Thousands enjoy show at Union Mills Flowers, plants, antiques featured CENTRAL--Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg


They bought petunias, munched on pit beef sandwiches, eyed cut glass lamps from the 1800s and learned a little history yesterday at the Flower and Plant Market and Antique Show at the Union Mills Homestead.

The warm, sunny weather attracted a crowd to the event, which is the first of the season at the Carroll County landmark on Route 97.

The county-owned homestead includes a working grist mill built in 1797 by Andrew and David Shriver, a blacksmith shop, tannery and log home.

Homestead Executive Director Esther Shriver, a relative of the mill's founders, estimated 4,000 people attended the event yesterday and Saturday. It was the 24th year for the flower and plant sale and the fourth year for the antique show, she said.

Yesterday, Charles M. Shriver Jr., a descendant of Andrew and David Shriver, charged $1 for a leisurely ride around the grounds in a wagon drawn by two white Percheron horses.

Outside the gift shop, Ivan Lufriu, one of three homestead employees, was selling 2-pound bags of cornmeal and whole wheat, buckwheat and rye flour for $2.

"It's a museum, but it's also a working mill," he said of the landmark.

All money raised at the event will be spent on restoration of the site.

Around the grounds, people sat under trees sipping lemonade, watched the mill water wheel turn and sniffed herb plants and flowers on display in a field near the homestead.

Kathy Parr of Westminster bought sage, rosemary, thyme, Greek oregano and Egyptian mint at a booth set up by Alloway Gardens and Herb Farm of Littlestown, Pa. She and her family recently moved to the area from Egypt, and a neighbor recommended they attend the event, she said.

She and her husband, Peter, and twin 8-year-olds Tessea and Simien also planned to fish at a nearby pond.

John Bartlett, owner of Gettysburg Gardens in Gettysburg, Pa., suffered a wicked sunburn Saturday while selling flowers. Yesterday, his skin still was bright red, but he was back for more. It was the fourth year he has had a booth at the sale.

"There's been a wonderful crowd this year," he said.

Auriculas, a dainty flower related to the primrose, and elegant white sylvestris were selling well, Mr. Bartlett said. More people bought flowers the first day of the sale, Mrs. Shriver said.

"Saturday they really buy to go home and plant," she said.

Inside the cool mill building, 18 antique dealers, including two from Ohio, displayed their wares. Patty Keener, owner of Locust Antiques in Westminster, organized the show.

Georgia Watts, owner of To Each His Own in Union Mills, was selling a cut glass lamp from the late 1800s for $1,900. Tiffany's Heritage Antiques of Millers had for sale a $295 leather-covered document box from the 17th century.

Another dealer was asking $3,150 for a 1820 tiger maple sewing table from the collection of L. J. Crewe, a former president of the Maryland Historical Society who died recently.

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