Really awkward border - help appreciated!
I have a really difficult border which merrily kills everything I plant in it! Looking for some ideas.
I am up in the Cairngorms near Aviemore, at just over 300m altitude, so in basically the coldest area of the UK - we can get -15 or -20 easily in the winters so any plants have to be super hardy. I work at a wee tourist attraction and look after the hanging baskets, pots etc, and have one narrow border below our shop window which I keep trying to do something with, and failing miserably. It's only about 15" deep and about 15' long, but is under the overhang of the roof so is always very dry. It's south facing, but there is a big Scots Pine in front of it, so it's in the shade for most of the day. The soil is also very acidic, and made even more so by the constant addition of pine needles. Obviously I can dig in lime every now and then to try and decrease the acidity, but there's only so much that will do and I can't really make much difference when it's right underneath the tree.
Not looking for anything tall, just something relatively low growing that might cope with the conditions. I also don't necessarily need anything perennial, annuals would be fine. Except our last frosts can be in early June, which doesn't leave a very long growing season...
I know heather sounds like it might be an obvious choice, but we're surrounded by the stuff everywhere on the mountains, so I'm trying to steer clear of it!
So to sum up... dry, shady, extremely acidic, very cold... God help me. Any suggestions? I'm at my wit's end with it! It's the bed of death...