Posted: 25/02/2014 at 15:12
Hi Ruth. I have a large conifer at the back of this new garden I have and it does provide privacy so I won't remove it. All the small birds flit in and out of it while going to the feeders so they make great use of it. I cut down a dead tree and a neglected cherry last summer and used those to create a small border along the front of the conifer and the pine next to it and put turf from the garden in the bed along with soil and compost to give me a raised area to plant into. There are now ferns, bulbs, hardy geraniums, sedums, primulas and even chives and a nettle growing happily under there. I'll be adding more bits and pieces this year as well. The Vincas (periwinkles) will cope under there but you may not care for the colours in your scheme (purpley blues and whites) but the prostrate Gaultherias (procumbens) have red berries and are evergreen. They like a shady spot. Tiarellas will grow there too and Heucheras - there are lots of bright greens and orangey colours of those now and bees love the flowers. Erythronium (dog's tooth violet) like shade and there are yellows available so might be worth trying. These are all low growing.
Probably best to give anything new you plant as good a start as you can with compost and slow release fertiliser as the ground will be quite depleted there. Once things establish they won't need much maintenance.