Gardens in peril

I couldn’t help noticing the juxtaposition this morning:

First, the Washington Post editorial A Downtrodden Mall – America’s front yard desperately needs sprucing up. A lack of funding and deferred maintenance have left Pierre L’Enfant’s “vast esplanade” looking pretty shabby. “[T]rampled grass, decaying sidewalks, crumbling foundations and scum-filled ponds … mar this special place.”

But good luck getting funding to fix that special place, if the federal budget is anything like we face here in New York.

This morning’s New York Times warns: Proposed Budget Shuts Out Zoos, Aquariums and Gardens.

[N]ext fiscal year, which starts in April, state financing for all 76 zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums would be eliminated under Gov. David A. Paterson’s proposed budget. This after a 55 percent reduction this fiscal year — a move that was made only last month, surprising many organizations so late in the fiscal year.

Endowments and other funding sources for public gardens and the like aren’t looking real good either. Perhaps a surge in volunteerism will pick up some of the ‘resource shortage’ that looms. But that can only go so far.