Egads, The U.S. National Arboretum is in peril and has lost most of its federal funding for 2009! I love this place. It’s where I find a lot of inspiration for drawing nature and gardening ideas. I’ve been taking my boys here since they were wee tots. It would be a shame if this gem of a 446-acre botanical park was to quietly close its gates. Presently, a lot of people don’t know about this natural wonder. It only receives 480,000 visitors a year while other arboretums and the more popular U.S. Botanical Gardens (on the Mall) attract upwards of 750,000 visitors. However, it is pristine and the largest track of open space in the nation’s capital. In fact it’s where The Capitol’s original Corinthian Columns are situated when some were removed during the U.S. Capitol expansion in 1958 – 1962. The Arboretum also is home to an incredible Bonsai and Asian Garden, complete with a red pagoda and paths meandering down to the Anacostia River; Azalea and Dogwood Gardens; and my favorite, the beautiful Herb Garden. Every spring people flock to walk the newly-budding azalea, dogwood and rhododendron paths. I go for this and anytime of the year just to get away from it all. It’s such a peaceful place. Clicking on this link above will show you many photos of these various gardens and Wikipedia offers a pretty concise background. There are not many parks like this. FONA (Friends of the National Arboretum) is trying to secure some funding, mostly from private donations, but this may be what it takes to keep it from going under.