Flower arranger reaps fragrant harvest amid Keymar farms



At first sight, the cluster of outbuildings off Route 194 halfway between Taneytown and Keymar looks like just another farm, each building uniformly painted the same shade of grayish blue.

The landscape blends well with nearby farms. There are horses in one field, and it looks like a crop is forming in another.

Unlike their neighbors who harvest corn and tend cows, however, the owners of this farm, Elisa and Cliff Bowman, harvest various types of flowers: blackberry lilies, sweet Annie, silver king, love-in-a-mist, yarrow and forms of honeysuckle.

Hence the farm name, Honeysuckle Lane.

While most of us plant tulips, daffodils, impatiens, black-eyed Susans and other familiar annuals and perennials, the Bowmans' crop sounds rather exotic for the farming country where they are harvested.

It is supposed to.

The flowers draw visitors, both local and from out of state, three days a week to Honeysuckle Lane. Every Thursday through Saturday, Mrs. Bowman turns a sign that hangs on the first building to the left, changing the message from "closed" to "open."

When one approaches the building, the mix of flower and incense fragrance is uplifting. It brings to mind Victorian laced sachets in a grandmother's drawer or closet.

Inside, the Victorian theme is accented through dried flowers arranged in baskets, on wreaths, on grapevines, on huckleberry twig hearts and other display media, each made by hand.

Mrs. Bowman started flower arranging eight years ago when she took a flower design course. At one point, she was a florist.

Last year she decided to go into business for herself by designing dried and silk flower arrangements. She opened Honeysuckle Lane as a home-based business so she could spend more time with her children, Amber, 12, and Luke, 9. Not surprisingly, Amber and Luke are involved with the business and eagerly help out wherever they are needed.

In addition to making arrangements for public purchase, Mrs. Bowman designs bouquets and centerpieces for weddings.

She also throws pottery. Artistically speaking, that is. An entire wall of her store displays her finished products.

Last June, Mrs. Bowman held the first annual "Summertime on the Lane Open House and Craft Fair." Various local artisans displayed their wares and demonstrations were presented.

This year the event will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Mrs. Bowman will give demonstrations in pottery making and proper kiln operation for firing pottery.

Demonstrations will also be offered in wreath making and flower arranging.

The list of handmade items that will be shown is extensive.

Homemade chili, pasta salad, nachos and cheese, hot dogs, cotton candy and snow cones will be sold at the food stand.

Free helium balloons will be given out while supplies last.

Ample parking is available. Luke will be directing traffic.

Mrs. Bowman is looking forward to being the hostess for the event. She said she is hoping for good weather this year. Even though it rained last year, she said, the visitor turnout was still impressive.

Of her decision to work privately out of her home creating crafts she loves, Mrs. Bowman said she is truly happy.

"It was a long struggle, but I'm finally at the point where I want to be," she said.

Honeysuckle Lane is at 2300 Francis Scott Key Highway, Route 194 in Keymar. Information: 751-1602.


If the kids are hungry Saturday, St. Luke's-Winters Lutheran Church on Route 75 in New Windsor is the place to dine.

How does a 25-cent hot dog sound? Wash it down with a soda for a nickel, followed by a reasonably priced strawberry-covered ice cream and you have a complete meal.

If you feel it might not be filling enough, a choice of chicken salad or sliced ham platters will also be available.

The church's annual Strawberry Festival will be held from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the church grounds.

Craft vendors will set up at noon. Spaces are still available. A $10 donation is requested.

Don't get in the way of the wet sponges that will be flying around. They are meant to hit the Rev. Darrell Layman. Although he hopes he won't be hit much by the soaked sponges, all proceeds raised will be used for church benevolent projects.

For 25 cents, you may link up for the cake walk. The William F. Myers Band will perform from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

While they provide the music, cake walk participants will travel in a circle. One person stands inside the circle holding a broomstick and moves the broomstick between the people in the outer circle, first in front of one participant, then behind, and so forth.

When the music stops, whoever is in front of the broomstick wins a cake.

This is the 11th year for the Strawberry Festival at St. Luke's. It was reinstated at the church's bicentennial meeting in 1983.

Kitty Devilbiss, a festival volunteer, said it is not meant to be a fund-raiser.

"We fully expect to go into the red," she said. However, overwhelming community support has kept the event in the black.

Ms. Devilbiss said this is intended to be a fellowship day. Every church member participates in the event in some capacity. Families are encouraged to come out, eat, listen to the music, play and spend time together.

Items are priced low to make the event affordable for the public, but still make a little bit of money for church projects.

Ms. Devilbiss said 10 percent of the profits are donated immediately to a local outreach program.

The church is at 701 Green Valley Road, Route 75, in New Windsor.

Information and table reservations for the craft show: 848-2372.

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