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Photo: A picturesque view of the Asian Valley, one of many beautiful gardens at the Agricultural Research Service's U.S. National Arboretum. Link to photo information
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Arboretum To Be Featured on Cable TV Show

By Alfredo Flores
November 15, 2002

The U.S. National Arboretum is one of America's most prized gardens, with its breathtaking beauty, breakthrough research, diverse educational programs and unique collections. On Sunday, Nov. 17, at 3 p.m., in honor of the arboretum's 75th anniversary, a nationwide audience will be able to view the arboretum's splendor on the Home and Garden Television (HGTV) cable network show, "Great American Gardens."

The show's arboretum episode was filmed in late August 2001 and includes interviews with arboretum director Thomas Elias, botanist Liz Ley, and Warren Hill, then curator of the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. Shot at the 446-acre site in northeast Washington, D.C., the program will highlight three areas:

The Gotelli Collection of Dwarf and Slow-Growing Conifers, which features larch, bald cypress and dwarf pines. Interspersed with the conifers are Japanese maples, hybrid crape myrtles--which the arboretum introduced in 1962--ornamental grasses and daffodils. Conifer enthusiast William Gotelli, who managed to amass one of the most extensive U.S. collections, donated the majority of the plants in the collection.

The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, which began with a donation of 53 bonsai from the Nippon Bonsai Association in 1976 and has grown to more than 150 plants housed in three pavilions. The world's first museum of its kind, it includes gifts to the United States from the Japanese Imperial Family, as well as bonsai presented by others to presidents Clinton, Reagan and Nixon.

One of the unexpected treasures of the arboretum is an installation of the National Capitol columns. These columns first stood on the East Portico of the Capitol in 1828 but were removed in 1864 to make room for an extension that was being built. Acquired for placement on the arboretum grounds in 1984, the 22 columns--each 32 feet high--now sit atop a hill on 20 acres, surrounded by a patio made of stone steps that once were on the east side of the Capitol.

Great American Gardens, which made its debut on HGTV this season, focuses on mid-sized and large botanic gardens across the United States. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based HGTV is distributed to 80 million U.S. households.

The U.S. National Arboretum is part of the Agricultural Research Service, chief research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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