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Fundraiser for charities at Foxwillow Pines

WOODSTOCK – Rich and Susan Eyre, owners of Rich’s Foxwillow Pines Nursery in Woodstock, are celebrating their 25th year in business by raising money for impoverished Bolivian communities.

A hosta sale and arts and crafts fundraiser will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 24 at the nursery, 11618 McConnell Road.

Proceeds will benefit Heifer International and Mano a Mano International Partners in Bolivia.

“We’ve set a goal to build at least 100 clinics in Bolivia through Mano a Mano international,” Susan Eyre said.

“We hope to raise $5,000 to $8,000 during the one-day event,” Susan said. “Last year we raised $23,000 for the year for Heifer International.”

Heifer International provides livestock, trees, training, and other resources to help struggling families build sustainable futures.

Rich Eyre worked with Heifer International in the Peace Corps 44 years ago in Bolivia. Rich and Susan have served on the Heifer International Foundation Board of Trustees.

There will be an arts and crafts sale at the event on Aug. 24, but hostas are the stars of the show.

Volunteers have been busy this summer gathering, dividing and preparing hostas for the sale.

Susan calls them “Margaret Eyre’s volunteers,” referring to Rich Eyre’s 95-year-old mother who for years has helped organize hosta sales and fundraisers. “Volunteers to do the work, and keep the project going,” Susan said.

Several hundred varieties of hostas will be available at the sale. Susan said longtime customers bring in hostas and other plants to donate for the sale.

Tom Micheletti – former president of the American Hosta Society and Midwest Regional Hosta Society, and founder and first president of the Northern Illinois Hosta Society – will be available from 10 a.m. to noon during the event to identify hostas.

“People bring bags of hosta leaves to identify,” said Susan, noting there are least 3,000 different varieties.

She said Micheletti hybridized a new variety of hosta named the “Margaret Eyre,” in honor of her mother-in-law.

Micheletti will do a short presentation about hostas in the landscape at 1 p.m.

“The hosta is the most successful plant to grow in your garden,” Susan said. “If it’s getting too much sun, move it and next year it will do just fine.”

Susan noted that white flowering hostas attract deer. “Deer do chomp down on some of the hostas. Deer present certain challenges,” she said.

Susan said in many ways, the hosta is the perfect plant. “You can dig up a hosta, put half of it in the ground. and sell or share the other half. It’s a renewable resource,” she said.

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