Conard Pyle Co
, the world-famous horticultural house, based for over 150 years in West Grove, Pennsylvania, USA, and the introducer of the Peace rose
to America (the peace Rose was developed in Europe), always specialised in rose production, but at one time, they were the leading Canna
grower and hybridizer
in the USA
. A large number of people over 150 years contributed to the success of this internationally known establishment.
- 1855 Alfred Conard formed the firm of Conard & Brother.
- 1862 he started a nursery business with Charles Dingee under the name Dingee & Conard. The business had two greenhouses and the establishment was known as the Harmony Grove Nursery.
- 1867 the firm started propagating roses under a new system introduced by Antoine Wintzer, the head nurseryman, and a world-class hybridiser. Conard conceived the idea of disposing of their rose stock through the mail. Their first catalog offered bedding plants, shrubbery, bulbs, seeds, and roses.
- 1888 Howard Preston sold his farm (a dairy farm and regional creamery) to S. Morris Jones, who continued to operate the creamery.
- 1892 Conard separated from Dingee and along with Antoine Wintzer joined with S. Morris Jones. The new company continued with the growing and distribution of roses and flowering plants. Much of the farmland acquired by Jones became part of Conard-Pyle, the house was eventually provided to the head nurseryman, Antoine Wintzer, as his residence.
- 1895 Antoine Wintzer worked on the improvement of the canna.
- 1897 The name become Conard & Jones Co.
- 1898 Robert Pyle joined the company and purchased control in it after Conard's death on December 15, 1906.
- 1930 Upon the death of Antoine Wintzer, he was succeeded by Sydney Hutton, of New Jersey, as head nurseryman.
- 1950 Upon the death of Robert Pyle, Sydney Hutton purchased Conard-Pyle, and three generations of Huttons have owned and operated it ever since, and lived in the house at West Grove, PA until 1977, when it was sold to a private individual.
Alfred Fellenberg Conard
- Alfred Fellenberg Conard (1835-1906) of West Grove, Pennsylvania, USA was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1835. He descended from German Quakers who were part of William Penn’s Colony in 1683. He worked on his father’s farm and learned the nursery business from Thomas M. Harvey.
- Charles Dingee was a member of the Dingee seeds family.
- Antoine "Leon" Wintzer was born in Alsace, France, emigrating to the USA at an early age, died at West Grove, PA in 1930. The head-nurseryman before becoming the companies Vice-President.
S. Morris Jones
- S. Morris Jones, no more information available.
- Robert Pyle rapidly developed the business with the popular sale of two-year-old field-grown rose plants on grafted roots, which brought higher prices and yielded plants that would bloom in the first year of purchase.
- Pyle became an internationally known nurseryman and authority on roses, serving in leadership positions on the American Rose Society, the National Association of Plant Patent Owners, the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboretums, the American Horticultural Society, and other organizations.
- The most famous rose of all time, introduced by Pyle, is the Peace rose, patented in 1943 from the work of the French hybridizer Francis Meilland.
- Nearly every new rose today is descended from the Peace rose.
The creation of new Canna
cultivars appears to have been the passion of Antoine Wintzer, the head nurseryman of the company. He produced many fine new cultivars, amongst them being:
For Love of a Rose by Antonia Ridge, the story of the Peace Rose.