Sponsored: The Flower and Garden Center at Brookdale ShopRite – Convenience & Variety for Home, Garden, Special Occasions

When grocery shopping, I don’t usually think about floral arrangements, tomato plants, and mulch. But to my surprise I found all of that and more – after a deep dive into the biggest little flower shop at Brookdale ShopRite.

Visiting with floral manager, Judy Cristelli, we wandered through the mountain of flowers on display. She pointed out her favorite items – roses, for one. Dozens and dozens of lovely fresh Colombian roses of every color – fresh and fragrant – dry packed and delivered daily “they don’t come any fresher” says Judy. You want roses for Mother’s Day? They have them in abundance – bouquets, corsages, long stem in vases, ribboned and delivered. You can even get a bucket of rose petals if you want to lavish your Domestic Goddess in florals.

Floral manager Judy Cristelli

Live, green plants are always nice to keep for yourself or to give – there were small, waxy succulents in a pebbled planter, wispy palms, zen bamboo plants, New Jersey grown tulips, gorgeous orchids (feed 3 ice cubes per week for the big ones) and my favorite, ivy topiaries – all reasonably priced.

Before hitting the produce aisles, there’s no reason not to grab a bright bunch of cut flowers (or two or three) – when they can be styled for you in a bouquet to pick up on your way out. The daily floral special is pick 3 bunches for just $12.

Take a walk through the side door, and there’s more to satisfy your green thumb and landscaping needs than meets the eye at the garden center. Now, when I make my grocery list for bread, milk and veggie burgers – I can add mulch, top soil, fertilizer, and live herbs. Who knew? It’s an efficient use of my time, getting it all at ShopRite. But that’s not all. What’s a garden center without blossom-laden hanging baskets, flats and tubs of bright annuals, and an assortment of tomato plants and veggies?

Back inside the floral department with the flower design-obsessed staff, I asked what kind of things they can do for customers. But the real question is what can’t they do?

In this season, they are the unofficial headquarters for prom corsages of all types and colors – standard and custom. For any special occasion bring in a photo of an arrangement, they can replicate. Have a favorite vase or pedestal from home? Pick your flowers, they will create something amazing for parties, bridal showers, weddings. (I’m going for a flower filled pumpkin this Fall.) Have a theme? They’ve done it all with flowers: red/white/blue, Stars and Stripes, floral shamrocks, Celtic cross, green horseshoes for St Pat’s, white crosses for communions, sprays and bouquets, flower decorated cakes, wreaths and open hearts for funeral arrangements. Traditional, modern, or tropical the ShopRite flower ladies are attentive artistic arrangers!

And they do have fun with their flowers – even decorating an entire church. Judy says she once had a request for a funeral. The gentleman who passed away was an avid ShopRite fan, who religiously read the Thursday sales circular like his bible. Judy and her team created a beautiful round spray for the casket, and in the center was his beloved ShopRite circular.

Need flowers? Give ShopRite floral a call, 7am-8pm daily: 973 338-4141 X103 – ask for Judy, or Cecylia, her full time designer for the past 15 years.

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