The Garden hosts a diverse offering of public programs that provide learning opportunities in a variety of plant-based topics. Visit our calendar to see upcoming programs and scroll below to discover the many ways in which you can engage and experience the Garden.


Featured Program Series

Science of Cannabis Symposium

The UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley is presenting a month-long series of weekly symposia on the Science of Cannabis.  The programs will focus on emerging research about the evolution, ethnobotany, neuroscience, medical science, geography, and genetics of cannabis.  Each program will feature a national expert who will speak to a non-specialist audience with interaction between the listeners and the speakers. While the lines between the scientific and social issues surrounding Cannabis can be porous, the focus on this symposium will be to disseminate knowledge based upon scientific research.

Speaker Amanda Reiman, PhD, Vice President of Community Relations for Flow Kana & Secretary of the International Cannabis Farmer’s Association

The Environmental Impact of Large Scale Cannabis Cultivation
Thursday, February 1, 6 – 7:30 pm

The current system for growing cannabis has caused significant environmental degradation due to pollutants, heavy water use, clear cutting natural areas, and other man-made impacts.  What are the current environmental issues, and how can they be addressed as cannabis production scales.


Speaker Mowgli Holmes, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Phylos Bioscience

The Genetics of Cannabis Breeds
Thursday, February 8, 6 – 7:30pm

There is a rich informal taxonomy of Cannabis strains with exotic and evocative names.  How do these breeds reflect the genetic relationships among different strains, and how do those genetic relationships reflect the chemical properties of the specific plants?


Speaker David Presti, PhD, is a neurobiologist, psychologist, and cognitive scientist at the UC Berkeley, where he has taught since 1991

The Neuroscience of Cannabis
Thursday, February 15, 6 – 7:30 pm

How does Cannabis affect our brain, mind, and behavior?  The subjective experiences, therapeutic uses, and potential for abuse associated with Cannabis are related to the plant’s complex botanical chemistry and the impact of this chemistry on body and psyche.


Speaker Thomas J. Carlson, MD/MS, Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator of Ethnobotany in the Jepson and University Herbaria at UC Berkeley

The Ethnobotany of Cannabis
Thursday, February 22,  6 -7:30pm

Ethnobotany is the study of the relationship of plants and people across cultures and time.  Cannabis has been in cultivation for millennia and used as a medicine, food, and for hemp fiber.  This program will look at the historical uses of cannabis and how we might explore those uses in future research.


Speaker Donald I. Abrams, MD, Chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital & Professor of Clinical Medicine at UCSF

Cannabis as Medicine
Thursday, March 1, 6 – 7:30pm

What are the potential therapeutic benefits of Cannabis to ameliorate physical and psychological illnesses? What are the outstanding questions, and how might they be most usefully addressed through research and clinical practice?  


Ongoing Programs

Art + Design

You can take a variety of art courses at the UC Botanical Garden, each inspired by the natural world and our diverse collection of plants from around the world. The Garden hosts a regular series of botanical illustration courses and also one day workshops in watercolor, brush painting, drawing and other art forms. There are also flower arranging workshops and garden design workshops focused on container plantings.

The Garden also hosts several indoor art exhibitions each year, including our annual Plants Illustrated exhibit of Botanical Art. We have worked with the many talented Bay Area artists to present a provocative series of installation. Visit our exhibitions page to see past exhibitions.

October 28-29 · An Introduction to Botanical Art with Catherine Watters
November 12 ·  Origami: Where Art Meets Science
November 30 · Botanical Illustration: Winter / Holiday
December 3 · The 4 Treasures of Chinese Brush Painting: Plum Blossoms
December 6 · Evergreen Wreathmaking
December 12 · Botanical Crafting for the Holidays

Families + Children

The Garden loves it’s budding botanists, and in addition to our beloved summer day camp, Greenstuff, the Garden offers monthly family programs uniquely designed for families to learn together.

October 14 · Kid’s Cook from the Garden
October 22 · Japan in the Garden Family Day: Haiku, Brush Painting and more!
November 18 · Little Gardeners
December 9 · Holiday Nature Crafts

Horticulture + Gardening

At the root of our programming, the Garden offers classes for the home gardener and botanist alike. Learn about compost, how to prune, vegetable gardening basics and dive deep into the Australasian flora.

October 1 · Growing Chinese Medicinal Herbs
November 16 · Botanical Names Demystified

Nature + Fauna

The creatures of the natural world have a special allure. We teach programs year around in our many faunal cohabitants including monthly bird walks, seasonal newt explainers and programs on bats and owls too.

October 12 · Bay Area Bats
November 28 · Birdmania: Author talk and Book signing

Plus Monthly Bird and Butterfly Walks, check calendar for availability

Plants + People

Ethnobotany is an interdisciplinary field that studies the relationship between plants and people. The Garden is ever inspired by the many incredible uses of plants around the world and strives to preserve this knowledge with a series of hands-on programming and cutting edge lectures to teach these skills.

October 9· Discovery Station: California Indian uses of Plants

October 27· Pine Needle Basketry

Science + Research

Building on the world class research that takes place at UC Berkeley, the Garden presents work of UC faculty.

February 2018 · The Science of Cannabis (coming soon)

Wellness + Music

Be. Here. Now. In addition to our world-class collection used by researchers and scientists, landscape architects and designers, the Garden, put simply, is just a beautiful place to be. To aid in cultivating mindfulness and presence, the Garden offers a new complement of programs that are designed to develop practices that inspired mind/body experiences and encourage you to be present, see what is in front of you and appreciate the Garden and it’s abundance in new ways.

October 4, 11, 18, 25 · Wellness Wednesdays: Yoga and Chai
October 10 · Yoga Walk through the Garden
November 14 · Yoga Walk through the Garden
December 21 · Winter Solstice Sound Bath

Save the date: Our Redwood Grove Summer Concert Series runs every Thursday, June – August. Tickets sell out fast and usually go on sale in May!