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Gabriel Oak rose. The Right Roses. Rose reviews. Rose comments. David Austin. Photo credit:
Color: Pink David Austin roses Disease resistance: Excellent Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: strong Highest rated roses Ideal: Poor Soil Ideal: Pots & Containers Rose: Shrub rose

Gabriel Oak Rose Review | David Austin 2019



Fragrance Strength


Repeat Flowering


Bloom Size




Suitable for containers


Tolerance of shade


Disease resistance


Tolerance of poor soil


Few thorns


Best for cuttings



  • Best for fragrance
  • Best for flowering
  • Best for pots and containers
  • Best for windy, wet and exposed
  • Best for poor soil


  • I wish his blooms could be larger!
  • The blooms are quite short-lived.



English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin

David Austin

A magnificent variety, bearing large, many petalled rosette blooms. They are a striking shade of deep pink, the outer petals of each bloom paling slightly over time. The beauty of the blooms is enhanced by a wonderful, strong fruity fragrance. A vigorous rose; it forms a very shapely, broad, rounded shrub with mulberry purple stems and dark green foliage, giving the overall impression of richness and abundance. Named after the beloved character in Thomas Hardy’s novel, Far from the Madding Crowd. David Austin, 2019.

The Right Roses:

David Austin released Gabriel Oak rose in the UK in 2019. He named this rose after the main character, Gabriel Oak, in Far from the Madding Crowd. This popular novel of Thomas Hardy was first published in 1874. For your information, Far from the Madding Crowd is in the list of the top ten greatest love stories of all time, according to The Guardian. Furthermore, Emily Bronte, which is also a David Austin introduction in 2018, ranked as the best love story of all time.

In our opinion, Gabriel Oak rose must be the best-ever David Austin rose. The second place goes to Eustacia Vye rose, introduced in 2019. Gabriel Oak rose represents all the marvelous traits that David Austin always attempts to achieve:  grace and fragrance.


Gabriel Oak rose must be the best-ever David Austin rose“.

The Right Roses |

Gabriel Oak rose: The pros

David Austin rated him as the best rose at SIX dimensions!

  • Best for fragrance
  • Best for flowering
  • Best for pots and containers
  • Best for windy, wet, and exposed
  • Best for poor soil
  • Best for cutting



The first thing about Gabriel Oak rose on top of my head is his great name. It seems David Austin is a big fan of Thomas Hardy. This is not surprising because Thomas Hardy is so popular among millions of readers all over the world. As a result, Thomas Hardy society is one of the largest literary societies in the world.

Many recent David Austin roses are named after the characters in Thomas Hardy’s novels, for example, Bathseba (2016), Eustacia Vye (2019), and now Gabriel Oak (2019). I particularly like the roses with literacy names, which can provide the next level of elegance, romance, and depth. In addition, their names give me a good motivation to read more novels to know them better.

Apart from his name, Gabriel Oak rose produces a delicious, strong, fruity fragrance. Gabriel Oak rose is one of the most fragrant David Austin roses to date. Nothing can really beat a rose with a strong scent of fruit. To me, the bloom form and color can attract many rosarians due to their gorgeous appearance. However, it must be their fragrance that can really make many fall into love with them. Having a strongly fragrant rose, you just want to keep her close to you and go past her time and time again, just to enjoy her more.

Gabriel Oak rose produces a mass of beautiful, deep-pink blooms. His outer petals pale over time. It remains to be seen if his color, as a whole, could fade in the heat. However, that is a worry only for those living in hotter climate. In the UK or Europe, that is probably not a big issue. His blooms are relatively large (3.5 – 5’’ or 9 – 12.5 cm). He has an upright habit. Therefore, he is the perfect rose for those who are not into nodding rose varieties, such as Jubilee Celebration. Gabriel Oak is also one the best David Austin roses for cutting, as well as some popular varieties such as Olivia Rose Austin or Desdemona.

Impressively, Gabriel Oak is incredibly productive. David Austin listed Gabriel Oak as one of their best roses for flowering in their recent Handbook of Roses 2019/2020. Gabriel Oak starts blooming very early in the summer and is still blooming in the early November.

However, the best trait of Gabriel Oak must be his vigor. He is such a vigorous rose. It takes him just no time at all to establish himself in my garden. I planted him as a bare root in March. After 2 weeks, he covered himself with so many and many growths on his stems. After about one month (April), Gabriel Oak can catch up the most vigorous bare roots I planted last January (nearly 3 months earlier than him). Furthermore, I notice, in general, each rose stem may have about 3 growths. Even some varieties reputable for vigor, such as Princess Alexandra of Kent, do not go over that in the first few month as bare roots. However, each stem of Gabriel Oak has about 10 growths! Even very small and short stems can get to about 5-6 growths.

Despite being so vigorous, he will make a very attractive shrub without octopus canes. As a gardener, probably there are not many more you would ask for. You like a vigorous rose in the first couple of years. However, in the long run, you also want him to behave in your garden, sharing some room with other plants. And, Gabriel Oak is absolutely that kind of rose. He forms a rounded attractive shrub.

Finally, Gabriel Oak is an extremely healthy rose. He is not one of the healthiest David Austin rose. However, his disease resistance is rated as “excellent”. His foliage is dark red (mahogany) in the spring. It turns dark green in the summer. Gabriel Oak makes a beautiful shrub even without blooms because of his disease-free foliage.

Gabriel Oak rose: The cons

Gabriel Oak has two weaknesses.

Although David Austin suggested that his bloom size is large (3.5 – 5’’ or 9 – 12.5 cm), it is not as large as some other David Austin varieties, such as Princess Alexandra of Kent rose.

In addition, the blooms of Gabriel Oak rose do not last as long as the team at The Right Roses would love. They shatter quite quickly (3 – 4 days at most). We planted him next to Princess Alexandra of Kent rose. And, the latter lasts so much longer than Gabriel Oak blooms. However, the good news is that the blooms of Gabriel Oak still last longer than some other varieties such as Royal Jubilee.

Gabriel Oak rose: The similarities

In fact, his deep pink color is very similar to Young Lycidas and James L Austin (2017). If you just take a quick glance at them, it is quite hard to tell them apart. Both Gabriel Oak and James L Austin (2017) make attractive and shapely shrubs. However, if you get closer to them, the difference is quite obvious to see (actually to smell). Gabriel Oak produces the strongest fragrance for a David Austin rose, while James L Austin (2017) gives you light-medium fragrance. Young Lycidas looks quite similar too. Lycidas produces a strong tea fragrance.

Gabriel Oak rose: The details

Height & Spread: 4ft x 4ft Color: Deep pink Fragrance: Strong
Fragrance notes: Fruity Flowering: Repeat flowering Suitable for containers: Yes
Sun exposure: Partial sunlight Bloom size: Large (3.5 – 5’’ or 9 – 12.5 cm) Disease resistance: Excellent

Photo credit: The Right Roses |

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We do not have Gabriel DA rose in Australia yet. But reading all the good things about it makes me very excited. Can’t wait until David Austin releases it here. team

Thank you Becky for your comment. I understand how you feel. Finger crossed, DA might introduce him in Australia next year. Who knows.


Do you have any photos of Gabriel rose yet? Really want to see its colour in the UK team

Thank you Claire for your comments. My Gabriel Oak rose has a few flower buds. I planted him as a bare root 2 months ago. I will upload his photos when I have the first few blooms.


Hi Rightroses, What do you mean by poor soil? How poor Gabriel DA rose can tolerate? Thanks team

Thank you Myan for your questions and comments. That is a very interesting question. Roses need a very good soil with a lot of soil improvement (e.g., manure, bone meal, compost etc.) to thrive. By “poor soil”, we meant the soil without any added soil improvement or organic matter. In other words, Gabriel Oak rose can still perform well, like wild roses, Thomas a Becket (2013), or Lady of Shalott rose (2009), without much care.

Cécile Bridgens
Cécile Bridgens

Would Gabriel Oak be OK in a small London front garden, against a low wrought iron fence (about 3 feet high team

He is a great rose Cecile. Eventually, he will get taller than your fence. But, such a great rose. He still has a couple of blooms in my garden right now.

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