Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - December 2011

Posted On: Thursday, December 1, 2011

View the newsletter archives.
Please visit this page regularly to get the latest gardening tips.


Dear indigenous enthusiast,

At last the rain seems to have arrived, thank goodness!  The grass was getting crispy and really dry in the extreme heat.   Hopefully it is over and the cooler rainy season has begun.

I am not sure what happened to 2011.  It seems to have passed in a flash and here we are at Christmas time again.

Birding Big Day

The "Birding Big Day" is on Sunday 27th Nov., but as we are closed on Sundays we will celebrate it on Sat. 26th.

We have quite an up to date bird list of birds sighted at Random Harvest which we will be handing out. 

It has an astonishing 133 species on it.  Last weekend on the bird walk they saw 63 species in one and a half hours. Amazing!

We will also be offering a 15% discount on all the shrubs in the 'Shrubs for Birds' area on this Saturday only.

A Festive Season full of butterflies

We are dedicating December to all those beautiful butterflies wafting around the garden and how to bring more and more of them into our gardens.

Our Christmas tree this year is decorated with butterflies made by my staff and I. 

I think it looks really great - especially as the 'tree' is in fact a Highveld Bushclump. 

It will naturally attract a whole host of insects and birds to add to the magic of Christmas.

Our Christmas present to you is a free Butterfly Garden Starter pack with everything you need to take the first steps of a new adventure in your garden.


To book for events, please contact David at Random Harvest on 082 553 0598.
Please note that booking is essential for all events.
Lepidopterist Society - Butterfly display  - The Lepidopterist Society of South Africa will have an informative display set up at Random Harvest and will be available to answer questions on our beautiful butterflies for the duration of the day.
Date: Saturday, 3 Dec, 8:00am to 5:00pm  :  Free entry
Butterflies and their Habitat - a walk and talk - Jeremy Dobson leads a fascinating walk through the Nursery grounds to look at butterflies and their associations with other creatures as well as our indigenous plants.   Light lunch will be served afterwards. Bring along a pair of binoculars and a butterfly book
Date: Saturday, 3 Dec, 11:30 to 12:30 am.  :  Cost: R75.00

An Indigenous Christmas - A morning of décor inspiration - Wow your family and Christmas guests with the wonderful tips and inspiration on how to decorate your table and surrounds with treasures from all things indigenous. Cost includes a scrumptious tea.
Saturday, 10 Dec, 9:00am to 12 noon :  Cost: R100.00 per person : Age level: 15 years and upwards

Kids Christmas Fun at Random Harvest

All children who come to Random Harvest will receive a free gift. Locally made to support local crafters.  Each child will be able to choose a beautiful beaded tree decoration and a packet of sweets when they visit us. 

We have planned a whole lot of interesting events for children - mothers are also welcome to join in the fun. 

I would really appreciate it if you would spread the message to any of your friends or family who you think may be interested in joining in. 

Event Details - Visit the Random Harvest Events Page

To book for events, please contact David at Random Harvest on 082 553 0598.

Please note that booking is essential for all events.

Decorate a Christmas Tree for the Birds - Come and decorate Random Harvest's Christmas tree for the birds  with delectable bird-treat decorations you have made yourself.  

If you love your decorations too much to part with them, you can purchase them at a nominal price and take them home with you!
Monday, 5 Dec, from 10:00 am throughout the day : Cost: R10 per child    Age level: 4 to 94!
Making Christmas Tree Decorations - Make a variety of beautiful Christmas decorations - with many inspirations from nature. You can make as many or as few as you like - pay as you make.
Tuesday, 6 Dec, 10:00 to 11:30 am and 2:00 to 3.30pm : Cost: R10 per child
Age level: 4 to 94!

A children's Sustainable Gardening Workshop  - Random Harvest is dedicated to sustainable gardening - making sure that what we plant now sustains life in our gardens and is environmentally sensible for the future.

Young people can learn about basic soil ecology, planting methods and growing indigenous plants as well as herbs and vegetables. A very basic workshop aimed at having lots of fun while learning.
There will be a short break in which light refreshment will be provided.
Wednesday, 7 Dec, 9:30 to 11:30 am : Cost: R50 per child  Age Level: ideal ages 8 to 12 
Card and gift-wrap creations for Christmas - with inspirations from Nature  - Make your own Christmas cards, tags and giftwrap, either to use or give as a gift. Wear old clothes or bring an apron.
Thursday, 8 Dec, 9:30am to 12 noon and 2:00 to 4:00pm : Cost: R10.00 per person (Cards, tags and paper charged separately)   Age Level: Grade 1 upwards.
'Zoo to You' and Build a Mini-beastie Box  - Jo'burg Zoo and Random Harvest bring you up close to discover some amazing    creatures. After a tea break you can build a Mini-beastie box to take home with you.

You can observe all sorts of little creatures that take up residence in their new home….right in your own garden. It also makes a great Christmas present.
Friday, 9 Dec, 10:00am to 12:30 : Cost: R75 per child 
Age level: 7 years old and upwards. (Younger children will need parental supervision)

Opening Times

We will be open throughout December as usual Monday to Saturday 8.00 to 17.00 (Closed Sundays)

Public Holidays
We are open on Friday 16th December - Day of Reconciliation and Public Holiday 2nd January 2012

Closed on Christmas day 25th and Day of Goodwill 26th December.

Design Ideas

You may have a little more time during the holidays.  Why not get some help from myself, Jeffrey or Diane with some ideas for the layout of your garden.  This is a free service and may give you some inspiration on how to garden to for yourself and the wildlife in your area.

On the Farm

There have been a few remarkable things happening on the farm. 

The first of them is the geese.  They have this tiny head with a pea brain and I have always thought of them as a bit silly.  Well, no longer!  The apricots are ripening on the tree and they have cleaned the lower apricots by stretching on tip toe. 

When there were no more in reach they jumped up and grabbed a branch, knocked some apricots off and held the branch for a few other geese to pluck a few off before letting go.  Unbelievable!  Unfortunately I did not get a picture.

The other thing is we have meat eating Sparrows.  This I have never seen before.  First thing in the morning a few of them are outside the light of my house collecting the dead moths and munching them. 

Then it is into my house to glean whatever may have died there.  You live and learn - here I was thinking they are only seed eaters.

The little pond in the wildlife garden we built is buzzing with life.  I have to keep it brim-full to accommodate all the tadpoles. 

The birds and insects that visit are unbelievable there is just a toing and froing all day long.  The number and variety of wasps has really surprised me.

I am very aware of the creatures around me and still there are so many I just don't notice.

It is amazing how wildlife will appreciate even the smallest accommodation such as a gently sloping side that they can use comfortably.

Another little consideration of habitat is on the sewage system. 

The Wagtails just love this area and all the little insects around there.  I floated a piece of wood so that if anything fell in they could climb up onto this plank. 

The Wagtails are using it to forage for food from the pond. 

Plants have been flowering so well this year and many of them have abundant seeds and berries.  A good example is the Puzzle Bush (Ehretia rigida). 

This year they had so many flowers they looked like Wild Pears (Dombeya rotundifolia) blooming everywhere. 

Their seeds are so fat and so numerous that there is enough for the birds and I to share without fighting over them.

The Philenoptera violacea (Apple Leaf- Pictured right) were also covered in flowers.  This tree always amazes me as it is a good example of things that we assume about plants. 

This is a Bushveld plant so we naturally assume it is frost tender.  I find it amazingly hardy and have never lost a plant to frost, so bang goes another assumption. 

The flowers are so nectar filled that the crown is humming with life.  In the wild I have seen Impala, Warthog and Steenbok nibbling the petals off the ground to get their share of the sugary nectar.

We are extra busy chasing crows as there are lots of baby Thick Knees and Plovers around and we just have to save them from these rapacious birds.

The Cattle Egrets have been stalking around the garden. 

This is unusual as I hardly ever see them in the garden, normally they are with the cows in the veld. 

They had come to fatten up on a whole lot of worms that infested the garden.  It was fun seeing them out of context.

I was so excited to see a Shaft Tailed Whydah on the feeding table for the first time.  But now he has claimed the tables for himself and is aggressively chasing everyone else away. 

I am going to move the tables further apart to give the other birds a chance to get their share and maybe drive the Shaft Tailed Whydah a little crazy as he tries to claim them all.  Wicked!

The Paradise Flycatchers are sitting on eggs on the most attractive and cryptic nests.  I knew they were close to the nursery as in the evenings when everyone had gone home they were making a racket in the nursery.  I just love sitting outside listening to their cheerful calls.  It sounded as if there were a whole lot of them but it was probably only 5 or 6.

Enjoy this time of year, the rain, the birds, the plants, family and friends.  Thank you for your support. 



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).

Join Our Mailing Lists

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

  • Wholesale Customers
  • Random Harvest Newsletter
  • Youth Newsletter