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.

Sustainable Landscape Care & Garden Maintenance @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Feb 3 @ 11:00 pm – Feb 4 @ 2:00 am

Hort Certificate Brad Roeller Level Class

Classes meet on Tuesdays, 6-9pm: February 3, 10, 17, 24, 2015.

Learn about the maintenance considerations that should be integrated into the design process.  Students’ horticultural knowledge will expand to factor sustainable maintenance concerns with cost effectiveness into plant selection. Learn procedures for perennials, woody plants and lawns including transplanting, staking, fertilizing, winterizing, mulching, plant pathology and pest control with an emphasis on deer control. This class can be taken as a core requirement for the Horticulture Certificate Level I program, or as an individual class.

Instructor –  Brad Roeller, B.S. is a private landscape garden supervisor for Altamont Estate in NY.  He is the former Garden Manager for the New York Botanical Garden and has spent his entire career in horticulture with a focus on sustainable gardening.   He lectures extensively and instructs at the New York Botanical Garden, Berkshire Botanical Garden and for New England Grows.

Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $475

Landscape Design I @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Mar 2 @ 11:00 pm – Mar 3 @ 2:00 am

Classes meet on Mondays, 6-9 pm: March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 2015.

Focus on the “big picture” and learn the principles of design, importance of drainage, and view slides of both successful and troubled landscapes.  Site selection, design concepts and client presentations will be addressed and students will complete landscape design assignments. This class has 5 sessions. 

Instructor – Craig Okerstrom Lang, ASLA is a landscape architect located in Berkshire County.  His vast business experiences ranges from public to private projects.  He teaches a variety of programs for the botanical garden including graphic, design and business practices.

Discounted price for 3 Spring Level I courses: $475

Designs on the Land: A Historical Perspective (H,D) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Gardnen
Oct 22 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Classes meet on Thursdays, 6-9 pm: October 22 – November 12, 2015.

This design course covers the history of landscape design from its earliest origins to modern times.  Explore the early gardens of Persian and Islamic traditions, classical gardens of Egypt, Greece, and Rome and then investigate Chinese and Japanese influences in garden design.  In the fourth week study gardens of Europe beginning with medieval Europe through Renaissance Italy and into English and French gardens of the 18th and 19th century. Continue with an overview of colonial gardens, the “New American Garden” and finish with an exploration of contemporary landscapes of the 20th century. Understand the important influences of these designs on the landscape of today. Design project required.

Instructor – Marie Stella, M.A. M.S.M. is a landscape designer, historian and lecturer.  Her design firm, Kirin Farm Enterprises, specializes in historical landscapes and initiatives to foster the preservation of the rural landscape.  She instructs for the New York Botanical Garden, Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Arnold Arboretum and Berkshire Botanical Garden.

Required text: New Wave GardenJan 26The Landscape of Man
Geoffrey and Susan Jellicoe
Thames and Hudson, Inc.  c.1995, reprinted 1998
ISBN 0-500-27819-9

Garden Practicum (required) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Sep 6 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Initial Fall Meeting: Tuesday, September 6, 5 pm

Garden practcium Tree Planting

The practicum complements classroom work through hands-on training in the garden. Work alongside garden staff practicing gardening techniques, usually beginning with a demonstration and instruction. Activities include propagation, transplanting, tree care, pruning, dividing, planting, cultivation and maintenance of annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. Students need to complete 15 hours of work scheduled on Saturdays and/or weekdays, usually Wednesday or Thursday, throughout the year.  Required for Certification. Students may sign up for either the fall or spring term.   

Instructors – Berkshire Botanical Garden Staff

Herbaceous Plants I (required) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Sep 6 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

May 16 Land of Geraniums3Classes meet on Tuesdays, September 6-27, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

Learn about the basic herbaceous plants used in the garden setting including identification, planting, fertilizing, pest control and pruning.  Perennial selection will be the focus, although some time will be spent on annuals and bulbs.  This offering is essential for the serious gardener. Students should dress for outdoor field study including sturdy, waterproof footwear and warm outer clothing.

Instructor – David Burdick, B.S., a distinguished plantsman and zealous collector, shows regularly at the American Daffodil Society exhibition.  A practicing horticulturalist, he has worked at Berkshire Botanical Garden and Windy Hill Farm.  An engaging teacher, his latest venture is a specialty plant and cut flower business at Holiday Farm, Dalton, Massachusetts.

Discounted price for 4 Fall Level I courses: $650

Click here for class handouts

Drafting for Garden Design (required level II) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Sep 14 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Hort Certificate workshopClasses meet Wednesdays, September 14 – October 26, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

This seven-week studio intensive is essential for students who anticipate working in garden planning and design. Learn basic drafting skills necessary to record and effectively communicate scaled site plans. The first four weeks of the course will cover reference books, drafting supplies, media/paper types, line weights; lettering and scale reading. Drafting demonstrations will familiarize students with professional drawing techniques and the students will begin to draft basic site plans. Map making will be covered in week four. During the last half of the course, students will learn to develop a landscape graphic palette to illustrate trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers as well as hardscape materials such as stone terraces, etc. Students will also learn professional rendering techniques using prismacolor pencils. This course is designed for beginners to intermediates and will prepare students for all design classes offered in the Horticultural Certificate Program. We strongly suggest that all students who anticipate working professionally in the field of horticulture complete this course. For materials list, click here.

$25 copy fee applies.

Instructor – Steven Foster, ASLA is a registered landscape architect in MA with over thirty years experience. He currently divides his time between private practice and teaching at the Landscape Design Institute affiliated with Arnold Arboretum and Harvard University.

Suggested texts:
Architectural Graphics
Frank Ching
John Wiley & Sons
ISBN 0471209066

Plan and Section Drawing
Thomas Wang
John Wiley & Sons
ISBN 0471286087

Landscape Graphics
Grant W. Reid ASLA
Watson-Guptill Publications

For materials list, click here.

Ornamental Woody Plants (required) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Oct 4 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

aboutgarden2Classes meet on Tuesdays, October 4-25, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

Focus on the bones of the garden with a survey of ornamental woody plants for residential landscape design. This course will cover ornamental shrubs, small flowering trees, shade trees, and broadleaf and needle evergreens.  Students will become familiar with the many garden-worthy woody plants that thrive in Zone 5.  Course covers plant ID, selection, siting, cultivation and possible design uses.

Instructor – Elisabeth Cary, M.A. is Education Director at Berkshire Botanical Garden.  She organizes the Horticulture Certificate program and has a special interest in woody plants.

Suggested texts:
Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs, An Illustrated Encyclopedia
Michael A. Dirr
Timber Press, Inc.  c.1997
ISBN 0-88192-404-0

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants
Michael A. Dirr
Fifth Edition
Stipes Publishing LLC c. 1975 Revised 1998
ISBN 0-87563-800-7

Discounted price for 4 Fall Level I courses: $650 (edit)

Landscape Design Clinic: Introduction to a Coherent Process (required level II) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Oct 29 @ 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Students in Landscape Design ClinicThis fast-paced, information-saturated clinic will introduce design students, home owners others to an opportunity-finding and problem-solving 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. Students will come away 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. This all-day workshop is a prerequisite for Landscape Design Clinic Level II course offered in spring 2017. The field trip is held rain or shine. 

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.

Discounted price for 3 Fall Level II courses: $725

Soil and Soil Amendments (required) @ Education Center at Berkshire Botanical Garden
Nov 1 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Rhus aromatica Grow LoClasses meet on Wednesdays, November 1-22, from 5:30 – 8:30pm.

This course will explain how plant growth is affected by soils, from drainage to pH and nutrients. Learn how to evaluate soils, improve those that are less than ideal, and how to amend soils for specific garden uses. Fertilizers, soil amendments, making and using compost, moisture management and the pros and cons of mulching will be covered.  Students should bring a soil sample. 

Instructor – John Howell, M.S. is the former Extension Vegetable Specialist, for the University of Massachusetts and currently lectures on vegetables, fruits and soil management   Author of numerous newsletters for growers and is currently the editor for New England Vegetable Management Guide, published biennially by the University of Massachusetts.

Discounted price for 4 Fall Level I courses: $650

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