planting under apple tree
Our neighbor has a lovely old apple tree abutting our property line which we enjoy tremendously for the spring blossoms and summer shade it provides. My husband has planted many hundreds of bulbs under it for a great spring show. But then--- nothing, all summer long. We've tried hosta, solomon's seal, hellebore (dreaming!), and many daylilies come up but don't grow to full height and mostly don't bloom. So we're left with a grungy mass of weeds and tentative plants for the rest of the summer.
Any ideas? Is there something about the dropped apples themselves that make the soil inhospitable? The soil has been amended during the bulb plantings, but still has a pretty high clay quotient. Does the volume of bulbs and their foliage prohibit other plants from thriving? Our neighbor recently planted Bishop's weed on her property and it is the first thing to really take, and it's taking over. Which would solve the problem, except I don't care for Bishop's weed because of it's, well, weedy look. If any of you more experienced gardeners out there have any experience or advice, please do share.
Many thanks in advance!