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US: Wisconsin rose breeder donates $1 million to AIDS Resource Center
Radler, who began breeding roses in the 1970s, created the Knock Out rose, a fungus-resistant variety that blooms throughout the season. The original and later varieties have sold more than 90 million plants, said Steve Hutton, president and chief executive of Star Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle in West Grove, Pa., which introduced the first Knock Out rose.
"Will invented the iPhone of horticulture," Hutton said.
Radler, 70, of Greenfield, said he conducted thousands of experiments, cross-breeding plant after plant, before coming up with the Knock Out Rose. Still, he had modest expectations because an average rose generates sales of about 10,000 plants per year.
His rose, announced as an All America Rose Selections winner in 2000, produced $60,000 in royalties its first year — more than Radler said he ever earned at his job. He said he hopes the gift to the AIDS Resource Centre improves lives.
"The philanthropy part is brand new to me," Radler said. "I'm thrilled I can do it."
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