Remember the kerfuffle (the GardenRant word of the month) over the National Arboretum's plans - leaked, not announced – to kill 10,000 mature azaleas? Well, the Arb announced this week that an anonymous donor has pledged a $1 million endowment to preserve them and the Arboretum's boxwood collection, also slated for removal. According to the Washington Post, that'll generate about $50,000 a year, only about half the amount needed to make up for the loss of the $110,00/year grant that paid for two gardener positions. So fund-raising will continue.
No doubt there's speculation over who might care about azaleas to the tune of a million bucks, and one possible clue is that the donation was made in honor of two friends of the donor: prominent D.C. lawyer Brendan Sullivan and his wife. That naturally brings to mind the quote that Sullivan is best known for, which happens to be plant-related. When defending Oliver North in the Iran-Contra affair back in the late '80s, he famously told the judge, "I am not a potted plant. I'm here as the lawyer."
There's more on the azalea story at Save The Azaleas.