Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,
I am amazed at how time flies, we are almost at mid-winter.
At this time of year, the sunrises are magnificent and when I wake up in the morning and watch the sunrise, I am humbled and grateful for this beautiful world we live in. To add to the peaceful moment, the birds are waking so I am also blessed with being able to hear them and revel in the grandeur.
It is our mission at Random Harvest to provide you with indigenous plants which will help you create a beautiful peaceful garden in tune with nature and filled with birdsong, so that you too will be able to enjoy moments such these each day.
The distribution of ‘Meal in a Bag’ are going very well and there are many families in the informal settlements who are relying on us to continue providing them with meals.
If you can possibly continue to help, I would be eternally grateful to you. Through Your generous contributions we have made a ymeaningful difference to many people’s lives, especially those who lost their jobs during these trying times of COVID.
If you are able to assist these are the banking details;
Bank Account Random Harvest Nursery, FNB 51441129818 Cheque account: code 25 07 41
We are open on Youth Day 16th June.
On this day we will have a small gift of bulbs for the young people to grow. We hope to encourage them to grow plants and learn how satisfying this can be. It is a hobby to foster for a lifetime.
We would like to honour all Fathers on this day. For all the Dads who visit there will be a small ‘Thank You’ gift of grass seed waiting for them to help create a wonderful gently waving patch of grass that is full of life in your garden.
We do this to show our appreciation for their support of our nursery. Certainly, without this support Random Harvest would not be here.
The trees in the nursery and around the farm are looking so amazing. It is the time of year when we are very busy collecting and cleaning seeds ready for planting in spring.
Winter is a great time for planting trees, and we have a good variety of stunning trees available for you. It is also time to maintain them, so we are planting, pruning and mulching around trees over the next month. Hard but rewarding work!
We are also busy cutting and baling the grass. We must cut the grass close to our compost heaps as a fire break. We had a compost fire once before and it is certainly not an experience I want to repeat. The bonus is that we use the cut grass to make more compost.
We also cut veld grass on the farms around us to have enough grass to make compost.
The plants are still looking amazing considering how close to mid-winter we are. Hopefully, this continues although we are preparing for colder weather.
Saturday, 5th June 2021 – Andre Marx
Start time: 7h30 FOR 8h00 sharp.
Saturday, 10th July, 2021 – Lance Robinson
Start time: 7h30 FOR 8h00 sharp.
Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a scrumptious breakfast buffet
We have cut some of the veld grass so you can expect to see some interesting birds that frequent the short grass areas.
Jeffrey also saw the Fairy Flycatcher - an unusual migrant that visits us in winter.
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.
The trees are looking so amazing at the moment especially as the leaves are thinning out and you can see their wonderful architecture so I am hoping you won’t mind if we change the topic for the June Coffee to all about trees morning and move the succulent topic to July.
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 2nd June 2021
Topic: Talking about Trees.
We will do a talk and then a walk talking about trees. Remember we do have the golf carts available for those less able to do the walk. You will then not only have the opportunity to marvel at the variety here on Random Harvest but see them up close and personal in the nursery.
Date: Wednesday 7th July 2021
Jonathan and Jeffrey will guide you on how to create a waterwise succulent bed in your garden. They will give tips on how to create a beautiful display of colours, textures, shapes, and flowers as well as how to maintain the bed for the best effect. They will then demonstrate how to plant up beautiful containers using succulents.
Clem did a hugely informative and entertaining talk on bees and honey for the coffee morning, and I have had a few requests that he do one on a Saturday for customers unable to attend the coffee mornings.
He has kindly agreed to do a talk on a Saturday.
Saturday, 10th July 2021
Start time: 10h30
Cost: R50.00 per person, this includes tea, coffee and fresh homemade scones
Bookings: (Essential) Contact Booking is essential – Please contact Ronald on 066 587 3077 or email [email protected]
These courses are designed to increase both the knowledge and the confidence of your gardener and this should translate into a beautiful garden at your home.
The next courses are as follows:
DATES: Friday 25th June 2021
Friday 20th August,2021
TIME: 8h30 to 15h30
The cost of the course 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 including cost of the course contact Lindsay Gray on 082-449-9237 or [email protected]
If you decide to spoil yourself with a treatment you could bring your family along and they can enjoy walks on the farm or a meal in the tea garden while you simply relax and let the cares of the world disappear.
Remember the 20% Discount for pensioners on all treatments on a Wednesday in line with our own pensioner day discounts.
Contact Nomsa for bookings on Cel. No. 065 838 5378 or email on [email protected]
As it is now getting colder, we have placed warm and cosy fires in the garden for your comfort. This means that you can still sit and enjoy your food or tea and cake in the garden under the beautiful indigenous trees in comfort.
Spoil your family with a visit to Random Harvest where we will be preparing a special Sweet and Savoury finger food menu. It is similar to High Tea but with the emphasis on the savoury portion of the offerings.
This will be served in the garden with fires placed strategically to keep you warm.
Cost: R165.00 per person
Booking is essential – Please contact Ronald on 066 587 3077 or email [email protected]
Your booking will be confirmed upon payment of a deposit of R100.00 per person.
We are also preparing a slap-up breakfast for Father’s Day with delicious additions to the full English Breakfast.
Our featured cottage this month is Sweet Thorn Cottage.
We did some renovations to the patio so you can sit and watch the cows or relax and listen to the birds in the Indigenous garden. It is joyful to watch the birds visiting the bird feeding station.
An indigenous garden is so full of life you will be surprised with butterflies and other visitors – this will give you hours of pleasure.
This spacious, comfortable cottage is fully equipped and has a corner bath which our guests really enjoy.
Among the amenities are free uncapped Wi-Fi - ideal if you are a business traveller. On this note we also have a fully equipped office where we can help with photocopies and will do our best to assist you with further work-related needs.
Remember, if you are enjoying the garden, we can deliver your breakfast or other meals to your cottage or patio.
Clem, who looks after our bees and gives us the wonderful talks, also supplies wonderful Raw Honey for our shop. R98.00 per bottle.
We have found a supplier of Vermi-cast compost. This is a natural way to gently fertilise your soil, it is best worked into the soil when you plant. It helps with soil texture, and also be used as a mulch. R61.50 per bag
Neem Oil, now available in the shop, will kill soft bodied insects such as aphids, white fly and mielie bugs naturally, as well as being an effective fungicide. R80.00 per bottle.
Bring a little summer taste back to your breakfast table with jams homemade here at Random Harvest. R90.00 per bottle
The new stock of beautiful mugs with bird motifs has arrived. R95.00 each
BOOK OF THE MONTH – TREES AND SHRUBS OF MPUMALANGA AND THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK Ernst Schmidt, Mervyn Lotter, Warren McCleland
If you are interested in trees this book is a must for your library. It is filled with wonderful information and has an easy key to identify trees. A staple in my library. R495.00.
As I always think that winter is a great time to plant trees, I chose all trees for this section of the newsflash.
Trimeria grandifolia - Wild Mulberry
This hardy, deciduous small to medium sized tree has beautiful large round leaves. The pendulous small flowers develop into red and yellow ‘Mulberry-like’ fruits.
It makes a wonderful container plant and grows in sun or semi-shade. If you love butterflies this is a good butterfly host plant and has medicinal uses.
Halleria lucida - Tree-Fuchsia
This most beautiful small to medium sized evergreen trees is probably one of the best wildlife trees for your garden. The gorgeous flowers (orange, pink or cream), cluster in masses on the stems of the plant. These are visited by every insect and bird in the vicinity, especially Sunbirds. When the sweet, edible, delicious fruits follow the flowers every fruit eating bird in the area descends on the tree.
Heteropyxis canescens - Forest Lavender Tree
This rare small to medium-sized tree has beautiful autumn colours which persist on the tree almost the whole of winter. The leaves smell strongly of lavender when crushed. Just to add to all this beauty it also has outstandingly beautiful bark.
Galpinia transvaalica - Wild Pride of India
This evergreen tree has glossy foliage, bears clusters of beautiful white flowers, is a butterfly host plant and attracts birds. What more could you ask for? Well! There is more - it takes well to pruning and so can be kept to the size you want or even trimmed into a beautiful, glossy hedge and it grows well in containers in sun or semi shade.
Euclea natalensis - Natal Ebony
A beautifully shaped tree that can be used as a focal point in a garden. It is a little slow growing but is certainly worth the wait. Strongly scented white flowers add beauty as well as birds and insects to the garden. They are followed by edible, red and black berries. Plant in well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. It also makes a great container plant.
Peddiea africana - Poison-olive
This beautiful little tree grows in deep shade and makes a wonderful container and indoor plant. The pale green clusters of flowers have bright orange pollen, an unusual colour. The flowers look almost like wax. Ideal for a small garden.
Gardenia thunbergia - Forest Gardenia
The beautiful silvery bark and angled branching patterns make this a most interesting small tree or shrub. Its slow growth, compact shape and glossy foliage make it an attractive container plant. I have seen it used as a stunning little Christmas Tree. It bears large, white, sweetly scented flowers. The flowers only last a day but are replaced daily over about 6 to 8 weeks.
Chondropetalum tectorum - Thatch Reed
This evergreen hardy, restio does very well in Gauteng even though it occurs naturally in the Western Cape. It is beautiful in waterside plantings and can in fact be seasonally inundated. Remember never to cut this plant back but rather remove dead leaves. A wonderful feature plant.
Psydrax obovata – Quar
A medium sized, evergreen tree with glossy evergreen leaves. It bears clusters of white, sweetly scented tubular flowers that attract insects. These are followed by black berries that are much sought after by birds. It also has attractive fissured bark. Plant in sun or semi shade or create a beautiful container plant.
Apodytes dimidiata - White Pear
One of my all-time favourite trees. This fairly fast-growing, medium sized, beautiful evergreen tree is a great wildlife tree as well. Insects and birds visit the flowers in summer and then it offers up a multitude of seeds for the birds to eat in winter. With its beautiful bark, foliage, flowers and seeds it is an all-round winner.
Connal Eardley is an expert on Solitary Bees, and he has kindly given me a few articles on these interesting and important pollinating insects which I will be sharing with you over the next few months.
The pictures he shared are also amazing. Such tiny insects and such perfection.
Bee friendly gardening is becoming popular. And I’m not talking honeybees, which are all one species. There are over 1 000 bee species in South Africa. They range in size from the tiny Mopane Bee (about 2mm long) to the large Carpenter Bee (up to 25mm long). Some are dull and blackish in colour but many are yellow, red, blue, metallic gold. Most of them are solitary, unlike the honeybee that is social.
Thank the bees that you have flowers in your garden. They coevolved with flowers millions of years ago, making a bee flower interdependence. Unlike most pollinators where only adults feed on flowers, bees totally depend on flowers; that is, they feed only from flowers (no other parts of plants) during their entire lifecycles; pollen for protein and nectar for sugar, and a few collect floral oils.
Female bees spend their lives flying back and forth collecting pollen and nectar and in doing so inadvertently pollinate flowers. This to-and-fro behaviour makes them one of the most important group of pollinators. Flies, beetles, moths, birds, and bats are the most common pollinators, and there are some strange examples such as snails and lizards.
Visit Candide to learn more about the different types of bees.
It is time to plant and maintain trees. Remember that although trees may not look as if they are growing, they are growing their root systems. If you plant a tree now, they have about another 8 weeks to grow and settle their roots and are ready to take off in spring.
A properly planted tree will grow faster, stronger and healthier. Read all about how to plant a tree successfully on our website.
• Remember that the roots of all trees spread out horizontally and grow into the first 80 or 90cm of soil. This is because they need oxygen to feed and below this depth there is very little or no oxygen.
• Dig a wide shallow saucer-shaped hole that is as deep as the height of the root ball of your tree (contrary to the old way of digging a huge square hole). It is especially necessary to dig the hole wide if the soil is compacted. The loosening of this soil will encourage horizontal growth of the roots. The roots can spread as much as twice the height of the tree.
• Identify the trunk flare, which is the area where the trunk starts to flare and the root and stem bark meet. This area must be exposed to the air and not buried.
• Place the tree in the hole at the correct height with the trunk flare above the soil line. If planted too deeply the roots will suffocate and thus not grow well and the tree may even die as it impedes its ability to move carbohydrates up and down from the canopy.
• Never pick a tree up by the trunk but always by the root ball
• Straighten the tree in the hole - back fill to one third and tamp down. Gently scratch the root ball to loosen fine roots to encourage them to grow into the new soil. Then back fill the rest of the hole and tamp down.
• If your tree does not stand upright stake it, according to the diagram. Beware of tying anything around the tree that will damage the bark. A piece of hosepipe threaded with wire will do. Place the hosepipe covered wire around the tree and make a figure of eight around the stake.
• Immediately after planting mulch with woodchips, leaf mould or compost in a large area around the tree. It should not be more that 10cm deep and not rest against the stem of the tree. Sprinkle with 5:1:5 or 2:3:2 slow-release fertiliser before you cover with the mulch.
• Keep the soil moist but not soaked.
This Pelargonium luridum is really weird – they are supposed to have gone dormant and retreated underground, but here it is blooming cheerfully amongst the winter grasses. It was a real treat to see it.
The snake talk by Grant Fairley was fascinating and I was even more fascinated by the snakes. I just loved this Ball Python, Leila, I spent some really beautiful moments with this gorgeous snake.
The Aloes, Wild Dagga and some succulents are in full bloom and looking stunning. I think the Sunbirds are confused with the amount of nectar on offer from these generous, as plants they keep flitting from plant to plant.
If you take a walk in the growing area you will be able to have a lot of fun watching the sunbirds and the many insects that visit these patches of flowers.
This is a tiny Hover Fly visiting the Kalanchoe luciae flowers in amongst the Aloes.
The bees are also busily taking advantage of all the nectar on offer. It is so close to their hives as well, so they are not having to fly too far to collect the pollen and nectar. It is a miracle what these tiny creatures can achieve when they make their honey.
The tall and beautiful Aloe pretoriensis with their salmon pink flowers are also in bloom. The flowers are so tall it is impossible to take pictures of the insects that visit them without using a powerful lens.
At this time of year, the Groundscraper Thrush become very visible scratching in the mulch, as do the Cape White-eyes. These tiny birds are always a joy to watch as they busily go about their business.
The Red-faced Mousebirds like to munch on the leaves of the succulents at this time of year, much to my disgust. As you can see from this picture they hurriedly flew off. I am sure with a guilty conscience.
The Cape Wagtail are also always fun to watch with their bottoms bobbing up and down as they forage for insects on the edge of the dam.
We are seeing a lot of butterflies at the moment. This beautiful Garden Inspector was sipping nectar off the small sky-blue flower of the Anchusa capensis (Cape Forget-me-not). Not an easy balancing job.
These other Garden Inspectors were clustered around the electricity cables. Not sure why, possible there is a little heat there. There is always something weird and wonderful to see in an indigenous garden.
The Yellow Pansy is just one of the many different species of butterflies that visit the flowers of the Freylinia lanceolata (Honey Bells). The flowers really do have a strong scent of honey which attracts birds, butterflies and insects.
This Painted Lady Butterfly is also feasting on the nectar offered by the succulents that are in flower at the moment.
There were two new baby heifer calves born in May. They are a delight. Remember when next you visit to take the children to see them. I think for city children this something they don’t have much opportunity to see.
Hope to see you at Random Harvest soon. Remember that we have The Fever Tree Boma which is nestled under majestic Fever Trees and is heated. The Gazebo has a fire in to keep you warm.
In closing I found this saying on the Winter Solstice and would like to share it with you.
Winter Solstice Blessings (written by an unknown author)
“May the longest night and the shortest day,
bring rest to your mind and soul, I pray.
May you find guidance and may you find peace,
as the cycle of light will slowly increase.
Embrace the magic that the darkness bears,
breathe deep in the chill and shift in the air.
May you always be blessed with the light from within,
and may well-being be yours as the new cycle begins”.
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