Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - May 2019

Posted On: Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

What a beautiful part of the world we live in. Take a moment to really observe the beauty around you. When I drive around this lovely farm, the serenity of the dam and the wonderful Highveld sky infuse my soul with peace at times like these.

Public holidays – we are open on both public holidays in May:
Labour day May 1st & Voting day May 8th


Did you see our videos and shots on Facebook and Instagram of the beautiful rain here at Random Harvest recently?

The Easter Eco Treasure Hunt was also a great success, and that’s thanks to my retail staff and the parents, grandparents and friends that brought their young ones through to enjoy this lovely, gentle outdoor activity.


A reminder that You can now take our delicious coffee home with you.

Available from our little shop in 250 gram bags of whole beans or ground for your convenience.


We also continue to receive beautiful new stock of the jewellery made by Glass on Fire.

This makes a nice spoil for oneself or a special gift.

I love the way the sun shines through the beads on the many and varied pieces of beaded work we have on sale created by local craftsmen.



Mothers Day

Sunday 12th May is Mother’s Day, and we have a few tea garden offers to spoil Mom on her special day:

• Breakfast buffet at R155 per person Children under 12 years ½ price. This will be served up to 11.00 am.
• Buffet breakfast includes: Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Pork or Beef Sausage, Sliced Tomato, Creamed Mushr oom, Muesli with milk or yogurt, Fruit salad, Cocktail Rolls, Butter and Jams, Tea, Coffee, Water Jugs, Orange Juice
• Revert to normal menu after 11.00
• Cake and drinks can be ordered all day from 8am to 4:30 pm
• High tea – R160 per person. Children under 12 years ½ price. By booking only – please call reception on 082 553 0598 or email [email protected] to book.

Moms visiting us on the 12th of May will receive a lovely little free gift, to celebrate how special Moms are, and to thank you for spending time with us.


Time: 10h30 – 12h00
Cost: No charge – please support our nursery and / or tea garden when you visit.

Date: Wednesday May 1st – Alien Invasive Plants

A talk about the havoc these plants cause in nature, let alone our gardens, how to identify them and how to eradicate or manage them. Carol Knoll, with her extensive knowledge in this field, will be joining me to discuss this very important topic.

Date: Wednesday June 5th – World environment day - where we fit in
As this coffee morning falls on World Environment Day, we thought we’d look at and chat about gardens and gardeners – how we can landscape and plant up our gardens to support the natural environment.


Date: Saturday 4 May, 2019 (With Lia Steen)
Start time: 07h00 for 07h30 sharp
Booking is essential. Please contact us on 082 553 0598 or [email protected]

Details for Bird Walks:
Cost: R155 per person, including a great buffet breakfast (see website for details) after the walk.
To Book: (Essential) Call reception on 082 553 0598 or email [email protected]


Domestic Gardener Training (08h30 – 15h45): Date Friday May 17th.
Give your gardener the gift of knowledge! This course is designed for any gardener at any skills level who works in the domestic, landscaping and commercial environment.
A truly uplifting course! Breakfast and lunch included.

Easy Steps to Maintaining your Garden (08h30 – 13h00): Date Saturday 18th of May
There is no such thing as a maintenance free garden; however, there are many easy ways to creating a low- maintenance, healthy and organic garden that will attract wildlife. The workshop covers compost making, mulching, understanding fertilisers, pruning, lawn care and natural pest control. Refreshments included.

To reserve your place, contact Lindsay on 082 44 99 237 or email [email protected]/ or www.schoolofgardendesign.com


Our featured cottage of the month is Sagewood. This charming cottage with its upbeat interior, table with a view out of the window and light, airy feel, begs one to stay as long as possible.

It has a separate lounge and bedroom for added privacy and a cute patio for relaxing outside. Covered parking is provided adjacent to the cottage.

Read more of what Sagewood Cottage has to offer

Gardening Tip

Healthy gardens don’t get ravaged by pests – the stronger they grow the more they resist pests. And healthy soil means a healthy garden and plants.

Treat your soil to compost, rockdust and mulch this winter season to ensure strong healthy growth in spring. These soil conditioners ensure that there are sufficient nutrients and minerals in the soil that are essential for healthy functioning of plants.

They also provide them in a form that is readily taken up by plants. By the time you read the next Random Harvest Newsletter from me, we may well have had our first frost. Mulch is an excellent “blanket” to place on exposed soil around plants’ roots. It creates a barrier to frost that can damage the fine hair roots of plants, as well as preventing the soil from drying out.

If a garden is healthy you are still going to find a few pests, but they won’t take over and decimate your plants. Just remember that worms and caterpillars are in general not pests, except for those that are well known for the damage they do, such as amaryllis (lily borer), lawn caterpillars and some beetle larvae.

Autumn Garden Fair

Thanks to my hard working and dedicated staff, who built the stand at the Garden Fair, it was a great success.

Jeffrey worked his magic and the display was really beautiful and appreciated by the many visitors.

The winners of the competition that we held at the fair were. 1st- Kathryn Henning : 2nd – Deborah Newby : 3rd- Gwen Cannon


At last Mike has found an environmentally friendly solution to control the infestation of shot hole borer instead of spraying with harmful pesticides that have disastrous effects on the local environment and its wildlife for up to one year.

Contact Mike Viviers for advice on affordable control of PSHB or spraying of your trees on 082 721 2478 or email [email protected]

More information on the control of shothole borer beetle


Kalanchoe rotundifolia ‘Signal Red’ - Common Kalanchoe.

Although referred to as “Common” this is the most uncommonly floriferous and colourful Kalanchoe you can imagine!

This hardy, evergreen, erect succulent groundcover bears spikes of small tubular bright red flowers.

Plant in amongst grasses or as an element of a rocky succulent garden.

Plectranthus ciliatus - Speckled Spur-flower.

This outstanding, fairly hardy, evergreen groundcover graces the garden with a gorgeous carpet of quilted, dark-green leaves that have purple undersides and stems, and dainty spikes of white or mauve flowers in summer and autumn.

Plant in containers or hanging baskets as well as in the open ground.

Cyperus papyrus - Papyrus Sedge.

A large, hardy, evergreen sedge that forms clumps of tall, green, bare stems, topped by heads of grass-like flower spikelets, giving it a mop-like appearance.

A wonderful form plant that is ideal for wetlands, water edges, bog gardens and the cleaning of grey water.

Kniphofia uvaria - Common Marsh Poker.

This moisture-loving Poker has beautiful flower spikes borne on long stems in Dec. and Jan.

The buds are orange, then open in succession into yellow flowers. These attract pollinating insects and butterflies as well as Sunbirds to the garden.

Plant in a sunny water garden or amongst grasses. Spectacular when planted en masse

Ficus craterostoma - Forest Fig.

A semi-decidious, medium sized strangler fig with small, dark glossy green, blunt tipped leaves.

Small figs are borne on the axils of the leaves. They attract many fruit-eating birds to the garden. Makes a wonderful container plant.

Figs should not be planted close to walls and paving as they have aggressive roots.

Asystasia gangetica – Creeping Foxglove

A creeping, fast-growing, fairly hardy groundcover with large fragrant white flowers. Excellent for shady areas or in a hanging basket. Attracts many species of butterflies to the garden.

The purple lines in the flower are landing lights for insects to guide them into the flower to collect pollen and nectar and at the same time pollinating the flower.


Pychnostachys urticifolia - Hedgehog Sage. It is a hardy, evergreen, herbaceous perennial with strikingly beautiful deep-blue to mauve flowers that attract bees and other pollinating insects to the garden.

It contrasts beautifully with other plants flowering at this time of the year (for example: orange flowers of Leonotis leonurus and pink flowers of Hypoestes aristata and Syncolostemon densiflorus).

Aloe ciliaris - Climbing Aloe

A most rewarding plant, this hardy, climbing Aloe can make a lovely, clump-forming, sprawling shrub in semi-shade or sun.

It blooms almost all year round with tubular, bright-red to red-orange flowers that are tipped with yellow.

The nectar-rich flowers attract Sunbirds to the garden.


This month has definitely been the month of butterflies. My most beautiful moments were sitting watching the butterflies on Crassula capitella ‘Campfire’ (Campfire Crassula).

I had told my staff to prune the flowers off this pretty succulent groundcover just the day before. I cannot tell you how happy I was that they didn’t get around to doing it as the flowers were crawling with butterflies, bees and other tiny pollinating insects.

This was the first time I noticed just how many insects the flowers attract. It gave me a whole new perspective on the plant. The wildlife in and around indigenous plants is an added bonus and one of the reasons I am so crazy about our native plants.

There is a whole host of other butterflies in the nursery and grassland.

The beautiful blue Scabiosa with its large flowers in a must for your garden for butterflies.Although it is not about the brightness or size of the flowers.

The Citrus Swallowtail is sipping nectar from the tiny flowers of Lippia javanica (Fever Tea).

The Citrus Swallowtail and Yellow Pansy butterflies are all over the nursery. They are enjoying the bounty of nectar the wild flowers are offering them.

This plant is always a huge butterfly attracting plant. You can also make a tasty herbal tea from the leaves.

The brown butterfly had me so confused I had to ask Steve Woodhall to identify it for me.

It is an intermediate form of the Garden Inspector or Garden Commodore.

I haven’t seen one for quite a while so I was very excited.

The berries on the trees have been abundant this year.

The seeds of Ziziphus mucronata (Buffalo Thorn) are starting to change colour. An easy way to clean them is to give them to my staff, as they relish the outer covering. I don’t think they are tasty at all.

The Berchemia sp. Nova is starting to bear fruit. These, according to Jeffrey, are really tasty. Never mind eating them this is a pretty tree and I need the seeds to grow.

The Pioneer’s apple sauce was made from the tasty fruit of Vangueria infausta (Wild Medlar). If I try to collect seeds in the bush I don’t only have to beat the birds but the children as well.

My Jacket plum (Pappea capensis) is bearing fruit. How lucky am I in that they turned out to be one male and one female and now I have seed on the female?

The seed pods will soon split to reveal the juicy red seeds which are just as delicious for people as they are for the birds.

The purple fruits of the Syzygium guineense (Pale-barked Waterberry) are not only beautiful contrasting against the grey leaves but attract birds and are also edible.

One of the favourite wild fruits on the farm are those of Plectroniella armata (False Turkeyberry).

This plant is great as a security barrier as well as being an attractive shrub. The birds will thank you for providing them with berries and safe nesting sites.

Strychnos madagascariensis the Black Monkey-orange bears these huge, hard round fruits. They adorn the tree for long periods of time.

The pods can be used as decorations and are particularly beautiful when carved with simple patterns and allowed to dry.

The Stapelias are flowering at the moment with their striking large flowers. As they are fly pollinated it is not advisable to take a deep whiff of the flowers as they smell of carrion - hence the common name Carrion Flowers.

They are beautiful tumbling over rocks or the edge of containers.

I was amazed by this orchid growing in an African Olive (Olea europaea subs. Africana). It self-seeded from one of the orchids in my garden. This is really exciting as it means we are doing something right in the garden.

I know I keep going on about the dam and the grassland on the farm but they keep me endlessly interested.

Every time it rains I thank goodness for the inspiration I had to channel the water off the roofs and paving to the dam in a built furrow. When I did it everyone thought I had finally lost it. Now one can see just how much water we save with them.

After the rain the early morning sun glistened on the raindrops like diamonds on the grasses. The drops also showed just how many little spiders lived in the grassland.
The webs with their raindrops were amazingly beautiful and showed just how intricate the different designs of webs were.


The grassland certainly started late this past season but is making up for it now with some of the grasses producing pollen.

I love watching the little grass stamens swaying in the breeze, releasing their pollen.

The sunbirds are out in full force being attracted by the flowers of the Red Hot Pokers like this female White-bellied Sunbird on the unusual Kniphofia multiflora

Hopefully they are doing their job of pollinating the flowers so I can collect seed to grow.

Jeffrey took this unusual picture of a Sunbird snuggling up to a Fiscal Flycatcher. It wouldn’t dare do that to a Common Fiscal which is a predatory bird.

The Yellow-billed Ducks have been around the dam quite a bit this month. We found this egg lying all by itself on the bank which I think they laid. It was amazingly heavy not like a hen’s egg at all.

I was so excited to see this White-fronted Bee-eater at the dam. We only see them infrequently so I was chuffed.

Doves can be really stupid sometimes. This baby perched precariously on a tiny branch. It was a miracle it didn’t fall.

This little hairy caterpillar was feasting on the flowers of Duvernoia aconitiflora (Lemon Pistol Bush).

I loved this frog relaxing and hanging over the Vallisneria in the pond. The Vallisneria is great habitat for the organisms that live in water. Even the frog can dive into it to hide.

A beautiful little heifer calf was born this month. She is so delicate and pretty. It is the first baby of our new bull and it is gratifying to see he can produce such beautiful progeny.

The turkeys are also breeding and now we have a whole flock.

My mom and I have fun going to feed them every day.

They have become so tame they just need to see the golf car and they come running.


We had to clean the irrigation dams. 

What a job? It took 2 days and once again I was so grateful for the furrows. 

My worst thing is wasting water so I was happy to use them to send the water to the dam.

In closing I just had to share these two picture of the beautiful place I am so fortunate to live in.

The sun shining on the stem of Ficus sycamorus (Sycamore Fig) was just a beautiful moment to sit and observe.

The light through the trees always makes me think of all the blessings that rain down on me.

Hope to see you soon and share this beautiful place with you.



PS Many people receive this newsletter from friends that pass it on to them via email. If you are one of them and would like to receive it more regularly, you can do so by simply following the link to subscribe and receive it monthly.

Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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

Hours of business 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to 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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