Fall Home Decor

It’s that time of year again for crisp air, changing leaves, and bright & warm flowers! Here is some Fall decor inspiration for your home!

{1} Front Porch: Use potted flowers or planters on your front porch. To really embrace the Fall mood, you can use pumpkins instead of traditional pots!


{2} Door or Entry Way: Use a burlap or silk flower wreath on your front door! It will be a warm welcome for guests.


{3} Living Spaces: Having vases around your home filled with Fall flowers is bound to keep your home feeling cozy & festive. Choose the rooms that you spend a lot of time in, like your kitchen or living room! flowers

{4} Mantle: Mantles and fireplaces are usually focal points in the home. Use the space to decorate with Fall flowers and decor!


{5} Table Centerpiece: Whether you keep it out all season long or use it for the holidays and special occasions, an Autumn inspired centerpiece is a perfect fit for any table.


Fall Gardens

Fall is right around the corner.  Get ready for changing leaves, pumpkins galore, and gardening fun.  Robin will take us on a trip with some of her best vegetable gardening tips and fun facts:

{1} Break on through to the other side: There is a wondrous, dark side to gardening…root plants and tubers! Below my blooming Zinnias, Sunflowers and out of control tomatoes are colorful treasures all tucked away in the darkness. In Rochester, we can grow root plants like radishes, turnips, onions and garlic. roots_2553617c

{2} Sleep with one eye open: Potatoes win for easiest tuber. Even the kids like harvesting the potatoes. Every flipped pitchfork reveals a surprise quantity and assorted sizes of these veggies.


{3} Ground control to major Tom: In 1995 the potato was the first veggie grown in space!


{4} Just beet it, beet it!: On to my favorite, the beet. The ruffly foliage is streaked with raspberry veins and serves as a great garnish,salad green or cooked down like spinach. In our modern varieties they are usually round, happy little power houses of vitamins and minerals. Ruby red, but can be yellow, white or striped, the beet has been used medicinally since before they “walked like an Egyptian”.


{5} Care for some carrots?: Pooh’s friend, Rabbit, showed he had a brain and not “fluff” when guarding his carrots with such anxiety. Carrots are easy to plant and require little care. They are very rewarding and put the watered down, store bought carrots to shame. They have a sometimes sweet to bitter, full taste and you can harvest at your own leisure depending on size you want. The larger the carrot the more bitter. Carrots are also easy to store for use later in the season.


{6} Can you dig it: With a rototiller or good shovel, the soil can be turned enough to make harvesting your underground treasures much easier and allows for easy hand weeding to avoid damaging the roots and tubers. There are many varieties of roots not even mentioned so find what works for your home.digging-vegetable-garden

Robin wants to remind you that gardening is your thing…do whatcha wanna do!

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Facts

Shamrock plants are a huge hit in the store this time of year.  Customers are looking to bring spring into the home, and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this holiday staple.  So before you grab a plant for yourself, we wanted to share some fun facts about these green beauties:


{1} There is actually no such thing as a Shamrock plant.  Shamrocks are clovers and are often identified as the White Clover or Trifolium Repens.  It’s also known as Oxalis.

{2} Shamrock’s have three leaves, but one out of about every 10,000 has four leaves.  This is why four-leaf clovers are considered “lucky”.

{3} St. Patrick used the shamrock to identify the Holy Trinity, but many see the leaves representing hope, faith, and love.  If there is a fourth leaf, it’s for luck.

{4} The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamróg or seamair óg, meaning “little clover”.

{5} Irish couples will include shamrocks in their wedding flowers, like bouquets and boutonniere’s, for good luck.

Holiday Office Gifting

Tis’ the season to be sending some holiday cheer.  Whether you’re thanking clients, recognizing employees, or sending some love to your best vendors, your local florist has so many options for leaving a big impression on your recipient.  Here are some popular options we offer at Rockcastle Florist for your Office sending pleasure:

{1} Poinsettia Plants.  These beautiful plants are a staple of the holiday season, and make a perfect gift.  The poinsettia plant is a long lasting option, making it perfect for those who want to send Christmas wishes early this year.  Finished off with a beautiful holiday bow, these plants will bring a smile to whomever you are sending.


{2} Gourmet & Fruit Baskets.  Food is always the safe option for gifting.  Who doesn’t love a basket of tasty treats?   You can choose from a basket of fresh fruit, gourmet items, or a combination of both.  Baskets can be customized to fit a variety of themes and budgets.

Fruit Basket

{3} Centerpieces.  A perfect piece to send for the home.  Our centerpieces feature one to three taper candles and come in a variety of styles.  For a longer lasting piece, opt for the Woodland centerpiece.  It’s a beautiful assortment of greenery, berries, and apples.

Wood Center Premium

And don’t forget office decor and holiday parties!  Flowers are a great addition to adding that extra touch of holiday cheer.  Greet your clients and event attendees with a beautiful floral installation.  Silk pieces make a great look for the office all holiday season, and fresh floral are a perfect addition to your next holiday office event.

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.

Can’t Keep A Gardener From Growing

Today we are happy to share another guest blogger, our very own designer Robin!  She is sharing some of her latest gardening research with us.  Happy reading:


Everyday of my life nature has inspired me.  As a sleepy tot, leaves served as a mobile for me while my mother did outside chores, wild daisy and black eyed susans later taught me how to braid and chain halos.  I was free to move about in the garden at my own speed, free to indulge all my senses.  Working the Earth steadily all these years completes me and offers physical and mental workouts.  Lately that freedom of movement and opportunity has taken on a new meaning.

Recently a family friend, who shares my passion for plant hoarding and appreciation for garden design, has become physically incapacitated.  She will not heal from her disease and in her early 50’s a wheelchair will now be her only means of mobility.  Along with my suffocating empathy for her situation, I have found a panic button in myself.  One that triggered the fear that at any moment of one’s life, their physical status may change for the worse.  Whether by disease, accident or aging, it is life altering and something I personally would struggle with to the extreme.  So at the root of my fear is ” how will I garden???!!”
I have started researching handicap accessible gardens in hopes to be reassured that there would still be opportunities for my gardening brothers and sisters (and someday possibly myself) that may need a little help in completing their garden or landscape visions.  I was slightly annoyed that there were so few options.  Most photos were of wheel chair accessible gardens to visit in larger cities.  That may be nice for an afternoon visit or a bit of inspiration, but a real gardener needs to get their hands dirty. (Need, not want!)  There were a couple different architectural samples for the homeowner.  Mostly wood raised beds that are the correct height for a wheelchair to glide next to.  The thought is nice, but weeding can sometimes become a contortionist art.  Pulling or planting while facing the wrong direction is not efficient or comfortable.  Leverage and gravity are mandatory.  So I dug deeper for more information. Finally I came across proper raised beds where a wheelchair could pull right up to the planting beds that fit like a table over the lap.  There was a glimmer of hope!  The outside of some of the raised beds were even nicely covered in field stone for a much more natural feel.  There were large gardens of brick or stone that had small coves built in for a very accessible and natural flow and beautiful paths that to the untrained eye would appear to be like any other inviting garden walkway.  On closer inspection the paths are flanked with woody plants, shrubs and trees that need pruning and shaping at a 3′ to 4′ foot level.  Maintenance after initial plantings was thought out professionally.
There are lifelong gardeners and beginners but the common thread is that once you connect to the soil and plants it’s difficult, if not impossible, to pull yourself away.  Blisters, cuts and pulled muscles are just the ignorable side effects of a beautiful personal garden oasis that brims with your own pride and creativity. No matter the physical limitations, We will always find a way to keep up the work.
So I will now keep my eyes (and mind) open a bit further in finding creative and well engineered planting beds that everyone can use.  I would love to see more community gardens offer accessible gardens for everyone and to see more selection and inspiration of raised beds and greenhouses.

Robin’s Garden

We’re excited to have one of our own designers, Robin, as a guest blogger this week. She will be sharing information on one of her many passions, gardening:


My yard in Spring is like an out of control, multicolored soiree. The flora and fauna go from stark to lush in 2 days of sunshine. There are old friends arriving, new guests from who knows where, no shows and the inevitable unwanted guests usually in creeping weed form. The house and multitude of chores inside must wait until October now, for the real party has begun outside.

In all this chaos we must remember not to rush out of the gate prematurely and that there may be better times to plant or prune certain species. There is no blanket rule for your pruning duties. So don’t get Edward Scissor Hands on your shrubs without researching your specific variety and it’s tailored needs.  For example, some hydrangea varieties are best to be pruned when you can decipher new and old growth by swelling buds in Spring.  The buds of some plants have set themselves in fall and by pruning at the wrong time you will cut off any potential flowers. Our cold, windy winters prove to be too much for some deeply pruned and hallow Hydrangea stems. A light prune just to shape the plant is always safest until you know for sure.

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Be careful raking too early, “your roots are showing” isn’t just something of a coiffure slam, but your actual lawn has tender shallow roots in the early spring. By raking too soon you will rip and damage that manicured lawn you are striving for and eventually killing with kindness. If you unsightly stalks or clumps of leaves, just pick them up by hand until we have more consecutively warm days and the grass has started flourishing.

Some other fun spring tidbits that will help you out is to be patient. You may have received a beautiful bulb garden basket this past Easter or even for Mother’s day. The best treatment for the bulbs after they have bloomed is to trim the dead flower stem off and allow the foliage to run its course and eventually wilt. After wilted, place the container in a cool, dark, dry place for the summer. In late fall after temperatures drop, is the perfect time to place them in the ground with a little fertilizer/ bone meal (follow the instructions about depth. (Not too shallow!)  The bulbs should pop up in the spring and be back on their “normal” schedule.

Last but not least, I will single out my favorite spring flower. The true sign of new beginnings, the flower of Wales and the most resilient of the bulbs, the Daffodil. Ever since Narcissus drowned in that pool of water after being so taken with his own beautiful reflection, the plant has had many myths surrounding it. Animals instinctively know not to eat the poisonous plant. The sap has sharp crystals of calcium oxalate that may irritate your skin and are poisonous. However, it is fine to place Daffodils in a vase of mixed flowers as long as the water is changed daily. There is nothing better than to see a few simple stems of their happy yellow faces peeking out from your favorite vase.

Tick-tock, Spring time is fleeting in Rochester, Ny so go out and enjoy the fresh, new pallet of your space and the pride in last year’s good planning.

Mother’s Day: Then And Now


Mother’s Day in the United States originates back to the Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870 by Julia Ward Howe.  The document was written from this feminist as a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country.  Despite her efforts, and many women after her, Mother’s Day was not made an official national holiday until 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson.


Today we show this “love and reverence” by creating handmade cards, making breakfast in bed, and often sending beautiful floral and plant gifts.  In fact, Mother’s Day continues to be one of the biggest days for flower sales, greeting card sales, and long-distance telephone calls.  So whether the Mother in your life is near or far, flowers continue to be the one special way to say thank you for everything you do on Mother’s Day.


A great feature of Mother’s Day is the time of year we celebrate it.  The beginning of May is right about the time when the weather is really transitioning and the beautiful outdoors seem to come alive.  This being said, a decorative planter filled with outdoor plants is the perfect for garden enthusiasts, or someone who just wants a little outdoor color on their porch or deck.  A mixture of annuals and perennials will put a smile on any Mother’s face.  And when the weather is gardening ready, the special mother in your life can plant your lovely gift.

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