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!
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.
The date of this class has been rescheduled to Saturday April 18.
Participants should dress warmly and bring pruners and a bag lunch. Directions available upon registration
This demonstration/workshop will focus on the specifics of pruning stone and pome fruit trees and some small fruits, including cane fruits and ribes. Unlike ornamental woody plants, pruning for fruit is a special science that is designed to maximize fruit production. Learn the principles of pruning for shape, size and, most importantly, fruit production. Watch a structural pruning demonstration on newly planted fruit trees. Semi-dwarf orchard trees, including mature and newly planted trees, will be available for pruning.
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. He specializes in traditional and unusual fruit tree and small fruits.
Participants can choose to carpool or drive separately. Those joining the carpool should meet in the parking lot at Berkshire Botanical Garden for an 8:15 departure. Directions are here.
Join woody-plant guru Adam Wheeler for a tour of the display gardens at Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, CT. This field study will focus on magnolias, but will also include other choice woody plants, including small ornamental trees and shrubs that thrive in zone 5. Adam will extol the virtues of some of his favorite ornamentals and will give us a peek into some of the new woody plants coming on the market. Following the tour, enjoy a picnic lunch and plenty of time for shopping at this fabulous specialty nursery.
Adam Wheeler is the Propagation and New Plant Development Manager for Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, CT, a specialty nursery with a focus on woody plants. He teaches woody-plant propagation workshops throughout New England.
Participants should meet in the parking lot of Bartholomew’s Cobble, Sheffield, MA. Click here for directions.
Join ecologist and plant geek Drew Monthie for a plant walk and talk at Bartholomew’s Cobble, a Trustees of Reservations property in Sheffield, MA. Long noted for its exceptional collection of rare plants, this unique site contains a world-class collection of ephemeral wildflowers and ferns native to the northeast woodland. The program will focus on the ecology of this special place and will help gardeners learn how to incorporate these native beauties into the garden setting. Following the walk, take an optional, moderate, one-half-hour hike to the top of Hurlburt Hill to admire one of Berkshire County’s finest views. The group is invited to picnic there, surrounded by nesting bluebirds and bobolinks!
Drew Monthie 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 ethno-botany.
This program is fully enrolled.
Coach bus leaves Berkshire Botanical Garden promptly at 8am.
Bring a bag lunch and dress for the weather: comfortable, sturdy footwear and warm, waterproof outerwear, umbrella.
Join staff from the Berkshire Botanical Garden for a tour of the New York Botanical Garden at the height of spring bloom and to view NYBG’s major 2015 exhibition, FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life, focusing on the iconic artist’s engagement with nature and intense interest in the botanical world in her native country of Mexico. Included in the cost of the trip is a ticket to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to view a stunning flower show re-imagining Kahlo’s studio and garden at Casa Azul (“Blue House”) in Coyoacán, Mexico City. There will be a rare display of more than a dozen original Kahlo paintings and drawings on view in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Rondina and LoFaro Gallery.
Staff from BBG will lead tours of the garden, including the Ladies’ Border, the Herb Garden, the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden and the spectacular Seasonal Walk, designed by superstar designers Piet Oudolf and Jaqueline van der Kloet. Of special interest will be the newly renovated native-plant garden. For those interested in trees, we will explore the Benson Ornamental Conifer Garden and the many small ornamental specimen trees on the grounds. Garden staff will answer questions and share horticultural insights throughout the day, and there will be unstructured time for participants to visit areas of specific interest in the afternoon. Snacks and afternoon beverage will be provided.
Dress for outdoors with sturdy walking shoes.
Ashintully, the name given to the original 1,000-acre estate be- longing to Egyptologist Robb de Peyster Tytus, is located in Tryringham, MA. The garden wasa gift of John Stewart McLennan Jr. and his wife Katharine to The Trustees of Reservations. Mr. McLennan, an accomplished and honored composer, designed the elegant gardens over 30 years as a parallel creative effort to his musical work. Tour the garden at Ashintully with landscape architect Walter Cudnohufsky and see this important garden through fresh and discerning eyes. There will be a detailed and lively group discussion about what makes Ashintully great. Participants will learn about garden design as a set of planned relationships and an exercise of restraint, focussing on the ten most important garden design principles as illustrated in Walter’s forthcoming book. The gardens blend several natural features into an ordered arrange- ment with both formal and informal beauty. In 1997, Ashintully Gardens received the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s H. Hollis Hunnewell Medal. Enjoy a fresh June morning at this lovely garden space.
Walter Cudnohufsky, M.L.A. is a long-time dedicated teacher. Having founded and for 20 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.
This field trip is filled to capacity.
10 am – 2:30 pm is the time onsite in the northwest corner of CT. 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.
Join staff from the Berkshire Botanical Garden for an offsite adventure to private gardens that reflect the owner as curator. The first, in Kent, CT, was inspired by a strong interest in collecting specimen trees and shrubs and has been developed over the past 29 years. This garden contains one of the largest private collections of rare, distinctive and hard-to-find trees in the Northeast and reflects the owner’s quest for unique trees that are not only hardy and disease resistant, but also have the form, texture and foliage that amaze and please year ’round. Plants are identified by markers, a plant list and a map, allowing visitors to identify new plants for their own gardens. Following a picnic lunch on the terrace, travel north to West Cornwall, CT, to the shop and garden of designer Michael Trapp. This eclectic, highly stylized garden, constructed from stone and architectural details, creates a fantasy landscape in an Old-World-style garden tradition. With intimate cobbled pathways, terraced gardens, reflecting pools and a grotto-inspired garden room, it has a distinct French/Italian flavor. Learn how a difficult sloped site was used to advantage in creating this romantic garden.
This class is fully enrolled. Call for waitlist. 413 298 3926 ext.10
Participants can choose to carpool or drive separately. Click here for directions. Those joining the carpool should meet in the parking lot at Berkshire Botanical Garden for an 8:30 am departure. Time onsite in Hyde Park & Livingston, NY, is 10 am – 3 pm).
Take a drive down the Hudson Valley to visit two garden gems that focus on plants. First, tour the Garden at Belle- field, Hyde Park, designed in 1912 by Beatrix Farrand, one of America’s most celebrated landscape designers. Today the garden has been carefully restored, inspired by her landmark work and dedicated to sharing her pioneering legacy. This garden is a perfect example of how Farrand defined the American taste in gardens throughout the first half of the 20th century. She championed the use of perennial plants in combinations based upon color har- mony, bloom sequence and texture. This was the birth of the mixed border, a standard in gardens today. A volunteer from the Beatrix Farrand Association will lead the tour of this lovely garden at the height of its June bloom. From there, travel to the Culinary Institute of America to catch a quick lunch at the Apple Pie Cafe (cost of lunch not included in the fee). On the return, travel to Livingston, NY, to visit The Climbery, the private garden of Barbara Packer. With a focus on plants, specifically the holy grail of vines, clematis, wander through this beautifully landscaped seven-acre property dedicated to over 5,000 clematis—the second largest planted collection of clematis in the world. In addition to the clematis collection, enjoy an exuberant mid-June bloom of peonies, irises and more. Timed for the height of the clematis bloom, view this exceptional collec- tion and learn how to cultivate these winsome beauties.
Participants can choose to carpool or drive separately. Click here for directions Those joining the carpool should meet in the parking lot at Berkshire Botanical Garden for an 8:30 am departure. Time onsite in Granby, CT, is 10 am – 1:30 pm.
Join plantsman extraordinaire John O’Brien for a walking tour of his fabulous specialty nursery, O’Brien Nurserymen, located in Granby, CT. View this exceptional collection of rare and beautifully grown specimens with a focus on dwarf conifers, Japanese maples and hundreds of hostas and other rare woodland perennials. There will be plenty to see in this meticulously maintained small-batch nursery, and John will devote the tour to teaching us the virtues of the many fabulous selec- tions cultivated on his property. Following the tour there will be time to purchase plants. Then the group will head over to nearby Lost Acres Orchard. Lunch is available for purchase and includes a nice selection of homemade sandwiches and salads. Relax on the porch of the wonderful barn or wander through the orchard, sit in the shade and enjoy a wonderfully prepared lunch.
John O’Brien is owner of O’Brien Nurserymen, LLC, which has grown into New England’s premier hosta nursery. The extensive display gardens feature over 1,600 hosta varieties, as well as other shady characters, including asarums, pulmonarias, epimediums and arisaemas. The gardens also include a wide variety of unusual dwarf conifers and over 100 varieties of Japanese maples.
The morning program is fully enrolled. Please sign up for the afternoon session.
Join Matthew Noyes, horticulturist and grounds manager at The Clark for an exploration of the new museum campus and sustain- ability efforts. This walking tour is an overview of the campus with a focus on the rain gardens, the pump room and green roofs. Other topics will include native plants and land-use practices. Following the tour, participants can enjoy a visit to The Clark museum for a 50% discounted ticket price.
Matthew Noyes is responsible for the management of the 140-acre Clark campus including trails, woodlands, meadows, and gardens. He has worked closely with the landscape architecture firm Reed Hildebrand to realize the campus improvements and sustainability efforts in the reimagined Clark campus. Noyes, a Williamstown native, has a B.A. in history from Nichols College and an A.A.S. in Horticulture Technology from Forsyth Technical Community College. Before arriving at The Clark he served as the director of horticulture at Old Salem Museums and Gardens in Winston-Salem, NC, overseeing 80 acres of heirloom plants and trees.