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Chester County Press

Seeding their future: Star Roses and Plants donates to Philadelphia schools

06/14/2022 12:56PM ● By Richard Gaw

Photo by Hannah Geyer         West Grove based plant grower Star® Roses and Plants recently delivered and helped plant 100 Petite Knock Out® miniature roses at two schools in Philadelphia.


By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

Early this spring, just as the signature Petite Knock Out® miniature roses at Star® Roses and Plants began to bloom, the idea of donating 100 of them became a talking point between the West Grove-based plant grower and the Garden Media Group in Kennett Square, a public relations firm and long-time partner of Star®.

“The question was, ‘Where would they go?’” said Susan Bacus Morgan, marketing manager at Star® Roses and Plants. “We had a lot of options to choose from, but the question then became, ‘Who needed them, and what inspiration could come from making this donation?’ It really became about finding someone who wouldn’t otherwise have access to a donation like this.”

Bacus Morgan then reached out to two Philadelphia schools, both of whom offer agricultural programs. The first -- W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Science -- offers a range of agriculturally related programs that include horticulture, natural science management, animal science, and food science and processing. In addition to taking traditional college-prep classes, students at the 130-acre campus in the Roxborough section cultivate a working farm, vegetable and flower garden, dairy barn, greenhouses, pastures, small animal facilities and a seasonal farm stand.

The second – Abraham Lincoln High School – also offers a horticulture program whose building blocks are botany, biology, chemistry and science, all of which are supported by the school’s “Wellness Quadrant” area that provides opportunities for students to pursue careers in landscape contracting & design, retail floristry, conservation biology, wellness food production and research.

On May 4 and 5, staff at Star® Roses and Plants delivered and worked with students to plant 50 Petite Knock Out® miniature roses at each school, and with each planting, students dug holes, provided watering and peppered the staff with questions. The two visits served as part of “Seed Your Future,” an industry-wide effort to promote horticulture and inspire young people to pursue careers working with plants. It’s a walking classroom of education and exposure that is also being embraced by Ball Horticulture, of whom Star® Roses and Plants is a subsidiary.

“The School District of Philadelphia is always appreciative of the support that local businesses offer our schools, especially when that support provides our students with exposure to new career opportunities,” said Monica Lewis, a spokesperson for the School District of Philadelphia. “It’s an added bonus that this engagement also came with an opportunity for our schools to have lovely and lasting reminders of the support – the beautiful rose plants generously provided by Star® Roses and Plants that will enhance the campuses of W.B. Saul and Abraham Lincoln high schools.”

The selection of what was chosen to be planted dovetailed with the increasing popularity – and longevity -- of the Knock Out® family of roses. Introduced in 2000, Star® Roses and Plants distributes the floriferous, low-maintenance roses worldwide.

The delivery and planting of 100 roses at two Philadelphia schools in May had a far greater purpose than merely beautifying two gardens, Bacus Morgan said.

“One of the barriers teachers face is a lack of funding and materials to support their passion projects,” she said. “Star® Roses and Plants is committed to supporting the teachers, students, and schools that nurture this next generation of horticulture students. After all, they are the future leaders of our industry. It’s our responsibility to share how meaningful and rewarding a career working in horticulture can be.”

Bacus Morgan acknowledged that the relationship that Star® Roses and Plants plans with W.B. Saul and Lincoln high schools cannot be measured by just one visit.

“One of the aspects of our visits was that they wouldn’t just be a one-time drop-off and donation, but one that could last for several years,” Bacus Morgan said. “These plants could be placed in the Wellness Quadrant at Lincoln and at the flower garden at Saul, and five years from now, those flowers will still be there. And so will we.”

Star® Roses and Plants, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ball Horticultural, has been bringing great plants to the world’s gardens since 1897 and continues to introduce breakthrough roses, shrubs, and edibles. To learn more, visit www.starrosesandplants.com.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected]