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A dozen facts about roses to share with your Valentine’s Day recipient


If you’re giving flowers this Valentine’s Day, odds are they will be roses.

That generous gesture alone is likely to impress the recipient. But maybe you really want to wow that special someone with your knowledge of the national flower (see below).

For you, we offer a dozen facts about roses that will help you demonstrate an even deeper commitment to your gift-giving.

1. Red rules
Because they symbolize love and romance, red roses are the runaway most popular color at Valentine’s Day, accounting for 69 percent of sales. In 1800, roses from China were bred with European roses to create the first true red rose. Rounding out the top 5 colors are white (38 percent), pink (37 percent), mixed (31 percent), and yellow (29 percent).

2. Color meaning
Other rose colors convey different meanings, giving you other options depending on your relationship with the recipient. For instance, you can send a message of friendship and cheer with yellow roses. Pink is a sign of appreciation, white of reverence.

3. Sweet smell
Rose oil is a popular floral scent and used in many women’s perfumes. It takes 2,000 roses to produce just one gram of oil.

4. 13,000 varieties
The cultivation of roses began around 500 B.C. Today, there are some 100 rose species and 13,000 rose varieties. And you thought there were a lot of mustard options at the grocery store!

5. Enduring
Roses are among the oldest flowers: rose fossils found in Colorado in the late 19th
century were 35 million years old. The oldest living rose is 1,000 years old and grows on a wall at Hildeshein Cathedral in Germany.

6. George Washington, no lie
The Father of His Country chopped down a cherry tree, according to folklore, but Washington planted roses at his Virginia home, Mount Vernon, and hybridized a variety that he named the “Mary Washington” after his mother.

7. 200 million roses
Each Valentine’s Day, Americans give approximately 200 million roses. The bulk of those roses come from South America. In the three weeks leading up to Feb. 14, the Washington Post reported in 2019, 30 cargo jets travel from Colombia to Miami each day.

8. From South America with love
Royer’s works directly with rose farms in South America to ensure that our flowers are of the highest quality. We visit those farms each year in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day to check on the crop and then follow the shipment through U.S. customs in Miami and onto a refrigerated truck destined for central Pennsylvania.

9. White House Rose Garden
Established in 1913 by the wife of Woodrow Wilson, the Rose Garden borders the Oval Office and the West Wing. It has been redesigned several times, as recently as 2020.

10. National flower
In 1986, standing in the Rose Garden, President Ronald Reagan declared the rose the national flower of the United States.

11. Stories and songs
Authors and songwriters have long been inspired by roses. To wit, in “Romeo and Juliet,” William Shakespeare wrote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.” By one count, more than 4,000 songs are dedicated to roses.

12. Make them last
With the right care, your recipient’s roses can last for a week or longer. It is important to water the flowers and to keep them away from heat sources. If the water gets dirty, remove the flowers, re-cut the stems and put them back in the vase with fresh water.

Between gifting roses and learning more about them here, clearly you have put all of your heart into Valentine’s Day.

But if we can help with anything else, please let us know.


We want to tell a love story, perhaps yours


Let’s get to the heart of the matter: With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we want to share a family-friendly love story on our blog, perhaps yours.

We’re holding a contest to find that story. The winner, who must live within Royer’s delivery area, will have his or her story professionally written and will receive three monthly flower deliveries (valued at $29.99 per month) courtesy of Royer’s new subscription program.

To submit your story, look for our pinned Facebook post on Jan. 20 and respond in the comment section of that post by midnight Jan. 22 (UPDATE: This has been extended to Jan. 26.)

In two or three sentences (approximately 50 words), tell us what is unique and compelling about your love story. Maybe it’s how or where you met, or when you realized you were in love, or a sweet tradition you share.

The winner, who will be chosen on Jan. 25 (now Jan. 29), must be willing to participate in a phone interview that week. We’ll share the story in early February.

We hope you’ll put your heart into this. Good luck!




Royer’s Flowers presents American Red Cross with thousands of holiday cards for area veterans

Because of the generosity of our customers, Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has presented some 2,500 holiday cards and coloring pages to the American Red Cross for distribution to area veterans.

Royer’s, which has participated in the Red Cross “Holidays for Heroes” program for nearly a decade, collected the cards in each of its stores throughout November.

The items will be distributed to veterans at the Lebanon VA Medical Center and at area retirement facilities.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this year’s Holidays for Heroes.

Photo: From left, Jonathan Glenn, regional program director, American Red Cross, and Barry Spengler, chief administrative officer, Royer’s Flowers & Gifts.


Here’s a handy guide to your Christmas poinsettia

Poinsettias have been called the lobster flower and flame leaf flower. By any name, they are the Christmas flower, although their flowers actually aren’t the colorful parts for which they are known.

But like an eager child who hasn’t made a wish list yet can’t wait to open gifts on Christmas morning, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

First, some poinsettia background:

  • Native to Mexico, poinsettias are perennial shrubs that can grow 10 to 15 feet tall.
  • Poinsettias were introduced to the United States in 1825 by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
  • Dec. 12 is National Poinsettia Day in America, marking Poinsett’s death in 1851.
  • Poinsettias were first successfully grown outside Mexico by Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, a 50-acre National Historic Landmark that still operates.

Some people pronounce it “poinsetta” (three syllables), and others say “poinsettia,” (four syllables). We’re not sticklers either way. It’s more important that you enjoy your poinsettia and get the most out of it.

Grown in Lancaster County

But while there’s leeway when it comes to pronunciation, there are strongly rooted facts about poinsettias:

  • The colored parts of poinsettias aren’t flowers but bracts (leaves).
  • Poinsettias come in more than 100 varieties, from traditional red and white to pink and burgundy, marbled and speckled.
  • Poinsettias are commercially grown in all 50 states. Royer’s are from Lancaster County, Pa.
  • Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.
  • Contrary to popular myth, poinsettias are not poisonous, to humans or pets: An Ohio State study found that a 50-pound child who ate 500 bracts might have a slight tummy ache. Some people with latex allergies have had skin reactions to the sap that comes from poinsettia leaves.

Poinsettia care

Royer’s offers decorated and undecorated poinsettias in multiple color and size options.

Poinsettias are happiest in conditions that approximate their Mexican origin: as much bright light as possible, warm and never sitting in water. Like humans, they don’t like wet feet.

The plants can suffer from droopy leaves, a condition known as epinasty, if they are exposed to cold temperatures or experience a build-up of ethylene gas.

If you’ve ever shopped for poinsettias at a big-box retailer, you may have seen a rack of them still in their protective sleeves. What you’re really seeing is those plants being ruined because the sleeves trap ethylene gas. An experienced florist knows to remove the sleeves as soon as possible.

By any name or pronunciation, poinsettias are a beautiful and safe holiday tradition, a gift of Mexican origin that keeps giving to the world nearly two centuries later.

Additional source: University of Illinois Extension


Royer’s Flowers donates $1,000 to Clare House in Lancaster

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has donated $1,000 to the non-profit Clare House in Lancaster.

Family-owned Royer’s donates $10 to women’s charities for every purchase of its Admiration arrangement, which is available year-round.

Clare House’s mission is to transform the lives of women and their children through an employment-focused program providing safety, housing and supportive services with the goal of financial stability. Clare House celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

Photo: Geoff Royer, vice president of central operations, left, and Tom Royer, CEO, of Royer’s Flowers & Gifts, with Brittany Garner, board member, Clare House.

Royer’s Flowers saluting veterans with free red, white and blue bouquets Nov. 11

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts will continue an annual tradition when it honors veterans with free patriotic bouquets on Nov. 11.

The bouquets – featuring a red carnation, a white carnation and a blue bow – will be available in-store only at any of Royer’s 16 locations in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.

Royer’s employees and customers are required to wear masks for their safety as part of the effort to combat COVID-19.

“We always look forward to Veterans Day and the opportunity to show our appreciation for the men and women who have selflessly served our country,” said Tom Royer, CEO of Royer’s.

Non-veterans may purchase the bouquet for $1.90.

Royer’s collecting holiday cards and coloring pages for service members and veterans

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts is collecting holiday cards and coloring pages for service members and veterans throughout November in each of its stores.

Royer’s will present the collected items to the American Red Cross “Holidays for Heroes” program.

Cards and coloring pages may be dropped off (masks are required) at any Royer’s store during normal business hours.

Free coloring pages can be downloaded at

The Red Cross offers these guidelines for preparing cards:

  • Use generic salutations: “Dear Service Member” or “Dear Veteran”
  • Be thoughtful with messages, expressing reasons why you are thankful for the service members/veterans; if you have a personal connection, such as a family member who served, consider adding that
  • Try not to be overtly religious, but messages such as “Merry Christmas” or “God Bless You” are acceptable
  • Do not include inserts such as glitter, photos, business cards
  • Do not include personal information such as telephone number, address or email
  • Sign your name

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Royer’s Flowers donates $1,000 to Power of the Purse in Berks County

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has donated $1,000 to the Berks County Community Foundation’s Power of the Purse program for women.

Family-owned Royer’s donates $10 to women’s charities for every purchase of its Admiration arrangement, which is available year-round.

Begun by a group of women in 2012, Power of the Purse pools individual donations and awards grants to area nonprofits that work to improve the lives of local women and children.

Photo: Geoff Royer, vice president of central operations, left, and Tom Royer, CEO, of Royer’s Flowers & Gifts, with Rochelle Grey, steering committee, Power of the Purse in Berks County.


In her words: She was a Christmas baby, but Royer’s designer Linda Stokes is a child of Halloween

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I’ve loved Halloween since I was little, growing up in the Reading area.

I remember going around our small neighborhood with my Dad, who would dress up, too, maybe as a clown or in another costume. My mother would stay home and tend to the kids who came trick-or-treating at our house.

Dad definitely was more into it than my mother, but she was a seamstress and made costumes for me and my two older sisters. The best one was the Tin Man from the “Wizard of Oz,” around the time I was in fifth grade.

In those days, Herr’s potato chips came in a cardboard container. That was the basis for my Tin Man’s head, spray-painted silver with cloth underneath it for my comfort. The body was made of cardboard, too. Mom was very crafty.

Family tradition

As I tell my husband, Tom, I never have too much Halloween. I hate to say it: I was born on Christmas Day, but I like Halloween better. It’s a family tradition: my father’s mother used to throw Halloween parties and passed on her decorations to my parents and, ultimately, me.

My two older sisters aren’t passionate about Halloween like I am. I think I went over the limit!

Linda Stokes is a designer and assistant manager at Royer’s in Ephrata.

I’ve been with Royer’s since 1984. I’m a designer and a couple years ago added assistant manager responsibilities at the Ephrata store, where I’ve spent most of my years with the company. Before Royer’s, I worked for seven years at a Reading florist.

I used to dress up for Halloween at work. One year, I was a character from the musical “Cats,” complete with ears and a tail. It was hard to work in, though!

Royer’s sells Halloween arrangements and gifts, of course, but I especially love it when customers come in seeking a custom piece. It fires my imagination, and I enjoy the challenge of capturing the customer’s vision.

Besides the arrangements on our website, our store will come up with original pieces, too. I just see what products are in our store at the time and work with them: It might be a pumpkin with a face on it that I incorporate into an arrangement.

We have such a cute line of containers this year, including ceramic mummy heads, that would work great for custom pieces.

But Halloween isn’t just a work thing for me. In fact, it’s an even bigger part of my life at home in Reamstown.

Decorating at home

We don’t get many trick-or-treaters, but we decorate our house inside and out and host a themed costume party every year. There’s a pinata (it’s funny to see adults dive-bombing for candy when the pinata opens) and a pumpkin-pitching contest (launched from our deck to a target below).

As with so many traditions this year, the party is on hiatus because of the pandemic. For that reason, I’m only decorating three rooms instead of the whole house.

My antique pieces were made in the United States and Germany. These lanterns and die-cuts, featuring cats, witches, devil faces, are made of paper and cardboard and are fragile. I display them year-round in a curved glass cabinet.

I keep adding to my collection, too. This year, I bought four die-cut pieces from the 1920s featuring a pirate, scarecrow, skeleton and witch.

My collection also includes four mannequins and 10 animatronic characters that I dress up and display in the house. I must have 20 to 25 plastic totes filled with Halloween items; they take up an entire room in the house and three-quarters of Tom’s workshop.

Tom’s a good sport when it comes to indulging my love of all things Halloween, but even he has limits.

One year, I tried to put handkerchiefs on our two huskies. Tom said, no, we don’t need to dress up our dogs.

‘Checkered Harvest’ winning entry in Royer’s name-the-arrangement contest

Lori Macchi describes herself as a “fall weather person.”

“I’ll take that season any day,” she said.

Macchi’s fondness for fall and flowers made her a prime candidate to enter Royer’s contest to name a mounded pumpkin arrangement.

Her entry, Checkered Harvest, was selected as the winner among more than 1,400 online submissions received Sept. 14-18. Macchi’s prize is one of the arrangements.

The all-around arrangement measures 11.5 inches high, 13 inches long and 12 inches wide. It features a six-inch white ceramic pumpkin, country buffalo gingham bow, roses, alstroemeria, carnations, poms and hypericum.

Click here if you’d like to order a Checkered Harvest arrangement.