From The Desk Of Bill Varga

What’s that other Penstemon blooming now?  ‘Penstemon?” I ask.  What color? Red, red orange, orange are common answers and actually it is not a Penstemon!  It’s a Fire Chalice.  Often called Zauschneria to honor Johann Zauschner, an 18th century professor of medicine and botany, and since changed to the genus Epilobium, also Hummingbird Flower to honor its pollinator. This is a must have plant for late season color. The red to orange bloom waits out those flashy spring flowering perennials.  Late July, then August, September, October sets the stage for this water efficient cascading to upright perennial. Yes, it performs well with little to no irrigation and loves a more arid gravelly, well-drained soil to boot! On occasion, a seedling may show up alongside the mother plant. Zauschneria is not known as a prolific reseeder, but it does happen.  In our trials at Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, a salmon flowered seedling has nestled next to its parent ‘Wasatch Fire’!  Maybe its darker color will add to our Perennial Favorites ‘Standout’ list alongside ‘Woody’s Peach’. Mother nature provides a bundle of rewards for not just the professional, but for all those folks we encourage to take a second look and look deeper!

Fate of a Politician:
   While walking down the street one day, a corrupt Senator (that may be redundant) was tragically hit by a car and died.  His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.  “Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”  “No problem, just let me in,” says the Senator.
   “Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity,”  “Really?, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the Senator.  “I’m sorry, but we have our rules,”  And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
   The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.  Everyone is very happy and in evening dress.  They run to greet him, shake his hand and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. 
   They played a friendly game of golf and then dined on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne. Also, present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go.  Everyone give him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.  The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.
   “Now it’s time to visit heaven.”  So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing.  They have a good time and before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.  “Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven.  Now choose your eternity.”  The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”  So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
    Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered in waste and garbage.  He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls to the ground. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.  “I don’t understand,” stammers the Senator.  “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne and danced and had a great time.  Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.  What happened?”
    The devil smiles at him and says “Yesterday we were campaigning.  Today, you voted.”

Vote Wisely

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