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.

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

January 11 – 12 · An Introduction to Botanical Art with Catherine Watters
January 28 ·  The Four Treasures of Chinese Brush Painting: Bamboo 
February 18 · The Four Treasures of Chinese Brush Painting: Orchid
February 22 – 23 · Botanical Illustration Workshop: Trees
March 10 & 14 · Local Color: A Watercolor Workshop with Mimi Robinson 
March 25 · The Four Treasures of Chinese Brush Painting: Chrysanthemum

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.

January 13 · Trees & Birds
February 10 · Botanical Valentine Tea, morning and afternoon
March 17 · Magical Mini Moss Gardens
March 31 · Naturally Dyed Eggs, morning and afternoon

Horticulture + Gardening

At the root of our programming, the Garden offers classes for the home gardener and botanist alike. Learn about how to prune trees, cultivate succulents, and incorporate new practices in garden design into your landscape.

January 25 · Fundamentals of Pruning
February 24 · Soft Succulents Author Talk with Jeff Moore

March 2 · Espalier and Pollarding Techniques
April 11Practical Garden Design for the Home Gardener 

Nature + Fauna

We teach programs year around exploring the natural world and our many faunal cohabitants including mushrooms, lichen, monthly bird walks, seasonal newt explainers and programs on bats and owls too.

January 19 · Winter Bird Walk
January 28Mushrooms in the Garden
March 3 · Lichen Bio Blitz

April 20Spring Bird Walk

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.

January 21 · Lichen Dye Workshop
February 24· Natural Perfume Workshop
March 10 – 25Fiber & Dye from Plants Exhibit
March 18 Papermaking with Plants
April 15Spoon Carving Workshop 

Science + Research

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

January 18Tales of the Royal Alcazar of Seville 
February 1 – March 1 · The Science of Cannabis
April 5Fire Ecology in California 

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.

Starting January 19 – Director Eric Siegel will offer Qigong in the Garden every two weeks. Check the calendar for the upcoming session.