What To Plant?

Hello all. I have a mulch bed around 1.5 feet wide and 56 feet long that runs alongside the length of my driveway. Currently, it is just that, a mulch bed, with no ornamentation. I am planning on filling in this section with a combination of plants, and solar lights. Something like this:
--------------------------------------------------------------- PLANT LIGHT PLANT LIGHT PLANT LIGHT ---------------------------------------------------------------
I am going to need about 6-7 plants. Can anyone recommend an annual plant that can survive moderate winters, that is relatively low-lying? Maybe something that can be trimmed to form a circular shape?
Thanks!
-AJ
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Rethink the lights. Arrangements like that often end up looking like the tacky landscaping at a shopping mall. And, where do you live?
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Joe,
I am certainly open to suggestions. I live in Southern New Jersey. I personally don't like the lights either, since the neighbors kids have a tendency of knocking them over and breaking them while playing (I know this since I been through two sets of them already).
-AJ
JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

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OK. Cap the lights with blank electrical box covers. Or, leave just a couple, not so close to the street. About the plants: Why annuals? Those are normally not used as the basis of a planting. How about boxwood, which grows fairly slowly, and is a breeze to shape? This source is expensive, but it's a good picture: http://www.waysidegardens.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StoreCatalogDisplay?storeId 151&catalogId151&langId=-1&mainPage=prod2working&ItemIdG295&PrevMainPage=textsearchresults&scChannel=Text%20Search&SearchText=buxus&OfferCode=SH3
You should be able to find it at any decent nursery (which is defined as "not Home Depot or anyplace like it"). The same nurseries will be able to recommend shrubs with similar growth habits, but which have flowers.

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Joe, nevermind my mentioning "annual". I was thinking 2 things at once.
Thanks for your recommendation regarding boxwoods. I have many nurseries in my immediate area, I will take a look at their selection to see if they carry boxwoods.
Thanks!
AJ
JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

http://www.waysidegardens.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StoreCatalogDisplay?storeId 151&catalogId151&langId=-1&mainPage=prod2working&ItemIdG295&PrevMainPage=textsearchresults&scChannel=Text%20Search&SearchText=buxus&OfferCode=SH3
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Another recommendation, which you should take seriously: Get to your library and see if they've got either or both of these books, both by Henry Mitchell, the late garden columnist for the Washington Post: "The Essential Earthman", and "One Man's Garden". Most of his recommendations were based on personal experience with certain plants in Washington DC, close enough to you to be accurate. Each chapter is a column from the newspaper, so they're short. And, the guy's humor makes the books very easy to read.
When you're done, you'll have a list as long as your arm.
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What's the soil like? Sun or shade? Where are you, what's the style of the house, and what's the general thing you're trying to accomplish? As I read the alternation of plants and lights, and the request for something that can be trimmed to circular shape, I see trouble for a novice gardener. If you keep it trimmed that way, it's going to look institutional. If you don't, it'll look like a broken tooth in a smile, especially if all plants don't grow at the same rate.
How much time can you devote to caring for this area?
6 or 7 plants in 56 ft is about 8 ft on center... if you trim to a circular shape 1.5 ft wide (your maximum width), you'll have about 6 ft gaps between plants.... and you'll need to weed assiduously.
Kay
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