Woodriff's lily collection was cultivated at Sun Valley Farms and Kirsch quickly saw potential in the lily that would become the world famous "Star Gazer". He applied for a patent in 1976 for although he credited Woodriff as the lily's creator, he had bought the collection and the rights to name and patent them.
Relations between the two turned sour when Kirsch fired Woodriff less than a year after their agreement. Kirsch stated that Woodriff and his family were unemployable, failed to take orders from supervisors, never showed up for work on time and were removing lilies from the premises. Woodriff filed a breach of contract stating the contrary. In the spring of 1974, a judge awarded the Woodriffs $5,000 in recognition of transferred property but rejected the Woodriff's claim that the lily collection could generate great profits in the future.
The saga ended bleakly for Woodriff who felt that he had been cheated out of the "Star Gazer" fortune but Ted Kirsch didn't get rich either. He sold 3,000 bulbs to a Dutch company for $15,000 in 1976 but, in a written contract, agreed not to apply for grower's rights in Holland. The Dutch went on to sell millions of the lily without having to pay royalties to Kirsch.
Kirsch and Woodriff died within one year of each other, Kirsch in 1996 and Woodriff in 1997. There are 36 million "Star Gazer" lilies sold annually.
If you'd like to read more about this fascinating story, check out "Flower Confidential" by Amy Stewart.