Help. I am in desperate need of ideas for planting under the trees along the back of our yard. They are mostly puny oaks with a few black tupelo(birds love the berries-I love the pretty shiny leaves!) and sassafras tossed in the mix. Plus one gorgeous dogwood.Our yard is about 130' wide and the area in question is about 12-15 feet deep. Dear hubby insists on raking out the leaves in that area. It does look neater, but then weeds and crummy grass grow. There are many layers of decomposing leaves, underneath is sandy soil.
I have tries caladium, astilbe, bleeding heart, columbine, lily of the valley, sedum,hostas, impatients. I enrich the soil where I planted with compost and garden soil, well mixed in and did feed the plants with time release food. The impatients did well, but I was looking for some perrenials perhaps. I put in azaleas-over a dozen. None survived. Some arborvite too. I suspect the sandy soil was too dry for them, even with watering them. Ugh. need some green or color in there besides the brown-grey tree trunks. Suggestions?