Strange beauties

No, not talking about my garden here. Talking about a small exhibit of succulents on display through Dec. 2 at PHS' McLean library, 20th and Arch. I was down there doing a little research and took a look.

About 40 agaves, aloes, jades and other succulents are on display. They inaugurate a new series of mini-plant shows whose goal, PHS' publications director Pete Prown tells me, is to elevate the visibility and accessibility of the library. The shows are free, as are the programs that run in tandem.

Next one is tonight - Winter Care for Tropicals, 6-7 p.m. - along with a plant clinic for succulents on Wednesday at noon and a Nov. 28 program (6-7 p.m.) on how to make holiday wreaths from succulents. Sounds good to me.

The plants are a weird assortment - of course they are! They're succulents. Pete has one in the show that he originally bought at a Frank's nursery center. He's nurtured this South African Haworthia for 15 years, but it's not the oldest in plant in the show.

Pete, who's now in charge of the library, too, explains the shows as an attempt to return to the old single-plant shows of the early years of PHS, when it sponsored rose and crysanthemum exhibits. "And I always love the Horticort at the flower show," he says.

He also wants to bring more people to the library, which is probably a foregone conclusion on the last day of the show, anyway. There's a succulant plant sale planned - not the specimens in the show, but plants grown at Meadowbrook, where some of the show plants came from, too.

While I was in the library, who walked in by John Story, who managed Meadowbrook for 23 years and is now horticultural adviser to PHS president Drew Becher. John is a wellknown succulent guy - many of his are in the show - and he wanted to make sure these were well cared for in their temporary home. It was nice to see him.

Next show starts Jan. 23. Orchids. Excuse me, "Enchanted Orchids." PHS, obviously, is revving up the hyberbole for the Big Show.