Looking for some drama! Which would you choose, Munstead Wood, Darcey Bussell, or WS2000?
All three perhaps? :)
There are all very good roses in my med climate which should be very different than yours,I have all three. WS2000 has a sort of lateral growth, a bit tricky to manage. The other two have a more upright growth easier to live with. Fragrance wise it is WS2000 for me followed by MW with DB coming a distant third. DB does not fry its blooms as easily as the other two in the hot sun. WS2000 is the worst in that department. WS2000 has the more formal OGR type of bloom, quartered with gold button center and all. MW is a bit ruffles and informal with DB having a nice cupped shape. Colourwise WS2000 has the more purple tones with DB being the hotter red. Healthwise ther have all been quire healthy for me but bear in mind PM is the primary problem here not BS. WS2000 does get a bit mildewy sometimes but shakes it off easily.
I mostly agree with nik, although I know the least about Darcey since I do not personally grow it.
To me one big difference would be whether I want a taller and very wide rose (WS2000--about 4 ft tall and 5-6 ft wide) or a shorter more upright rose (Munstead and perhaps Darcey). WS2000 sometimes has a somewhat awkward outstretch, a bit rigid and stiff--no grace of form at all. But those purple-red blooms!
William Shakespeare 2000 (last year)
I wish my WS2000 bloomed/re-bloomed more, but I'd guess mine is planted in too much shade and that is holding it back. (Haven't got any open spot to move it to.)
For me the main attraction of Munstead is the most gorgeous dark purple/red blooms--and seems to bloom/rebloom at a very good pace. Here is a bloom from last year.
In contrast, Darcey is more of a red--no dark purply undertones.
None of them are disease-magnets when it comes to blackspot, but WS2000 can need an occasional spray. So far in two years time, Munstead has not needed to be sprayed for blackspot though it did get it on a few leaves that I just plucked off the bush. Don't know how well Darcey handles BS.
My first advice echoes Nik's: Get them all. Three wonderful Austins.
But if you have to choose, I'm nuts about Munstead and would always pick it first.
Unless, for design reasons, I really really needed a straight red bloom with no hint of purple--in which case I'd get Darcey.
I have all three as well. Just add to what Kate said: Dary, in my garden, can get very purple too, especially in early spring. It is not a straight red bloom here, but it does tend to be red in hot summer.
Here are what I observed after having both after three seasons non-spray here in Northern Jersey.
Heath: Darcy Bussel (mostly in terms of blackspot resistance)
Vigor: about the same
Growth Habbit: Darcy by a mile. It is a compact shrub with an airy look to it and Mustead is more or less a crawler.
Fragrance: Mustead Wood
Flower Shape: Mustead Wood has more tighly pacted petals. I like both and give it a draw
Thorniess: Darcy has far fewer thorns. Mustead is covered with small thorn from head to toe.
Repeat: Darcy by a mile.
Winter Hardiness: Mustead.
I'd pick Munstead Woods, my favorite red and I have grown all three.
Munstead Woods has the best fragrance, disease resistance, and growth habit here.
Darcey Bussell got more blackspot than the others and was always naked by summer. It had really good repeat bloom though, best of the three. I shovel-pruned it because it needed to be sprayed and lost too many leaves.
WS 2000 was in-between, not terrible blackspot resistance but not the best either, maybe half defoliation. It tended to be short and lacked vigor. It died this past severe winter, though I had transplanted in the fall so probably would have survived if it hadn't been moved.
I'm a big fan of Munstead wood form & fragrance!
I grow Munstead and Darcey, and they're both terrific. Darcey is a more prolific bloomer, and does better in our dry, hot climate. Munstead, though -- the blooms have a fascinating form, and I love the fragrance. They come out deep magenta-red around here -- sometimes they've been pink, but mostly they are noticeably darker than Darcey. The pic is from a very hot spell in May.
Darcey's been pink on and off (esp. in heat), but because she is a red-red rather than a purple-red, the two blooms next to each other don't work for me in arrangements.
Get 'em both!
Here's Darcey taken a bit more than a month ago.
I have planted Munstead Wood this year and WS2000. Munstead Wood was on hubby's wish list and one thing that really impressed us was how well the color held in our intense sun. We chose WS2000 for the fragrance and I hope to get a few more as I hope to use the petals. Obviously, I do not have a long-term perspective yet, though.
I have Darcy and Munstead, and to pretty much agree with everyone here, they are both amazing, but, Darcy outblooms Mustead any day of the week, AND my Darcy gets much less sun than Munstead, and is in a pot no less. I do personally prefer the blooms on Munstead, they are darker red, with a velvet-y purple look to the petals, they tend to be larger and much more fragrant.... but the shape of the shrub tends to be a little sprawling, and the new stems are often very weak, so sometimes parts of the plant require support for optimal flower viewing. Darcy has a much more pleasant growth habit, more round and with strong stems that hold the flowers pleasantly upright and perky. My Darcy does tend to have some of the deep purple shading that MW has, it might be because she is in such a shady spot, I like the purple a lot though, so that works out well for me. I really want to try William Shakespere 2000, I just need to find a spot first, because from what I am reading here, a large space is necessary.
You guys are making it hard to choose just one! All of your photos are so lovely. Unfortunately, I only have space for one as of right now. I also grow my roses in pots so I guess WS2000 is out. I had no idea it was a sprawler. Decisions, decisions...