evaluation of projects in progress and will include both class instruction and studio time. Frequent group discussions and exercises will put the skills learned into action.  Students will make a formal presentation at the final class.  This course is the culmination of the Level II Certificate in Garden Design although all students are welcome.

Instructor – Chuck Schnell, M.A. has both a BA and MA in landscape design.  He works in planning and design for WCLDA in Ashfield, MA.  He is a recipient of the Garden Club of America McLaren Fellowship to study abroad.  He has strong knowledge of ornamental plants, landscape design and construction expertise.

Guest Instructor  Walter Cudnohufsky, M.L.A. is a long time dedicated teacher.  Having founded and for twenty years directed the nationally acclaimed Conway (Mass.) School of Landscape Design, he has honed a reasoned approach to planning design.  Currently his firm is engaged in many diverse and stimulating planning/design projects throughout the region.

Small-Fruit Gardening in the New England Landscape @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Feb 2 @ 11:00 pm – Feb 3 @ 2:00 am

Classes meet on Mondays, February 2, 9, 16 and 23, from 6 – 9pm.

This course will cover the production basics for strawberries, brambles (raspberry/blackberry), blueberries and grapes for New England conditions. Site and soil requirements, planting systems, pruning practices and integrated pest management practices will be covered for each fruit type. If time allows, other fruits, such as currants and gooseberries, aronia, saskatoons, etc.) may also be discussed.

Instructor – Sonia Schloemann, M.S., has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Plant and Soil Sciences, both from UMass. She has worked in the area of small-fruit production since 1987, with a focus on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and sustainable practices. She is interested in and promotes non-chemical methods for insect and disease management (e.g., biological control of spider mites using native predatory mites), introduces innovative production practices (e.g., greenhouse raspberry production), demonstrates new crops and cropping systems (e.g., cold-climate table grape and wine grape production) and helps fruit growers cope with some of the most intransigent pests (e.g., spotted-wing Drosophila). Her interests also include promoting native pollinator conservation and soil health improvement for commercial fruit growers.

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