A Gift of Compassion. The Memorial Garden.

I have discovered that my hoarding of plants, seeds, and garden tricks has again served me well.  For years, trading clumps of our favorite plants or sharing bulbs in late fall brings gardeners together and even recruits new dirt diggers to the club.  It is the original “pay it forward” to help out a neighbor or friend by enhancing their collection.

Our long lived perennials fill in and establish themselves while our veggies and annuals give us a short lived thrill of color and bounty.  These cycles mirror our own life cycles.  Some people are blessed enough to see many seasons, but others fade all too quickly from our lives.

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Comforting those who have lost a loved one is always difficult.  The cliche spoken comforts often fall on numb ears.  By nature we want to comfort others and sometimes words just will not do.  That is how a group of us at work came to design our first memorial garden.

When a member of our work place family lost her daughter, we could only begin to imagine her sorrow and looked for opportunities to help in meaningful ways.  The memorial garden was born out of inspiration to create a space that would continue to grow and bring comfort in the darkest of times.

With her permission and location suggestion, we designed a memory garden in honor of her beautiful daughter.  Each of us contributed something special; labor, monetary donations, mulch, specimens from our own gardens and of course, love and prayers.  Throughout the year there are donations of more plants and some maintenance added to the garden.

photoPersonally, it’s the only time weeding isn’t so laborious.  (Misery is relative.)  I can’t always articulate my deep sorrows and joys to my friend.  However, when she pulls into her driveway after hours of pretending her heart isn’t broken, still trying to bring joy to her other children, she is greeted by our labors of love.  I then feel like our feelings are obvious.

After a death in the family, the guests eventually go home, the cards stop, and you are left alone to start trying to weave yourself back into a different life, searching for tiny slivers of happiness.  A memory garden reminds the living that they are loved and that life goes on with or without us.  A burst of color or fragrance on the air is the most simple of pleasures but one that they deserve.  In the memory garden, every passing season brings a little bit more color and little bit more hope for a peaceful heart.

This blog was written by Robin Copey, and inspired by Karen and Christal Jackson.

Talk About Ismeta

This week we’re talking all about Ismeta Bandulj, Flower Buyer and Designer in the Rochester Location.


{1} What is your floral industry background?  I was born in Jugosburja (Bosnia) and worked as a Floral Designer there.

{2} How long have you worked at Rockcastle Florist?  I have worked at Rockcastle Florist for 15 years.  I applied here shortly after we moved to the USA and spoke very little English.  We kid at work that most of my English was learned here at the Shop.

{3} What is the most memorable order you have worked on at Rockcastle?  A young man once came to the shop with a Growers Box of 150 roses that he ordered on line.  He asked for a presentation bouquet with as many as we could manage.  I was able to design a bouquet with all 150.  It was very large and very heavy!

542435_4022863288200_1236014315_n{4} What are your favorite flowers?  Tulips, sunflowers, and calla lilies.

{5} What inspired you in this industry?  Working with beautiful flowers and making people happy with creative designs.

{6} Tell us a random fact about yourself.  I am a big dreamer and wish I could fly.

Talk About Lisa

This issue is all about Lisa, the Manager and Wedding Team Leader in our Canandaigua location.


{1} What is your floral industry background?  I started in the greenhouses of Stella in 1983 and quickly moved to the design room and sales.  Shortly after, I left the floral business and got other jobs.  Nevertheless, I ended up getting back into the industry, working at Cuddeback Florist in Canandaigua as a designer and sales coordinator in 1985.  After spending some time in this role, I moved up to manager and designer of Cuddeback’s Bloomfield location up until 1991.  In 1993 I took some time off to have a baby, and started at Rockcastle in 1994 as a part-time sales associate and designer.  I attended the Hixon School of Floral Design and moved into a full time designer and sales position.  Later on moving to assistant manager.  And for the last four years have been manager of the Rockcastle Florist Canandaguia Location.

{2} How long have you worked at Rockcastle Florist?  It will be 20 years in 2014.

{3} What is the most memorable order you have worked on at Rockcastle?  A halo that we made for a beautiful little girl named Annalise.  She was battling a rare form of cancer and was the flower girl in a wedding.  While the other girls got their hair done the stylist said that Annalise didn’t have enough hair.  When that little girl put that halo on and hugged me, it was by far one of the most powerful moments in my life.  She said she was pretty.  A year later Annalise passed away.  Her aunt sent me a picture from the wedding of her smiling face.  It is at my computer still!

{4} What is your favorite flower?  Alstroemeria.  It comes in lots of great colors and it lasts for so long!

{5} What inspired you in this industry?  People inspire me!  Helping them express happiness or sadness.  Bringing smiles to peoples faces.  Sharing in their wedding.  All of it makes me want to do more and show people the real power of flowers!

{6} Tell us a random fact about yourself.  I collect everything frog!