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Send these Royer’s arrangements anywhere in the continental U.S. for $9.99

Family-owned Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has been a local florist for more than 80 years, with a commitment to delivering farm-fresh flowers and top-notch customer service.

That won’t ever change.

But that’s not stopping Royer’s from offering its local touch and original designs to a national audience.

Royer’s has introduced 12 new arrangements that can be shipped from its Lebanon, Pa., headquarters to anywhere in the continental United States for $9.99.

The arrangements, ranging in price from $44.99 to $74.99, require no arranging on the part of the recipient.

“Whether they’re shipping to Maine or California, North Dakota or Oklahoma, these arrangements will arrive looking like they came from the local florist,” said Tom Royer, the third-generation CEO. “And they are – the local florist in Lebanon, Pa.”

He noted that unlike some other online florists, Royer’s has no hidden fees or add-on costs.

“It’s just the stated price of the arrangement, which includes a glass vase, and the $9.99 FedEx delivery charge,” Tom said.

‘Fresher than local florists can provide’

Royer’s has offered a limited direct-ship program for years, but the new arrangements are more elaborate and more than double the number of options available to customers.

The arrangements are hand-crafted in our Lebanon store and packed and shipped by our central design department, which supplies fresh arrangements to our 16 stores in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.

“With the efficiency of our supply chain, central design department and shipping operation, we can deliver flowers all over the United States that are even fresher than what most local florists can provide in their own markets,” Tom said.

Tom and Geoff Royer, vice president of central operations, make regular trips to South American flower farms to check on the quality of the product they are buying. In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, they will inspect roses in the field that within two weeks are being delivered to customers in central Pennsylvania.

“We’ve developed an incredibly nimble operation in the eight-plus decades since my grandmother started growing and selling African violets to factory workers in Lebanon,” Tom said. “Now our customers have a more robust menu of Royer’s original arrangements they can send to 48 states for just $9.99 each. And they can take comfort in knowing the arrangements will arrive beautiful and fresh, no assembly required.”

 

 

Garden roses are back and a popular option for weddings

Garden roses, which once were the everyday rose sold by local flower shops, are back in their uniquely big and fragrant ways.

Their large blooms and strong scent not only distinguish them from today’s standard roses but also make them an increasingly popular option for weddings and other special occasions.

This is how Alexandra Farms in Bogota, Colombia, the source for most of the garden roses that Royer’s buys, toasts its product: “Garden roses are to roses what champagne is to wine.”

BRED FOR PERFORMANCE

Decades ago, Royer’s and other florists grew their own garden roses. What today is known as a standard or modern rose didn’t exist.

By the 1970s, however, an oil embargo made it prohibitively expensive for Royer’s and other domestic florists to heat their greenhouses. Meanwhile, Bogota, by virtue of lying on a plateau near the equator, enjoyed warm days and cool nights – or near-perfect conditions for rose production. (Today, the major rose-producing nations are Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya.)

But as with many things in life, there was a tradeoff: The farther away growers were from florists, the hardier that roses (and other flowers) had to be to withstand the added time and rigors involved with shipping.

So, a choice had to be made between flower bloom size and fragrance on the one hand and vase life (or how long a flower lasts once it is cut) on the other. Garden roses have twice as many petals as standard roses, which manifests as significantly bigger blooms than standard rose blooms.

“In many cases,” according to Alexandra Farms, “you couldn’t get a garden rose with a long vase life if you wanted it also to have many petals or fragrance, so [growers] moved toward standard roses. Rather than getting more beauty or fragrance in the varieties they grew, they got longer vase life. In short, [roses] lost some of their charisma in favor of performance.”

Famed rose breeder David Austin changed that by developing a garden rose genetic line specifically for the cut-flower market.

“Now, garden roses are bred for performance in addition to their charismatic qualities,” according to Alexandra Farms, “so you can have the best of both worlds.”

Meanwhile, improvements in post-harvesting techniques – from hydration methods to anti-ethylene treatments (ethylene gas can promote premature flower death) to better packaging – “have enabled us to grow more productively and ship our cut flowers around the world,” according to Alexandra Farms.

The grower said it has tested more than 1,500 varieties of garden roses for beauty but also for shelf and vase life.

ALTERNATIVE TO PEONIES

Garden roses are available in almost every color that exists for standard roses. True to their champagne reputation, garden roses cost more than standard roses, but they are a cost-effective alternative to peonies.

Garden roses are sometimes described as having “powder puff” petals that mirror those of peonies and make them a good substitute when peonies aren’t available.

Peonies require frozen soil – and therefore seasons, Alexandra Farms explained. The plants must freeze in the ground for months in order to sprout in the spring. Based on time of year and availability, peonies can be considerably more expensive than garden roses, which are available year-round.

But Alexandra Farms, which grows 61 varieties of garden roses in Colombia, noted that garden roses don’t have to be limited to weddings and other special events.

They “can be used for anything including home décor, vase work, etc.,” according to the grower. “The garden roses grown at Alexandra Farms were bred and selected for longevity, as well as beauty. They are hardy and work well for any use.”

Living with flowers results in ‘significant decrease’ in stress levels and improved moods: study

Working, commuting, paying bills, tending to family demands.

How do I stress thee? Let me count the ways.

If there’s too much on your to-do list, you might want to scrap it altogether and start over with a single item: get flowers.

Recent research from the University of North Florida revealed that the presence of flowers can reduce stress, according to the Society of American Florists, of which Royer’s is a member.

“The findings show that people who lived with flowers in their homes for just a few days reported a significant decrease in their levels of stress and improvements in their moods.”

One-third of people are stressed every day; women are particularly affected, with one in four of them experiencing stress multiple times daily.

“Our findings are important from a public health perspective,” said lead researcher Erin Largo-Wight, associate professor in the university’s department of public health, “because adding flowers to reduce stress does not require tremendous effort to generate a meaningful effect.”

Helpful tips

The Society of American Florists offered these tips for using flowers “to help relax and rewind”:

Experience flowers: Walk into your local florist and take a look around. Just the sight and smell of the natural beauty of flowers will put you at ease. Ask your florist to show you what’s in the cooler so you can learn about new varieties, colors and design styles.

Find peace: If you are having a bad day when it seems like nothing is going right, try flowers in soothing, tranquil colors, such as blues, lavenders and pale greens. Place a small arrangement on your nightstand or in your bathroom, so you can experience the stress-relieving benefits of flowers right before you go to bed, and right when you get up to start your day.

Help others: Sometimes the best way to relieve stress and the pressures of the day, is to do something nice for someone else. Here’s an idea: Go to your florist and buy two bouquets. Keep one for yourself, then take the other bouquet and “petal it forward” to a stranger on the street. You’ll be amazed at the reaction to your random act of kindness.

Give yourself some joy: One great way to reconnect with joy and feel less stressed is to surround yourself with simple things that make you feel happy and loved, like a colorful bunch of flowers or a blooming plant. Flowers have the power to open hearts, and when your heart is open you are more likely to focus on the positive points in your day.

Be a friend: Do you have a friend or loved one who could use a boost? Have flowers delivered unexpectedly to their door, and watch their ordinary day become extraordinary. It will make you smile, too.

Color your world: Color therapists say colors really do affect our moods. The happiest color? Orange. It promotes optimism, enthusiasm, and a sense of uplift. Choose orange flowers — roses, gerberas, lilies, ranunculus, alstroemeria, tulips — to put on your kitchen counter or your work desk, and see your mood soar.

Pepper your house with small doses of calm: When bringing home flowers from your florist, have a couple of small vases and containers available so you can place a few flowers in different parts of your living space. You’ll be amazed how many small arrangements you can get out of a single bunch of flowers, and you’ll have constant reminders to “stop and smell the flowers.”

The 2018 research from the University of North Florida builds on other university studies suggesting that flowers can help make people happy, strengthen feelings of compassion, foster creativity and boost energy.

 

Royer’s introduces fresh gathered bouquets

Do it yourself doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.

A case in point: Royer’s new fresh gathered bouquets.

Available in 13 different options (with the promise of more to come), the bouquets sell for $19.99 or $29.99 including delivery. They arrive in a brown craft paper sleeve tied with raffia, giving the package a “rustic, farmers market feel,” said Cheryl Brill, Royer’s chief operating officer – retail.

The small ($19.99) version of the Tuscan bouquet, for instance, comprises mini green hydrangea, alstroemeria, daisy poms, viking poms, carnations, mini carnations, caspia, and tree fern. The larger ($29.99) version adds two roses to the mix.

Increasingly, flower buyers like to purchase loose bouquets they can arrange themselves, often using favorite containers, Brill said.

Hands-on

Yet customers can take comfort in knowing that each fresh gathered bouquet is professionally designed with complementary colors and textures (caspia and tree fern, for instance) in mind and then hand-assembled in Royer’s stores.

This removes some of the guesswork for customers while allowing them to be hands-on at home.

Brill said she took one of the bouquets home, trimmed the stems to the appropriate length, and dropped the bouquet into a vase.

“I couldn’t be happier with how that turned out,” she said. “And if customers can do that at home, I would think they’d be very happy with that, too.”

Many customers like to purchase for themselves. Of course, as with any other Royer’s product, the fresh gathered bouquets can be sent to someone as a gift.

While fresh gathered bouquets currently are available only in Royer’s market area, Brill delivered this tidbit: soon customers will have the opportunity to ship them almost anywhere in the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postcard from Quito, Ecuador

A field of babies breath and a breath-taking mountain view in Quito

Located in the northwest part of South America, Ecuador’s name betrays another fact about its geographic location. Ecuador is Spanish for equator, the imaginary line that separates the Earth into northern and southern hemispheres.

Quito, Ecuador’s capital, sits more than 9,000 feet above sea level. That combination – proximity to the equator and elevation – are what make Quito a near-perfect place to grow flowers. A 2015 article in the Financial Times noted that Ecuador was the world’s third-biggest exporter of cut flowers, 73 percent of which were roses.

“Roses grown at high altitude have a much longer growing cycle than those cultivated at sea level, up to 15 weeks as opposed to eight, so it is perfect for long-stemmed varieties with big heads,” said an official with a Dutch flower breeder. “The cold nights mean that you get a lot of bi-colors, with contrasting hues on the edges and the insides of petals, which are very sought after in certain markets.”

Tom Royer, our senior vice president and chief operating officer, had been to Quito on multiple occasions prior to his latest visit in September. His nephew, area manager Geoff Royer, had previously joined Tom on trips to flower farms in Bogota and Medellin in Colombia.

Product quality

Because more flower growers ship out of Bogota than Quito, freight costs are more competitive, Geoff said. Quito also has a higher minimum wage that gets passed along to flower buyers.

While Royer’s has tended to buy most of its roses from Colombia because of cost, Tom and Geoff felt compelled to visit Quito because of the undeniable quality of the product there.

This was Geoff’s first exposure to Quito.

The first thing you notice when you get into Quito is the landscape,” Geoff said. “Where Bogota is a plateau and very flat, Quito sits in a river valley.”

Elevation is elevating

Quito is some 700 feet higher in elevation that Bogota.

“That 700 feet is what makes all the difference,” Geoff said. “Because the flowers are closer to the sun, its intensity is much higher. This leads to bigger roses and brighter colors. You can buy the same varieties in both places, but in Quito they are that much better.”

Tom and Geoff wanted a first-hand look at “what’s out there and what’s new,” Geoff said. “We visited a few growers, some whom we’ve dealt with before and others not. As always, we are trying to find the best, longest-lasting product that’s out there.”

Among the Quito-grown products that Royer’s customers could be seeing:

–Hydrangea: “It’s a bigger head and the colors are different from the white and blue that we carry now. There are even some with variegation in the colors,” Geoff said.

–Painted rose: This is a white rose with outside petals hand-painted red. “We sometimes have that that variety of white rose, but the painting is different from anything we’ve had before,” Geoff said.

–Babies breath: Tom and Geoff visited a new grower. “What we get now is called Million Star, a variety that has a smaller flower. This grower offers that but also other varieties with bigger flowers and sturdier stems,” Geoff said.

 

ROYER’S NAME-THE-ARRANGEMENT CONTEST LANDS WITH A ‘CITRUS SPLASH’

You might call Karen Nowak a late bloomer when it comes to contests.

Nowak, a retired teacher from Leola, Lancaster County, said she never wins anything. She didn’t even enter Royer’s Flowers & Gifts’ online name-the-arrangement contest right away before submitting a different suggestion daily for a week.

“Yeah,” she said, “I just thought it was fun. Each day thinking, now what can I do?”

Fun and, ultimately, fruitful. Her submission “Citrus Splash” was selected as the winner among more than 900 entries in the contest, which ran July 15-31.

“Better late than never,” Nowak said upon learning of her win.

Debuting this fall, Citrus Splash will be available in four sizes, small through extra large. The arrangement, which Nowak will receive as a prize, features yellow alstroemeria and daisy pom pons, peach hypericum and mini carnations, and orange carnations.

Greg Royer, Royer’s president and CEO, said the response to the annual contest never ceases to impress him.

“The volume and creativity of the entries says a lot about how passionate our customers feel about flowers,” he said. “Congratulations to Karen and thank you to everyone who participated.”

TAKING A SHINE TO LOCALLY GROWN SUNFLOWERS

Every day, Royer’s makes dozens – if not hundreds – of flower deliveries to homes and businesses in seven counties. It’s likely that you’ll encounter one of our vehicles on any given day.

What’s less well known is that we’re also picking up flowers. In the summer, we make regular visits to Elm Family Flowers in Lititz, which supplies us with thousands of gorgeous, locally grown sunflowers.

In fact, we buy all of Elm’s sunflowers, which we sell by the loose stem and in a variety of arrangements that we make.

Native to the Americas, sunflowers were domesticated around 1000 B.C., according to Good Housekeeping. Not only are they beautiful, but they also produce seeds (1,000 to 2,000 per plant) and oil.

When they are budding, sunflowers literally turn toward the sun, a trait known as heliotropism. The French word for sunflowers is “tournesol,” or “turns with the sun.”

‘SUPER FRESH’

Daniel Lapp of Elm Family Flowers said his father bought their Elm Road dairy farm in 1986. In 2007, the Lapps augmented the dairy farm by starting to grow flowers. Elm has supplied sunflowers to Royer’s for five or six years.

“Daniel and his family are a joy to work with,” said Tom Royer, Royer’s senior vice president and chief operating officer. “We are glad we can work with a local grower who gives us super fresh sunflowers.”

Today, the Lapp farm devotes one acre to sunflowers. To put that into perspective, farms planted 1.7 million acres of sunflowers across the United States in 2014.

Elm’s growing season begins in late March and continues until the final harvest in early fall. Lapp said the first seeds begin in a heated greenhouse in what are known as plug trays. After a couple weeks, they are transplanted into the ground but covered with fabric that allows sun and moisture to get through but protects against frost.

“It retains a little of the daytime heat during the night,” Lapp said.

The transplanted seeds require 80 to 90 days before they can be harvested. By comparison, seeds planted directly into the ground will require only 50 to 60 days.

The last sunflowers of the year will be planted by Aug. 10 to beat potentially harmful cold temperatures.

“I usually figure Oct. 10 or 15 is when we’re going to get a frost,” Lapp said.

No matter the temperature outside, of course, sunflowers project warmth wherever they are.

Royer’s name-the-arrangement online contest runs July 15-31

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts’ annual name-the-arrangement contest is four times more fun this summer.

The winning name will apply to one arrangement that’s available in four sizes, small through extra-large.

The person who submits the winning name will receive a small version of the arrangement (retail value $21.99), which features yellow alstroemeria and daisy pom pons, peach hypericum and mini carnations, and orange carnations.

To view the arrangement and enter the contest, visit royers.com/contest.

Limit one entry daily per email address, July 15 through July 31.

OUR ANNUAL ROSE SALE RETURNS MAY 16-JUNE 16

Roses are most closely associated with Valentine’s Day, but they are available year-round.

They’re a particularly good value in June thanks to the natural rose growing cycle, as evidenced by Royer’s annual rose sale, which coincides with National Rose Month in June.

This year’s sale runs May 16-June 16 with specials including:

  • Three roses added to any arrangement for $4;
  • One-dozen loose red, yellow, pink or rainbow roses for $15.99;
  • Two-dozen premium rose arrangement for $69.99 (normally $89.99).

A rose farm typically harvests its crop every six to eight weeks: conveniently, after the Valentine’s Day harvest comes the one for Mother’s Day. But while there’s another big crop of roses in late spring, there is not a corresponding holiday to absorb all those flowers.

Our rose sale taps into that abundant availability, which makes roses less expensive for us and, by extension, for you, our customers.

Royer’s primary rose variety is called Freedom, which makes a big impression with its deep color, size (flowers range from 5 to 7 centimeters across), and long vase life.

No matter the variety, roses have similar characteristics. However, care requirements can differ whether the roses arrive in a vase, loose or in a box, as these care tips explain.

Of course, with our annual rose sale, it’s a great time to give roses as a gift to someone else or to treat yourself.

A Guy’s Guide to Flower Buying

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There’s a gender gap when it comes to buying flowers: Women buy 65 percent of fresh flowers, according to the Society of American Florists, while men buy 35 percent.

To the extent that men might be intimidated or uncomfortable buying flowers, we’d like to make the experience a more enjoyable one for them.

To do this, we tapped the expertise of Cheryl Brill, Royer’s vice president of retail operations. Cheryl shared these insights based her more than 20 years of experience in the flower business.

Roses are red – and lots of other colors

Too often, men think only of roses for their significant others, and then only in red. Cheryl encourages male customers to be more adventurous, whether it’s with other colors of roses, other flower varieties, or other looks such as a textured garden appearance.

Don’t stop at Valentine’s Day

Maybe the tendency to focus on red roses has a lot to do with Valentine’s Day which, let’s face it, is ruled by red roses. But the year has only just begun when Valentine’s Day rolls around, so why not mix it up for the 364 days that don’t fall on Feb. 14?

What’s more, 63 percent of flower purchases are for the buyer, compared with 37 percent as gifts. And 86 percent of purchases are for non-calendar occasions, 50 percent of which fall into the “no special occasion” category. The bottom line is that people like to receive flowers any day of the year.

Bouquets don’t have to break the bank

Flower prices tend to rise around Valentine’s Day, in concert with a spike in demand for what is the floral industry’s equivalent of football’s Super Bowl. If that’s the only time of year that you purchase flowers, you can get a warped sense of how much they cost on a day-to-day basis.

Cheryl described how a $7.99 rose bunch made a positive impression on one male customer, who realized that he could afford to be a more frequent flower buyer.

Get the right vase

If she likes to arrange flowers, Cheryl said, then get her a vase that lends itself to arranging and one that fits the décor of the room where it will be used. Does she tend to put flowers on the kitchen counter or on the coffee table?

You don’t have to DIY

In this age of do-it-yourself, there’s a tendency to think that we must go it alone with everything. Rest assured, your trained florist is eager to help. It starts with the right container; she noted that it doesn’t have to be a plain, clear vase. Either bring one in, or your florist can help you select one.

Think about what you want to say

Before you visit or call your florist, Cheryl advised, think about the words you want to send along with the flowers. She said florists are a bit like bartenders: they’ve seen and heard everything, so don’t be embarrassed. Speak from the heart because the sentiment is just as important as the flowers that it goes with.

Valentine’s Day is an oasis amid the darkness of winter, Cheryl said, but it’s nice to see male customers the rest of the year, too.