Employee Spotlight: Jackie Lyle

Jackie Lyle

Job Title: 
Supply Chain Operations Manager

Time with Star® Roses and Plants: 
Two years

Flame Thrower Cercis

Q: Can you share a little about your work background and how you got your start at Star® Roses and Plants?  

A: I became employed in the horticulture industry in 2011 when I was hired as the Communications Manager for a sustainable landscape design/build firm in Tucson, Arizona. I remember walking projects with my boss. He would spout out the botanical name of each plant, along with interesting facts about the plant, including origin, habit, likes, and dislikes. I thought to myself, “Man, I want to be this knowledgeable about plants someday.” So, I got to work.  

I became a Master Gardener, earned various certifications through the state Contractors/Nursery Associations, studied to become a docent at the campus arboretum, became a member of the city’s landscape advisory committee, and eventually earned my ISA Arborist Certification.  

During that time, I gained experience in the retail world and in wholesale growing. I remember each year when we would receive our bareroot rose orders from Star®. It was like Christmas came early! We were so excited to receive beautiful, high-quality products from such a highly regarded company. I thought to myself, “I would love to work for Star® Roses someday.” And here I am.

Q: What is one thing about your job that you particularly enjoy?

A: I love the fact that my work makes the world a greener place.

Q: Is there anything that surprises you about the horticulture industry? 

A: The industry is so innovative! From plant breeding and tissue culture to information technology and mechanization—it’s all so fascinating. I love visiting Cultivate each year to see the latest and greatest gadgets and plant introductions. It’s just too cool! 

Q: We’re lucky to work with a product that is beautiful and alive: plants! Can you speak to how that affects you and the way you do your work? 

A: Being a plant nerd, the horticulture industry means the world to me. Plants are my “why.” This isn’t just a job for me—it’s a lifestyle. I walk in nature’s beauty every day and feel blessed to be a part of bringing beauty to the world’s gardens. 

Q: It’s hard to choose a favorite plant, but what is one that you love right now? 

A: Nothing will ever touch Flame Thrower® in my mind. I’m pretty sure I shed a couple of tears the first time I saw it in person. That color! That stature! It’s the most perfect Cercis that has ever been introduced. 

Many plant trends come and go over the years. Is there one trend or plant that you wish would have taken off and stuck? 

A: This is a tough question. Plants don’t ever go out of style in my world. I have African Violets. I have Orchids. I have a Spider Plant in a macrame hanger. They all have their place in my world. The only thing I DON’T want to see make a comeback is fake plants—or painted plants for that matter. Just gross.  

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’ve received or one thing you’ve learned from working in the horticulture industry? 

A: Never sacrifice the long-term for the short-term. It’s so true in every aspect of our industry. Whether you’re breeding plants, sowing crops, creating production plans, updating infrastructure, or developing SOPs, every step of the journey matters.  

Q: The 25th Anniversary of The Knock Out® Rose is coming up in 2025. Do you have a personal Knock Out® story? Why do you think it has been so revolutionary? 

A: It’s a fact—the Knock Out® Rose revolutionized our industry, as well as the expectations of the public and the way people garden around the world. The breeding set a precedent and a standard for the rose industry. Prior to Knock Out®, roses were viewed as hungry, thirsty, dainty little things. Knock Out® is versatile and bulletproof in the commercial landscape, as well as the home garden.  

Q: When you’re not working what do you like to do for fun? 

A: I love to garden and visit public gardens in my spare time. Philadelphia is America’s Garden Capital—there’s so much to see! Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Norfolk Botanical Gardens for the first time. I was blown away to see familiar desert plants, like Chilopsis linearis and Tagetes lemmonii, growing on the East Coast. A few weekends prior, I visited Ladew Topiary Gardens. Each room of the garden is beautifully curated. The topiaries are perfectly manicured and provide year-round interest. I can’t wait to go back!