Well, I don’t know where you live, but pine needles are said to acidify soil. Lots of native woodland plants would like that situation. Once you have all your vital info spelled out (zone, whether the spot gets any sun, and at what time of day), a professional in a local garden center or nursery probably will have something just right. Shade would be good for ferns, or you could do a succession of shade-loving plants that come up at different times of year (check out Margaret’s springtime blog posts — she has some great understory plants).
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.