Don Hyatt reports in the Washington Gardener that the Director of the National Arboretum is planning to have the azaleas on a hillside cut to the ground and poisoned with herbicide. There are bureaucrats to contact. My own missive follows:

Dear suddenly notorious bureaucrats:

It’s a common tactic among bureaucrats, who consider themselves ignored or under-valued, to target particularly popular programs for termination and/or removal. This is not nice and generally not appreciated by the public who, after all, pay for maintenance and service, not wanton destruction.

Poisoning plants, as Mr. Aker is reported to be planning at the National Arboretum, is always bad, regardless of the rationalizations humans come up with. That someone charged with preserving plant life is proposing to kill azaleas on purpose reminds us that Cain slew Abel because the latter had found favor with the Creator. Envy makes humans do really stupid stuff. Mr. Aker’s scheme needs to be nipped in the bud.

Please see to it.

It’s probably worth noting that, while the District of Columbia is barely in the South and the northeast quadrant of the city has historically not been the most prominent and people tasked with promoting agriculture (the Department of Agriculture is in charge) are perhaps not well suited to caring for trees and shrubs, azaleas not only happen to be indigenous to the North American continent, but find much favor in our Southlands. Indeed, the Wikipedia entry tells us:

Many cities in the United States have festivals in the spring celebrating the blooms of the azalea, including Wilmington, North Carolina (North Carolina Azalea Festival); Norfolk, Virginia; Valdosta, Georgia; Palatka, Florida; Charleston, Missouri also features an annual festival which incorporates both azaleas and dogwood trees. The small town recently celebrated its 40th festival. Pickens, South Carolina; Muskogee, Oklahoma; South Gate, California; Mobile, Alabama; and Dothan, Alabama. Tyler, Texas features an eight mile azalea trail in the spring that has been featured in several magazines.; Nacogdoches, Texas boasts the largest Azalea Garden in Texas as well as over 20 miles of trails through manicured residential districts, during its two week long festival in March and early April.

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Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."