Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - September 2018

Posted On: Saturday, September 1, 2018

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

I am so happy that spring is in the air and the nursery is looking bright, colourful and sounding chirpy.  

I am just loving the new leaves on the trees, the busyness of the birds and the whole happy atmosphere this beautiful season.


In The Nursery


Succulent Area

You can definitely see the seasons are changing as at this time I also get busy and have to change things as well.  

One of the first projects was to revamp the succulent plant area.  

It is quite different from what we usually do and, I think, looking great.  Thanks to all the hard work from my staff.

Spring day

This is also the time that birds start their “Silly Season” –  they are so obsessed with finding a mate and building nests that they need all the nourishment that they can get. All customers visiting us on Spring day (Saturday 1st of September) will get a small packet of bird seed to take home…as a treat for their feathered garden visitors.  

Heritage day

Monday 24th of September is Heritage Day. We are open! 

Coffee Mornings

Date: Wednesday, 5 September, 2018 
Time: 10h30 – 12h00
Topic: Growing indigenous plants from seed.
No cost

Sowing seeds of indigenous plants, and getting them to grow can be a challenge. We spend the morning chatting about what works and what doesn’t for various species. Come and share what has worked for you, and hear what works for others and at Random Harvest.

Remember to take a walk and see how the lawn is growing on the piece we did last coffee morning


Date: Wednesday, 3 October, 2018 
Time: 10h30 – 12h00
Topic: Traditional uses of some interesting indigenous plants
No cost

Indigenous plants as part of our heritage in South Africa, weave a rich and colourful thread through many people’s lives. From traditional use to some culinary and medicinal uses, we’ll be chatting about this fascinating topic for our October coffee morning.

Bring a friend and a notebook – attendance is free.



Bird Walks


This is an exciting time to be birdwatching as the migrants are returning and getting ready for breeding.  

Andre or Lia will kindly continue with leading bird walks at Random Harvest.  The weather will be much milder and walking in the grassland at this time of year is a treat.

Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018 
Time:  6h30 for 7h00
Cost: R155.00 per person

This will be followed by a buffet breakfast when you can spend some time chatting about birds.

Spider Talk and walk with Astri Le Roy

The Highveld Bulb Society has arranged for the well-known ‘Spider Lady’ Astri Le Roy to talk on “Some spiders you might see today and some you won’t!” and then take a walk in the nursery looking for spiders.
Date: Saturday, September 8
Time:  14h00
Cost: R50 per person includes tea/coffee and cake


Lindsay Gray Courses


Domestic Gardener Training

Date: Friday, 14 September
Time: 08h00 – 16h30
Date: Friday, 12 October
Time: 08h00 – 16h30 

Give your gardener the gift of knowledge with this comprehensive, practical day of fine-tuning his/her gardening skills.

The course costs R760 per person which includes two sets of notes, breakfast and lunch, as well as a beautiful Certificate of Attendance. 

The picture is of Buzile Mzobi the winner of our competition.

Easy Steps to Drawing a Plan/Sketching your Ideas
Date: Saturday 13 October
Time: 08h30 – 16h00  
Cost : R995-00 (including lunch and refreshments)

This step-by-step course is ideal for those who have some design knowledge and would like to learn how to put their ideas onto paper to be able to accurately quantify the plants and hard landscaping they will need for their project. The sketching part of the course is a real eye-opener and loads of fun! No previous drawing experience necessary. Also ideal as a refresher for landscapers.

To Book or for further information, contact us on [email protected]; Cell : 082 44 99 237


We’ve had some lovely reviews on our Google page for Random Harvest Country Cottages.

We thought we’d share a few with you.

  • Awesome, accommodation, staff, food and atmosphere. Definitely recommend
  • Loved every moment of my stay here please do yourself a favour and get away for few days this is the place
  • I love the natural touch of the place and my room was very spacious. The staff were very friendly and internet was fantastic. The menu could be improved to have more vegetarian options. Lovely hideaway overall.
  • A wonderful getaway - accommodation was very comfortable, food was excellent and the staff and service levels were superb
  • Friendly, efficient staff. Great food, beautiful cottage. All the appliances you would need, well appointed. Beds comfy, water hot.

Please remember that we love to hear your feedback about your stay.  Your comments help us to maintain our high standard, and make improvements where they are needed.

Gardening Tips

This is the time to add compost to your garden beds.  

Composting encourages the micro-organisms in your soil thus helping with the health of your soil.

If you would like to give your garden a boost you could add a general, slow release fertilise such as ‘Just Organic’ pellets.

If you haven’t already pruned your shrubs and plants that are looking scruffy it is important you do it now before they have too much new growth.

Fill the spaces in your garden beds with beautiful indigenous colourful plants such as Osteospermum, Gazania, Felicia and Arctotis.

In The Shop

At last!  We have some beautiful new bird slates in stock.  They really are amazing.

Someone has made the most beautiful table mats made of material that has nature as a theme. I think they are gorgeous.

A new stock of Terracotta pots has arrived.  

I have to be very patient in order to get these pots as the potter only supplies Random Harvest with these great quality pots and only delivers twice a year.  

I am really grateful that he has made us his exclusive outlet.


Plants Looking Good


Ochna serrulata 

Small-leaved Plane (E); Fynblaarrooihout (A)

This beautiful, glossy, medium sized shrub is a plant that keeps offering beautiful features as we go from spring to summer.  

It is now in full flower with it beautiful yellow flowers.  

The glossy, red, new leaves are just starting to peep through the flowers.  

When the flowers drop they leave behind a bright, scarlet calyx that look like red stars in the bush.

These persist for about 3 months. It can be pruned into a standard and used as a tiny tree.

Erythrina humeana 

Dwarf coraltree (E); Kleinkoraalboom (A)
This gorgeous shrub is just now coming into bloom with spikes of bright red flowers.  When the seed pods are ready they pop to reveal red and black seeds which is also a pretty and interesting feature of this plant.  It is quite hardy but if planted in cold areas it can be frosted back and re-sprout with masses of flowers in the spring.

Metarungia pubinervia 

Red Sunbird Bush (E); Rooisuikerbekkiebos (A)            
A shrub for shady areas it takes full and partial shade and is useful for planting under deciduous trees.  It has large leaves and bears red flowers along the stems.  A worthwhile addition for a shade garden.

Halleria lucida ‘Yellow’ - Tree-Fuchsia (E); Notsung (A) 

The Tree Fuchsia has to be one of the best trees for a wildlife garden.  Many people use it as a shrub but it is, in fact, a stunning medium sized tree.  It bears masses of flowers along the stems and on the older wood.  Birds, butterflies and insects are irresistibly drawn to the nectar they offer.  When the flowers are over it is covered in berries which the fruit eating birds love.  

The tree in the picture is here at Random Harvest – talk a walk and see just what a marvellous tree this is.

There are pink, red and orange flowered forms.

Stachys aethiopica ‘White’ 

African Stachys (E); Katpisbossie (A)
A delicate looking but tough little ground cover bears spikes of white flowers.  

Many tiny pollinating insects are drawn to the flowers.  These in turn provide food for frogs and lizards.  It bears flowers on and off throughout the year.

Dimorphotheca jucundum 

Trailing Pink Daisy (E); Bergbietou (A)

Probably the most colourful plants of spring are the Osteospermums and Dimorphotheca.  

These beautiful nodding flowers work a treat in the garden.  

They give us colour and attract butterflies and insects to the garden.  

Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Remember the more you remove the dead flowers the more they flower.

If you look closely at these flowers you will be astounded at just how beautiful they are, and you may even be rewarded by seeing a tiny bug living there.

Watsonia angusta - River Watsonia (E); Rooikanolpypie (A)

Watsonias were Jan Smuts’ favourite flower.  I think with good reason.  Some of the species are deciduous, but this one is evergreen.  

Plant it in a reasonably sunny spot in the garden and be rewarded with spikes of beautiful flowers.  They can be left in the ground to multiply and give you years of pleasure.

Plectranthus madagascariensis var. aliciae  

Madagascar Spurflower (E); Muishondblaar (A)
Sometimes the shady spots in the garden can look quite dark.  

Plant this pretty variegated Plectranthus and see how the white in the leaves lights up a shady area.  

Prune just before spring to keep it healthy and looking good.

Crasssula ovata ‘Hummel Sunset’ 

Money Plant (E); Stoepplantjie(A)

This plant is a variation of Crassula ovata and has bright golden leaves.  

It is wonderful planted in a succulent garden or a container.  

As it matures it develops a beautiful fleshy stem and looks like a bonsai.


Plants On Special – Discount 15% 


Senecio barbetonicus - Succulent Bush Senecio (E) 

A bright green shrubby succulent which get masses of yellow flowers.  Perfect to create shape and texture in a succulent garden.   It takes well to pruning and can be kept at any height you want.

Polygala myrtifolia - September Bush (E); Bloukappie (A)

A versatile shrub with bright green leaves and masses of beautiful purple flowers.  It can be pruned up with a single stem and used as a tiny tree in small spaces.  It can be used as a shrub or pruned as a hedge.  


On The Farm


Well! My beautiful sunrises on the way to the office are over until next winter.  

Even I, am not getting up early enough to see them.  

Be that as it may, I am so happy to be going to the nursery in the soft morning light – it reminds me of just how beautiful this world is and makes me appreciate where I live every morning.

The Celtis africana are sprouting their new leaves.  

I think this is one of our most beautiful trees, especially in spring.

This is also the time for the Clivia to flower.  Every year when they flower their beauty astounds me and I fall in love with them all over again. 

The Scadoxus are also coming into full bloom.  This is a sure sign of spring when they offer us their striking flowers.  

These bulbs are wonderful if planted in between grasses.

This time of year is so beautiful with everything sprouting and growing it truly is the season of hope and renewal.  

The birds are about as happy as I am about spring.  They are starting their morning chorus and are very busy fattening up and looking for a suitable mate for the season.  

Some of the migrants have returned and now is the time I start looking forward to the arrival of the Paradise Flycatchers.  I know they only return about the middle of October but I can’t wait to be woken by their cheerful calls in the morning.  They really are my happy birds.

I had to share these pictures of the Amethyst Sunbirds.  You can see the gorgeous glossy feathers that give it its name.

They have been so busy sipping nectar from the Aloes and Cotyledons.  Indigenous plants just keep giving. 


The Green Hoopoe flocked to the Aloes.  

I was amazed at them probing the flowers for nectar.  I thought they were insect eaters.  

Nevertheless, they are also looking for the energy provided by the nectar.  

They are really comical birds and a joy to watch as they noisily go about their business.


The Black-Collared Barbet are displaying.  They are also visiting the bird feeding area on a daily basis and chomping the fruit we put out for them

I must say they are costing me a fortune in food but I don’t mind as the first thing I see when walking out of my office are the birds enjoying themselves at the feeding table.  They also give the visitors to Random Harvest a lot of joy.

Jeffrey also managed to get this lovely picture of the Streaky-Headed Seed eater.  This is quite an unusual bird for our area.  

If you look carefully at the picture you can see the pollen around his beak.  He has obviously also been sticking his head into the Wild Dagga, Aloes and other plants to steal their nectar.

This puffed up little Fiscal Flycatcher had me puzzled and I had to ask Andre to identify it for me never mind that I have seen them thousands of times.

The Plovers are busy arguing about territories in the cows’ paddocks.  Needless to say they are noisy.  It is now also going to be time for us to protect their eggs and babies from the predations of the crows. 

This is also called job creating as I have to dedicate a staff member to protect them.

Jeff found this interesting little bag worm hanging from a branch.  The camouflage is amazing helping to keep the creature inside safe and sound.

Ashley took this pretty picture of a ladybird hiding in an Aloe arborescens.  I guess it was waiting for a juicy bit of prey.

At long last we managed to get a picture of the slender mongoose.  They have been on the farm for quite a while and been driving my mother crazy as they steal her chickens’ eggs.

The difficulty with getting a picture is that they are fast movers but this one decided to come into the nursery to investigate what we were doing there.

The other problem is that this is the one creature I cannot dissuade Abby from chasing, so I keep well back so as not to disturb them.


We had the workers from Emfuleni Municipality for a tour of the nursery and to teach them about plant propagation and growing.  

It went down very well and hopefully we persuaded some of them to turn to indigenous plants.



The Fairy Crassula (Crassula multcava) and variegated Hen and Chicks (Chlorophytum comosum Vitatum) look so beautiful even though they are competing with the matted roots of the Jacarandas.  

They are also coping with the sticks and leaves the Jacarandas drop.  Talk about tough but pretty.


There are so many plants blooming and flowering I had to share some more pictures with you.

The Namaqualand Daisies on the farm are also in full flower.  

I hope all who bought seeds from us in autumn have been rewarded as we have.  

No wonder people go crazy about them.


The purple Tulbaghia simmerli (Sweet Wild Garlic (E); Soetwildeknoffel (A)) Look amazing at this time of year.  

I can never understand why we don’t sell many.  

Admittedly they are deciduous but bloom beautifully in spring and have lovely grey strappy leaves throughout summer.



The fruit trees have been blossoming.  They are really beautiful even if they don’t last that long.

I am just hoping we get fruit as the birds even feast on the green fruit.  It can be a double-edged sword to attract so many birds.

This year I am buying bird netting to cover some of the trees in the hopes of fooling the birds and actually being able to pick some fruit. 



I had to share this picture of the huge, old Oak Tree in the garden.  Standing beneath it feels like you are in a green cathedral 

Take time to walk in your garden and see all the signs of burgeoning life.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Happy gardening


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email [email protected]

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