Adult Education

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a community resource for education, offering a variety of learning opportunities including lectures, classes, workshops, and tours of our living collections and historical landscape. Join us as we explore the biology and horticulture of woody plants, and delve into topics related to Earth’s biodiversity and evolutionary history, the environment, conservation biology, and key social issues associated with current science.

Featured Programs

From Seed to Tree

Jack Germinating Seeds

Greenhouse Staff

Choose from the first Tuesday of the month, May through October, from 1:00-2:00pm

Did you know that almost all of the new plants in the Arboretum begin their lives in the Dana Greenhouses? Get a behind-the-scenes look of the greenhouse growing process, from seed to sprout to seedling to tree. Meet at the Bonsai Collection. There is a 15 person maximum.

In case of inclement weather, contact 617.384.5209.


Nature Photography Workshop

Canada Plum by Erik Gehring

Nature Photography Workshop

Erik Gehring, Freelance Photographer

1 Session: Saturday, July 25, 1:00–4:30PM; Rain date, Sunday, July 26

Improve your photographs of nature in this half-day workshop, a talk followed by hands-on experience. Learn about composition, color, light, depth of field, and focus. Bring your camera and manual and familiarize yourself with the operation of your camera prior to the workshop. Level: beginner/advanced beginner. Class size: approximately 10.
Fee $60


Tree Mob™!

Fallopia japonica

Fallopia japonica, also known as Japanese knotweed, fleeceflower, Mexican bamboo, and other common names, is a highly successful, non-native perennial from eastern Asia. It can be seen along roadsides, riverbeds, and in empty lots in impenetrable stands up to 10 feet in height. It is indeed tough. But in the early spring, it is also tender…and edible. Pamela Thompson, Arnold Arboretum Manager of Adult Education, will be joined by local wild edible enthusiast Pam Kristan, President of the Boston Area Beer Enthusiasts Society (BABES) and home brewer Kristen Sykes, and brew master for the Cambridge Brewing Company Will Meyers, to share the history of this plant’s movement around the globe and the gustatory possibilities of this pernicious perennial, including beer. Gather along Bussey Brook, near Acc. # 21300*A (Picea engelmannii), on Wednesday, July 29 at 6:00pm. Participants must be 21 to partake in a tasting.

Park on Bussey Street and enter through the Bussey Street Gate. Turn left onto Conifer Path and follow the Tree Mob signs to the event.

Public Transportation: Take the T to Forest Hills. Exit the upper level of the station and cross Washington Street. Turn left on Washington and at the Washington Street Gate take Blackwell Footpath through Bussey Brook Meadow. Cross South Street and enter the Arboretum at South Street Gate. Turn left on Hemlock Hill Road and follow signs to the Tree Mob. Or research bus routes to Centre and Walter Streets. Take Walter Street to Bussey Street and follow directions from the Bussey Street Gate.


Introduction to Bonsai

Bonsai, Pine

Introduction to Bonsai

Glen Lord, Horticulturist and Bonsai Specialist

1 Session: Saturday, August 22, 10:00am–1:00pm

Bonsai is the ancient Japanese method of growing and caring for a tree whose growth is restricted by the size of the shallow pot in which it is planted and by the pruning of its branches and roots. In this class, Glen Lord, who consults for the Arnold Arboretum’s bonsai (Japanese) and penjing (Chinese) collection of dwarf potted plants, will speak first about the history of bonsai. He will then demonstrate the methods employed in creating and caring for a bonsai. Participants will plant a tropical specimen and learn about basic pruning, styling, and aftercare. The methods learned in this class can then be applied to other plants, such as temperate trees. The class fee includes a tropical plant, tools, soil, and a pot.
Fee $55 member, $65 nonmember