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The Story of the Icecap™ Rose
To us at Star® Roses and Plants, and to myself in particular, Icecap™ is a rose of particular significance since it is the first tangible result of the cooperative breeding efforts from our long time partners and friends, Will Radler and Alain Meilland.
The story, as always with rose introductions, began ten years ago almost to this day. Jacques Mouchotte, the head hybridizer at Meilland at the time, Will Radler and I were together in Wasco to do our yearly September selection trip.
The last evening before going home, we had dinner at Mama Tosca, Bakersfield’s most famous Italian Trattoria, and with the help of some very nice California wines, we had a very fruitful discussion about (what else!) roses. I can’t remember who finally brought up the topic, but at one point the discussion went to how we could work together even more closely than we already were. And we came up with the bright idea of a common breeding program between the three of us. Will would make the crosses, send the seeds to Meilland to germinate and select the most promising seedlings, Meilland would, in turn, send back the most promising ones to us at Star® Roses and Plants for further evaluation and potential introduction.
The following year everyone was on board and we decided to increase the scope of the program by sending to Meilland some of Will’s proprietary genitors that we were growing in our fields at the time.
In 2008, the first seedlings were selected by Meilland, and in 2009 we received a few codes, including one with name CP096988. It was a pure white compact shrub from The Knock Out® Family line, with excellent flower power and disease resistance. It performed really well in the preliminary trials in both “Rose Hell” East in Pennsylvania and out West in CA, and in subsequent trials nationwide in the following years. The decision to introduce was unanimous, both here and in Europe where it is known under the name Crème Chantilly®.
Icecap™ may be the first, but it will certainly not be the last introduction from this wonderful collaboration!