William Shakespeare 2000... is it fertile?

‘William Shakespeare 2000’ is the only Austin I currently own, all my previous Austins have, for whatever disappointing reason, been culled.

I never expected its flowers to have many anthers due to its enormous petal count, however I have noticed that its carpels are quite thready and lacking proper stigma at their ends (rather they just seem to taper out into fine points instead of swollen stigma).

Is this normal for this varietal, or can this be explained by the fact that my specimen is a very weak plant at the moment (it definitely has mosaic virus, and it is only just establishing in mid-summer from an early summer planting out of its original nursery pot).

Has anyone bred anything from ‘WS2000’ on this forum using it either way? (I know HMF lists it as having no descendants)

Looks like its time for the shovel, again.

I used the prior red-purple incarnation of the Austins, Falstaff. I chose it because it didnt show disease like all of the other red Austins (or most Austins, really). I was strongly disappointed. Not only did it only bloom once a year with maybe 1-3 blooms for rebloom in the fall, it dominantly passed on this lovely trait to its seedlings. Also, they were disease prone. I think it must be at least 1/4 hybrid perpetual.

I have kept a watchful eye on the red Austins since then. The reason for this is because I think that the bloom form, color and fragrance would be wonderful on a true climber. However, I have pretty much concluded that every red Austin before Falstaff and every red Austin since Falstaff pretty much suck in all different ways. The red Austins seem to be lagging far behind some of the other Austins in terms of holism and reliability. So, Im not going to hold my breath that WS 2000 is any better a breed than Falstaff is. I guess most roses are better than Chianti, though, lol.

Rebloom on WS2000 seems good, to be honest.

I was hoping it passed on fragrance, good flower repeat, “English rose” flower structure and a dose of purple tone to progeny.

It looks like it has not been a good subject for breeding experimentation for whatever reason.

‘William Shakespeare 2000’ is the only “red” Austin that has earned my respect. It is a reasonably shapely shrub, has an excellent perfume, wonderful bloom form and color, and doesn’t defoliate from Blackspot. Sure, it gets some, but it doesn’t go leafless.

I have never used it in breeding because it is unlikely to set seed, and gathering pollen (I tried a couple of times) is nearly impossible. If you can get pollen, then I would definitely use it and see what comes. I’m disinclined to use any of the red Austins in breeding for a number of reasons, but if I had to pick one, I would probably acquire ‘The Dark Lady’, one of ‘William Shakespeare 2000’'s parents. ‘The Dark Lady’ is unfortunately descended from ‘Chateau de Clos Vougeot’ as well, a plant I blame for many of the red line’s troubles. Perhaps it has escaped the worst genetic faults of that part of its ancestry? ‘Chateau de Clos Vougeot’ is a dreadful plant to turn to for building a line of modern red shrubs; one of the worst red HT’s I have ever had the misfortune to grow.


If you can get ‘Prospero’, I would suggest that as an alternative for breeding. It is compact, almost to the point of being runty, but it flowers reliably and doesn’t go all “Octopus” like so many Austins do. It has played a role in the breeding of some of the better Austins, so we know it has a capacity to produce worthwhile offspring.

Hmm… thank you for those very logical thoughts Paul.

This is another example where knowing accurate pedigree can be so helpful.

What I might do for the rest of this season is let this WS2000 flower and see if any pollen shows up, then shovel prune it come winter if there has been no success…Alas, such a masterpiece of a rose (I just dont have the space to justify its existence if it is not going to be helpful in breeding).

Has ‘Tradescant’ been tried as a breeder and found wanting? It’s my only red Austin and I enjoy it as a garden plant but have never tried breeding with it.

I have used ‘Tradescant’ often enough to know that it definitely has merit as a breeder; I have several breeding lines that come from it which have excellent vigor and bloom with abandon. (See link) I would suggest culling for any seedlings showing the slightest inclination to Rust, as ‘Tradescant’ is known for getting Rusty.

Link: www.helpmefind.com/rose/l.php?l=2.58108.1

In relation to WS2000, here is what it written in its patent (direct quote from USPTO Patent)

“…Stamens.–Number: 50. Anthers: Size: 3/32 inch. Color: Yellow Group 13B. Arrangement: Mixed with petaloids. Filaments: Color: Yellow Group 5C. Pollen: Color: Yellow Group 13C. Pistils.–Number: 100. Styles: Color: Green-Yellow Group 1C. Length: 0.3 inch. Stigmas: Color: Red Group 47B. Length: 1/32 inch. Hips.–Repeats flowers too long to have hips…”

What do they mean about “repeats flowers too long to have hips”??

Odd phrasing, George. I’m not sure what to make of that!

lol :0)

I think it implies that it repeats to quickly to care about hips, hence they have not tested for hips. I can think of other possibilities, but I think that is probably the implication.

Well, although I agree that this is what it sounds like they are suggesting, it doesn’t make sense since: some of the best seed setters I have are also ridiculously quick to repeat.

I agree that it doesn’t make sense, but there is no saying that a patent is as accurate or detailed as it should be. Also, there is a lot of divorce between hybridizer, marketer and patent filing. In other words, to me, it sounds like whoever recorded that for that line item is basically saying, “I don’t care. It doesn’t really matter for our needs regarding this rose.”

lol… it sux

Jadae, you wrote-

“…I guess most roses are better than Chianti, though, lol…”

What is it that you don’t like about ‘Chianti’?

It defoliates during spring, it isn’t a rebloomer and its fairly nondescript except for its color.

I can understand why Constance Spry, Chianti’s pink counterpart, is popular and aesthetic despite being a once-bloomer. But Chianti doesn’t even come close to its beauty.

Thanks for your critique on ‘Chianti’, Jadae.

Although I don’t like how my ‘Chianti’ performs in this climate (same as Jadae’s), I have seen spectacular specimens that nearly put ‘Constance Spry’ to shame. But I think ‘Chianti’ must be grown in a climate that has a longer, colder Winter than we get here on the Wet Coast if it is to perform well. It is true that ‘Chianti’ has a fairly serious problem with Blackspot, moreso than ‘Constance Spry’, but for me, it is no worse than most modern shrubs in that regard.

I have obtained some extremely healthy offspring from ‘Chianti’ when bred back to other Gallicas. I wouldn’t rule it out as a breeder based on its disease problems. Its all about how you use it. I think Austin chose some poor varieties to breed forward with. (including the nightmarish ‘Chateau de Clos Veugeot’) I feel that ‘Chianti’ could have led to much better roses if different choices had been made. JMO, of course.