I had the honor last week of joining the faculty at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden to give a two day workshop on Gardening for Wildlife as part of the Certificate Program in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture.
As a general rule I don’t tend to spend much time in botanical gardens because I don’t enjoy the “Plant Zoo” mentality, which is a collection of specimen plants from around the world that have no ecological connection to each other. Just one of this, one of that, like animals in a zoo but with plants.
A wildlife garden is dependent on specific native plant communities which work together with the wildlife to form an ecosystem.
However, the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden has adopted a different mission: to showcase the native plants of coastal Maine. They are redoing their Hillside Garden to highlight these plants.
They have been conducting a long-term study of their Lady Slipper Orchid population for the past 15 years.
And now they have started this Certificate Program in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture. The first group of students will complete this 2 year program this coming October.
It was such a joy to get to know each of these students. What a dedicated and eager to learn group of people. Many kudos from me to Melissa Cullina, the director of education, who had the vision to start this program and attract such an amazing group of people!
And kudos to each of these students who came to class so well prepared, having read and printed out all of the resource material I posted on a web page I created for them.
You asked such wonderful questions I had to do some homework for the second day of class to find the answers for you. Thanks so much for sharing your lunchtime with me, and for being so excited about finding holes in plant leaves and trying to figure out who had been snacking there. Thanks for showing me around these beautiful special gardens where we discovered so many signs of wildlife. And good luck to each of you as you near your graduation from this program!
It was a joy and an honor to share those two days talking about so many aspects of creating welcoming habitat for wildlife in our gardens. I’m really looking forward to coming back again in the future.
If you live nearby, please sign up for this certificate program! Melissa Cullina has done an excellent job of creating this very in-depth course, and you will really enjoy it, and learn so much from it.
If you don’t live nearby, this is a place you don’t want to miss. And Maine is an incredibly gorgeous place to visit, so start planning your trip now
Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.
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