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Friday, 26 July 2013

Laying a boarder with concrete capstones - PART 1

A few years ago (2011) I planted a long narrow strip of Pink Rain Lilies, Zepheranthes rosea at the back of our old family homestead at Alafua which grew magnificently, spreading by seed and bulb division. When it was in full bloom it was a startling profusion of pink that was truly stunning and delightful to see.

Zepheranthe rosea with Ninja Cat Clan Kittens (From Front to Back) Stoney, Rocky and Pebble.
So of course I could not help imagining what a slightly longer and much wider bed would look like. One of the problems that I had with this bed was the lack of definition or boarders delineating it from the lawn. This posed both aesthetic and practical problems. Aesthetically it looked messy and raggedly. Although I am a big fan of the English Cottage Garden which only looks unstructured compared to the French Formal Garden, a large undefined bed of flowers probably does not quite fall into English Cottage Garden definition. More importantly though were the practical considerations.

There were three issues that made having a clearly defined boarder critical for practical reasons. The first was that it would clearly define the flower bed and enable people (little people especially) to see where the flower bed started to avoid the plants being walked on or even driven over. The second issue was that from past experience it has been difficult to police the mowing and having a boarder would not only clearly identify the limits of the lawn but also provide a barrier of sorts. The third issue is related to the pestilent encroachment into the bed by various grasses which I have been trying to eradicate.

Kyllinga polyphylla
The primary culprits are Kyllinga polyphylla and Kyllinga nemoralis both which I have resorted to eliminating by either a slow miserable death due to lack of sun by covering them with come old corrugate iron roofing. The other method has been using a straight edge spade to scrape them up and out. The first is a long slow but painless process (for me) while the latter while assuring faster results is rather tedious and strenuous at times.

Flower of Kyllinga polyphylla

I have used both methods, the second for areas adjacent to beds or to clear the areas that I wanted planted immediately and the first for the huge patches of Kyllinga polyphylla in the centre of the huge back lawn as well as some areas adjacent to various flower beds as well as some smaller patches of Kyllinga nemoralis.

Kyllinga nemoralis
As for herbicides I abhor them so that has never been an option. I have heard of some natural herbicides such as coconut oil and other natural products being used instead of chemicals but was not able to get any and in any case I want to do a bit more research on them for any potential side effect to the other denizens of the gardens and surrounding areas of bush such as the resident Wattled Honeyeaters and Cardinal My, not to mention the squadrons of honey bees.

No herbicides are definitely not an option. If you want to know more about the dangerous and disastrous impact of chemical herbicides and pesticides from human health to environmental impact I have included some links below you might want to look at.

Stoney contemplates the proposed enlargement of the Rain Lily bed
So I wanted the boarders very clearly defined to give some structure to the bed as well as to protect the plants both from damage and incursions as well as to make it easier to maintain. The first thing I did was stake out the general area I was looking at extending the bed to. I wanted to make it the full length of the veranda but the presence of a lemon tree meant that that was not possible (especially since I have an aversion to cutting down trees unless absolutely necessary).

Additional information:

For more on Kyllinga nemoralis and Kyllinga polyphylla read my earlier post: Intriguing Plants - Weeds and Flowers
For more information on pesticides visit the following:

Binomial Name: Zepheranthes rosea

Taxonomy: Phylum: Angiosperms – Class:  Monocots – Order: Asparagales – Family: Amaryllidaceae – Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae   Tribe : Hippeastrea   – Subtribe: Zephranthinae  – Genus: Zepheranthes – Species: Z. rosea

Common names: Zepheranthes, Fairy Lily, Rainflower, Rain Lily, Zeypher Lily, Magic Lily, Atamasco Lily (English) kili’o’opu (Hawaiian) mo’u’upo’o (Tahitian)

Binomial Name: Kyllinga polphylla

Taxonomy: Phylum: Angiosperms – Class: Monocots – Subclass: Commelids – Order: Poales – Family: Cyperacea– Genus: Kyllinga – Species: K. polyphylla

Common names: Navua sedge(English)

Binomial Name: Kyllinga nemoralis

Taxonomy: Phylum: Angiosperms – Class: Monocots – Clade: Commelids – Order: Poales – Family: Cyperacea– Genus: Kyllinga – Species: K. polyphylla

Common names: ??? (English) kili’o’opu (Hawaiian) mo’u’upo’o (Tahitian)

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My other blogs

· Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters):

· The Blood of Souls (language, translation and etymology) :

· Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general) :



  1. Thanks for the article! It was a great read, and had a lot of good information. I am, in fact, doing research for concrete contractors sydney

    1. Hi Wayne,
      Thanks for your comment. I am glad you liked the posts and found them of some use. It was pretty rudimentary given the resources and tools available but I think it turned out reasonably nice. Of course when the rain lilies bloom en mass THAT will be awesome ... unfortunately I am now in the UK so unless my sister or someone sends my photos I will not be able to appreciate it.
      I looked at the site of the concrete contractors in Sydney that you did your research for and they have some nice products.