New shirts, new shoes. Backpacks and notebooks. No doubt, one or more of those items was on your shopping list if you’re a parent preparing a child for the first day of school.
Don’t forget a little something for your child’s teacher and classroom.
A plant is a great option, not only for aesthetic reasons but certain ones help to improve indoor air quality. What’s more, the presence of plants has been shown to boost productivity and reduce stress, which can enhance a learning environment.
With the help of Cheryl Brill, Royer’s vice president of retail operations, and other resources, we compiled a list of plants that will help sow the seeds for a great new school year.
Cheryl’s list started with Chinese evergreens (aka aglaonemas), peace lilies, philodendrons and spider plants, each of which is great for cleaning the air, she said. What’s more, they’re easy to take care of and don’t require a lot of bright light.
As their name suggests, spider plants have tendrils or plantlets that grow out from the mother plant.
“That would be kind of fun for a grade-school situation,” Cheryl said.
For more on plants and air quality, click here.
Meanwhile, air plants aren’t that effective at cleaning the air, Cheryl said, but they are intriguing because they grow without soil. Also known as tillandsia, air plants are a type of bromeliad and relative of the pineapple.
Air plant leaves have scales, called trichomes, that absorb water and nutrients from the air.
“We just dunk them in a bucket of water every week or so,” Cheryl said, suggesting how easy it is to care for air plants.
The air plant’s unique characteristics alone make for a great classroom conversation. What’s more, they’re available at Royer’s in quirky “thinkers” containers.
Thinkers is what we want students to be, after all. Another plant option that can captivate a classroom is a terrarium, which only needs to be watered weekly. Cheryl described them as “neat to look at” and as providing “a little tranquil spot.”
Heaven knows, a bustling school can use a tranquil spot or two.
Royer’s has donated $2,640 to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.
For each sale of its “Power of Pink” arrangement, Royer’s donates $10 to breast cancer organizations, including $7,730 to the coalition since 2015.
Based in Lebanon, the coalition (pabreastcancer.org) represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants.
The Power of Pink arrangement, redesigned annually, is available year-round.
Photo: From left, Kristen Snoke, community outreach director, PA Breast Cancer Coalition, and Jaime Kevles, marketing coordinator, Royer’s.
Royer’s Kids Club will celebrate Grandparents Day with a free event Sept. 9 in all stores.
Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to make a special gift for Gram and Grampy: a fall arrangement featuring pompon daisies. Participants also will receive a balloon.
Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Registration is required by calling your nearest Royer’s store.
Grandparents Day is Sept. 10.
Being a professional interior designer, Kristin Iwancio said entering Royer’s name-the-arrangement contest was “totally in my wheelhouse.”
Indeed, it was.
Iwancio, of Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County, submitted the winning name – Farmhouse Sunset – among 639 total contest entries.
“I love sunsets, so why not go with that? I’m never up early enough for sunrises,” she quipped.
The new arrangement includes two short-stemmed orange roses, a mini green hydrangea, a hot pink spray rose and purple statice.
It measures 13 inches high and nine inches wide.
Although Farmhouse Sunset won’t be available to the public until fall, Iwancio received one early.
It was her prize for naming the arrangement.
We don’t procrastinate when it comes to holiday shopping. In fact, no sooner is one Christmas in the rearview mirror than we start planning for the next one.
It’s not that we’re eager for the passage of time. Rather, we’re beckoned by AmericasMart in Atlanta, which describes itself as the nation’s leading gift, home furnishings and area rug wholesale marketplace.
In Atlanta, we might purchase containers bearing a Christmas decoration, or snowflake or snowman stick-ins to complement an arrangement. We source Christmas décor at AmericasMart but also gifts that customers will give at the holidays, such as a picture frame.
A half-dozen Royer’s representatives visit AmericasMart’s three-building, 7 million-square-foot complex every January, buying gifts and arrangement accents for the next Christmas season, and again in July, when the focus will be on the next spring.
Jenni Eberly, Royer’s market manager, has made six trips to Atlanta, so she’s a veteran now. But as a first-time visitor, she found the experience daunting.
“It’s overwhelming,” she said, “looking at all that merchandise set out in the displays. Because then you have to take these huge displays and then pick out what you’re going to buy.”
As vast as AmericasMart is, Royer’s spends most of its time on five floral and holiday floors. In July, the group arrived in Atlanta on a Wednesday and worked through Friday. The pace is constant, and even lunch and dinner conversation turns to what each of them has seen from vendors.
Geoff Royer, whose great-grandparents started Royer’s, coordinates the Atlanta trips. He sets up meetings with specific vendors. He also arms each member of the Royer’s delegation with a folder that identifies, by holiday, items on their shopping list.
The needs range from broad to specific. In January, some of the focus was on larger gifts, such as clocks, afghans and pillows that are relatively new for Royer’s. In July, one of the goals was to find new versions of a heart stick-in and accent ribbon to give a new look to an existing arrangement.
Erica Bixby, Royer’s store manager in Lebanon, has been to Atlanta three times. With experience, she has learned to think beyond the initial appeal of new products to identify how they will work in Royer’s stores.
How will they complement other items, and will they work given the price at which they will have to sell, including once freight costs are factored in?
Something might look nice, Erica suggested, “but you can’t really sell it for $50.”
Technology has made it easier to document the trips. Photos taken with a tablet or smart phone are invaluable for jogging memories. After all, Christmas giftware purchased in January won’t arrive until summer or fall.
Photos also capture moments of inspiration.
“I have a bunch of things that I liked for silks,” Erica said, with an eye toward Royer’s crafting similar arrangements in-house rather than buying them already made.
“Or I take pictures of displays that I’d like to duplicate in the stores,” Jenni added.
On her phone, Jenni pulled up a photo showing how one vendor used eye hooks and ropes to display pillows.
“It’s up, it’s still in the display, but it’s out of the way,” Jenni said, noting that pillows are vulnerable in a flower shop, where the need to water plants is constant.
One week after returning from the July trip, Erica and Jenni were in Royer’s central design department in Lebanon. Looking around them, at tables filled with arrangements being created or revamped for fall debuts, they estimated that 30 percent of the items were from Atlanta.
“That container, that container, that container,” Jenni said, pointing at specific arrangements. “That vase. Those deer [figures]. Those are all things that we picked up in January.”
A big thanks to everyone who contributed to this year’s Royer’s Stems Hunger food drive.
With your help, we collected 1,706 pounds of nonperishable items, bringing the food drive’s seven-year total to more than six tons.
Royer’s Stems Hunger, which took place June 17-July 1, collected 163 pounds for the Greater Berks Food Bank and 1,543 pounds for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
For each nonperishable food item, donors received a free carnation.
Besides Royer’s 16 stores, the food drop-off locations included Drayer Physical Therapy Institute outpatient centers in Carlisle, Dillsburg, Harrisburg, Hummelstown, Lancaster, Mount Joy and York.
Photo: Royer’s in West York collected the most pounds of nonperishable food (194) among our 16 stores. From left, Jamie Raffensberger, sales; Kelly Miller, assistant manager; Jackie Dahms, store manager; Jontra Marquardt, sales; Chris Lentz, designer.
One of our new arrangements, debuting this fall, has all kinds of color, thanks to two short-stemmed orange roses, a mini green hydrangea, a hot pink rose spray and purple statice.
But what the arrangement doesn’t have is a name. This is where you come in.
Royer’s is holding an online name-the-arrangement contest, with the winner receiving one of the arrangements as his or her prize.
The deadline for entries is July 31. Limit one entry daily per email address.
Marisa Heisey still has a newspaper article on her bulletin board about winning the Royer’s Kids Club back-to-school coloring contest in 2011.
Six years later, she’s going to need another thumbtack.
Marisa, who is entering seventh grade at Gerald G. Huesken Middle School in the Conestoga Valley School District, won this year’s edition of the Royer’s Kids Club birthday card design contest.
Her design will be featured on the electronic card that Royer’s Kids Club members will receive on their birthdays in the coming year. Her prize is a free flower delivery on her birthday.
Marisa is the daughter of Nevin and Joy Heisey, East Lampeter Township. The couple’s son, Alex, won the kids club birthday card contest in 2010.
The Royer’s Kids Club is free to ages 5 to 12. With parental permission, children may register for the kids club online or at any Royer’s store. Kids club benefits include a membership card, online activities, quarterly e-mail newsletter, contests and in-store events.
No plant says Christmas quite like the poinsettia. But nary a holiday season goes by without poinsettias being negatively associated with pet health.
Yet the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says poinsettias “may be the most misrepresented plant when it comes to toxicity. Since 1919 poinsettias have been called lethal if ingested by pets. However, many animal studies have shown that it is just not true.”
Relatively few plant and flower species are dangerous to pets, and the effects can range widely.
As the ASPCA notes, poinsettias and other holiday plants are not good for pets to ingest, potentially irritating the mouth and stomach and sometimes causing vomiting, but generally are “over-rated in toxicity.”
The same can’t be said about lilies and cats. Eating just a couple of leaves or licking a few pollen grains off their fur can quickly cause kidney failure, according to CBS News.
“A cat that’s eaten part of a lily will vomit soon afterwards, but this may gradually lessen after two to four hours. Within 12 to 24 hours, the cat may start to urinate frequently. Urination may then stop if kidney failure occurs. If untreated, a cat will die within four to seven days after eating a lily.”
This is the case for any true lily — belonging to the plant genus Lilium — including Easter lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily, Japanese show lily and certain species of daylily.
In contrast, the calla lily, peace lily, lily of the valley and Peruvian lily (alstroemeria) are not true lilies and won’t cause kidney failure in cats although they have other toxic principles, according to the Pet Poison Helpline.
If you love plants and pets, then it’s a good idea to consider which ones are the best fit for your home. Here are several resources:
The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center offers an exhaustive, sortable list of plants that are toxic or non-toxic to dogs and cats. The list focuses on plants “that have been reported as having systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract,” according to the ASPCA, which cautions that the list is not meant to be all-inclusive.
If you think your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, the ASPCA suggests contacting your veterinarian or its 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.
The Humane Society offers an informative — and highly alliterative — list of “plants potentially poisonous to pets.”
The Pet Poison Helpline offers its Top 10 Plants Poisonous to Pets.
Of course, as the Pet Poison Helpline notes:
“While there are thousands of species of plants and flowers, only a small percentage of plants are truly dangerous and poisonous to your pet.”
No doubt, high school students throughout Royer’s market area will have lasting fond memories of having attended their spring proms.
And eight high school prom committees will have a little extra money after participating in Royer’s first prom fundraiser.
Royer’s sent reimbursement checks representing 10 percent of the $1,621.09 in corsages and boutonnieres purchased for proms at these high schools: Carlisle, Central Dauphin, Cocalico, Ephrata, Lampeter-Strasburg, Manheim Central, Manheim Township, Wyomissing.
The schools may use the reimbursed funds at their discretion. The fundraiser was open to all high schools in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon or York counties.
Royer’s plans to offer a similar fundraiser next year. Prom committees interested in participating in 2018 should contact Jaime Kevles, Royer’s marketing coordinator, at email@example.com.