The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon provides its members with many opportunities to get involved, i.e. volunteer. You can open your garden to other members, help out at events, write for the bulletin. It’s all fun, and a great way to meet new gardening friends. If that is not enough to prompt you to sign up, how about this? Each December, there is a volunteer appreciation event in the HPSO offices, where, besides coffee, treats and chatter, there are books for sale at cost. I never seem to be able to work the event into a busy holiday schedule, but the sale continues during office hours for the entire month. I have been picking up succulents wherever I see them for some time now, and often the labeling is slipshod or absent. I was looking for a book that I could use to identify my growing family of nameless urchins. This was not exactly the book I was looking for, but at half the cover price, it would do.
The emphasis here is on design and grouping succulents in containers, but enough of the plants in question are identified to do me some good. Mostly, it is a visual treat, and I am sure that some of the ideas are seeping into my brain, where they will be stored, regurgitated, and claimed as having originated in there.
Some of the ideas that have made it into the pages of this book will never be claimed as my own. I imagine stately Agaves and Yuccas blushing with humiliation over having been tarted up for the holidays.
HPSO also runs a lending library, where I found exactly the tome I sought. Succulents II, the new illustrated dictionary, takes a no nonsense approach, with alphabetized photos accompanied by the basic pertinent information. I checked it out for the allowed three week period, but I think this is one I will have to put on order, along with the first volume. Together, they cover about 2000 species. The authors are Maurizio Sajeva and Mariangela Costanzo, and the book is from Timber Press.