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Keep cooped-up children busy with free Royer’s Kids Club activity pages

The coronavirus pandemic already is altering our lives in ways that would have seemed unimaginable just weeks ago.

Instead of going to school, participating in sports or visiting friends, children will be home. And while nothing is better than having the whole family together, it can lead to stressful moments.

Keeping the kids busy is important. The Royer’s Kids Club can help.

We have a bunch of activity pages that can be downloaded for free from our website.

Children can:

  • Give a Royer’s delivery truck a fresh look
  • Decorate the exterior of a Royer’s store for spring
  • Test their sense of direction in a flower maze
  • Challenge their reading skills with a word find

What’s more, we’d love to share some of the completed work on our social media pages. Just take a photo of the page(s) and email them to marketing@royers.com.

We know these are challenging times, but we’ll get through them together. In the meantime, we hope everyone stays healthy and productive.

We look forward to seeing you in person at a future Royer’s Kids Club event.

 

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

It was the top o’ the morning and the afternoon at the March 14 Royer’s Kids Club event.

Children ages 5 to 12 had an opportunity, at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m., to make a special mum character in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Thanks to everyone who joined us for what is one of our most popular yearly events.

This year’s remaining kids club events are scheduled for June 27, Aug. 15 and Nov. 7.

The best way to stay on top of kids club happenings is to become a kids club member. It’s free and includes a membership card and welcome kit; online activity pages; and our quarterly email newsletter, Buds.

 

 

Royer’s Kids Club celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with free event March 14 in all stores

Mum’s the word at the March 14 Royer’s Kids Club event. Molly O’Mum, that is.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to make their own St. Patrick’s Day mum character, complete with smiling face, shamrock ribbon and green top hat.

Slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Registration is required by calling your the nearest Royer’s store.

The other remaining 2020 kids club events are June 27, Aug. 15 and Nov. 7.

10 Heart-Felt Uses for Flowers This Valentine’s Day

Rainbow Rose Loose Bunch (2171)

In 2019, according to aboutflowers.com, 28 percent of American adults (37 percent men, 19 percent women) purchased flowers for Valentine’s Day. Roses led the way, accounting for 84 percent of those purchases.

If you favor tradition, we have you covered with lots of rose options available for delivery or in-store pickup. But if you’re looking for a new twist, we can help with that, too.

Here are 10 unique ways to incorporate flowers into Valentine’s Day:

1. Try different colors: Red roses are No. 1 in popularity, but other colors such as yellow and pink and mixed colors are terrific options, too.

2. Experiment with other flowers: Consider carnations, tulips, orchids, lilies, which will give you even more color and cost options.

3. Send to your kids: Everyone loves getting flowers, and certainly your children will be excited when the flower delivery is for them. Our Sweet Hugs Bud Vase features two roses, Hershey’s Kisses and a six-inch white plush bear.

4. Go on a flower-shopping date: Unsure which flowers to give your significant other? Turn it into a positive by making a date out of stopping at your local Royer’s before dinner or a movie. Our staff is eager to help.

5.  Thank a friend: How about a loving gesture of flowers for that loyal friend; you know, the one who stood by you through all of the ups and downs in your love life?

6. Reward great service: Every day, our lives are positively affected by others, from mail carriers to plumbers, waitstaff to dry cleaners. A single stem will let them know that you value the hard work they perform.

7. Make a candy heart rose bouquet: Place a clear glass vase containing roses inside a larger glass vase and fill the gap with candy conversation hearts.

8. Include a heart-felt note: Add oomph to your flowers when you craft a loving message to your significant other. You can bring it with you when you come to any of our stores. We’ll gladly include it with your delivery.

9. Give a gift to your hosts: Are you attending any parties around the holiday? If so, a bouquet of flowers is a thoughtful way to thank your hosts.

10. Commit a random act of flowers: Hand a dozen roses to someone with instructions for them to keep one flower and pass the rest of the bouquet to someone else, and on and on until you’ve touched 12 lives in a positive, loving way.

Maybe one or more of these suggestions will catch your fancy, or perhaps it will inspire you to come up with your own creative way to use flowers this Valentine’s Day.

The bottom line is that flowers are a time-honored way to show your love. And remember that options abound and our staff is always here to assist you.

In January, it’s a tip-top time to tip-toe through the tulips

Tulips arrived in Western Europe in the late 1500s from their native Turkey, looking unlike anything else on the continent.

As an import, they “commanded the same exoticism that spices and Oriental rugs did,” according to Investopedia.com.

And by the first part of the 1600s, the rarest bulbs traded for as much as six times the average annual salary. This phenomenon came to be known as “tulip mania.”

The allure of tulips remains strong centuries later. Royer’s celebrates tulips every year at this time. Our annual tulip promotion runs through Jan. 31 with a combination of specials and everyday value.

10 stems for $8.99

For $8.99, you can pick up a 10-stem “grower’s bunch” that’s regularly priced at $14.99. Two bunches are $16.99.

Handful bouquets with free local delivery

The tulip promotion also includes free delivery on our hand-tied handful bouquets, available with 15 tulips ($25) or 25 tulips ($39.99) and accents of limonium.

$59.99 shipped anywhere in continental U.S.

There are places called Tulip in seven states, but you can send 15 boxed tulips anywhere in the continental United States for $59.99 as part of our direct-ship program.

New Vintage Tulips collection

Our new Vintage Tulips arrangements are available in four sizes and come with three (pink or purple vase), 10, 20 or 40 mixed color tulips (colors will vary). New this year, each arrangement features accents of dusty miller and wax flower for a more vintage/Victorian feel compared with the country look of previous years.

Emily Mallis, Royer’s marketing manager, noted that dusty miller “is soft and slightly fuzzy and is a lighter green with some silver tones or maybe a white dusting.” Wax flower, she said, “has a beautiful fragrance when cut or touched.”

The Vintage Tulips line ranges from $16.99 to $89.99 and can be picked up at any of our 16 area stores or delivered within our market area.

As a hardy, affordable symbol of perfect love, tulips also are a popular option for Valentine’s Day.

Perhaps you’ve heard the entertainer Tiny Tim, singing in a falsetto and strumming a ukulele, performing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.”

The lyrics include:

“Knee deep in flowers we’ll stray
We’ll keep the showers away
And if I kiss you in the garden
In the moonlight, will you pardon me?
And tip-toe through the tulips with me”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design your own bouquet at Jan. 11 Royer’s Kids Club event

A new year, a new Royer’s Kids Club event.

On Jan. 11, children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to choose from a selection of flowers to create their own bouquets.

Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at all Royer’s stores. Registration is required by calling or visiting your nearest store.

This year’s other kids club events are March 14, June 27, Aug. 15 and Nov. 7.

Thank you for donating more than 1,000 holiday cards and coloring pages for veterans

In this season of giving, you sure did.

Our annual “Holidays for Heroes” event, which ran throughout November, collected more than 1,000 holiday cards and coloring pages for veterans.

We presented these cards and coloring pages to the American Red Cross, which this year is distributing holiday cards to more than 700 veterans in 30 locations in its Greater Pennsylvania Region.

One of those locations is Frey Village, a continuing care retirement community in Middletown, where the Red Cross and Royer’s hosted a holiday party for 18 veterans on Dec. 16.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to Holidays for Heroes and helped us celebrate our brave, selfless veterans.

We can’t promise eternity, but here’s how to make your evergreen wreath last longer

We see them on doors and fences, windows and walls.

Some are even attached to the fronts of cars and trucks.

The evergreen Christmas wreath is a ubiquitous holiday adornment. So much so, perhaps, that it’s easy to overlook the wreath’s rich symbolism.

“The evergreen wreath — its circular shape an emblem not only of perfection and unity but also of the warm, enduring sun — later became a Christian symbol for Christ’s suffering and ultimate triumph over death,” according to a 1988 New York Times article. “It is believed that the holly wreath, with its sharp, pointed leaves, first represented the crown of thorns worn by Christ on the cross, the little red berries symbolizing drops of blood. Later wreaths were formed from a variety of pines and firs, with evergreens embodying eternal life.”

The tradition of bringing evergreen trees into homes dates to the 16th century, according to a Time magazine article, crediting Germans specifically. Pruning trees to make them fit or more shapely left “pieces of greenery” that lent themselves to wreath-making.

“These people were living in a time when everything in their lives was used until it was gone,” said Ace Collins, author of “Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas.”

Wreaths had other associations prior to Christmas, however: as “a prominent emblem of victory and power in ancient Greece and Rome.” Victorious athletes were crowned with wreaths of many sorts, including olives, laurel, wild celery and pine. Wreaths also were worn by priests, by brides and by guests at a feast.

‘Representation of eternal life’

In the context of Christmas, wreaths originally served as tree ornaments.

“They were formed into a wheel-like shape partially for convenience’s sake — it was simple to hang a circle onto the branches of a tree — but the shape was also significant as a representation of divine perfection,” Time wrote.

Similarly, evergreen trees were revered for their ability to survive winter.

“Together,” Time noted, “the circular shape and the evergreen material make the wreath a representation of eternal life.”

While you can’t make an evergreen wreath last forever, you can get the most out of one by following these simple tips:

–Fresh wreaths will get dry over time, but spray-on products such as Wilt Pruf seal moisture in (it works on garland and Christmas trees, too). Be sure to do this away from your door and before hanging the wreath to avoid making a mess.

–Wreaths can cook if placed between a door and a glass storm door, so hang them on an outside door exposed to the elements.

–Keep wreaths out of direct sunlight if possible, such as on a door under a porch roof.

 

Shedding holiday light on the mystery that is mistletoe

Oh, ho the mistletoe
Hung where you can see
Somebody waits for you
Kiss her once for me
 

–“A Holly Jolly Christmas” 

Even if you’ve never seen mistletoe, much less smooched beneath it, it may have been a part of your holiday tradition since childhood.

That’s because the 1964 Christmas special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” features Burl Ives, in the voice of narrator Sam the Snowman, singing “A Holly Jolly Christmas.” All the while, prospector Yukon Cornelius hoists a tower of four elves hanging mistletoe and Rudolph gives the doe Clarice a peck on her cheek.

The poinsettia may be the most popular Christmas plant, but mistletoe seems to have the edge when it comes to appearances in Christmas songs. Everyone from Ives and Perry Como to Michael Buble and Alan Jackson has covered “A Holly Jolly Christmas.” Justin Bieber has a song titled, simply, “Mistletoe.”

For many of us, however, mistletoe is a mystery. Royer’s sells fresh poinsettias by the tens of thousand, in dozens of sizes and varieties, but a much smaller quantity of preserved mistletoe, offered in a four-inch cluster with a bow packaged in a box.

“It’s a novelty more than anything now,” said Cheryl Brill, Royer’s chief operating officer. The typical customer is a young guy.

Not to be eaten

Yet while mistletoe is associated with kissing and Christmas, its role in nature is anything but beneficent. In fact, it’s the Grinch of holiday plants, an honest-to-goodness parasite.

“Mistletoe is an evergreen pest that attaches itself to trees, plants and shrubs, stealing their nutrients and water,” a CBS News story noted. “This can weaken or disfigure the host plant, and eventually even kill it.”

The genus name for North American oak mistletoe, the most common species in the eastern United States, is “phoradendron,” which is Greek for “tree thief.”

Mistletoe is difficult to remove because its seeds sprout and grow through the bark of trees and into their tissues, extending up and down within the branches.

“The most effective way to fight it is to remove an infected branch or limb entirely,” according to CBS.

Mistletoe has a misanthropic side, too. A person eating any part of it may experience drowsiness, blurred vision, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, weakness or seizures. These symptoms are caused by phoratoxin, which can be found in mistletoe berries and especially in the leaves. (Several types of mistletoe can be poisonous to pets, too.)

“Throw in the fact that some species are poisonous, and mistletoe starts to seem less like something you’d spy mama kissing Santa under and more like something Krampus would plant on your Christmas tree,” an article on the National Geographic website noted.

Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon in folklore that punishes children who misbehave, in contrast with St. Nicholas rewarding well-behave children with gifts.

‘Mystic branch’

But in this season of giving, it seems only fair to consider mistletoe in a positive light. Because it steals water and nutrients, mistletoe stays green year-round and is a symbol of fertility to some people.

“The plant’s parasitic nature is probably why people began to think mistletoe was special enough to kiss under in the first place,” according to National Geographic.

In Europe, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute website, “mistletoe extracts are among the most prescribed therapies for cancer patients.” However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of mistletoe as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition.

Ancient Anglo-Saxons noticed that mistletoe often grows near bird droppings, according to the National Wildlife Federation. Hence, its name derived from “mistel,” which means dung, and “tan,” which means twig. Therefore, mistletoe means “dung-on-a-twig.”

Studies suggest that when certain species of mistletoe were removed from ecosystems in Australia and Mexico, birds suffered.

As it matures, mistletoe can grow into thick, often rounded masses of branches and stems that can reach as big as five feet wide and 50 pounds and sometimes called “witches’ brooms.” Some birds, including wrens, chickadees, mourning doves and pygmy nuthatches, nest in these witches brooms.

Some butterflies lay their eggs in mistletoe, their young eating the leaves and adults (and some native bees) feeding on mistletoe nectar. Mistletoe’s white berries are a no-no for people, but they are favored in the fall and winter by the likes of deer, elk, squirrels, chipmunks and porcupines.

Clearly mistletoe endures as a symbol of Christmas joy and wonder. Charles Dickens, in the “Pickwick Papers” in the 1830s, called mistletoe the “mystic branch.”

The Hallmark Channel carries on that tradition with movies bearing titles such as, “Moonlight and Mistletoe, “The Mistletoe Promise,” and “The Mistletoe Secret.”

Of course, the happy ending is always sealed with a kiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lancaster County-grown poinsettias are arriving at Royer’s stores

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It’s two weeks before Thanksgiving, but Christmas is in full bloom at Esbenshade’s Greenhouses Inc. just north of Lititz.

In one vast expanse of the so-called Gilbert greenhouse, the floor is a carpet of red poinsettias. A visitor asks Roger Esbenshade, president of the family-owned company, how many there are in this one area.

“Probably 25,000,” he said. “This is maybe 10 percent of the crop.”

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has been an Esbenshade’s wholesale customer for decades. Royer’s sells some 20,000 poinsettias every holiday season, most of which are grown by Esbenshade’s.

Only a week prior, Royer’s CEO Tom Royer and Geoff Royer, vice president of central operations, were at Esbenshade’s to review the poinsettia crop.

Esbenshade’s grows nine to 10 sizes and 30-some varieties. Red remains the most popular by far, but even red comes in seven or eight different varieties. The biggest plants come in 10-inch pots and grow to 25 to 30 inches in height.

Depending on the size, the growing season can range from three to five months. What are now almost fully developed plants began as two and one-half inch stems. From the end of October until mid-to-late November, the poinsettias required only watering and disease control while Esbenshade’s tended to its spring crops.

But with the holiday season here, once again poinsettias are the focus of attention.

“For me, being responsible for the growing, it’s a very challenging time,” Esbenshade said. “It’s not a difficult crop to grow, but a lot of things can go wrong.”

He lists the challenges of controlling plant height, temperature, nutrition, diseases.

“It can vary from year to year,” he said.

‘Longevity for the customer’

Timing is important. That sea of red described above arrived only four weeks earlier. All poinsettias are green until their ultimate color reveals itself. Some plants will get redder still, which dictates when they will be shipped to customers.

“We try to have good color development but not overly developed so that they have longevity for the customer,” Esbenshade said.

Wholesale customers such as Royer’s typically place master orders, or what they anticipate needing for the year. Then they draw on that order on a daily or weekly basis.

For example, Esbenshade’s will deliver to Royer’s distribution center in Lebanon on 15 dates between mid-November and mid-December.

Esbenshade’s has approximately 30 workers tending to poinsettias at this busy time. When orders arrive, the workers wrap individual plants in plastic sleeves and place them in corrugated boxes for shipping via trucks.

The plants that are on the floor receive water and nutrients from below. Water rises to a depth of two inches through holes in what are called flood floors. Once the plants have absorbed what they need, the water level lowers and excess moisture drains from the pots.

If cared for properly, poinsettias can last for months if not years. They will cycle back to green in the off-season.

Esbenshade’s mother, Nancy, founded the company with her husband, Lamar, in 1960.

“My mom, she usually has hers up till Easter,” Esbenshade said. “I think most people don’t do that. She’ll usually send me pictures around Easter time and say, ‘My poinsettias still look good.’ ”

No matter how long you plan to keep your poinsettias, they’re vibrant and abundant at Royer’s now through Christmas.