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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.

Back in Bogota for the big Proflora trade show

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The last time we joined Geoff Royer in South America, it was in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. Geoff, area manager, and his uncle Tom Royer, senior vice president and chief operating officer, were checking on the quality of roses being grown just for Royer’s customers for the holiday.

Early October found Geoff and Tom back in South America, half of their time spent at farms and the rest at the big Proflora floral trade show in Bogota, Colombia.

Unlike most florists, Royer’s acts as its own wholesaler, distributing fresh flowers to its 16 stores in seven counties. Dealing directly with growers gives Royer’s more control over costs and quality but warrants a continual presence in South America.

“It’s important to us to look at the farms because that is where we can see if problems are starting to develop,” Geoff said. “It’s also the last place our flowers are before they are boxed up and sent to the U.S.”

Meanwhile, that same desire to stay ahead of events is why Geoff and Tom attended Proflora. As a preview of what’s coming, the show allows Royer’s to be on the forefront of procuring the best products for its customers.

It is held every two years so that floral buyers and growers alike can see what’s new and what’s coming in the floral industry. The show exhibitors range from flower food makers and logistics companies to, of course, breeders and growers.

“It is start to finish what a wholesaler needs to complete their job,” Geoff said.

Specific goals

It’s typical for Royer’s to approach the show with specific goals in mind. This year, the focus was on finding additional growers to meet Royer’s needs for poms and limonium.

Specifically, Geoff said, poms (as is true for other types of flowers) used in arrangements should have long laterals, which is the distance from a flower to its main stem. The longer, the better, in terms of appearance in an arrangement.

“We have a pom grower now that does very well with this, but we are continually looking for who else is growing what we are looking for,” Geoff said.

“With the limonium (also known as caspia), we use a specific variety and are searching for another grower of it. It helps us at holidays to ensure we can get the supply that we need.”

Among the other Proflora highlights:

  • In the show’s variety competition, one of Royer’s carnation growers, Geoflora, and its breeder, S.B. Talee, won two awards for carnations and one for ranunculus.
  • Geoff and Tom saw new spray rose varieties. Spray roses typically used to be smaller, Geoff said, with a lower petal count. They didn’t last as long and tended to open very quickly. The new varieties not only have higher petal counts but are much larger. Royer’s potentially can use them in corsage and wedding work or even in vases.
  • Geoff and Tom also saw several new varieties of red roses. Currently, Royer’s most-used variety is called Freedom. It has a high petal count, and when it opens is just beautiful. Everyone is looking for the next Freedom, Geoff said.
  • Garden roses also are becoming more popular, mostly for weddings and event work. Alexandra Farms, a group Royer’s is just starting to work with, grows multiple varieties of garden roses. These include David Austin varieties, named for the renowned English breeder whose roses are regaled for their beauty and scent.

“The most exciting things about the garden roses is the smell,” Geoff said. “In many cases the scent of flowers has been bred out of them. Scent and vase life are typically linked. Garden roses still have the scents and they are typically larger bloom sizes.”

Geoff and Tom will head back to South America early in the new year, ahead of Valentine’s Day, as the cycle repeats itself.

Fox 43 appearance: (home)coming attractions

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Homecoming can be a nervous time for high school students.

Never mind asking someone to the dance; it can take real courage when it comes to choosing your date’s corsage or boutonniere. Rest assured, Royer’s is here to help.

That was part of the message shared today by Erica Bixby of Royer’s when she visited Fox 43 Morning News. Erica and host Amy Lutz discussed homecoming stalwarts and newer options.

“There’s a lot of fun things that are trending this year,” Erica said. “There’s floral prints. Our most popular colors are navy, blush, burgundy, those pretty fall colors.  …

“If you’re not sure what color the dress is, that’s OK. Our most popular one is very simple, it’s white sweetheart roses with babies breath. And, of course for the guy, we’ll always do the matching boutonniere.”

Among the changes Royer’s has witnessed, Erica said, is corsages with one big flower, such as a mini gerbera. It’s a trend she described as “fun and flirty.”

‘Every one is different’

Standard corsages start with a white ribbon but can be spray painted (she demonstrated with green) to match a dress color. A variety of ribbons, bracelets and rhinestones can be added, as can, of course, a rainbow of flowers to make for a one-of-a-kind look.

“It’s really like artwork,” Amy said.

“And every one is different,” Erica said, “which makes it fun.”

As an alternative to a corsage, Erica suggested a hand-tied bouquet, such as the one she held up featuring sunflowers, solidago, mini green hydrangeas, Italian ruscus, and seeded eucalyptus with a burlap bow.

Erica noted that it’s a good idea to consider a date’s mother, too, at homecoming.

“It’s always good to bring mom some flowers,” Erica said, holding a rose bouquet.

“And that’s [true] for the guy or girl,” Amy said.

“Or if somebody’s hosting for pictures, it’s always nice to bring them a little something.”

To view the segment, click here.

Of course, you’ll find homecoming help at all of our stores, or try out our corsage builder.