US: Wisconsin rose breeder donates $1 million to AIDS Resource Center

A Wisconsin man who made a fortune by breeding an exceptional rose has donated $1 million to the AIDS Resource Centre of Wisconsin. The donation from retired landscape architect Will Radler, a former director of Boerner Botanical Gardens in Hales Corners, may be the single largest in the fight against AIDS in state history, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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."


Publication date:

Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here

Other news in this sector:

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.