Nat. Arb. hijinks

rockm

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There have been some disturbing reports out of the US National Arboretum in the last few weeks that could have some bearing on the Bonsai collection. The Arb.'s director has called for the complete removal of the facilities' azalea collection AND its boxwood collection. The azaleas (planted on 15-20 hilside acres) draw huge crowds in the spring when they're in bloom, which the Arb. claims costs it a fortune for parking, crowd control, wear and tear etc.

This kind of drastic action (and whether its a ploy to get more funding is a good question) could have some bearing on the bonsai collection and its care down the road.

Here's an op-ed piece that ran in Sunday's Washington Post from the National Bonsai Foundation:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-opinions/2010/12/a_treasure_of_dcs_spring_at_ri.html
 

Bill S

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See your point, its kind of counter intuative to see a place like that want to turn people away from seeing the facility. Get used to the new normal .
 

rockm

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It's not really the whole azalea thing that should be concerning. It's the implications it has for the bonsai collection. There have been earthquakes about funding for it in the past. If the Arb. is willing to completely shut down an exhibit because it's too popular, what are the implications for the bonsai collection in the coming years? The collection is already partnered up with the NBF, but that doesn't mean the Arb's expenses for maintaining the bonsai exhibit are going to get smaller...
 

sfhellwig

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I probably shouldn't make too strong of statements as I don't know who is/what processes are involved in making these important decisions, but it looks like the typical "let's cut cost, what goes first?" When people view operations in terms of their costs we stand to lose really important programs such as this. I understand that the "giant crowd of people" cost money but aren't events usually planned around NOT losing money. Very hard to do in a funded environment but the issue must be solved. I know it's a difficult task but to simply cut the entire existence of over 50 years of publicly displayed plants is ludicrous. Especially when people talk of America finally having an influence on the world of bonsai, then we're going to tear out what for us are ancient plants and throw them in the dumpster?

The article reads a little funny. It starts with the elimination of the exhibit but about half way suddenly mentions funds no longer being provided but cost will be covered for the next year. Is it the "friends of" that is stopping funding? I'm confused. Sounds like someone was trying to give time to find new funding but got a backlash anyway.

I am a supporter of the arts AND this would be a serious loss to American History. I find it difficult to believe a historical colonial settlement would be destroyed because it cost too much to be there. I understand operating costs are very different here but at least make an effort at funding a different way. When school band programs came under fire they didn't walk into the class room and start breaking clarinet's in half.:(
 

sfhellwig

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Had to read the article again as it was just too bothersome.

"is the arboretum’s shortsighted decision to eliminate these collections because of the loss of proceeds from a private trust."

I've also worked at a state institution long enough to know that truly important items don't just go away because private funding does. Programs are not typically left to live off of sole source providing. If the money is not there, the exhibit will get pulled but it's funny sometimes what money will or will not show up for. I hope the decision is at least stayed off. If politics gets involved to help out there is NOT much time.
 
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I guess we also need to level the North Carolina mountains and all along the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the spring the Rhododendrons bloom causing hundreds of thousands of people to flock to the area.

And in Autumn the leaf color change brings millions of people into the mountains for about 3 weeks straight.

Sure would cut down on all that pesky traffic if we just Agent Orange the whole Appalachian chain.
 

Bill S

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Playing devils advocate, should we as a group offer to ,if they can find NO alternative, have a massive collecting dig.! Hello sir we can dig all of those out, and it won't cost the arboretum a dime?
 

rockm

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I thought of the collecting thing too, but I'd bet You'd have a hard time getting past the regulations, unfortunately. The Arb is hidebound with argricutural regulations (they can't use lime sulphur to preserve deadwood on bonsai, as the product has not been approved for that kind of use, only as a prevetntative spray). I can't imagine what kind of hoops you'd have to jump through to actually DIG something up over there-you would probably have to have a PhD and a note from the Agriculture Secretary...:D
 

jk_lewis

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I guess we also need to level the North Carolina mountains and all along the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the spring the Rhododendrons bloom causing hundreds of thousands of people to flock to the area.

Just ask any of the coal companies. They'll do it for free!
 

Vance Wood

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Hey! I have a great idea! In order to save costs why don't they just shut down the whole damn thing?
 

Klytus

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If you see Buddleia then you know this species tells us the development is under negotiation,if you see a lot of Buddleia in bloom this species is telling us negotiations have concluded.

If you see a sudden lack of Buddleia you know the developers think the best return on their investment is ripe.
 

Vance Wood

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If you see Buddleia then you know this species tells us the development is under negotiation,if you see a lot of Buddleia in bloom this species is telling us negotiations have concluded.

If you see a sudden lack of Buddleia you know the developers think the best return on their investment is ripe.

If it is steamy and crawling with maggots you know it must be-----------------!
 

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