Of course, I'm very new to any kind of gardening. *nervous grin* I have been wondering what would be the best kind of plants to plant under my mulberry tree in the front yard of my house. Right now I have some lavender bushes (but they've overgrown and I just want something different there), so they'll be gone soon. It's like a patch of dirt that is about 20 ft. by 10 ft. and the mulberry's trunk is in the middle of it. The mulberry tree itself is quite large, and it shades the front yard most of the day, aside from the very early morning. Also... I live in northern California, which means my summers are dry and hot, and the winters are rain rain rain.
Should I go for low-light plants? Flowers? Small shrubs? Does it matter? And are there terms for plants who can survive both the intense heat of the summers here and the cold, rainy winters?
My landscape designer underplanted my mulberry tree with a creeping variety of St. John's Wort http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/66762/
My tree is limbed up pretty high and the branches aren't super dense, so the plants underneath still get a fair amount of sun, sounds like yours keeps things a bit more shaded, so the thing to do is look for plants that will grow in dry shade.
There are a ton of plants out there that are adapted to hot dry summers and cold rainy winters...CA natives have adapted very well to those conditions. Here's a nursery that has a lot of helpful information--you can find your area and it'll tell you which ones will do well for you in sun, part sun, shade, etc. http://www.laspilitas.com/
And there are other parts of the world that have similar climates--areas around the Mediterranean, as well as parts of Australia and South Africa and Chile so you can grow things that are native to those areas as well.