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About Our Blog

Gardening advice for the beginner to the expert

Our blog features postings from distinct voices within Star® Roses and Plants.  Periodically colleagues from our Research and Plants Teams, our Company Executives as well as members of our Marketing Department will share with you our unique horticultural perspectives and passions.  We strive to offer you a wide breadth of topics from various demographics.  Whether sharing stories of our travels or offering practical gardening tips, we hope to enrich your home garden any way we can!

Meet our contributors!


Steve Hutton | President

Steve is a third generation nurseryman who got his first paying nursery job at age twelve, after a number of non-paying jobs, selling pansies he and his brothers grew to the garden center Conard-Pyle had at the time.  After graduating from Earlham College with a degree in English literature, Hutton sought practical industry experience at a number of different nursery establishments before returning full-time to Conard-Pyle in 1978.  He worked at the cut rose operation E.G. Hill for a year, and then for a year at the foliage plant nursery Oakdell, Inc.  His final stop was working as a trainee for over a year at the world-renown French rose breeding operation, Meilland International.

Upon his return to Conard-Pyle, his first job was routing trucks during the spring shipping season.  He then held positions as head of the License Department, Vice President of Production, and President of the company. His favorite parts of his job at Star® Roses and Plants are evaluating new plants, meeting and working with plant breeders from around the world and taking a slow walk around the nursery to see how everything is growing.

Jacques Ferare | VP of License and New Business Development

Jacques Ferare was born in France and graduated in 1979 from one of the major agricultural schools in France.  After graduating, he went to work for Meilland International, the French rose breeding company. He received his Master’s degree in Floriculture from Colorado State University and shortly thereafter began working with The Conard-Pyle Company as project manager for the new Sunblaze® pot rose program.  Jacques returned to Meilland as the worldwide project manager for Sunblaze®.

He moved back to The Conard-Pyle Company in 1988 to manage the whole rose R & D program.  In 1997 he moved to the West Coast to help with the expansion of the rose program and to manage the cut flower branch of the business.  Since the early 2000’s, besides handling the rose program, he has managed the licensing and product development for the whole company and now the distribution overseas as well.  On his free time, and between airplanes, he enjoys hiking, gardening and playing the guitar. His favorite rose is the one that he has not yet found.

Kyle McKean | Director of Marketing

Kyle was never a fan of roses until she joined The Conard-Pyle Company in 2008.  Until then, when she thought of roses she pictured pristine bouquets of red roses on Valentine’s Day.  She did not know how easy roses were to grow, thanks to the many breakthrough introductions from Star® Roses and Plants.  As a graphic designer, Kyle’s knowledge of horticulture was limited to the successes and failures of her own garden.  As Director of Marketing, she is responsible for marketing The Knock Out® Family of Roses, Drift® Roses, new rose introductions and the expanding lineup of perennials and woody plants that Star® Roses and Plants offers.  Kyle enjoys tending to her organic vegetable garden, which includes tasty edibles, aromatic herbs and even several roses!

Kristen Smith | New Plant Coordinator

Kristen Smith graduated with a degree in Horticulture from The Pennsylvania State University in 2003.  Following graduation she spent a year as an intern at Stonecrop Gardens.  She has been working at Star® Roses and Plants in the role of New Plants Coordinator for seven years.  Part of her job as a member of the New Products Development is to organize and evaluate the rose trials in West Grove, PA and organize distribution of roses, woody plants, and perennials to trial sites around the country.

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