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Library Fair Features More Than Just Books in North Salem

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – The Library Fair at the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library this Friday, Saturday and Sunday will feature more than just books: It will include unique plants and flowers from the gardens of local experts.

“We used to sell the usual flats of begonias and geraniums and hanging baskets, but a couple of years ago we asked local gardeners for contributions. It’s amazing. You never know what you’ll get," said Francis Bosco Schell. "One year someone anonymously dropped off a huge wisteria tree. The couple who bought it said, ‘What do we do with it now?’” Schell went to their house to help them get it settled in the landscape.

Schell's wife Page Dickey, Linda Farina, Cynthia Curtis, Sheila Perrin and Sara Lee Schupf are also among the group of gardeners that has been digging and potting plants from their personal gardens to raise funds for the library.

All the plants are labelled: what it is, where to plant it, whether it needs sun or shade, how tall it will grow and whether it is likely to spread. Dickey and Schell are taking out one of their plots and grassing it over, so a large assortment from their garden will be offered.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get good locally grown plants at a good price,” Schell said. In addition, there will be bouquets of cut flowers, arranged in old Keeler Farm milk bottles, and annuals from North Salem’s Country Farmer.

Maggie Uyeki has spent the year collecting little pots and taking cuttings from her two big succulents “who make lots of babies,” she said. The babies get planted in the little pots and are ideal for children because they don’t need a lot of water. She finds that kids really like the little succulents. “Maybe it’s because they look like they’ve been around since the dinosaurs.”

Plants will be sold from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. All proceeds from the plant sale fund the upkeep of the library landscape.

While Schell and friends are busy selling plants, Jeff Morris and his crew will be flipping pancakes in cast-iron pans on a huge grill, brought in just for the occasion. By lunchtime, Tim Purdy and his gang will be sizzling hamburgers and hot dogs on the same grill.

Andrea Good will oversee the Poultry Fair, including live specimens from local raisers, and several local bands will take turns providing background music.

Library Director Carolyn Reznick said although the annual fair makes money for the library, it’s mostly organized for the enjoyment of the community.

“There are still a zillion boxes of books that need to be unpacked and organized by subject,” Reznick added. “There’ve been scores of people helping, but we still need volunteers to come on Thursday and Friday to help set up.”

For more details of the Ruth Keeler Library’s annual fair, visit the website.

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