Save The Azaleas at the U.S. National Arboretum

Stop the Insanity, Save the Glenn Dale Hillside!

Introduction
National Arboretum's Statement
Correspondence
How To help
Links
Editorials
Photos
glenn dale hillside glenn dale hillside

National Arboretum Plans to Destroy the Azaleas on the Mt. Hamilton Azalea Hillside

The National Arboretum's own publication: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Newintro/Rhododendron_GlennDaleHybridAzaleas.pdf states, "Nothing says spring like azaleas! One of the National Arboretum's most popular plantings, the Glenn Dale Azaleas draw thousands for annual spring viewing. Horticulturist Benjamin Y. Morrison worked for over 25 years to create this superior group of winter-hardy azaleas with large, colorful flowers suitable for the Washington, DC region. ... The south face of Mt. Hamilton at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC was planted with approximately 15,000 azaleas from Glenn Dale in 1946-47. In 1949, the Arboretum opened to the public for the first time during the azalea bloom."

The Azalea Society of America published, "The Glenn Dale Azalea Hillside, the Morrison Garden, and the Frederic P. Lee Garden comprise the 12,000-plus Azalea Collection, the country's premier reference collection."

When world-renowned azalea authority, Donald Hyatt spoke at the 2008 International Rhododendron Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, he emphasized in his conclusion: "Although evergreen azaleas are probably the most commercially successful members of the genus Rhododendron, they still have much unrealized potential. It should be possible to develop new varieties with greater hardiness, better plant habits, distinctive foliage, and flowers with new forms and different colors. It is also important to find ways to preserve existing species and cultivars so they are more readily available to researchers, hybridizers, and gardeners. The author feels that the United States National Arboretum is probably the best repository of such genetic diversity in evergreen azaleas anywhere in the world and he hopes that it will remain so."

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Introduction
National Arboretum's Statement
Correspondence
How To help
Links
Editorials
Photos

On November 9, 2010, Scott Aker confirmed he intended to remove most of the azaleas on the Glenn Dale Hillside.

The section following is a list of concerns raised by Scott Aker, the Gardens Unit Leader at the U.S. National Arboretum, in a message he sent on Nov. 9, 2010 to Dr. Ramon Jordan, Barbara Bullock, Carole Bordelon, Margaret Poole and Ron Rabideau. In this section, Don Hyatt addresses the concerns raised by Scott Aker.

Concerns of Scott Aker of the National Arboretum and replies by Azalea Expert Don Hyatt

Scott Aker's statement
Don Hyatt's reply
Scott Aker: "We have indeed been forced to plan the removal of most of the azaleas on the Glenn Dale Hillside." Don Hyatt: "Scott's reasons for destroying a National Treasure like the original Glenn Dale Hillside planted by the first Director of the Arboretum in 1947 seems extremely flawed with little or no input from stakeholders. Originally, the National Arboretum had an Advisory Board that provided expert advice. Due to the cost of bringing in specialists from afar, that committee was abandoned by the prior Director, Dr. Elias. Such a committee http://www.brainytrading.ng/1xbet-promo-code-and-deposit-bonus could be easily reinstated using either local experts or even distant talent utilizing teleconferencing techniques or Internet tools. Any action should be postponed at least until a permanent Director is named and that person has a chance to review the ramifications of destroying one of the main floral attractions in our Nation's Capital. "
Scott Aker: "Recently, we learned that a donor that has supported two gardener positions on our staff will no longer be providing that support, and the loss of this staff has resulted in the need to deaccession collections." Don Hyatt: "Destroying the National Boxwood Collection makes no sense at all. The reasoning cannot be the same as one of his key points about the azalea collection, the lack of documentation. The National Boxwood Collection is fully documented and its Curator has been there for 30 years. The Daylily collection, Peony Collection, and Daffodil Collection are also fully documented. To eliminate federally funded positions and entire collections of rare plants for the sole reason of adding staff to a single garden is ill-advised. "
Scott Aker: "We will be deaccessioning our National Boxwood Collection and the co-located Perennial Collections as well as the Glenn Dale Hillside portion of the Azalea Collection." Don Hyatt: "Destroying the National Boxwood Collection makes no sense at all. The reasoning cannot be the same as one of his key points about the azalea collection, the lack of documentation. The National Boxwood Collection is fully documented and its Curator has been there for 30 years. The Daylily collection, Peony Collection, and Daffodil Collection are also fully documented. To eliminate federally funded positions and entire collections of rare plants for the sole reason of adding staff to a single garden is ill-advised."
Scott Aker: "We do not have documentation for any of the plants on the Glenn Dale Hillside." Don Hyatt: "The plants on the Glenn Dale Hillside are not just a tangle of inferior seedlings from a hybridizing project, but were the top 2 or 3% of the 40,000 to 50,000 azaleas Morrison raised from seed. The historical significance of that monumental breeding project alone and its relation to the first Director of the Arboretum should be sufficient to keep the display. The Azalea Curator with the assistance of many volunteers has been making excellent progress on plant identification. Many of the original Glenn Dales have been positively identified by using plant records, Morrison's notes, registration data, and comparison with known forms. Even unnamed plants whose parentage may never be identified still have merit and can be introduced. The striking bicolor azalea �Ben Morrison� is one of those unknown plants. It was named by another Arboretum Director, the late Dr. John Creech, to honor the original hybridizer. A thorough assessment of the azaleas on that hillside should be completed before any plants are destroyed. I'll attach a few pictures of specific plants I have admired that are not named forms. One is a stunning bicolor and the other is a strong cream to almost yellow. Beautiful flowers, and beautiful plants." [see below]
bicolor cream

Scott Aker: "Although volunteers have been active in restoring the Glenn Dale Hillside after a period of abandonment in the 1980s, it is inaccurate to state that the Hillside has been restored and maintained with volunteer labor alone. The staff hours spent in maintaining this area are greater than the volunteer hours spent there and have been consistently."

Don Hyatt: "Volunteer hour records have been kept by the volunteer coordinator from the early 90's. The volunteer hours in the azalea garden are significant. They are typically at least 5 people one day a week all year long."

Scott Aker: "I cannot dispute the beauty of the display and its value as an attraction for our visitors. Currently, again in part to diminishing resources, we are now unable to accommodate the crowds of visitors in April and May when the azaleas are in bloom. We have inadequate parking and restroom facilities." Don Hyatt: "The Arboretum has several large parking areas, and for years has provided a shuttle service to get around to the various attractions. The Potomac Valley Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society has held its flower show at the Arboretum during peak azalea time for nearly 40 years. Its members have not observed any difficulties, even in 2010 when the show coincided with the busy Friends of the National Arboretum plant sale. The Arboretum received $9 million in Federal stimulus funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. That money has been put toward the renovation of the Administration Building, which includes additional public restrooms. That building is temporarily closed now but is scheduled to reopen in approximately 18 months when renovations are complete. "
Scott Aker: "This is not being driven by the need to use the land for other purposes; it is rather driven by the need to reduce the total labor needed to maintain our collections in an acceptable manner." Don Hyatt: "There has been no change in the labor position related to the Azalea Collection, so I fail to see the urgency in destroying the Glenn Dale Hillside that has been a focal point at the National Arboretum since it opened to the public in 1949. Cutting down so many huge azaleas that are more than 60 years old will be a costly expense for the Arboretum since it will be necessary to hire a contractor to cut down the azaleas and grind them into mulch. Denuding the hillside will make that land vulnerable to serious soil erosion that could be costly to control. Getting rid of the azaleas does not eliminate labor costs since staff will still be needed to control invasive alien plants. The most logical decision would be to leave the azaleas alone. "

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About Donald W. Hyatt

HyattDon Hyatt is recognized as a preeminent international authority on azaleas and rhododendrons. Although professionally a mathematics and computer science teacher in the local public school system for 33 years, Donald has always maintained a strong interest in plants. His educational background includes a Bachelors degree in Horticulture. Now retired, he has focused his efforts on varied horticulture interests including the documentation of various native azalea populations in North America.

He has served on the national boards of both the Azalea Society of America (ASA) and the American Rhododendron Society (ARS). He received the Bronze Medal from the Potomac Valley Chapter of the ARS in 1978 and was awarded the prestigious Silver Medal from the national organization in 2002, citing his life-long passion for the genus Rhododendron and his many contributions to the ARS and its goals. In 2001, the Brookside Gardens Chapter of the ASA awarded Don the Fredrick P. Lee Commendation download 1xbet for distinguished contributions in furthering the knowledge and appreciation of azaleas. In 2009, the Azalea Society of America presented Don the Distinguished Service Award. Don served as President of the Potomac Valley Chapter of the ARS for four terms. He is also a past President of the Northern Virginia Chapter of the ASA.

He is a frequent speaker at conferences, has authored a number of articles on azaleas and rhododendrons, and is an accomplished botanical illustrator. He is a dynamic and entertaining speaker and has been asked to speak for many meetings including: 2001 ASA National Convention in Asheville, North Carolina; 2002 Joint ASA & ARS National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia; 2008 International Rhododendron Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland; 2009 ASA National Convention in Herndon, Virginia; 2009 ARS Eastern Regional Conference in Lionville, Pennsylvania; 2010 ARS National Convention on Long Island, New York; 2010 International Rhododendron Symposium in Bremen, Germany; 2010 ARS District 9 Luncheon in McLean, Virginia; and for many local ARS and ASA Chapters and community organizations.

Don has a website at http://www.donaldhyatt.com. Links to papers based on Don's addresses in 2008 at the Edinburgh Conference and in 2009 at the ASA Keynote Address are available in the links section of this page.

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Introduction
National Arboretum's Statement
Correspondence
How To help
Links
Editorials
Photos

The following is correspondence concerning this issue.

Nov. 8, 2010: Aaron Cook Confirms National Arboretum's Intent To Remove Mt. Hamilton Azalea Hillside

Nov. 9, 2010: Correspondence from Scott Aker of National Arboretum to Ron Rabideau

Nov. 9, 2010: From Hale Booth, Congressional Contacts

Nov. 15, 2010: Notes by Henry Skinner in 1968 Regarding the mission of the National Arboretum

Nov. 21, 2010: From Don Hyatt, Save the Azaleas at the U.S. National Arboretum

Nov. 22, 2010: From Ramon Jordan, Interim Director, U.S. National Arboretum to Aaron Cook

Nov. 24, 2010: From Aaron Cook, Good News, A Temporary Reprieve

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Aaron Cook Confirms National Arboretum's Intent To Remove Mt. Hamilton Azalea Hillside

From Aaron Cook, President of the American Azalea Society, Nov. 8, 2010
To Yahoo! Azalea Group and Yahoo! Rhodo Group
Ref: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/azaleas/message/15413 and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rhodo/message/25199

The rumors are true. I just got off the phone with Scott Aker, the Unit Garden Leader for the National Arboretum. Beginning in the summer of 2011 a large number of azaleas on the Mt. Hamilton hillside will be cut down and the stumps treated with herbicide.

This group of azaleas is selections of Glenn Dale hybrids made in 1939 and propagated by Ben Morrison for further study and selection. They were planted on the southern flank of Mt. Hamilton in organized groupings of between 3 and 20 plants sometime about 1946-47. No one knows the true number planted, but the estimate is somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000. Each group was labeled with a Bell-Number (which was the number assigned to all clones before they were officially selected and Introduced, and it traced back to the actual crosses, or parents of each of the groups.

Barbara Bullock became the Azalea curator in 1990 with the help of volunteers began to restore the hillside. Many of the Bell numbers were located and a map of their locations was produced. The Bell-numbers roughly correspond to a grex (offspring of a cross). Scott's point that (not one of the labels was ever found actually attached to any of the azaleas) is probably true but a moot point due to the labels being used to denote a group of offspring from a single cross. There is a map of the rough locations where Bell Numbered labels have been found, and each group of plants associated with the label should correspond to a unique grex.

Scott estimates that there are less than 1000 plants on a total of 3 acres. Barbara and others including myself would put the estimate to over 5000 plants. The hillside is in the best shape it has been in for many years.

I had many questions that Scott could not answer and he promised to get back to me. I intend to make this a huge PR nightmare for him if he continues to push for plant removal.

If you would like to call or email Scott directly to voice your opposition to this lunacy:

Scott M Aker
Gardens Unit
Supervisory Research Horticulturist

Phone: (202) 245-4533
Fax: (202) 245-5973
Room 136h
U.S. National Arboretum
Administration
3501 New York Avenue, NE.
Washington, DC, 20002-1958

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Correspondence from Scott Aker of National Arboretum to Ron Rabideau at Rarefind

To Mr. Rabideau, Manager Rarefind Nursery, Nov. 9, 2010
CC: Dr. Ramon Jordan, Barbara Bullock, Carole Bordelon, and Margaret Pooler
From Scott Aker, Gardens Unit Leader, U.S. National Arboretum
Ref: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rhodo/message/25241

Thank you for your inquiry. We have indeed been forced to plan the removal of most of the azaleas on the Glenn Dale Hillside. While we have only had slight reductions in financial resources for the past ten years, our costs have gone up steadily, and our staff numbers have steadily eroded to the point where we cannot sustain all of our collections. Recently, we learned that a donor that has supported two gardener positions on our staff will no longer be providing that support, and the loss of this staff has resulted in the need to deaccession collections. We will be deaccessioning our National Boxwood Collection and the co-located Perennial Collections as well as the Glenn Dale Hillside portion of the Azalea Collection.

We do not have documentation for any of the plants on the Glenn Dale Hillside. Although Morrison's breeding records do exist, no labels have been found attached to any plant so that we can know its provenance beyond conjecture. This does not fit the rigorous standard we require for plant records. In 2008, we instituted a program to gradually replace these azaleas with masses of known Glenn Dale cultivars of certain provenance. To date, we have propagated plants for this effort, and we will proceed to plant them to replace masses of unknown azaleas.

Although volunteers have been active in restoring the Glenn Dale Hillside after a period of abandonment in the 1980s, it is inaccurate to state that the Hillside has been restored and https://www.brainytrading.ng/1xbet-promo-code-and-deposit-bonus maintained with volunteer labor alone. The staff hours spent in maintaining this area are greater than the volunteer hours spent there and have been consistently.

I cannot dispute the beauty of the display and its value as an attraction for our visitors. Currently, again in part to diminishing resources, we are now unable to accommodate the crowds of visitors in April and May when the azaleas are in bloom. We have inadequate parking and restroom facilities. It is becoming progressively more difficult to ensure a positive and safe visitor experience during this time frame, and some shifting of priorities in the Azalea Collection are needed to address this. We plan to incorporate a greater diversity of azaleas, most notably late blooming native species and cultivars derived from them, as well as Kurume and Satsuki azaleas that bloom later. We will still have a very significant display of azaleas that bloom in the late April / early May time frame.

This is not being driven by the need to use the land for other purposes; it is rather driven by the need to reduce the total labor needed to maintain our collections in an acceptable manner.

There are many very significant new introductions aside from the Syringa you mention. We have introduced two new Hydrangea quercifolia cultivars, 'Ruby Slippers' and 'Munchkin'; Callicarpa 'Duet', Camellia 'Anacostia', Prunus 'First Lady', and Viburnum 'Adirondack' in recent years. There are very active breeding efforts with Catalpa, Prunus, and Hydrangea underway, though I do not know all the details related to these efforts.

Thank you for your interest in developments here at the U.S. National Arboretum.

Scott Aker
Gardens Unit Leader
U.S. National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002-1958
202-245-4533

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Congressional Contacts

From Hale Booth, President of Tennessee Valley Chapter ARS and past director of ASA, November 9, 2010:
To: Yahoo! Azalea Group
Ref: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/azaleas/message/15428

Aaron recently posted a notice that Mr. Scott Aker the Unit Garden Leader for the National Arboretum had decided the Glenn Dale azaleas at the National Arboretum should be destroyed next summer. As many of you know this collection on Mount Hamilton is very historic and is the result of a tremendous (and federally funded) breeding effort by Dr. Morrison in his long tenure with the USDA. I do not know the reasoning behind this decision, but there should be a rather direct route to stop this action. The US Congress budgets and approves the annual budget appropriation for USDA and thus the National Arboretum. Attached are links to both the US House of Representatives House Committee on Agriculture and the US Senate Agriculture Committee membership that oversee setting the budget for the department. If your Congressman or Senator is on one of these committees write him or her a note or letter (email is not as effective)and ask them to look into this and express your concern about the loss of this national treasure of Azaleas. These committee members will respond much better to someone writing them from their state or congressional district. Do not mail your note or letter to Washington, mail it to the local or state office of the Senator or Congressman. If you mail it directly to DC, it goes to some warehouse where it is treated and will show up next spring with the tulips, looking like it was on the bottom of a birdcage. You can Google your Congressman or Senator for their district or state office address.

This simple action of writing a letter about saving the historic, and valuable Glenn Dale Azalea planting at the National Arboretum can be very effective. Congress has many important and difficult issues to act on, if you bring this simple solvable issue to the attention of your member of this committee with funding oversight of the National Arboretum, they can likely solve it with a phone call.

http://ag.senate.gov/site/cmtemembers.html

http://agriculture.house.gov/singlepages.aspx?NewsID=34&LSBID=23|69&RBSUSDA=T

These links worked when I checked them, if they don’t work for you, simply Google Senate Agriculture Committee and House Committee on Agriculture and click on the respective members link.

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Notes by Henry Skinner in 1968 Regarding the Mission of the National Arboretum

From the History of the National Arboretum by Henry T. Skinner and edited by B. Y. Morrison. [1927-1967]

The Arboretum was to be an institution growing woody plants for the purpose of developing a careful appreciation and understanding for that part of the plant kingdom. It was constituted with the intention to investigate, to stimulate interest in woody plants, and to popularize knowledge of their characters and qualities, uses and cultivation. The Arboretum would assemble material, organize it, and make it available for study.

The functions of the National Arboretum can be itemized as follows:

a.) To popularize plant knowledge directly...by establishing a close affiliation with established garden clubs, nursery associations, botanical and other societies, also by means of lectures, publications and cooperation with the press.

b.) To preserve the rarer plant life of the world. There are many species of plants which are threatened with extinction ... Also we should not overlook the preservation of historic species and varieties of plants that were once of great service, but which are in danger of being lost through change in fashion or taste, difficulties of propagation or neglect.

c.) To maintain species collections of economic and ornamental plants.

d.) Exhibition of plants. The above-mentioned purpose leads directly to the exhibition of plants. ...Therefore the Arboretum should be developed with the stress placed on effect, rather than botanical relationship. This does not mean that related plants cannot be placed together because in general, related species have the same growth habit.

e.) To maintain research.

f.) To publish.

In the development of the USNA, stress would be placed on bringing together those species that are not hardy enough to be found in the other large arboreta of the country where climatic conditions are more rigorous than at Washington.

There are certain fields of research that the National Arboretum is preeminently fitted to undertake which in no way intrude on already existing lines of research pursued by the government. .... It will introduce into cultivation rare or unknown woody material, study it, and if found to serve some useful purpose, will recommend it's commercial cultivation along with full advice as to its propagation and treatment. Such material will be so arranged on the grounds of the Arboretum to show it to best advantage.

Around 1941, two types of plants were grown in the nurseries [of the Arboretum]: (1) those needed in quantity to establish a plant character that would differentiate this arboretum from others in the country and (2) those needed to build up the scientific collections that constitute the major purpose of the arboretum. These plants grew during the period of the emergency [WWII], and would be available, hopefully, for transplanting later to permanent locations in the Arboretum.

In the early 40's there were about 1,000 species growing [at the Arboretum]. Some additions were made to the collections of various families that had been started. .... One of the important projects that was started was the planting of Glenn Dale azaleas from Glenn Dale in 1947, Maryland to nurseries in the Arboretum [nurseries located where now Washington Youth Garden is located].

Glenn Dale Azaleas

The Glenn Dale azaleas were bred for a specific purpose by Mr. B. Y. Morrison, namely for the production of a garden race of azaleas that would be large-flowered and cold-hardy for the Washington, D. C. area and other regions of similar climate. The South had grown large-flowered azaleas, commonly known as the Southern Indicas, but these were not hardy in the North.

The seedlings of the hybrids were grown at Glenn Dale. When the plants had been sufficiently tested over a five-year period for hardiness, they were transplanted into a nursery in the Arboretum [where now WYG is located]. Here they were tested for about 5 years, and in 1947 were planted on the south slope of Mt. Hamilton. Approximately 7 acres of azaleas were planted on the hillside, consisting of 454 clones, and vegetatively propagated selections. (In other words, the hillside just may contain ALL of the named and many unnamed "selections"). These azaleas had a long period of flowering from early April to June. The setting for the azalea planting was one of the finest to be found anywhere in the United States. The valleys and hills, with plantings of evergreens [hemlocks, magnolias, & pseudolarix] provided a very beautiful display.

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Letter from Ramon Jordan, Interim Director, U.S. National Arboretum to Aaron Cook

From Ramon Jordan Interim Director, U.S. National Arboretum, November 22, 2010:

Dear Aaron Cook,

Please find attached is a letter that I am sending to you and other key U.S. National Arboretum stakeholders regarding our need to de-accession a few of our Collections. You have already spoken with Scott Aker, so you have most of this information already. The attached should address some of your earlier voiced concerns. I assure you, making the decision to remove any garden or collection is a painful one and not what any director or staff does without regret. However, due to the loss of long-standing support from a private donor, it is the only way, however, that currently available resources can be matched with the work involved in maintaining garden spaces at an acceptable standard.

Once you have read this letter, I would be happy to speak with you to discuss ways in which you could help support the gardens and collections of the National Arboretum. You have been a valuable partner in the past, and we look forward to strengthening this important relationship in the future.

Sincerely,
Ramon

---------- ----------

United States Department of Agriculture Research, Education, and Economics Agricultural Research Service United States National Arboretum 3501 New York Avenue, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002-1958 www.usna.usda.gov An Equal Opportunity Employer

November 15, 2010

Dear Aaron Cook; President, Azalea Society of America

You may have heard that the National Arboretum's Gardens Unit will need to cut two gardener positions in 2012 due to the loss of long-standing support from a private donor. The lack of sufficient personnel to maintain all of the gardens and collections at the arboretum's D.C. campus has forced us to evaluate the best use of the unit's financial resources. We have determined that we have little choice but to de-accession collections. In the short-term, we will continue to examine other possible funding mechanisms.

Gardens Unit staff conducted a careful analysis of the collections and gardens to determine which should be proposed for de-accessioning. The analysis included the scientific value (germplasm) of each collection; its educational and interpretive value; its aesthetic value and appeal to visitors; and the current level of stakeholder involvement/support for the collection. The collections identified for de-accessioning would be removed—with important germplasm preserved through cuttings or transplanting, and some transplanted elsewhere on the arboretum grounds—and the space they occupied planted as low-maintenance woodland or meadow. Making the decision to remove any garden or collection is a painful one and not what any director or staff does without regret. It is the only way, however, that available resources can be matched with the work involved in maintaining garden spaces at an acceptable standard. For the first phase of withdrawing from the care of collections, we are proposing that the National Boxwood Collection and its associated Perennial Collections be de-accessioned. Also, while it has long been one of the most popular seasonal attractions at the National Arboretum, the extensive Glenn Dale Hillside of the Azalea Collections is for the most part undocumented plant material for which we cannot justify long-term maintenance.

The work to do this must be undertaken and started now so that it can be completed before the loss of the two staff positions in 2012. The process will consist of herbarium voucher documentation of identified plants in the collection, propagation of plants and shipment to other gardens, nurseries, and collections, and subsequent removal of the plants. Selected plants will be moved or propagated for new plantings in other areas at the arboretum. As a final step, native trees or meadow plants will be planted to restore the areas.

Long-term plans already exist to remove nearly all of the azaleas of unknown pedigree on the Glenn Dale Hillside (about 20-25% of the total azalea collection) so that they may be replaced with known Glenn Dale azalea introductions massed in large groups for visual impact, and to secure the germplasm holding with multiple plants. The plan now will shift to fast-track removal of azaleas of unknown pedigree so the area is less of a maintenance burden. Most removals are expected to take place in the summer of 2011.

2

The first steps in de-accessioning the National Boxwood Collection are the development of a complete and accurate inventory, communicating the availability of cuttings or rooted cuttings of the plants on the inventory, propagation of plants, and distribution of the resulting plants. Selected plants from the National Boxwood Collection and Perennials Collection will be moved or propagated to form the basis for new plantings elsewhere at the arboretum; for example, near the walled Morrison Garden in the Azalea Collections. This will create a smaller collection footprint that the Gardens Unit will be able to maintain with reduced resources. Removal of plants would not take place until autumn or winter of 2011-2012.

I know that you join me in wishing there were sufficient resources to retain these collections. I hope that you will understand that we cannot simply wait nor abandon collections when there is a reduction in staff. Because all signals currently point to a lack of financial resources sufficient to maintain existing collections by 2012, it would be irresponsible to allow the opportunity to distribute germplasm to pass by while we still have the staff to do the distribution or transplanting. While some might argue for the simple abandonment of garden spaces when staff positions are lost, this is not a responsible approach. Abandonment is environmentally harmful because of the potential for invasive species to become entrenched. It is nearly impossible to recover such collections after just a few years of abandonment without considerable expense.

Permanent sustained funding to support the minimum number of staff needed to develop and maintain our collections, but especially the boxwood and perennial collections and the azalea hillside, is the only viable way they can be saved. Should such funding become available, the replacement of unpedigreed plants with Glenn Dale cultivars on the Glenn Dale Hillside could be accomplished gradually, in a way that maintains the spring show while newly planted azaleas become established, and the de-accession of the National Boxwood Collection and Perennial Collections will not be necessary.

Managing resources through difficult economic times is challenging, but it can also offer opportunities. We will be carefully examining the resources we have to better engage the public and build strong support for the future. Visitation is trending upward, and the arboretum is still fortunate to have great potential in terms of location, land resource, and positive public recognition. Hopefully these assets will translate into a sound financial future if we can be prudent and deliberate with our resources in this time of transition.

I would be happy to speak with you to discuss ways in which you could help support the gardens and collections of the National Arboretum. You have been a valuable partner in the past, and we look forward to strengthening this important relationship in the future.

Sincerely,

Ramon Jordan Interim Director, U.S. National Arboretum

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Greetings Dr. Jordan,

I am sorry but I find your arguments in support of destroying the collections completely unsubstantiated. If you follow through with the destruction of the Boxwood and Azalea collections, I can assure you that you will lose our support for any future National Arboretum projects. As well we will do every thing within our power, politically, economically, and using every media outlet available to lobby for new Arboretum leadership. There is already a "Save The National Arboretum Azaleas" website up on the web and a blog on the "Washington Gardener" website. The time to involve stakeholders is before decisions like this have been made, not after the fact.

Regards

Aaron Cook
President Azalea Society of America

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Good News, A Temporary Reprieve from Aaron Cook

Dear Aaron Cook; President, Azalea Society of America, November 24, 2010
Ref: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/azaleas/message/15499

Greetings All,

I am not saying we have won the war but I feel the tide is turning. I just got
off the phone with Dr. Joe Spence. He assured me that the plan to destroy the
Azaleas on Mt. Hamilton would be re-visited and that the Azalea Society and the
Rhododendron Society would have a seat at the table to discuss future plans. He
assured me that he has informed Dr. Jordan and Scott that they should not move
forward on any plans to remove plant material from the Arboretum at this time.
He also was very candid in saying he believes Scott overstepped his authority in
this instance. At this point I say let's keep up the pressure and remain
hopeful.

Best Regards

Aaron

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Introduction
National Arboretum's Statement
Correspondence
How To help
Links
Editorials
Photos

How You Can Help

We can stop this insanity. But to do so we need your help; we need overwhelming pressure from all sides. Of course, Congress has ultimate control. USDA Administrators run the National Arboretum. The Washington Post is the DC area newspaper and reaches both the local population and national news sources. And the Friends of the National Arboretum are influential in providing private funding wield serious power in what is done.

Write a letter in your own words to your Senators, Congressman, USDA Administrators, the Washington Post, and Friends of the National Arboretum. Tell your azalea and rhododendron friends, and your garden lover friends about this website "SaveTheAzaleas.org" and Don Hyatt's "Save The Azaleas Fact Sheet".

Don Hyatt created a one-page "Save The Azaleas Fact Sheet" to include when asking other people to help or a RTF document version that any editor can open to help in preparing your own letter.

If you know someone who we don't have on the list below that is influential, please let us know at

Your Senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Your Congressman: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry:

Lincoln
Blanche Lincoln

Chambliss
Saxby Chambliss

Blanche Lincoln, (D-AR)
Chairman
Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont
Tom Harkin, Iowa
Kent Conrad, North Dakota
Max Baucus, Montana
Debbie Stabenow, Michigan
E. Benjamin Nelson, Nebraska
Sherrod Brown, Ohio
Robert Casey, Jr., Pennsylvania
Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
Michael Bennet, Colorado*
Kirsten Gillibrand, New York*

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Ranking Minority Member

Richard G. Lugar, Indiana
Thad Cochran, Mississippi
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
Pat Roberts, Kansas
Mike Johanns, Nebraska*
Charles Grassley, Iowa
John Thune, South Dakota
John Cornyn, Texas*

House Committee On Agriculture:

agriculture@mail.house.gov

Peterson
Collin C.Peterson

Lucas
Frank D. Lucas

Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn. Chairman
Tim Holden, Pa., Vice Chairman
Mike McIntyre, N.C.
Leonard L.Boswell, Iowa
Joe Baca, Calif.
Dennis A. Cardoza, Calif.
David Scott, Ga.
Jim Marshall, Ga.
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, S.D.
Henry Cuellar, Texas
Jim Costa, Calif.
Brad Ellsworth, Ind.
Timothy J. Walz, Minn.
Steve Kagen, Wis.
Kurt Schrader, Ore.
Deborah L.Halvorson, Ill.
Kathleen A. Dahlkemper, Pa.
Bobby Bright, Ala.
Betsy Markey, Colo.
Frank Kratovil, Md.
Mark H. Schauer, Mich.
Larry Kissell, N.C.
John Boccieri, Ohio
Scott Murphy, N.Y.
Bill Owens, N.Y.
Earl Pomeroy, N.D.
Travis W.Childers, Miss.
Walt Minnick, Idaho 

Frank D. Lucas, R-Okla.

Ranking Minority Member, AgRepublicanPress@mail.house.gov

Bob Goodlatte, Va.
Jerry Moran, Kan.
Timothy V. Johnson, Ill.
Sam Graves, Mo.
Mike Rogers, Ala.
Steve King, Iowa
Randy Neugebauer, Texas
K. Michael Conaway, Texas
Jeff Fortenberry, Neb.
Jean Schmidt, Ohio
Adrian Smith, Neb.
David P Roe, Tenn.
Blaine Luetkemeyer, Mo.
Glenn W. Thompson, Pa.
Bill Cassidy, La.
Cynthia Lummis, Wyo.
Thomas J. Rooney,  Fla.

Ramon Jordan
Interim Director
USDA: National Arboretum

Ramon Jordan
Interim Director
U.S. National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002-1958

Email: ; Phone: (202) 245-4539 ; Fax: (202) 245-4574

Scott M Aker
USDA: National Arboretum

Scott Aker
Gardens Unit Leader
U.S. National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002-1958

Email: ; Phone: (202) 245-4533 ; Fax: (202) 245-5973

Judith St. John
USDA: Agricultural Research Service

St.JohnJudith St. John
Deputy Administrator
National Program Staff
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
Beltsville, Maryland 20705

Email: ; Office telephone: 301.504.6252; FAX: 301.504.4663

Dr. Joseph Spence
USDA: Agricultural Research Service

SpenceDr. Joseph Spence
Beltsville Area Director
10300 Baltimore Blvd.
Room 223, Bldg. 003, BARC-West
Beltsville, MD 20702

Email: ; Office telephone: 301.504.6078; FAX: 301.504.5863

Horticulturists
USDA: National Arboretum

Lynn Batdorf - - Horticulturist - (202) 245-5965
Carole Bordelon - - Supervisory Research Horticulturist - (202) 245-5964
Barbara Bullock - - Horticulturist - (202) 245-4511
Christopher Carley - - Supervisory Research Horticulturist - (202) 245-5975
Bradley Evans - - Horticulturist - (202) 245-4564
Joan Feely - - Horticulturist - (202) 245-4512
David Kidwell-Slak - - Horticulturist - (202) 245-2704
Christine Moore - - Horticulturist - (202) 245-5093
Mariya Navazio - - Horticulturist - (202) 245-5969
Christopher Upton - - Horticulturist - (202) 245-2706

Gardens Unit Horticulturist
U.S. National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002-1958
Washington Post
Letters to the Editor
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/20/AR2007022000709.html
Adrian Higgins
Washington Post
Gardening Columnist
Higgins

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA)

Friends of the National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

Phone: (202) 544-8733; Fax: (202) 544-5398; http://www.fona.org/

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA)
Executive Director

Kathy Horan, Executive Director
Friends of the National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

Email: ; Phone: (202) 544-8733; Fax: (202) 544-5398

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA)
Board of Directors

Chair - Jeanne K. Connelly, Consultant
First Vice President - Linda Dooley, Bryce Harlow Foundation
Second Vice President - James Derderian - Stanton Park Group
Secretary - Terry R. Lewis - Civic Volunteer
Treasurer - Deborah E. Bowles, Abravanel & Bowles Wealth Management Group, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
Assistant Treasurer - J. Denis O'Toole - HSBC North America
Ex Officio - William B. Inglee, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Robert Bartlett Jr. - The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Co.
Sarah S. Boasberg - Greenspaces of Washington D.C.
Elizabeth Boyle - National Alliance to End Homelessness
Nancy Bryson - Holland and Hart LLP
Katherine Stark Bull - Retired
Robert Cashdollar - Cashdollar-Jones & Company
Lynne Church - Consultant & Landscape Designer
Diana Clagett - Civic Volunteer
Tene Dolphin - US Department of Commerce
Marsha A. Echols - Howard University School of Law
Charles Flickner - Consultant
Sherrill M. Houghton, Landscape Designer
James Hughs - National Bonsai Foundation
Eleanor Kerr - Seimens Corporation
Jack Krumholtz - Glover Park Group
Suzanne D. Kuser, Consultant
Andrew LaVigne - American Seed Trade Association
Bill Matuszeski - Center for Watershed Protection
Scot Medbury - Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Paul Meyer - Morris Arboretum
Christina Mulvihill - Sony Corporation
Mary Eugenia Myer - The Washington Revels & Landscape Planner
Woodruff M. Price - Retired
Elizabeth Rea - Founding President of FONA & Former President National Herb Society of America
Robert I. Schramm - Schramm, Williams & Associates
Barbara Shea - Civic Volunteer
Jerry Slominski - International Dairy Foods Association
Mark Sullivan - Civic Volunteer
Paul Sweet - IGR Group
Theodore Van der Meid - McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
Jay Vroom - Crop Life America
Tuckie Westfall - Kraft Foods
Alexandra Wilson - Cox Enterprises, Inc

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA)
Honorary Directors

Senator Robert Bennett
Representative Earl Blumenauer
Senator Christopher S. Bond
Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen
Nancy H. Ireland
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Representative Mike Pence
Agnes Westbrook

Return to Top

Introduction
National Arboretum's Statement
Correspondence
How To help
Links
Editorials
Photos

Links

American Rhododendron Society: "Azaleas And Rhododendrons At The U. S. National Arboretum," 1954, by Henry T. Skinner describing "65,000 Glenn Dale hybrids in brilliant groupings of thirty five or forty plants to a clone."

American Rhododendron Society: "B. Y. Morrison and His Azaleas," 1968, by Frederick P. Lee

American Rhododendron Society: "Garden Dedication In Honor Of Frederic P. Lee," 1971, by Henry T. Skinner

American Rhododendron Society: "Glenn Dale Azaleas," 1969, by Dr. Roy Magruder

American Rhododendron Society: "Studies on Glenn Dale Azaleas at the National Arboretum," 1968, by Dr. Roy Magruder

Audubon Society: U.S. National Arboretum

Azalea Society of America: Listing and Photos of 454 Glenn Dale Azaleas

Azalea Society of America: "National Arboretum," 2004

Friends of the National Arboretum

Hyatt: 2008 Edinburgh: "What's New in Evergreen Azaleas"

Hyatt: 2009 ASA Keynote: "1) Evergreen Azaleas: Sorting Out the Confusion"

Hyatt: 2009 ASA Keynote: "2) Hybridizing Concerns: Color Inheritance, Polyploidy, and Sterility"

Hyatt: 2009 ASA Keynote: "3) Thoughts on Azalea Hybridizing"

Hyatt: 2009 ASA Keynote: "4) The Quest for the Yellow Evergreen Azalea"

Hyatt: "My Fascination with Knap Hill Azaleas"

Hyatt: Save The Azaleas Fact Sheet

National Arboretum: "A Mountain of Bright Spring Blossoms"

National Arboretum: "Azalea Blossom Watch"

National Arboretum: "Azalea Introductions, 459 cultivars listed"

National Arboretum: "Azalea Questions and Answers"

National Arboretum: "Azalea Walk"

National Arboretum: "Fast Facts About The Arboretum"    "pdf version"

National Arboretum: "Glenn Dale Azaleas Photo Gallery"

National Arboretum: Master Plan Introduction

National Arboretum: "Ramon Jordan, Interim Director"

National Arboretum: "Strategic Plan 2"

National Arboretum: "Summer Horticultural Internships"

National Arboretum: "Still Beautiful at 75; Volunteers to the Rescue"

National Arboretum: "Visitor Guide" which states "15,000 vividly colored Glenn Dale Azaleas grow on Mount Hamilton among native trees like the flowering dogwood"

National Arboretum: "Volunteering at the Arboretum"

New York Times article chronicling the History and Restoration of the National Arboretum's Azalea Collection.

the back quarter acre blog: Glenn Dale Azaleas

Washington Gardener Blog: Save the Azaleas at the U.S. National Arboretum

Washington Post: "Plans Wilt at National Arboretum," 2008, by Adrian Higgins

Yahoo! Azalea Group

Return to Top

Introduction
National Arboretum's Statement
Correspondence
How To help
Links
Editorials
Photos

Editorials

The Behnke Nurseries Co. Garden Blog by Susan Harris
����������11/22/10 Help Save Gardens at the National Arboretum

Daily Kos:
����������11/24/10 Azaleas by cliffenz

Facebook
����������11/23/10 Save the Azalea Collection at the US National Arboretum

Garden Rant:
����������11/22/10 Lost a contributor? National Arboretum says it�s time to destroy some gardens! By Susan Harris

Greater Greater Washington:
����������11/23/10 Arboretum to destroy azalea exhibit by Julianne F-M

H-Net:
����������11/22/10 Azalea (and boxwood) controversy at National Arboretum by Matthew Gilmore

Hope in Hyattsville:
����������11/24/10 Latest on the National Arboretum�s Azalea Collection Furor

NBC/MSNBC:
����������11/22/10: Are the Azaleas Doomed? by P. J. Orvetti
����������11/23/10 The Night Note: Save the Azaleas by Brendan Williams-Kief

Symbol And Sustenance:
����������11/22/10 Do You Love The National Arboretum Azaleas?

WashingtonGardener:
����������11/21/10 Save the Azaleas at the U.S. National Arboretum by Don Hyatt
����������11/24/10 Save the USNA Azaleas ... and Boxwood, Daylilies, and Daffodils for that matter! by Kathy Jentz

Washington Post:
����������11/23/10 Save the azaleas! DC-area blogs by Lori Aratani

Return to Top

Introduction
National Arboretum's Statement
Correspondence
How To help
Links
Editorials
Photos

Photos of the Azalea Hillside of the National Arboretum by Don Hyatt

Click on any photo to see large version of it.


Glenn Dale Hillside 1

Glenn Dale Hillside 2

Glenn Dale Hillside 3

Unnamed Bicolor

Unnamed Cream

A-BenMorrison-4922

Arboretum-2285

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Arboretum-2439

Arboretum-2441

A-Cinderella-2460

Azaleas-Arboretum-2322

Azaleas-Arboretum-2391

Azaleas-Arboretum-2450

Azaleas-Arboretum-2465

Arboretum-2281

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Return to Top

Introduction
National Arboretum's Statement
Correspondence
How To help
Links
Editorials
Photos

Photos are courtesy of Don Hyatt.

Thank you for visiting this site. I hope it inspires you to help Save The Azaleas at the National Arboretum. -