Gardeners are panicking over the sudden news that several gardens at the National  Arboretum are slated for destruction!  We’re talking saws and herbicides, folks, and goodbye to the Perennials Collection, the Boxwood Collection, and the Morrison Azaleas.  And we only got the word over the weekend because a horticulturist in Baltimore emailed me with the news, which I forwarded to Washington Gardener publisher Kathy Jentz, who’s on a tear about this.  She immediately posted a story about the threat to the azaleas from the Azalea Society, a group that’s also on a tear.

A little investigation has revealed to us a fact not mentioned in that story by the Azalea Society – that it’s because a long-time contributor has stopped contributing that the Arboretum has decided to just destroy several of their gardens in order to save on maintenance costs.  Really?  I mean really?  How about trying to find other funds?  Clearly, the public hasn’t heard a word about this crisis of funding, but now that we’ve heard (thanks only to the grapevine), let’s all try to drum up some support, okay?

The Azalea Society suggests we advise USDA officials of our concerns:

  • Dr. Judith St. John, Deputy Administrator, National Program Staff, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705 Phone: 301-504-6252 Fax: 301-504-4663.  Email:
  • Dr. Joseph Spence, Beltsville Area Director, 10300 Baltimore Blvd. Bldg. 003, BARC-West, Room 223, Beltsville, MD 20702 Phone: 301-504-6078 Fax: 301-504-5863.  Email:
  • Dr. Ramon Jordan, Interim Director, U.S. National Arboretum, 3501 New York Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002 Phone: 202-245-4539 Fax: 202-245-4574.  Email:

Posted by Susan Harris.

Filed under: Public Gardens