“We’re grateful for our loyal customers whose support makes it possible for us to give back to these incredible organizations that work every day to improve lives in our communities,” said Tom Royer, president and CEO of Royer’s Flowers.
Roses are red, my love, the old Bobby Vinton song begins.
But while red still rules for Valentine’s Day, roses come in a rainbow of colors. Rosier still is that when celebrating the holiday of love, flower, plant and gift options abound and at price points to satisfy any budget.
Red roses signify love and admiration, so it’s no wonder that they are the quarterback in what is the floral industry’s version of football’s big game. Pink, white, mixed and yellow roses comprise the other most popular colors for Valentine’s Day, according to the Society of American Florists’ website aboutflowers.com.
Also note that roses can be purchased in varying quantities, sizes and presentations, offering customers a great deal of choice.
Besides roses, popular Valentine’s Day flowers include tulips, carnations, alstroemeria, lilies. Royer’s offers a mixed bouquet comprising roses, mini hydrangea, daisy poms, carnations, mini carnations and caspia wrapped in a sleeve. Or consider garden mixes in shades of lavender, pink and white.
Succulents are drought resistant and fleshy for storing water, combining a striking appearance with minimal care. Dish gardens feature several different plants in a single container.
The ancient Aztecs believed chocolate was an aphrodisiac. The first heart-shaped box of chocolates debuted in 1861. Given that history, it’s easy to understand why chocolate is associated with love and romance and remains a popular Valentine’s Day option.
PLUSH AND BALLOONS
Soft and cuddly, classic and timeless, a symbol of love and affection, these are among the attributes that make a teddy bear or other stuffed animal a great Valentine’s Day gift for children and children at heart.
Another way to make hearts and spirits soar is with a colorful, fun and entertaining balloon. Some will even sing for you!
If you can’t pick just one option, Royer’s offers a combo featuring a plush white bear, heart-shaped mylar balloon and chocolate-covered pretzels.
Another enduring expression of love, figurines are small carved or molded figures, collectible and a popular way to personalize a gift, often as an add-on to flowers.
Whatever your Valentine’s day needs, your florist will be happy to help. It’s always best to act early to ensure the most abundant selection.
The writer Gertrude Stein’s line “a rose is a rose is a rose” is sometimes interpreted as meaning things are what they are.
But if you peel back the petals, figuratively speaking, roses reveal themselves to be full of intrigue. Not only are there more than 120 commercial varieties of roses, rose colors carry different meanings that lend themselves to widely varying intents.
Here are 10 colors and their myriad meanings:
Red: The most popular Valentine’s Day flower by far, red roses represent “love and admiration” of the romantic kind, ideal for a spouse or long-term partner.
“This may have started with Greek and Roman mythology—it was told that the red rose was created by the goddess of love, Aphrodite,” according to Parade. “The legend states that her tears and the blood of her lover, Adonis, watered the ground where roses appeared.”
Burgundy: Suggesting a passion even deeper than red roses, but also associated with loyalty and commitment.
Lavender: House Beautiful calls lavender “enchanting and magical” and arguably the most romantic roses of all. “They’re great for a budding romance.”
Orange: Friendship that is turning romantic. It’s an energetic and uplifting color, too, that can cheer up someone who is ill.
Yellow: Friendship, making it great for Galentine’s Day or generally brightening someone’s day.
Deep Pink: Gratitude and appreciation, deep pink is a gentler option than red, according to Reader’s Digest.
Medium Pink: Congratulations! “So if you have a daughter or friend who just accomplished something significant, medium pink roses could be the perfect gift,” Parade noted.
Light Pink: Appreciation or innocence, “perfect for giving to a friend or daughter ‘just because’ or with a ‘thinking of you’ note,” but also “a girlfriend in a new and budding relationship.” Meanwhile, House Beautiful said light pink roses also represent self-love, “making them a great gift to give yourself.”
Purple: Dual meanings: passion and infatuation, signifying the beginning of a romantic relationship; royalty, majesty and honor, appropriate for someone held in high regard.
White: Traditionally used in weddings and standing for “innocence, new beginnings and truth,” according to Parade. They are popular at graduations and baptisms.
Clearly, “a rose is a rose is a rose” is inaccurate when it comes to rose colors.
Whether you’re gifting roses for Valentine’s Day or another holiday, a special occasion, or some other reason, you’ll want to make sure that the color you buy sends the appropriate message.
A sense of gloom might hit you in the aftermath of the holiday season, but it’s probably not just because you put the string lights away.
There’s a link between shortened daylight hours in winter and seasonal depression. Some 4 to 6 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder, according to Washingtonian magazine, while more suffer from a lesser form known as the winter blues or winter doldrums.
Experts say that seeking out sunlight, a healthy diet, exercise, rest and the support of family and friends are ways to combat the doldrums.
Another way to improve your mood – in the winter but really year-round – is to bring nature into your home or workplace in the form of houseplants.
Multiple studies have found that indoor plants make us happier and healthier. It can take fewer than 20 minutes in the presence of plants to make us feel more at peace, according to the Washington Post.
“In one experiment, participants who spent even five to 10 minutes in a room with a few houseplants felt happier and more satisfied than those in a room without plants. In another study, participants felt more peaceful and positive after spending 15 minutes in a room close to a tall plant (about five feet) compared with other objects.”
Even post-pandemic, we spend most of our lives indoors. Houseplants make us feel more connected to the world outside and help our mental and physical health in many ways.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Time reported on a study in which researchers asked participants to re-pot a houseplant or complete a computer-based task.
“After working with plants, people reported feeling comfortable and soothed, and their blood pressure dropped. The computer task, on the other hand, caused them to feel uncomfortable and ‘artificial,’ and was associated with a spike in blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system activity.”
The stress hormone cortisol, which is found in saliva, decreases when we are around plants.
Houseplant sales spiked during the pandemic, helping people with their depression, anxiety and “sad days” of isolation, according to one seller of succulents and air plants. That sentiment jibes with a study conducted during stay-at-home orders in Bulgaria. People who had houseplants or a garden “experienced fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who did not,” according to Time.
Introducing plants into your home enhances your mood and helps with loneliness and depression, NBC News reported, noting that “caring for a living thing gives us a purpose and is rewarding – especially when you see that living thing bloom and thrive.”
Improve air quality
Houseplants “essentially do the opposite of what we do when we breathe: release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide,” according to NBC News. “This not only freshens up the air, but also eliminates harmful toxins.”
NASA found that houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours.
Multiple studies, according to Time, concluded that plants boost productivity: College students worked 12 percent faster when plants were added to a windowless computer lab; employees at a call center who had a view of plants made up to 7 percent more calls per hour than colleagues who couldn’t see plants; office workers were 15 percent more productive when plants were introduced into their workspace.
From Psychology Today: “Students and employees with a view of nature, either indoors or right outside their windows, were not only found to be more productive but also more alert, more attentive, more relaxed, in better moods, and less irritated by physical symptoms of allergies and asthma than their counterparts who had no views of plant life or other natural settings.”
Of course, winter eventually will give way to spring, but houseplants will ensure that you receive the benefits of nature no matter the time of year or the conditions outside.
They inspired a speculative financial bubble in the 1600s and a hit song in the United States three centuries later.
Still today, tulips remain one of the most popular flowers in the world and a sure sign of spring when they rise from the ground in all of their beautiful bounty.
If you need a reprieve from the winter doldrums, one sure-fire way is to bring fresh-cut, colorful tulips into your home or workplace. What’s more, for their association with love, tulips are a popular choice as a Valentine’s Day gift.
Royer’s Flowers & Gifts sources tulips from growers in the Netherlands, the world’s largest commercial producer of tulips. The capital city, Amsterdam, celebrates National Tulip Day on the third Saturday of January. The 2024 theme: Let’s Dance.
“But in the 17th century, this was still not understood,” according to the BBC, “and so, strangely enough diseased tulips, emblazoned with distinctive patterns, became more prized than healthy ones in the Dutch Republic.”
Tulip mania came and went, but tulips took root in the Netherlands. It’s what DutchGrown.com, a wholesale flower bulb exporter, credits to the country’s “beautiful sandy soil, and a century old tradition of being able to control water and make it do whatever we want.”
Specifically, it requires a bit of “tulip trickery,” making “bulbs believe they have been through a hot, dry summer and an arctic winter” and replicating their native habitat.
Tulips technically are perennials, but they struggle to act that way in the warmer United States.
“Plant a bulb in fall and even a novice gardener can expect to see a beautiful flower come spring,” according to AmericanMeadows.com. “But getting a tulip to perform well in the second or third year is another story.”
Because tulips are one of the easiest flowers to grow in a garden, most American consumers replant bulbs every year.
Several other tidbits about tulips:
Even as a cut stem, tulips will continue to grow in water, lasting seven days after they have bloomed.
They do best in full sun and, like sunflowers, are heliotropic, bending toward light throughout the day.
They come in a variety of colors rich in symbolism: pink, happiness and confidence; purple, royalty; yellow, cheerful thoughts; white, forgiveness.
“As a company, we’ve enjoyed the gift of loyal support from our customers for more than 85 years,” said Tom Royer, CEO of Lebanon-based Royer’s. “It’s important to us to return that generosity to organizations such as the food bank that are providing such a valuable service to our communities.”
Royer’s operates 16 stores in Adams, Berks, Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.
“This generous gift from Royer’s Flowers & Gifts will help us meet our mission and provide healthy meals for our neighbors in need,” said Joe Arthur, CEO of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
“This is especially true right now, when so many face tough choices between paying rent, gas and medical bills or buying food,” Arthur said, noting that as 2023 draws to a close, the food bank is serving its 27-county service territory at higher levels than at the peak of the pandemic.
You must treat them as such if you want to get the most out of your poinsettia this holiday season.
National Poinsettia Day
Of course, December is synonymous with Christmas, but Dec. 12 is National Poinsettia Day. It commemorates the 1851 death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico and the man after whom poinsettias are named.
Poinsett introduced the plant to the United States in 1825, sending samples to friends in his native Charleston, S.C. Poinsettias made their public debut at a Philadelphia flower show in 1829.
For their first hundred years in America, poinsettias were mostly sold as cut flowers. That was until Paul Ecke, a southern California agriculturalist, created varieties that could be shipped in pots.
Poinsettias registered sales of $213.7 million last year, according to Axios, up 40 percent from 2020.
But for all the popularity of poinsettias, how to care for them remains much less well known and bear repeating. In fact, we go over poinsettia care tips with our own staff in the lead-up to every holiday season.
Unless you want to end up on someone’s naughty list, here’s what else you need to know to ensure your Christmas Flower lasts well into the new year.
Average room temperature is fine. Poinsettias can’t tolerate cold (including icy water) and can suffer from droopy leaves (a condition known as epinasty) if exposed to cold temperatures.
Epinasty also can result from a build-up of ethylene gas. Big-box retailers are notorious for leaving poinsettias in plastic sleeves, which trap ethylene and essentially ruin the plant.
Bright, ample light is best for the plant, mimicking conditions in Mexico.
Keep the plant moist but not sitting in water. Like people, poinsettias don’t like wet feet. The frequency and amount of water will vary depending upon the amount of sunlight, humidity and pot size to which the plant is exposed.
Poinsettias are sensitive plants, so you want to avoid banging them into things as they can bruise easily.
We wish you and your family a Happy Poinsettia Day and a Merry Christmas!
In recent years, however, after noticing a decline in the quality of the balsam wreaths, we switched to noble fir wreaths. They vary in size and come undecorated or adorned with the likes of pine cones, red berries and juniper. Bows and balls can be added, too.
Royer’s also offers silk balsam wreaths that are priced comparable to the old fresh balsam wreaths.
Cheryl Brill, Royer’s chief operating officer, said that the balsam wreaths were not constructed as well as they had been, perhaps because of a shortage of labor that required earlier and earlier production schedules.
“And there’s been an awful lot of drought,” she said. “Evergreens don’t respond well to that. When you cut them extra early to produce wreaths and then you’ve been having a drought situation, you end up with naked wreaths by the end of the season.”
‘Noble in stature’
If you aren’t familiar with noble fir, consider that it has been referred to as “the Cadillac of Christmas trees” and “the king of holiday greens.”
Here’s how The Real Christmas Tree Board, a national promotion and research organization funded by North American Christmas tree growers, describes the noble fir:
“Noble in name and stature, this stately tree features short, blue-green needles. The Noble fir has some of the best needle retention among Christmas tree species, with stiff branches and an attractive form to handle heavy ornaments. You’ll also find it used as greenery for wreaths and garland.”
To understand why noble fir is superior to balsam fir in needle retention, it helps to understand where the trees grow.
Balsam fir is grown in Canada, the northeastern states, the upper Great Lakes and Pennsylvania, according to The Real Christmas Tree Board; most noble fir is grown in the Pacific Northwest, at a significantly higher altitude than balsam. Continental Floral Greens, the maker of our noble wreaths, harvests the trees on the slopes of Mount St. Helens.
The noble wreaths are more expensive than the balsam wreaths, which reflects the longer growing time for noble and the shipping distance from Washington State.
While switching from traditional balsam wasn’t an easy decision, Brill noted that it was motivated by a desire to offer a better-constructed, longer-lasting option to customers.
“The main thing is their longevity,” she said of the noble. “And they are a very pretty wreath. The fir is fluffier because the needles are kind of rounded. It’s not a flat branch like a balsam is. So it has more dimension to it. They’ve always been my favorite.”
Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has presented 2,300 holiday cards and coloring pages to the American Red Cross for distribution to area service members and veterans.
Royer’s collected the cards and coloring pages from the public in each of its stores from Oct. 16 through Nov. 14, continuing a decade-long affiliation with the Red Cross “Holidays for Heroes” program.