How the lily became a symbol of Easter and other floral facts about the holiday

Photo: Matt H. Wade

Photo: Matt H. Wade

Numerous accounts identify her as Mrs. Thomas Sargent, a resident of Philadelphia who visited Bermuda in the 1880s. Smitten by the lilies she saw there, she brought lily bulbs home with her.

She gave some of them to a local nurseryman named William Harris, “who began growing them, forcing them into spring bloom, and selling to other florists,” writes Leonard Perry, an extension professor at the University of Vermont. “Many began buying this flower for Easter, as they do today, with it symbolizing the Resurrection.”

“Forcing” bulbs – as we described in this post about hyacinths – is the means by which light and temperature can be manipulated in order to control the rate at which a plant grows. In most parts of the United States, lilies naturally would bloom in the summer – weeks after Easter.

Some other facts about Easter lilies:

  • Flowering and green houseplants (46 percent) account for the biggest chunk of Easter/Passover floral sales. Lilies (52 percent) account for most flowering houseplant sales. (
  • Lilies are considered highly toxic to cats. The Society of American Florists recommends keeping lilies out of the reach of cats as ingesting even small amounts of the plant can cause kidney failure. Lilies do not pose a problem for other pets or humans. (
  • In the home, Easter lilies prefer moderately cool temperatures (recommended 60 to 65 degrees during the day, slightly cooler at night). They thrive near a window in bright, indirect natural daylight. (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)
  • Pennsylvania is among the states that produce the most potted Easter lilies. (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)







Flowers help stem the morning blahs: Harvard study


Maybe it’s the long winter or the still-cold mornings, or just too much work and not enough sleep. There are any number of reasons why it can be tough to get at ‘em in the morning.

When it comes to a pick-me-up, caffeine isn’t for all tastes. But everyone can start their days with flowers — and with good reason.

People are happier and more energetic after looking at flowers first thing in the morning, according to a behavioral study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

“The morning blahs, it turns out, is a real phenomenon, with positive moods — happiness, friendliness and warmth, for example — manifesting much later in the day,” said lead researcher Dr. Nancy Etcoff. “Interestingly, when we placed a small bouquet of flowers into their morning routines, people perked up.”

The final study results demonstrated that flowers affect people emotionally at home, causing them to feel less anxious and more compassionate. They even reported a boost of energy that lasted all day.

“What I find interesting is that by starting the day in a more positive mood, you are likely to transfer those happier feelings to others — it’s what is called mood contagion,” Etcoff said. “And, the kitchen is the place where families tend to gather in the morning — imagine how big a difference a better morning mood can make.”

To learn more about this study and ways to incorporate flowers into your kitchen, click here.


Irish eyes smile at St. Patrick’s Day kids club event

A tip o’ the cap to everyone who joined us on March 15 for our St. Patrick’s Day-themed Royer’s Kids Club event.

Each child who participated had an opportunity to decorate a white carnation by giving it a smiling face. They carnations were dropped in bud vases filled with water that was dyed green to mark the holiday. Eventually, the dye will work its way up the stem to change the color of the flower.

There’s even more fun planned as the kids club has three more events in 2014. The dates and themes:

June 21: Stems Hunger food drive

Aug. 23: Back to school

Nov. 1: Bouquets for Books book drive





Six easy ways to get a jump on spring

The days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter, and everyone is looking to shake off cabin fever. Spring is almost here, but you can get a jump on the season by bringing bright color and natural beauty into your home.

Here are some easy and cost-effective ideas to get you started:

1. Blooms: Nothing says spring quite like flowering plants. Violets, begonia, kalanchoe, cyclamen and Phaleonopsis orchids are all easy care and just need a home near a bright window for cheerful blooms over an extended period.

Bulb plants such as hyacinths, daffodils and tulips offer an added bonus. In the fall, you can plant the bulbs outside so that they deliver a splash of color next spring.

2. Think green: Green foliage plants add oxygen and humidity back into the air that we breathe and remove some impurities. Rejuvenate and dust off your houseplants. Better yet, pick up a new plant to replace one or two that are tired or to fill a bare corner or tabletop. Add a new basket or ceramic pot cover to add color and enhance your décor.

3. Common scents: Candles aren’t just for the fall and winter holiday seasons any more. Vanilla and lavender are two of the most popular scents, but you’ll find plenty of fresh, clean fragrances and styles of candles that have increased in popularity and are perfect for year-round use. Try a fresh linen or spring floral scent.

4. Bring the outdoors in: Trees and shrubs are just starting to bud. Trim a few branches and bring the outdoors inside to force open the blooms in a vase. Some good choices are forsythia, pussy willow and flowering cherry or crabapple stems, each of which produces colorful blooms.

Becoming more popular are curly willow and red twig dogwood branches. Although these branches do not have visible flowers, they look great in a vase and give texture when you add a few fresh-cut flowers. When you’re at the florist, be sure to pick up floral preservative to add to the water.

5. Front and center: Don’t forget about the front door and porch. Hang branches or a nice door piece for instant spring. Bulb plants, pansies and primrose all do well on a porch or patio. You may have to cover them or bring them inside overnight in case of frost or low temperatures. A cheerful front door will put a smile on your face and on those of your neighbors.

6. Treat yourself: Studies show that flowers are a great weapon against the morning blahs, boost energy and workplace productivity, and improve emotional health. So pick up a mixed handful, a weekly special or even just a few loose stems of your favorites.

Join the Royer’s Kids Club on March 15 for our free St. Patrick’s Day event

Kids club project St. Patrick's Day (March 2014)

At the end of the rainbow is another free Royer’s Kids Club event for ages 5 to 12.

Join us March 15 for an opportunity to decorate a white carnation by giving it a smiling face. You’ll be able to take your creation home in a bud vase and watch as the green dye in the water changes the color of the flower.

Participants also will receive a balloon.

Time slots are available at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at 17 stores in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.

Registration is required by calling your nearest store. Click here for locations and contact information.

Royer’s joins Fox 43 for ‘Wedding Week’

You’ve found Mr. Right, but understand that there’s no wrong when it comes to your wedding flowers.

That’s the message that Barry Spengler, Royer’s vice president of operations, conveyed during his “Wedding Week” appearance on Fox 43.

Five or 10 years ago, for instance, few brides-to-be would have thought of combining lime green and pink. Not so today.

“If I can get through anything, there’s no wrong,” Barry said, “and, frankly, it looks really cool.”

You can view Barry’s interview with Fox 43′s Andrea Michaels in the two segments below.

Meanwhile, click here for wedding resources on our website.

Hearts afire in Hershey

It’s most famous as Chocolate Town, but Hershey also is home to one of our 17 stores.

The Hershey store was a popular destination on Valentine’s Day morning. Here’s a glimpse into what was going on.

The making of Valentine’s Day

Love came to town, destined for our corporate complex in Lebanon in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Besides receiving a half-million roses and carnations for the holiday, we handcrafted thousands of arrangements for delivery to our stores in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.

Rather than national services, call your local florist to get the most bang for your buck on Valentine’s Day: NBC’s “Today”

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With the Valentine’s Day fast approaching, NBC’s “Today” put three national floral delivery services to the test. The results weren’t always pretty, with “Today” concluding that what customers received didn’t always match what they ordered from the 1-800-Flowers, Teleflora and FTD websites.

In the clip above, “Today” consults with a flower expert on the subject of getting the most bang for your buck.

The takeaway? Shop a local florist.

In his introduction, “Today” correspondent Jeff Rossen said: “Here’s tip No. 1: Experts say call your local florist. Most of them deliver. You can say to them, ‘What flowers are fresh today?’ You have that personal communication, so experts say you’re more likely to get what you pay for.”

Five Valentine’s Day options for below $50

Love is in the air. And don’t you forget it.

Barry Spengler, Royer’s vice president of operations, visited Fox 43 today to remind viewers that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. In fact, it’s just one week away.

“With this ugly weather, everybody’s hankering for some spring,” Barry told Fox 43′s Amanda McCall. “This is a way to do it. So don’t forget Valentine’s Day.”

Barry quashed the notion that Valentine’s Day flowers have to involve big bucks. He got to the heart of the matter with five options for below $50 each:

1. Single rose: $5; “So let’s say it’s a father looking for Mom, a couple kids … . That happens a lot,” Barry said.

2. Flower handful: $5 to $10; “Some people are a little less traditional. They like tulips. We sell a lot of tulips over the holiday.”

3. Single rose with bear: $15 to $18; “Really cute. That’s a great thing for a kid, as well.”

4. Mixed bunch: $15 to $20; Barry noted that these easily can be dropped in a vase: “Most people have vases around the house.”

5. Dozen rainbow roses: $40; “They’re just mixed-color roses. We put them in a vase. We do have a little better price than red roses because [the non-red] colors are a little less expensive at this holiday.”

As an added bonus, Barry noted, Royer’s is offering an incentive to encourage customers to have their Valentine’s Day orders delivered by Feb. 13: The recipient will get a coupon for a free dozen-rose bouquet.