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!

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.

Caring for Plants in a Greenhouse or Plant Conservatory @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 15 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

This 4-session course meets on Thursday afternoons, 4-7pm, from January 15 through February 5. It is co-enrolled with the Horticulture Certificate Program. 

This course will focus on the ins and outs of controlling the greenhouse environment. Whether maintaining a conservatory collection of ornamental plants or producing greenhouse crops, participants will learn how to grow, care for and maintain plants in a greenhouse setting. The relationship between temperature, water, light, fertilization, plant health and diseases will be covered, with a strong emphasis on IPM (integrated pest management).This program is appropriate for homeowners with conservatories, glassed in porches and greenhouses.

Bill Florek has been a landscape designer for 30 years and currently teaches Horticulture at Monument Mountain Regional High School. He also concentrates his time on greenhouse management, growing plants for school programs and the highly successful plant sales held at the school. He has a degree from the University of Massachusetts in Landscape Design and an M.A.T. in Biology from Elms College.

15.1.12 Greenhouse and conservatory management

Passion for Plants—Study Group: A Floral Display: Growing a Cutting Garden @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join a study group series at the Berkshire Botanical Garden to consider plant groups of particular interest to the staff. Look first at ornamental shrubs and trees for the best fall display (January 14). The following week you will learn how to grow a small, highly productive cutting garden (January 21). The final class will focus on big, bold perennials (January 28). The classes can be taken individually or as a series at a reduced price.

Cutting gardens are lovely to view, provide fresh-cut flowers and keep your perennial borders from being raided for indoor display. Learn how to make a small, highly productive cutting garden as an addition to the vegetable garden or as a stand-alone garden. Consider all aspects of growing cut flowers, including selecting varieties that hold up best, sowing, planting, transplanting, cultivating and preparing for indoor use. This program is designed for the home gardener.

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.


21st Century Herbal: A Conversation wtih Ethnobotanist Michael Balick, Ph.D., and Aviva Romm, MD @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 24 @ 2:00 pm

Join ethnobotanist Michael Balick, Ph.D., as he discusses medicinal botany with Aviva Romm, MD and medical herbalist. This lecture is based on Dr. Balick’s recent book, Rodale’s 21st Century Herbal: A Practical Guide for Healthy Living Using Nature’s Most Powerful Plants, a work that has been inspired by ancient texts known as “herbals”. Dr. Aviva Romm will share her journey using plants as medicines, from simple home remedies to treating complex medical cases with botanicals.

Michael Balick, Ph.D., has studied the relationship between plants and people, the field known as ethnobotany, for more that four decades. Most of his research is in remote regions of the tropics, where he works with indigenous cultures to document plant diversity, knowledge of its traditional utilization and evaluation of the potential of botanical resources for broader application and use. He works closely with healthcare professionals to evaluate and introduce medicinal plants that he and his group have collected, introducing these species into more widespread use.

Dr. Aviva Romm has bridged her interests in traditional medicine with her knowledge of hard science for over 30 years. Most of her focus is on women’s and children’s health, with an emerging focus on stress physiology, food cravings, weight, hormone imbalance and stress, and how natural medicine techniques can help us to develop and express greater resilience and live fuller lives. Dr. Romm is one of the leading teachers in the country on botanical medicine at both medical and herbal conferences. She now lives and practices medicine in the Berkshires.

15.1.24 221st century Herbal. jpg15.1.24  21st Century Herbal


Passion for Plants—Study Group: Walk on the Wild Side: Big, Bold Perennials @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 28 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join a study group series at the Berkshire Botanical Garden to consider plant groups of particular interest to the staff. Look first at ornamental shrubs and trees for the best fall display (January 14). The following week you will learn how to grow a small, highly productive cutting garden (January 21). The final class will focus on big, bold perennials (January 28). The classes can be taken individually or as a series at a reduced price.

With so many perennials to choose from, take a look at the best of the bunch. The plants showcased are selected for garden worthiness, including multiple season interest, spectacular flowers and or foliage, exceptional form, low maintenance, hardiness and longevity. These plants are the workhorses of the perennial border. Most of these plants are on display at the Berkshire Botanical Garden and have thrived in our zone 5 garden.

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.

Annual  sunflower

Bonsai Basics @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Jan 31 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Those signing up for this class and Glen’s March 14th workshop will receive a 10% discount on both.

Join Bonsai expert Glen Lord for an informative talk and live demonstration on successfully growing bonsai in a home setting. Many beginners focus on the wonderful art form of bonsai, but to achieve success, the first skills to learn are good growing techniques. Topics for discussion will include selection of the proper plant for your location, soils, light and food. Abundant information will be available for both the beginner and the seasoned hobbyist. Glen will showcase some of his phenomenal Bonsai as demonstrations.

Glen Lord is a long-time grower of bonsai. He is an authority on bonsai and was the assistant nursery manager at Bonsai West, an east coast specialty bonsai nursery. Glen has been actively growing and collecting bonsai and educating students about bonsai for many years.

15.1.31 Bonsai Basics

Growing Bountiful Berries, Grapes and Currants in a Small Fruit Garden @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Feb 2 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This 4-session course meets on Monday evenings, 6-9pm, from February 2-23. It is co-enrolled with the Horticulture Certificate Program. 

Learn how to grow all sorts of berries, grapes and currants, the easiest fruits to grow. Designed for homeowners, this course will cover the growing basics for strawberries, brambles (raspberry/blackberry), blueberries, grapes and currants for New England conditions. Site and soil requirements, planting systems, pruning practices and integrated pest management practices will be covered for each fruit type. Other more unusual fruits, such as aronia, saskatoons and more will be discussed.

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.

15.2.2 Growing Berries in the Home Garden

Growing Great Ornamental Grasses for Every Garden @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Feb 7 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

The stature, movement and rustling of grasses make them unique plants for the garden. This presentation delves into the reasons for using grasses, how to place them and how to select the right grasses for a specific gardening situation. There are beautiful grasses, some known and some relatively unknown, for every habitat from sunny, dry locations to wet or shady spots.

Robert Herman has over 30 years of experience as a professional horticulturist, almost 7 of which were spent in Europe as “Meister” for the Countess von Zeppelin Nursery in Germany. He served in the horticulture and education departments at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and he was Director of Horticulture at White Flower Farm. His articles have appeared in American Nurseryman, Greenscene, Fine Gardening, the Hardy Plant Society Journal in England and Garten + Landschaft, the German landscape architecture publication. In 2013, Robert retired as a Horticulture Instructor at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT. In 2010, the American Horticultural Society honored Mr. Herman with its Teaching Award, and he was bestowed with the Perennial Plant Association’s Academic Award.


Hearts and Flowers: The Art of Cut Paper @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Feb 12 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

$10 materials fee paid directly to instructor. Click here for a list of supplies to bring.

Just in time for your favorite valentine…instead of candy how about a creative workshop for Valentine’s Day! Join cut- paper artist Pamela Dalton for a fun, hands-on workshop on the art of Scherenschniite (cut paper). Learn simple techniques and practice making small, beautiful images in paper. Students will create multiple Scherenschniite, executed in the style of the Pennsylvania German tradition. The instructor will also share paper-cutting from a variety of cultures and historic periods.

Artist Pamela Dalton’s Scherenschnitte have delighted collectors worldwide for almost 25 years. Her work is created in the tradition of early American paper-cutting popular in the Pennsylvania Dutch regions of this country in the early 19th century. Dalton’s original designs are influenced by popular historical themes: patriotism, biblical and religious motifs and scenes from rural life. Each piece is sketched freehand by the artist and then cut by hand, so no two are exactly alike. Each work is cut from a single piece of paper.

15.2.12 Paper Cutting Art Workshop

Cocktail Reception For Alan Power @ The Home of Richard and Ingrid Taylor
Feb 13 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

You're invited

To welcome Alan Power to the Berkshires (and his first speaking engagement in the United States!) the Garden is hosting a private reception in his honor.Adam Silouette
We invite you to join us Friday, February 13th between 5 and 7pm at the home of Ingrid and Richard Taylor for hor d’oeuvres, drinks and great conversation with our 2015 Winter Lecture Speaker.
Please help us in giving Alan the welcome that he deserves and showing him what a great community of gardeners we have here in the Berkshires.
Directions to the Taylors’ will be emailed to you once you purchase tickets to this event.  Tickets to this event are separate to that of the Winter Lecture on Saturday, February 14th.  To purchase tickets to the Winter Lecture, Click Here.
All proceeds from this event go to support the Berkshire Botanical Garden.

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