OOOH, BABY, talk foliage to me. I like it variegated. Betula nigra "Heritage," your exfoliating bark turns me on.

Call us prudes if you will, or frumpy old gardeners, but a good number of us here in Philly get our rocks off on rock-garden succulents and wanton perennial borders.

Thousands of us turned out for the opening day of the Philadelphia International Flower Show yesterday to swoon over blooms like the passion-pink Miltonia and butter-yellow Paphiopedilum alba you see here.

If you want to get down and dirty with the compost fetishists and the shrub huggers, the show continues at the Pennsylvania Convention Center through Sunday. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. today through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Meet as at the separated-parties bench. We'll show you our pussy-willow branches (Salix discolor) if you show us yours.

And turn to "Family Tree" on the Daily News comics page every day this week for a series of Signe Wilkinson strips devoted to the Flower Show and its devotees.

- Becky Batcha