Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - November 2011

Posted On: Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

I would firstly like to thank all of you who sent me their best wishes and thoughts.  I am on the mend from a horrible bout of pneumonia.

Summer is here at last, we have had some rain (yay) and everything is bursting with life - the plants, birds, insects, and all the other inhabitants of our gardens.

November is a month for the birds

We are dedicating this month to the birds and making our gardens more bird friendly - giving them a refuge and making our lives infinitely more pleasurable.


Bird day - Andre Marx of the North Gauteng Bird Club will be taking a walk to identify the birds of Random Harvest.  His knowledge of the birds and their calls is astounding.  He has taken walks before and always seems to come up some really interesting sightings.  This is a morning not to be missed .

When:  19th November  - meet at the office at 6.45am (remember the early bird gets the worm) for coffee and biscuits. We should be done by 10.00am just in time for a well needed breakfast.

Cost: R75.00 which includes morning coffee on arrival and an "Eat Like a Bird" breakfast of scrambled egg, bacon, grilled tomato and our usual toast, homemade preserves and tea or coffee.

Booking essential: call David on 082 553 0598

Wiebke Biemond the bird artist will also spend Saturday morning with us where she will be painting birds on slate. I am always fascinated watching an artist at work. She will also answer any questions you may have.

This is definitely a not-to-be-missed morning, from the fascinating insight into birds and their habitat to the scrumptious breakfast afterwards!

Bring along your bird book and binoculars.

Elaine's birding and wildlife products

Elaine from Elaine's Birding and Wildlife Products will also be available i n the morning of the 19th November to answer any questions about feeding the birds in your garden.   She will also have her whole range of bird products for you to browse through and give advice  on how to get the best results from them.

Gifts from the Garden

(This is the second in a series of talks that Rosemary will be giving on herbs.)

Rosemary from the Herb Basket will be talking about gifts from the herb garden this month.  The feedback from the people who attended the last herb talk by Rosemary was glowing.

She will be demonstrating some of the many gifts one can create with herbs.  A handmade gift is always appreciated and she will show us how to make flavoured oil and vinegar, Bouquet garni and many other ideas.

Bring your children along to plant their own herb and decorate a label for it, as well as make a scented herb sachet.
Date: Saturday, 12 Nov, 2:30 pm 
Cost including tea and scones: R50 per adult  and  R25 per child for kids activity
To Book: call David on 082 553 0598

Christmas gifts

It is hard to believe we are talking about Christmas - where has this year gone?

A gift voucher is always a nice gift if you are finding it difficult to find the right gift for someone.  With a voucher from Random Harvest you not only give them a gift but a nice outing where they can just relax or take a walk, have a great cappuccino and a gift as well.  The vouchers are redeemable in both the nursery and the tea garden.

What about a gift of the homemade jams made withf fruit grown at Random Harvest and some other local farms.  We have added a really yummy strawberry and raspberry jam to the list.  They are low in sugar and packed with the taste of the fruit.  Thanks to my Italian mom who does all the hard work.

Why not give a bird feeder to a loved one or just to the birds in your garden.  It will give you so much pleasure watching the feathered visitors all year round.

Plant pots are also an idea and there is also a range of manageable size pots planted up and ready to be placed.

There is a selection of other interesting and quirky ideas for Christmas presents

Tea Garden

If you are planning a get together before Christmas why not book for High Tea at Random Harvest.  This is becoming increasingly popular.  Sit under the trees - something a little different from sitting in a restaurant.

The Gazebo in the nursery is nearly ready.  We are just waiting for the delivery of the blinds to make it weather-proof.  This is a really nice place to have a little function.
To book call David on 182-553-0598


The Grasslands are in full bloom in January and are a magical wonderland.

Pictured left - Gladiolus Ecklonii and right - Satyrium Trinerve

The Matotoland Eco-Tourism Association organises a day out in the grasslands with experts to lead and identify the plants in the grasslands.

The photos are just a taste of the marvellous sights you will see.

The Wildflower day is on Saturday 21 January 2012 and the program is as follows:
Time: 08h00 (Registration) for 8h45 - 15h30
Place: Mc Cloud's Shop in Main Street.
Coffee / Tea will be served
Price: R150 pp including Lunch Cash only
Books will be for sale R350 Cash only
Necessities: Comfortable shoes, Books, Hat, Water, Snacks, pencil, binoculars, magnifying glass.
Program: 8h45 -Introduction talk Judd / Ané

Use your own vehicle to travel in convoy to the various areas of interest.

Pictured left - Brunsvigia Radulosa and right - Disa Cooperi

Lunch: 13h00 The NG Kerksaal  - Bring your own wine or beer.
Talk and slide show: 14h30 - 15h30 at the NG K rksaal


For Bookings call Ane Steinberg 082 804 1771 or email [email protected]    

Shrubs for the Bird Garden

I have written a little pamphlet on attracting birds to your garden which can be collected when you visit the nursery during November.

I have listed some really good shrubs to help attract birds to the garden.  Unfortunately adding all the information here will make the newsflash too long.  I will put the detailed information on each plant in the pamphlet on attracting birds to the garden which you can collect free of charge at the nursery.

Bauhinia natalensis (Pictured top) - Dainty Bauhinia (E), Fynbeesklou (A) - Size 1 to 2m: S.A. No. 152

Bauhinia tomentosa - Bush Neat's Foot (e), Bosbeesklou (a), isithibathibana (z) - Size 2 to 4m : S.A. No. 208.1

Buddleja auriculata - Weeping Sage (E), Treursalie (A)  -Size 2 to 4m : S.A. No. 636.5

Diospyros lycioides - Bluebush (E), Bluebush Star-apple (E), Bloubos (A), Wezinja (Z), Size 2 to 7m : S.A. No. 605

Dovyalis rhamnoides - Crownberry (E), Gewone Suurbessie (A), uKhamgwingi (Z) Size 1 to 7m : S.A. No. 509

Ehretia rigida - Puzzle Bush (E), Deurmekaarbos (A), umHlele (Z) - Size 2 to 5m : S.A. No. 657

Grewia occidentalis (Pictured right) - Cross-berry (E), Kruisbessie (A), iKlolo (Z) - Size 2 to 6m : S.A. No. 463

Ochna serrulata - Small Leaved Plane (E), Fynblaarrooihout (A), umBovu (Z) - Size 1 to 3m : S.A. No. 479.1

Rhamnus prinoides - Dogwood (E), Blinkblaar (A), umNyenye (Z), Mofifi (Tsw) - Size 2 to 6m : S.A. No. 452

Scutia myrtina - Cat-thorn (E), Droog-my-keel (A), uSondelanganga (Z) - Size 2 to 10m (if it climbs) :S.A. No. 451

Tecomaria capensis 'Orange' - Cape Honeysuckle (E), Kaapse Kanferfoelie (A), Trompetters (A), iMunyane (Z), Size up to 3m : S.A. No. 673.1

Indigenous plants are generally really easy to grow. These shrubs are no exception. Add some compost to the soil, make sure the hole is as deep as the rootball and when you place the plant make sure it is not planted too deep.  A dose of slow release organic 2:3:2 fertiliser and a cover of mulch will be all you need to do.  Add regular watering and watch the shrubs grow and respond to your care.

On the Farm

The wildlife garden display that Heather built in the nursery is looking great.  The little pond with its shallow edges has got birds and insects around it almost all the time.  A Raucous Toad has been investigating to see if it is suitable for breeding.

The "beastie box" in the garden has had many visitors.  It must be doing its job of cr eating habitat for insects as a skink has taken up residence - a real little opportunist. 

I am happy to report that the Paradise flycatchers are back.  On the 1st of October each year I start panicking thinking that maybe they won't come back to the garden - and each year religiously they arrive between the 7th and 10th of October.  Their happy calls always make me smile - life without them would be much poorer.

Not only do I love their calls but two males landed in a ray of sunshine in my Apodytes right near where I was sitting.  What a joy.

The Cuckoos are back in force.  I have heard the Piet-my-vrou, Diederik and Black Cuckoos.  The days of relaxation for my security are over.  Back to their job of keeping the Piet-my-vrou away from my mother's bedroom window.

I really don't know how the Dove chicks manage to stay in the really rudimentary nests their parents build.  The  ones in the picture are nesting in the fork of a Celtis africana outside my mom's kitchen window (great for bird watching).  In the picture it looked like 2 different species until the other chick lifted its head. 
We have had Red Bishop on the feeding table outside the office.  It has been fascinating watching him change on a daily basis into his full breeding plumage.  This is the first time one has come to the table.

After having to stay inside for so long it was a real pleasure to be able to go outside and check on what I had been missing.  The first thing I saw was the cutest little White Eye drinking and bathing in the grindstone near my verandah.  Maybe I am just an incurable romantic but my heart was really full and I felt so privileged to be able to sit quietly and watch this tiny creature.  What a  blessing.

On my first venture down to the dam I saw a Stone Chat which we don't often see on the farm.  He was so obliging and sat still, singing his heart out while Jeffrey and I just looked on and enjoyed the show.

Lo and behold we got to the dam and there was a Black Headed Heron and a Grey Heron.  Really unusual.

My garden was so lucky the other day as my mother put the sprinkler on.  One of the plants is a big Ochna serrulata - Pictured right (Mickey Mouse Bush).  A Bar-Throated Apalis was hopping around in the Ochna bathing and enjoying the water each time the sprinkler came around.

When the water was turned off the bees and lots of other insects came to collect water off the leaves.  A whole world going on in the Ochna.

A Crested Barbet has taken up residence in the nesting log attached to the fence around the circle in the nursery.  A convenient height to watch how he goes about his life.

The plants have been amazing.  I was late with starting to plant seeds this year but you wouldn't believe if you saw how they have grown.  Take a walk through the seed area and see how everything is bursting with life.

The plants are amazing, I have never seen so many flowers on Acacia caffra (Pictured right)as this year.  They are  literally growing one on top of the other.  Hopefully we will have as bountiful a crop of seeds as the birds and in sects have had pollen and nectar. 

The other tree that bloomed amazingly is the Sterculia murex (Left).  Hopefully we get lots of seeds and those beautiful seed capsules that we can use to make decorations next Christmas.

The Ehretia rigida (Puzzle Bush) had so many flowers that they looked like Dombeyas (Wild Pear) from far.  They are now so loaded with seeds that there is no competition with the birds as there is enough for all.

The perfume in the nursery and garden has also been amazing.  I didn't know that Ochna flowers had such a strong perfume, maybe it was just because of the sheer volume of the flowers that I noticed it. 

The sweet smell of the Combretum erythrophyllum (River Bushwillow) has also been drifting deliciously through the nursery.

It is just great to be back in the nursery amongst all the things I love. 

Hope to see you in the nursery sharing my world of birdsong, beautiful plants and humming insects.




Cel 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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)

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


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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