I am interested in both the Grey Owl juniper and the Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Limber pine featured in the January issue of Kentucky Living. Can you tell me where these might be found in our area? I would be glad to go to Louisville. Also, our soil around our home is pretty heavy clay. Would it help to amend the soil or would I just be wasting my time and money and probably lose the plants anyway?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Billie in Kentucky: ‘Grey Owl’ is one of the more common cultivars of Juniperus virginiana and should be fairly easy to locate. You can try your local garden centers or nurseries for this juniper, but the Pinus flexilis ’Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’ may not be as easy to find. If you do not mind driving to Louisville, The Plant Kingdom on Westport Road does carry this evergreen and would be happy to hold one for you if would like. You can reach them at (502) 893-7333. You might also check with the garden centers in your area to see if they can order one for you. Sometimes the smaller stores can order in smaller quantities and if this is not a plant that they usually keep in stock, they may be able to special order one for you. As for amending your soil, it is always a good idea when it comes to dealing with compacted clay. Permatill is a product made of expanded slate; it helps to break up the clay and improve the drainage, allowing for better air circulation within the soil. This is essential for long-term plant health. Adding compost may be beneficial as well. You can always have your soil tested for nutrient levels through your County Cooperative Extension Service. Before purchasing your plants, make sure you have ample space in the garden for them to mature and a place for each where they will receive plenty of sunshine.