Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - June 2011

Posted On: Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Sitting here really chilly on a beautiful sunny day contemplating on just how beautiful the Highveld is in winter.  The lovely browns and beiges of the veld and the grass rippling and undulating in the wind, we really do live in a beautiful part of the world. 

In the Nursery

Many people think winter is dull and drab but if you have an indigenous garden winter can be bright and beautiful.  These pictures are a taste of what is looking marvellous in the nursery at the moment.

Leonotis leonurus

Wild Dagga (E), Wildedagga (A), umCwili (Z), imVovo (X)

Hardy, drought resistant, evergreen shrub with showy, compact clusters of orange, velvety flowers staggered repeatedly up the length of every stalk from Feb. to July.  Attracts Sunbirds, bees, moths and butterflies.  It is fascinating to watch them at night with the moths clustering around the flowers.  Plant in sun or semi-shade and prune back severely after flowering for best results.  It has been grown as a popular plant in Europe since the 1600's.  It has many medicinal uses and was extensively used by the pioneers for a whole variety of ailments.  A few branches tied in cloth and seeped in bath water is a great muscle relaxant.

Size up to 1.5m

Hypoestes aristata

Ribbon Bush (E), Seeroogblommetjie (A), uHlonyane (Z)

Semi-hardy, evergreen, small, rounded shrub with abundant spikes of two-lipped purple flowers with dark purple spots.  It flowers in the middle of winter, from Mar. to Aug., and is great for attracting butterflies.  Prune back severely after flowering to keep in shape.  Plant in sun or semi-shade.  Plant with Leonotis leonurus for a stunning display of contrasting orange and purple.  In some areas it is used as spinach.

Size 30 to 60cm


Dicliptera clinopodia

Pink Ribbons (E), Lintbos (A)

A hardy shrublet with glossy, dark green leaves.  Dense clusters of faintly scented violet or magenta flowers adorn this bush from Mar. to Aug.  It is a lovely addition to a semi-shady part of the garden, being a trouble-free, dependable species.  The flowers attract insects and thus birds to the garden.

Size up to 1m


Clivia gardenii

Major Gardens Clivia (e), Boslelie (a),umayime(z)

Slow growing, evergreen, clump forming hardy perennial with dark, strap-like leaves that have faintly rough margins and taper to a point. Blooms with umbels of showy clusters of drooping orange-yellow flowers with green tips from June to Sept.  These are followed by decorative red berries which remain on the plant until next flowering season.  An attractive plant for shady areas in the garden.  It requires compost rich soil.  Popular garden and container plant.  Used in traditional medicine.

Size up to 60cm

Combretum krausii

Forest Bushwillow (E), Bosvaderslandswilg (A), umDubu-wehlathi (Z), Modubu (S), uHwabhu (X)

Hardy, fast growing, semi-deciduous tree with glossy dark green leaves that turn vivid red and purple in autumn.  It retains these colours for most of the winter.  In spring when the new leaves flush, they are often white, making this a gorgeous foliage plant.   It flowers from Aug. to Nov. with small, white, sweetly scented puffball flowers that attract both birds and insects to the garden.  Four-winged pink to red fruits follow the flowers.  This tree has a neat shape and is one of our most decorative trees and can be planted in sun or semi-shade.  Traditionally the branches are used to weave baskets.

Size 5 to 20m - in Gauteng 4 to 10m S.A. No. 540

Strelitzia reginae

Bird Of Paradise Flower (E), Crane Flower (E), Kraanvoëlblom (A)

Hardy, evergreen shrub with large, ornamental, banana-like leaves.  The brilliant orange and shimmering peacock-blue flowers have an interesting structure resembling an exotic bird and flower all year round.  The nectar as well as the black seed with an orange aril attracts many birds to the garden.   On the Highveld or in hot, dry regions it grows best in partial shade.  The blade-shaped leaves and flowers are widely used for flower arranging.

Size 1 to 1.75m

Father's Day

We will be celebrating Father's on Saturday 18th June as we are closed on Sundays.  On that Saturday all Dads who visit us will receive a gift of homemade chocolates and a packet of seeds - with our best wishes and in appreciation of their support.

High Tea of Father's Day

Spoil your dad and bring him along for high tea at Random Harvest on Father's Day.  The cost is R85.00 per person.  The high tea we had for Mother's Day was a hit and we had people asking to do it again for Father's Day.

Booking is essential - Call David on 082-553-0598

Public Holiday 16th June


The weather has turned chilly and it is a good time to feed the birds and help them through winter.  In the interests of the birds we will be able to give you a 15% discount but, unfortunately, only for this day.


An exhibition of Charles Craib's plant art - indigenous plants presented in handmade terracotta containers - will be held at Random Harvest Nursery from 3rd June to 16th July.

Charles emphasizes the textures and shapes of Southern African indigenous plants in his special container plantings.  These are inspired by bulbs and succulents growing in natural rocky settings.

Many of the plants look at their most artistic and sculptural in the winter months, particularly in June and July once the leaves of the deciduous species have been shed.

This natural art is ideal for display in sunny places such as courtyards or in focal positions in alcoves or on patios.  Each exhibit is named.  Below the title follows an account of how the planting was created and the aesthetic effects it achieves.

A brief discussion of the care and maintenance of the different exhibits is available at the Random Harvest office.

Bulb Society Meeting on 18th June @2.00pm

The Bulb Society will be hosting its monthly meeting at Random Harvest on the 18th June.  The speaker is Ryder Nash who will be talking about 'Gardening with indigenous bulbs'.  Ryder is really knowledgeable and has lived in the veld and observed these plants in their natural habitat for years.  He has taken this knowledge and used it to garden with bulbs.  It should prove to be very interesting.

On the Farm


The moths have been amazing over the last few months and here is a sample of some the interesting ones we have seen.  You can see how a predator can be scared off by the 'eyes' on the wings of this moth.  Zoom this picture and see how lifelike the eyes are.  Scary!

Jeffrey and I had great fun watching the caterpillars of this hawk moth changing and eating up the Arum Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) on my veranda.  I was quite shocked at the size of the droppings in relation to the size of the caterpillar.  A few weeks later I can see the sense as the plant is growing really strongly, especially for this time of the year and it is patently obvious that it has been fertilized by these droppings.  Nature is amazing and there is very little waste.

We saw the caterpillars moving away from the plant  when they were ready to pupate but not where they went.  We are now looking forward to seeing them when they have turned into moths.

There have been lots of amazing thing to see on the farm. 

When there is a lot of dew the spider webs are just gorgeous.  You all see all the intricacies which remind you what a miraculous material a spider web is and how beautiful they are.  Jeffrey and I were lucky to see the spider (I think it is a golden Orb Web spider - top of the newsletter) squatting in the middle of the web and photographed him from front and back.

There was also this beautiful web on the thick black stems of a Xerophyta retinervis (Bobbejaanstert).

There was a tiny spider hanging from the roof of my golf car and when we started driving he gobbled up his web so quickly I could not believe what could disappear into such a tiny body in such a short time.

Remember me writing about the bees on the White Pear in my garden? 

It is unbelievable just how many more seeds there are on the sunny side of the tree where the multitude of bees were collecting pollen rather than collecting on the shady side of the tree where there were much fewer bees. 

I have another problem now and that is to beat the birds to the seeds. 

They are feasting on them when they are not completely ripe as you can see from this cheeky Starling munching away just a few meters from where I was sitting.

The saga of trying to get a picture of the Spoonbill to show you continues. 

In the first picture Jeff managed to get a mediocre picture so I tried. 

I took a little time to try and focus and as I clicked he took off so I got a great picture of grass and nothing else.  Frustrating! But we keep trying.

The fungi have been wonderful this year with all sorts of mushrooms popping up from the tiny to the huge and everything in between. 

The picture of this solitary mushroom was the size of a fingernail and hidden in the veld grass. 

The other picture below is fungal fruiting heads on the Casuarina stumps. 

We have had a few calves born over the last 6 weeks so bring the kids along to see them - they are so cute.

In closing a little tip - cut the watering of your garden.  The plants will toughen up a bit and stay dormant which is good for them and you will save some money.

Keep warm - look forward to seeing you in the nursery.

For directions please go to our website www.rhn.co.za : or call 082-553-0598

Hours of business 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday (Closed Sundays)



[email protected]

Cottages 072-562-3396 :  Nursery 082-553-0598

Hours of business Monday to Saturday 8.00 to 17.00.  Closed on Sundays.


Directions from the N1

  • From the N1 take the Beyers Naude off ramp and travel north along Beyers Naude Drive.
  • From the Christian De Wet Road crossing (Northgate is towards your right) continue along Beyers Naude Drive for 8.2km.
  • If you are traveling along Christiaan De Wet Road, turn left or from Northumberland Ave. turn right into Beyers Naude Drive.
  • Using Garden World Nursery, which is on your right, as a landmark measure 1.8km to our turn-off.
  • Opposite Oakfield farm (which is well sign-posted) at Valdor Centre turn right into College Road.
  • Continue for 2.2.km keeping right and following the small directional signs to Random Harvest Nursery.
  • You will find us on the left.

Directions from the N14

  • From the N14 (Krugersdorp - Pretoria Highway) take the Randburg/Zwartkop offramp (NB Do not take the Randburg/Lanseria offramp if you are coming from Pretoria).
  • Turn left towards Johannesburg along the extension of Beyers Naude Drive.
  • Pass the turn-off to Diepsloot - Nooitgedacht
  • Take the next tar road to your left at Valdor Centre into College Road 
  • Follow the directional signs (See above).


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