In Full Holiday Greenery

Rye is blessed with two flower shops that know their customers and pull out all the creative stops to make the holidays bright and beautiful.

Published December 3, 2015 5:00 AM
4 min read

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greenthumbRye is blessed with two flower shops that know their customers and pull out all the creative stops to make the holidays bright and beautiful.

By Caitlin Brown

 

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Rye is blessed with two flower shops that know their customers and pull out all the creative stops to make the holidays bright and beautiful.

Rockridge, a 43-year-old family business is busy at work filling orders. “Ooh, what is that Maria? I want a centerpiece just like that for my Christmas table!” says a longtime customer. Here, everyone is on a first-name basis. Arrangements with seasonal hues, Large amaryllis, orchids, paper whites, poinsettias, and seasonal arrangements are wrapped up and ready to go out for the day.

Bridget McGuigan, her brother, Lorenzo Lagana, and their aunt, Maria Torelli (the floral designer) greet customers warmly. The family vibe here is palpable. When it comes to flower arrangements and plants, “Most of our customers call in orders and say, ‘You know what I like.’ We pride ourselves on knowing our customers well.”

A few days ago a gentleman called and asked if they could put together an arrangement like the one he’d sent to his wife months ago because she loved it. They went in his file, and sent another. “We are old school here. We like to keep what we know and our customers appreciate that about us.”

Holiday offerings are not limited to flowers at Rockridge. Frasier fir trees line the entrance. Rockridge offers same-day delivery and will even put the tree in the stand for customers, as long as they bring it to the Purchase Street store. “We’ve saved a lot of marriages this way,” Lorenzo said with a laugh. Garlands and wreaths galore are available in an array of sizes and they will string the lights on and hang the finished wreath on your door.

Along with the traditional homemade pies they bake — apple, pecan and pumpkin, — holiday fruit baskets are available in a variety of combinations — with wine, cheese, crackers, and more.
And for those cold, wintry nights, Rockridge delivers firewood to keep you toasty. Call 967-2419.

 

 

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When his job in corporate America came to an “abrupt halt” 13 years ago, Michael Falkowski, owner of Greene Willow, decided to follow his passion. It landed him at the New York School of Botanical Gardens, where he studied floral design. Serendipitously, soon after, the Theodore Fremd Avenue storefront where his business now stands became available. He placed an ad at the school for a part-time job, and found his right-hand woman, Claudia Gasparini.

Both are huge enthusiasts of flowers and they have a true knack for creating showstopper arrangements. This holiday season, they are busy at work in the back of their lovely shop cutting, trimming, arranging, and smiling while doing it. “Long and low,” “round, “green and white”… there is love in every arrangement and holiday centerpiece.

They are serious about the flowers they offer. They come from Holland, South America, Israel, Italy, California, and Canada and they go through local wholesalers, but they know what they want and it tends to be seasonal. “They tell us what they have and we know exactly what we are looking for,” said Michael.

Today, their shop is adorned with beautiful fall-hued amaryllis and hydrangeas; arrangements ready to head to their new homes and orchids in beautiful and unique presentations (amazing containers of moss, wood boxes — traditional and contemporary). “In two days, we will be totally sold out of all the cut flowers on display.”

The store is lit up and decorated for the holidays with glittering ornaments strewn along the fireplace mantel, birch baskets, decorative reindeer and table toppers (all for sale), and eye-popping amaryllis (a bestseller for them).

Christmas is a three-week event for this team. “People have parties, send a lot of gifts and thank you’s.” They are non-stop in the back, creating arrangements to please. “We are all about personal service. If we’re available and able to do it, we will until close.” And, if a customer has something in mind that they want and we don’t have it in the store, they’ll try to get it.

This dynamic duo will be in their Santa’s workshop through December 23, when the store closes until January 6. Call 921-4431.

 

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