Help Save the Azaleas at the U.S. National Arboretum in DC

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

Ten thousand mature Azaleas and hundreds of Boxwoods at the U.S. National Arboretum are scheduled for destruction this year, following the loss of two sources for private funding.  They plan to turn those areas into easy-care grassy meadows.

Azaleas at National Arboretum

If you've ever visited the U.S. National Arboretum during a visit to Washington D.C., you must have been blown away by the beauty of their 10,000 azaleas on Glenn Dale Hillside.  For those of you who may not be familiar with this facility, here's a little history:

The 446-acre National Arboretum was established by Congress in 1927 to be a living museum and research center administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Its mission:

  • To serve the public need for scientific research, education, and gardens that conserve and showcase plants to enhance the environment...

  • To serve the public and improve our environment by developing and promoting improved landscaping plants and new technologies...

The Arboretum's boxwood, azalea and perennial collections - planted and nurtured over decades, including new varieties first developed at this facility - may not be the last to be bulldozed and turned into grassy meadows.  Could the collections of peonies, dogwoods, day-lilies, magnolias and other plants be next?

The Glenn Dale Azalea species was actually developed at the National Arboretum, providing us with larger flowers and strength to survive our Middle Atlantic winters. Glenn Dale Hillside, with its thousands of azaleas, including over 400 cultivars, is the stunning display that attracts visitors each year between April and June.

The National Boxwood Collection of 600+ plants with more than 150 species and cultivars is also scheduled for destruction, and the Boxwood curator, the international registrar for the genus, will lose her job.

What can you do?

Well, I'm not suggesting we increase the national debt to fund the U.S. National Arboretum, but maybe some funds could be salvaged from wasted funds within the Agriculture Department... or maybe officials could reach out to businesses or private organizations, like the National Garden Club, for assistance in funding.

I know you don't have time to write and mail letters, so let me give you the email addresses of a few folks you could contact to help save the azaleas and boxwoods at National Arboretum:


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This infoMargaret Wodarmation was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton. 

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James Harner
Considering Selling Your Home? Call 610-310-7646 first - Royersford, PA
James Harner Group - Philadelphia PA Real Estate

this is a very sad thing to do...i hope these officials will not only look for easy-to-care plants but consider the benefits of taking care of these rare-hard-to-care-for plants. may your cause of awareness for this plan to be stopped or be reconsidered.

Jan 07, 2011 01:11 PM #1
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Whoops... forgot to give credit for the Youtube video to ggriffvideo.

Jan 07, 2011 01:13 PM #2
Glenn Roberts
Retired - Seattle, WA

I love azaleas. I hope they can be saved. Pastures are nice. Open glades in woods are lovely. But azaleas are something special.

Jan 07, 2011 02:20 PM #3
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

It is a challenging time and I am hoping that some in the private sector can take some of their extra dollars from the tax cut and help out causes like this.

Jan 07, 2011 02:51 PM #4
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

You know this is really, really sad.  My grandfather had the most wonderful Azalea garden in the back yard. I special rock garden for azaleas that grew to an enormous size. They are truly special plants.

Jan 07, 2011 03:42 PM #5
Alice Broadway
Parker & Rankin (Ms) & Azalea Realty (AL) - Mobile, AL
Real Estate Broker
we love azaleas here in the south, and I hate to see any of them destroyed. But its seems that "making the way for progess" always wins out.
Jan 08, 2011 01:58 PM #6
Steve Crowley

I hope this gets worked out and funding for azalea care is found.

This is one of an occasional funding crisis at the Arboretum.

The solution may be to charge admission. Most major gardens and botanic centers do. Dumbarton Oaks charges $8. The Morton Arboretum near Chicago charges $11. Both those institutions are financially sound.

Feb 08, 2011 05:45 AM #7
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