From The Desk Of Bill Varga

   You say it all started with ‘Johnny Jump-ups’! Yep, two hundred years ago when the ‘Brits’ were collecting every sort of plant and gardening was becoming fanciful, a certain Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennet was procuring every sort of Viola Tricolor she could lay her hands on. Her gardener, William Richardson, cross-bred many of these selections and what we now know as ‘the Pansy’ was off to the horticultural races. Other well-to-do gentry, not to be outdone, continued crossing species Violas and before long Viola x wittrockiana, a pansy with a ‘face’, erupted to lead the pack! As a young lad, my dad and I drove over to my Uncle Frank’s nursery on a cool overcast fall day.  Pansies nestled in wood flats were individualized using the two-inch wood shavings (no plastic in the early 1950’s). Two by four cold frames stored hundreds of flats. Leaf mulch was heaped atop the congregation to finish off winter protection. The organic, earthy smells surrounded us as we chose flats destined for a client’s yard. Perennial Favorites’ Pansy varieties traveled to all parts of the intermountain west in the fall of 2021. Now, in early 2022, we have the most current tender and more hardy Violas listed in the annual and perennial section of the 2022 catalog. Check us out on-line or beg a hard catalog from Ken, Dane, or Brendon. Better yet, stop by and check out our facility and get your catalog to boot!

A New Zealand City Council Fired Its Official Wizard After 20 Years Of Service:
   When Ian Brackenbury Channell first appeared in the town square of Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1976, locals were befuddled and bemused.  Standing on a ladder while dressed in a cloak and pointy hat, the self-described wizard addressed passersby and cast spells.
   While the police initially tried to forcibly remove him, residents protested in Channell’s favor.  Channell continued freely performing on a daily basis and was even declared a Living Work of Art in 1982 by the New Zealand Gallery Directors Association.
   His true legacy began in 1998, however, when he accepted the city’s offer to become the official, state-appointed wizard of Christchurch.  For nearly a quarter-century, Channell earned an annual tax-free salary of $11,000 from the city – until October 2021, when the city council terminated his contract.
  Determined to leave aesthetics related to “The Lord of The Rings” behind, the city council curated a new tourism campaign that no longer had any use for the wizard of yore and city spokesperson, Lynn McClelland, said he would ‘forever be a part of our history.’
   But the move left Channell pounding his staff in a furious rage.  ‘It implies that I am boring and old, but there is nobody else or anything like me in Christchurch,’ he said. ‘it’s just they don’t like me because they are boring old bureaucrats and everyone likes me and no one likes them.’
   And even though Channell had hoped for Christchurch residents to rally behind him to keep his job, his last paycheck from the city came in December.

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