Norton Asks For Answers on Proposed Destruction of Plants at National Arboretum

by Prince Of Petworth November 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm 7 Comments

Photo of National Arboretum Stone Border by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC He writes, “Sunlight picks out a stone border of a path in the Azalea Collections at the National Arboretum.”

We spoke about the Azalea controversy on Wed. before Thanksgiving.

From a Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton press release:

The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released a letter she wrote to U.S. National Arboretum Interim Director Dr. Ramon Jordan concerning maintaining the azalea garden at the federally owned botanical garden. In her letter, Norton asks Jordan to explain what can be done to preserve the full azalea garden at the U.S. National Arboretum, after learning from constituents of a planned destruction of 20 percent of the garden’s azalea collection for next year.

“I have worked for years with the Friends of the National Arboretum and others to help maintain this national treasure,” said Norton. “The arboretum and its wide array of horticulture are essential to research and of great benefit to the District’s economy, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.”

Norton’s letter follows.
Dr. Ramon Jordan
Interim Director
U.S. National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Dear Dr. Jordan,

A constituent recently wrote me concerning a proposal to minimize or destroy the unique azalea garden and other plant collections at the U.S. National Arboretum. I have worked with the Friends of the National Arboretum and with the National Arboretum to maintain this national treasure, essential for horticulture research and display, and a great benefit to the District of Columbia economy, District and regional residents, and tourists from throughout the world. I ask that you to explain and update me on this matter and on what can be done to maintain this national attraction. I look forward to your reply.


Eleanor Holmes Norton
Member of Congress

  • Rosemary

    Why don’t they replant the azaleas elsewhere and beauty a public space? Azaleas are a hardy plant that can handle replanting.

    • Rosemary

      *beautify, rather.

    • ah

      Because they don’t have the money to do that.

      Apparently the Department of Agriculture has some farmers in the midwest they have to take care of first.

  • Bloomingdale

    …or why don’t they just come up with a piddling $120K to pay for the upkeep of their most popular attraction?

    This is a fairly obvious ploy for extra funding (threaten to axe a popular program until extra resources materialize). But nonetheless, the idea of digging up the azelea hill is too stupid to consider. Please write the Arboretum about this…

  • PG

    We have to destroy the village in order to save it.

  • anon. gardener

    They don’t have the money to leave the plants alone, but they do have the money to dig up a hillside of plants. Last time I checked, plants need water and sunlight. I’m pretty sure Mother Nature could take care of these plants, and she works for free. I agree, this is a ridiculous ploy to drum up funding.

  • Tom Johnson

    As the head of The Propagation Committee for “The Great Gardens of America Preservation Alliance”, A group of over 30 public gardens and Universities dedicated to the preservation of America’s azalea and camellia collections, I have requested that the destruction of the azaleas be postponed until we can propagate them to be planted in one of our gardens for preservation. To date, no one has been willing to discuss that option! can’t understand why!


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