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Acid-loving plants

Can anyone help with instructions on preparing a shadegarden dedicated to
acid-loving plants?

The house we recently bought has a rather large yard with some good trees
and sufficient space for specialized gardens. On the north side of a row
of huge arborvitaes that run along the back of the property, my husband
wants to make an "acid garden". This would consist of a Carolina
silverbell tree, various azaleas and rhododendrons, a fothergilla--maybe a
few heaths and heathers if they can tolerate the amount of shade that is
there, and maybe blueberry bushes, unless they need more sun. What else?
I'm sure there are other plants that would be happy in this type of
environment and would love to have suggestions. Trees, shrubs, even
acid-loving annuals and herbaceous perennials would be possibilities. I
know that hostas tend to be acid lovers. Are there hosta CVs that would
particularly like this type of environment?

The area is higher than the house, gently sloping down, and is currently
lawn and under that, yellow clay which is probably mildly alkaline. (And
yes, I do intend to have the soil tested just to confirm my hunch about
the pH.) We propose stripping off the sod and adding topsoil, amending it
to increase the acidity. We'd work in some pine bark mulch, copper
sulphate, maybe Starbucks coffee grounds, whatever, to lower the pH. The
idea would be that with the soil pretty much adjusted, we wouldn't need to
keep watering with Mir-Acid and such. Is this a viable idea? Has anyone
else succeeded with this type of garden? Thanks!

Bobbi Diehl
Bloomington, IN
zone 5/6

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