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Random Harvest Newsletter - April 2021

Posted On: Thursday, April 1, 2021

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

First, I have to say Jeffrey and my faces were red we made a Boo-Boo with a bird ID. This is not a Squacco Heron but a juvenile, Black-crowned Night Heron. Jeff was hiding his face. This is the last time we ID a bird we are not sure of without first checking with Andre. Sorry!

Autumn is creating a definite nip in the air with the autumn solstice just passed, although the days are beautiful. Another sure sign is that the Aloes are starting to bloom as are the Crocosmias.

FOOD PARCEL DONATION

Please could I ask you once again for donations. We are distributing 300 ‘Meal in a Bag’ per week. This is keeping many families going.

We have organised such amazing people to do the distribution of the ‘Meal in a Bag’ but this has led to requests for help on a much larger scale which we would love to be able to fill. This can only be done with your help and generosity so once again I am appealing for donations.

I would also like to assure our generous donors that all the money received is going directly into the purchase of food.

If you can possibly help these are the banking details;

Bank Account Random Harvest Nursery, FNB 51441129818 Cheque account : code 25 07 41

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

We are open on all the public holidays except Good Friday.

IN THE NURSERY

We have been experimenting with more efficient ways to maintain the plants in the nursery. Mike gave us the idea to use a hedge trimmer to prune our seedlings. I bought one and used it on the hedge in the nursery to practise on. Gary was a natural and pruned the hedge well the first time he used it.

He now has the job of pruning all our seedlings – a daunting job.

At this time of year, the plants on the farm are seeding profusely and Mercy and Silas have the job of collecting and cleaning them. This is so important as it is next season’s crop of plants.

We have been struggling with our WiFi connection because of all the trees. Eventually in desperation I had to sacrifice two I. I was really sad but must say am really happy to have the WiFi up and working and not going on and off.

The spiral staircase in our office couldn’t take the traffic up and down so we have had to replace it. Zirex did a great job for us and amazingly enough it has created a lot more space. I love this as the office always felt cluttered and untidy.

EVENTS and PROMOTIONS

EASTER EGG HUNT FOR THE KIDS

Bring the children along any day from Saturday the 3rd April to Sunday the 2nd May for an Easter Egg Hunt. They will be taken around the nursery, to find the answers to a few simple environmental questions and from there go back to reception to collect their gift.

MOTHER’S DAY

We have decided to declare a Mother’s Day weekend. To be able to accommodate all the Mothers, we will celebrate Mothers’ Day on the 8th and 9th May.

This will give us the opportunity to thank all the mothers who have supported us and brought their friends and family along to introduce them to Random Harvest.
As a token of our appreciation, there will be a small gift waiting for all the Mothers both young and old.

Mother's Day High Tea can be booked for either Saturday 8th or Sunday 9th May. At R165 per person, this makes an affordable spoil for Mom and the family in the loveliest location Johannesburg has to offer. For more information or to book, please email [email protected] or call 066 587 3143

BIRD WALK/S

Saturday, 17th April 2021 – Andre Marx
Start time: 7h00 for 7h30 sharp.
Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a scrumptious breakfast buffet

What better way to start the weekend but with a walk in the fresh autumn air early in the morning and watch birds and all the other life around you. It makes for a peaceful start.

Saturday, 8th May 2021 – Lance Robinson
Start time: 7h00 for 7h30 sharp.
Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a scrumptious breakfast buffet

Appropriately this is ‘World Migratory Bird Day’.

Saturday, 5th June 2021 – Andre Marx
Start time: 7h00 for 7h30 sharp.
Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a scrumptious breakfast buffet

We will have cut some of the veld grass and you can expect to see some interesting birds that frequent the short grass areas.

Bookings: (Essential) Contact Paul or David on 082 553 0598 or email [email protected] - Bookings cannot be made on our website – please use the details listed here. We have a maximum of 20 spaces available per bird walk.

MONTHLY COFFEE MORNINGS

Where: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery
When: 10h30 to 12h00
Cost: Free of charge – we just ask you to please support the nursery and / or the tea garden while you are here.
What to Bring: A notebook, your questions on the topic, and a friend

Date: Wednesday 7th April 2021
Topic: Protecting our bees and creating habitat for them.

Once again Clem will give a talk on the importance of bees in our lives and how we can help protect them from the many pollutants humanity spreads around.

We will also talk on how to make your garden more ‘bee friendly’. Bees are mostly unnoticed around us and some people have an unreasonable fear of them. We hope to dispel this during this talk. Bee-friendly plants will also be available for purchase after the talk.

Date: Wednesday 5th May 2021
Topic: Snakes – learning to love and appreciate these wonderful creature

Grant Fairley will share his vast knowledge and love of snakes with us. These much-maligned creatures play an important part in the maintaining the balance in nature and should be revered rather than reviled.

PRACTICAL DOMESTIC GARDENER TRAINING

The previous course was very well attended, and the attendees were full of pride when the course was completed including some of my staff who were smiling from ear to ear when they received their certificates.

The next course is as follows:

DATE: Friday 25th June 2021
TIME: 8h30 to 15h30

This includes a set of notes for both the gardener and employer, tea/coffee and biscuits on arrival, breakfast and lunch and a certificate.

TO BOOK or for more info contact Lindsay Gray on 082-449-9237 or [email protected]

TEA GARDEN

We have had a few small functions which have been a great success. People have raved about the Boma and the food. If you are thinking about a birthday or other family function, why not hold it in the open air in a wonderful environment.

We have been busy trying out new, sweet tarts to serve on Mother’s Day. My staff and I think they are delicious and we can’t wait to hear your feedback. I am sure you will enjoy them as well.

IN THE SHOP

There is still time to plant your Namaqualand daisy seed or if you are impatient, we have seedlings in 6 packs available in the nursery.

Think about planting some bulbs for a colourful spring display – we have a variety of dry bulbs available and there is still time to plant them.

Neem oil – an organic pesticide. It deters insects from feeding on your plants, acts as a repellent and interferes with insect breeding capabilities. R80.00

Pyrol – an environmentally friendly pesticide. Pyrethrum is quite toxic to all insects and their eggs but there is no build up in the environment. R245.00

Feed the Birds – Autumn is here and soon the birds will be grateful for a little supplementary feeding especially those higher in fats which give the birds added energy. Nutty putty - R130.00 and Suet bits – R98.50

Back in Stock - Citronella and Herbal Mosquito repellent R70.00. Bonsai kits R125.00, Janet Carter honey and calendula moisturiser R94.50

New Homemade Biscuits – We have been trying new recipes for biscuits which are now available at R16.00 per packet.

COTTAGES

Sagewood Cottage is one of our more private units and is ideal for longer stays as it offers a spacious lounge area, 3 seatrd table for working at, a fully equipped kitchen a large en suite bathroom with separate bath and shower.

As with all units it has free unlimited WiFi for uncut data calls and online meetings.

The private furnished patio, surrounded by wonderful indigenous plants, and also offers a comfortable 3-seater table used for both work and dining. We also offer a basic laundry service.

What our guest had to say about the cottage: “Sage Wood – Amazing place feels like home, actually it’s become our home. Great service”
Please remember we have our own on site security team who are committed to your safety and security.
Please note our rates will change slightly from the beginning of April 2021. Contact David or Paul on 0725623396 – [email protected] for more details.

PLANTS LOOKING GOOD

Spirostachys africana - Tamboti (E) Plant this tree for a true bushveld feel in your garden. It is a little slow growing but is attractive with beautiful bark that is symmetrically fissured into little rectangles. It also has wonderful red autumn foliage colours. This is the jumping bean tree as the seeds are parasitised and when it gets hot the little worms (moth larvae) move around and jump when it gets too hot. Caution – the latex is poisonous and the smoke from the wood causes
diahorrea.

Sclerochiton odoratissimus - White Lips (E)
This attractive shrub is medium sized and can be used in both large and small gardens as it takes well to pruning to keep it to the size you need even trimming as a formal hedge. It has glossy, dark-green leaves and masses of white flowers like tiny hands that are streaked with purple lines. When in flower in summer and autumn it is a sight to behold. An added bonus is the many insects that visit the flowers. Plant in sun or semi shade and it can even tolerate damp conditions.

Aloe tenuior This rambling, shrubby aloe bears some flowers almost all year round but mostly from May to August. The tall spikes of flowers are carried at the tips of the branches and attract pollinating insects. Plant in full sun although it flowers well in semi shade but then needs to be supported. Plant as a backdrop against a wall or fence or in amongst other shrubby plants.

Combretum bracteosum – Hiccupnut (E)
This robust, large creeper is a beautiful sight when in flower with its scarlet, fluffy flowers. Use to cover banks or walls. If you have a smaller garden it thrives in containers as well but needs pruning of the long stems to create a dense rounded bush. Plant in semi shade in well-drained soil. It is the host plant of the Striped Policeman butterfly.

Erythrophysa transvaalensis - Bushveld Red Balloon (E);
This large shrub or small tree is rare in cultivation and I am not sure why more people don’t grow it. It has wonderful grey green feathery leaves and bears beautiful spikes of pink and green pendulous flowers. These are followed by large inflated, papery seed pods that turn bright red with age. Although the pods contain large black seeds, they are light as a feather. This is for seed dispersal as when it rains enough the pods will float away from the mother plant. The pods will eventually break up and the seeds will drop and sprout where they fall as there is enough water for them and they have been carried far enough away from the mother plant not to compete with it for nutrients. They grow naturally in rocky areas in full sun they are perfect for planting on koppies or rocky slopes although they do equally well in normal garden conditions.

Carissa bispinosa - Forest Numnum (E)
A thorny, dense, beautifully shaped medium sized shrub that bears massed clusters of white flowers in spring whether planted in sun or shade. The small glossy red berries are relished by birds. Use ornamentally or as an element of a bird garden, security hedge or as a neat tidy screen.

Artemesia afra – Wild Wormwood
This attractive shrub with is attractive grey-green, feathery foliage is probably one of our best known medicinal plants. It will clear blocked noses, relieve headache and earache, prevent sweaty feet and reduce fever.
It is a small shrub that should be cut back severely at the end of winter to encourage new fresh growth. Plant in sun or semi shade.

PLANTS ON SPECIAL – Less 15% Discount

PLECTRANTHUS SPECIES

As it is now time for the various Plectranthus species to start blooming we thought we would give you a discount to help you brighten up the shady areas of your garden with these gorgeous plants. The variety of leaf shapes, textures and colours can be used effectively to create interest all year. When in bloom they are a sight to behold and will encourage all sorts of butterflies and insects to your garden.

Remember in early spring to prune them back to encourage them to bush out and produce masses of flowers on the new growth created next year.

Plumbago auriculata – Plumbago (E) is the other colourful offering for our special this month.

This versatile plant can be planted in sun or shade, used as a creeper, pruned into a hedge, used as a screen, or planted in containers.

It is important that you keep it in shape by regular pruning to suit your needs.

It attracts a whole host of birds, insects, and butterflies to the garden which in concert with the gorgeous flowers will give you many hours of pleasure.

GARDENING TIP.

Gardening is a great way for a family to spend time together – learning how to connect back with nature in today’s frantic world.

I think it is vitally important, as people are constantly surrounded by technology, and forget to feed the soul. Here are a few tips on how to spend time teaching our children some of the skills that will stand them in good stead in their lives.

Teach them about the living soil and how this is where our food comes from. Create a small compost heap which they can tend to. This will teach them about all the insect life which is so important to the health of our soil. When children visit the nursery, they love scratching for creatures in the compost heaps.

Birds will visit the compost heaps and children can learn how birds keep the balance of nature in the garden by devouring harmful insects (as well as some good ones)

Preparing the soil, getting their hands dirty and planting will teach them how to nurture plants and how to take responsibility for their care. The plants will surely die if they are not looked after. What sometimes amazes me is how some children are afraid to get their hands dirty and take some cajoling but once over their fears they are difficult to get away from the compost heaps.

Start a little veggie patch – guaranteed children will eat the produce they grow. This will make them self-sufficient in their lives.

Children love the small water features in the nursery. They are fascinated by the insect and pond life and are almost impossible to drag them away. Why not create a small wildlife friendly pond with them? It will give them hours of pleasure.

They can learn how to create a little haven for wildlife in a world that is so hostile to wildlife. This will turn them into sensitive, responsible adults who will care for the environment.

These small beginnings will surely have an impact on the world and the environment as they grow into adults.

ON THE FARM

The rain has been such a blessing. Needless to say, each time it rains Jeff and I are off to the dam to watch the water rushing in. It gives me such a kick every time I see the water gushing into the dam.

Even this White-throated Swallow sat out in the open seemingly also enjoying the rain.

Speaking of swallows some of them seem to have already left and the White-throated Swallows are gathering in groups at the dam, I think ready to leave for the winter.

Jeff and I were so excited to see this Darter at the dam. He hasn’t been around for quite some time.

I think it may be that the fish are breeding well. If you walk on the edge of the dam you will see masses of tiny fish feeding in the shallows.

I think it is these tiny fish that are attracting the tiny Malachite Kingfisher. It is such a pleasure to sit at the edge of the dam and watch them fishing. They are so fast that it is impossible to get a picture without specialist equipment and probably lots of patience.

I am sure the Terrapin is also feeding off these tiny fish. Ronald managed to get, what I think, is the best picture of one of the resident terrapins at the dam. Ronald is turning into quite the photographer.

The Red Bishops are starting to lose their bright breeding colours. I think soon the Pin-tailed Whydah will also start losing his breeding plumage so I thought I would share these pictures of the male and female with you.

Soon the feeding table in the nursery will be full of Little Brown Birds, which are quite difficult to tell apart.

I loved this picture of the Tawny-flanked Prinia in the sun and the leaves starting with their autumn colours.

I love this time of the year when the plants are dripping with seed as is this Common Spikethorn (Gymnosporia buxifolia).

The beautiful, velvety pods of the Umzimbeet (Milettia grandis) are just another wonderful feature of this stunning tree.

The grasses are seeding and flowering and turning to their beautiful autumn colours. We seldom take the time to actually look at the tiny flowers of the grasses, but when we do, we will be blown away at how beautiful they are. The flowers of this Cymbopogon pospischilii (Bitter Turpentine grass) are utterly beautiful.

I love the colours and textures of the succulent garden at this time of year.

It won’t be long until the Aloes are in full bloom. Some of the earlier flowering species have already started with their flowers.

Aloe fosteri (Fosters Aloe) is the earliest. This is a favourite of the sunbirds and you can, at any time of the day, sit and watch them sipping nectar from flower to flower.

Another favourite of the Sunbirds that are starting to bloom are the Wild Dagga (Leonotis leonurus). This beautiful tawny form has started to flower already.

A few wonderful Gladiolus crassifolius popped up in the grassland. It seems late but I am sure it has to do with the wonderful rains we have had.

The Barleria greenii have been blooming in the security hedge around the farm. It is difficult to marry the beautiful huge, but delicate blooms, with this tough plant. Nature is wonderful.

The butterflies are out in their masses and we are having a great time watching them. This Garden inspector is in his full winter colours already.

This African Caper White (a big thank you to Steve Woodhall for always being happy to help with identifying butterflies) was mud puddling in the nursery.

This African Monarch was almost dancing in the sun flitting from seed tray to seed tray mud puddling for his minerals.

This is the reason that we do not use poisonous chemicals in the nursery.

We would never have the joy of watching these delicate creatures or the Geckos, lizards, frogs, birds and myriad other creatures that live at Random Harvest if we did.

Enjoy your autumn garden and all the seasonal changes that are happening.

Sincerely

Linda

Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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