Silver Moon - Ouch !!

notrafficingaMay 13, 2011

Silver Moon, aka "Cat o' Nine Tails" just finished a beautiful spring flush. Her flowers are just wonderful. Just two feet tall last year when I planted her, she is now basically a 12 foot tall kraken. I have her contained in an arbor for now, but I don't know if I have the talent to tame her. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I suppose I could don a full length fur coat and gloves and try to move her (shudder) but I like where she is. The problem is in how dense she is and getting the long new canes to grow up and over the existing plant. Can she be aggressively thinned?

To move her she would end up with some shade.

For those of you that have see it, her beautiful Momma at Roses Unlimited succummed to disease and was removed :^(.

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notrafficinga, yes, I've seen and loved Silver Moon for many, many years. My mother's father brought my grandmother a bouquet of its flowers around 1923 from his friend's plant. She loved it so he rooted it for her. They grew it on a tall wire fence in Homewood, Alabama during The Depression, where it shielded his rabbits and chickens from the street and created an arbor where my mother and her two older sisters played in its shade on hot, summer days. He was killed in a freak shooting in 1935 when mom was five. Every Father's Day my grandmother and her three daughters took a bouquet of "Daddy's Rose" to his grave. The last I knew of that plant, it still grew there. That was back in the mid 1980s.

Because of a stupid family misunderstanding with my crazy grandmother, contact with my aunts and cousins was terminated about that time. Mom was seemingly terminally ill and wanted her "Daddy's Rose", which I found through the LA Times New Roses of the Year article in the Home Magazine. The front cover was a glorious photo of Intrigue, and inside, it listed Roses of Yesterday and Today as a source for old roses. I called, and the only time I was received with wonderful customer service there, a young lady informed me they didn't grow it, but Combined Rose List showed Greenmantle Nursery in Garberville, California did. I obtained the information from her, contacted Marissa Fishman and sent in my order for two Silver Moon from her imported stock.

Mom didn't die, but lived on for another ten years. Two plants of Silver Moon arrived and ATE her yard! It has eaten every yard and all of the common ground in my sister's HOA I provided plants to fill. Small plants of it, rooted from plants I rooted for the HOA sit here in pots waiting to eat the hill out back once I can garner the courage to attempt dragging them down the steep hill to plant them.

It is a GLORIOUS rose! When happy where it is and with sufficient maturity, it can repeat as it did for quite a few years in my old Newhall garden. Those butter buds opening to semi double, large, nearly Magnolia Grandiflora looking, silvery white flowers on that dark, shiny foliage...simply delicious! I love it and grow it as a touchstone with my grandfather whom I never met as he died nineteen years before I was born. I'm told we are a lot alike with very similar interests and talents. I also enjoy it because it brought comfort and pleasure to my mother, her crazy mother and her two crazy sisters.

Yes, you can keep it semi contained. It does require "eating the elephant in small bites", something not accomplished in one sitting! As small canes begin forming, you have to don your protective gear and begin "encouraging" them to grow where you want them to by tucking them back into the kraken or cutting them off to a bud facing the direction you want it to grow. It WILL grow toward the light no matter what you do, so get ready for a routine, regular maintenance chore, but she is WORTH it. You probably won't need any blood meal as you'll provide more then enough to keep her happy.

As for moving her, I doubt that would be successful. The plant WILL live, and every substantial root left in the ground will, too. Shade won't deter her as she will thrust herself up and out into the sun, making good use of anything in her path to get there. It's with GOOD reason this is a rose found in abandoned homesites all over the warmer areas of the country. Silver Moon is a survivor! Kim

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 3:57PM
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I'm attaching a link to another of Kim's wonderful stories about Silver Moon which is listed under the Member Comments on HelpMeFind. Kim, lovely stories, both. Thank you. Gean

Here is a link that might be useful: another Silver Moon story by Kim Rupert

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 8:26PM
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Thank you Gean! Kim

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 1:40AM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Kim, thank you for this wonderful and touching glimpse into your family history. The only time I saw Silver Moon was in Miriam Wilkins garden many years ago. It is a glorious rose but I didn't realize that it had the ability to repeat at all.

Thank you.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 11:21AM
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Kim, thank you for that wonderful story of your family and Silver Moon. With its large semi-double creamy white flowers, it IS a rose that evokes emotion at least for me. They look like wedding flowers, the whole plant like a wedding bouquet. Until you get up close and see the half inch thorns jutting out.

I would move her to go wild, but she would eat what yard I have left. It's tempting in a way to eliminate the front lawn. Unfortunately, she would probably invade my neighbor's yard as well as my driveway. Would she behave on a four foot tall wrough-iron fence? Unfortunately, her tentacles do want to reach for the sky and she likes to put out long side canes.

I have Alberic Barbier climbing two trees. If I were to swap them, would Alberic behave himself on the arbor? I can see Silver Moon hooking right into those trees.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 1:00PM
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You're welcome, and thank you! I checked HMF for relative information concerning the sizes of the two plants. It says that Silver Moon can be kept at nine feet while Alberic grows 15' - 25'. Either one may prove an issue on a four foot fence, though Alberic is reportedly nearly thornless, which is a benefit on a fence that low. I grew Silver Moon as a free standing mountain in my old Newhall garden. I'm 5'8" and I could never reach the top of the pile! I seriously doubt you could contain her on a four foot anything unless it would be in a New Hampshire climate or worse. Kim

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 11:09PM
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There is a beautifully-tended Silver Moon kept espaliered to a 4' iron fence near the chapel in the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia. The rose-guru there trains it like grape vines in a vineyard, and it provides a beautiful, reserved show every spring.

My own Silver Moon came as rooted cutting from a friend (Hi, Jim!) who got his plant as cuttings from another friend, who brought cuttings of his wife's grandmother's Silver Moon in Arkansas to their garden in Virginia. Whew!

Controlling and training my ramblers, of which there are many growing on my 4 1/2 foot fence, is a job I do in the winter while they are relatively bare. I remove about 1/3 or more of each, concentrating on the removal of the oldest canes to avoid having the rose build new growth on old growth and (hopefully) avoiding the haystack effect that ramblers are prone to. This keeps the rose new and tidy, and provides a fabulous horizontal show of flowers every spring.

Silver Moon doesn't want to go along with this plan for me. I do remove the oldest canes, like I do with Alberic Barbier, Aviateur Bleriot, Paul Transon and the rest, but I work with whatever SM will let me do, and we come to a compromise every year.

I love this rose, and I will always grow it!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 8:37AM
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Connie, you can accomplish your magic with these ramblers because of your more severe climate (compared to the Land of Endless Summer!). Here, they just laugh at your efforts and prepare for another "Blood Feast!" LOL! Kim

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 1:27PM
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