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!

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

Growing Rhododendron and Hydrangea: Mainstays of the Shrub Border @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Feb 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Join horticulturist Kevin Wilcox for an exploration of two important plant groups: Rhododendron and Hydrangea. These late spring and summer blooming shrubs, both garden essentials, can be overused in the landscape. This lecture will help gardeners sort through the ever increasing selections with an eye for the garden-worthy but less common cultivars. Attention to design uses, siting, cultural practices and the intricacies of pruning with be covered.

Kevin Wilcox is an expert in the field of woody ornamental plants. He has worked in horticulture for 29 years and owns and operates Silver Spring Nursery in Bloomfield, CT. He is an active member of the Connecticut Horticulture Society and teaches widely throughout Connecticut.

15.2.21 Rhododendron & Hydrangeas

All About Iris for New England Gardens…and a Few Great Companions Along the Way @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Feb 28 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Join growers extraordinaire and iris hybridizers Jan Sacks and Marty Schafer from Joe Pye Weed Nursery as they take students on a magical tour through the iris bloom season from March through August. They will include plants for sun and shade and consider some non-iris treasures, too. Learn how and when to divide bearded irises, as well as other cultural issues.

Jan Sacks and Marty Schafer are horticulturists and owners of Joe Pye Weed Nursery in Carlisle, MA. They have been growing an extraordinary collection of perennials for over 30 years. Their special obsession is hybridizing Siberian iris. Their nursery includes beautiful display gardens and a large cutting garden that serves the Boston Flower Market.

15.2.28 iris and More a

Growing Vegetables at Home @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Mar 3 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This 5-session course meets on Tuesday evenings, 6-9pm, from March 3-31. It is co-enrolled with the Horticulture Certificate Program.

Learn how to grow vegetables all season long in our regional gardens. Designed for homeowners starting a vegetable garden, this course will include discussion of soil and nutrient management, seed selection, crop rotation schemes, seeding and planting, pest management and specific plant cultivation, all in the context of the different vegetable groups. Each week, gardeners will investigate a different vegetable family to insure all questions are answered about cultivation of these important food groups, including Fabaceae (peas/beans/other legumes), greens (lettuce/mustards/ arugula/mache and more), herbs (perennial and annual), perennial vegetables (asparagus/rhubarb/horseradish), Chenopodiaceae (beet/chard family), Brassicaceae (cabbage/cauliflower/kale/ brussels sprout family), Cucurbitaceae (squash/pumpkin/ cucumber/melon family), Poeaceae (corn family), Allioideae (onion/garlic/leek/shallot family) and Solanaceae (tomato/potato/ eggplant/pepper family).

Farmer Peter Salinetti owns Woven Roots Farm, a small family farm and CSA that grows vegetables and culinary herbs using traditional farming practices. For over ten years he has grown local produce for Berkshire County families. His vegetables are grown using environmentally sustainable gardening practices, and he produces top-quality, delicious produce. Peter is committed to raising awareness about the importance of the local food supply, along with teaching technical information on how to do so. He lectures on growing food for both NOFA and other regional organizations.

15.3.3 The Home Vegetable garden.

Ready, Set, Grow! An Expert’s Guide to Growing Vegetable and Annual Starts @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Mar 5 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Registration for this class is nearing maximum capacity. Please call 413-298-3926 to register.

Learn vegetable and flower seed-starting and plant-growing techniques that result in vigorous plants from grower Maureen Sullivan. This workshop will focus on indoor sowing and growing-on practices, including preparation of an effective seed-sowing schedule, techniques for successful germination of challenging seeds and managing plants at different stages of growth. Workshop participants will practice seed-sowing and transplanting of a variety of plants to take home for the spring and summer growing season.

Farmer Maureen Sullivan and her partner, Mitch Feldmesser, own Left Field Farm, located in Middlefield, MA. Employing certified organic production methods and materials, they grow hundreds of carefully selected varieties of heirloom and hybrid annual ornamental, herb and vegetable plants in their greenhouses.

15.3.7 Ready Set Grow

The Orchard at Home @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Mar 13 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

This three-session course meets on two Fridays, March 13 and 20 (2-5pm), and on Friday, March 27 (date changed from what was previously published ), 10am – 3pm. It is co-enrolled with the Horticulture Certificate Program.

Learn how to grow a successful home fruit orchard, including both pome and stone fruit trees. All aspects of establishing and cultivating an orchard will be covered, including site and tree selection, how and when to plant, cultivation and maintenance, fruit evaluation and pest control. Dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard- size trees will be evaluated for space requirements. A special focus on how fruit with low pesticide use will be discussed candidly. The all-day Saturday, hands-on outdoor workshop will focus on the specifics of pruning stone and pome fruit trees to maximize fruit production. A variety of stone and pome fruit semi-dwarf trees in various stages of growth will be available for pruning. This will also include a demonstration on pruning espaliered pear trees.

Steve McKay is the former Grape and Small Fruit Specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension in eastern New York State. He has a B.S. in entomology from U.C. Davis and a M.S. in pomology. He own Micosta, a fruit nursery located in Hudson, NY and specializes in traditional and unusual fruit tree and small fruits.

15.3.13The Home Fruit Tree Orchard

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