Here in Shutdown Central, ground zero for political craziness (the D.C. metro area, of course), everyone is either a federal employee or knows lots of them, all of whom now know that they’ll eventually be paid for time off during the Shutdown. But how about government contractors and people dependent on government workers showing up for work – like nearby eateries? They’ll never be compensated for lost income during the Shutdown. As a long-time employee of government contractors, I feel their pain and remember my own lost income during earlier episodes political craziness.
But digging deeper into the story and zooming in on our topic here, how about the Shutdown’s effect on DC-area gardeners? Kathy Jentz over on the Washington Gardener blog has chronicled ways that we’re being impacted – the gardens closed, classes canceled, websites down (including the National Arboretum’s), and the one bright spot in an otherwise sorry picture – that the annual Orchid Show and Sale of the National Capital Orchid Society, which had been held for 65 years at the Arboretum, found an emergency alternative venue – an 83-year old family nursery in Beltsville, Maryland.
So, in a sea of local businesses being badly hurt by what’s going on, at least ONE local business will see an upturn in traffic this coming weekend (over 3,000 expected attendees) and is already hearing thanks from orchid-lovers across the region. I’ll be there as long-time customer and now as their blogger, taking notes for the blog and for ME, because for too many years I’ve thought orchids were for other people – better, more persnickety gardeners than myself. So I’m going to attend the talks for beginners because I’m told they’ll be recommending orchids easy enough for even houseplant-challenged like myself.
Still, I’m also sorry for the Arboretum, of which I’m a big fan and where I now volunteer. They’ve already been hit by such a funding cut (thanks to the sequester) that they’ve been closed Tuesdays through Thursdays for months now, with no change in sight.
Okay, I’m going to stop thinking about that and go outside to plant some bulbs.