Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - June 2019

Posted On: Saturday, June 1, 2019

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Crisp mornings have been greeting me on my way down to the nursery … and I really have to wrap up warmly when taking Abby for her early morning run.

I love going down to the dam and pretend I am far away looking down on a waterhole. Jeff cut this hole in the Rhus lancea (Karree) to make us a bird hide.

Sunday 16th June is Youth day, with Monday the 17th June being the public holiday for this.
Just a reminder that we are open and look forward to welcoming you at Random Harvest.


Although a little slower in the cool mornings, it’s amazing how busy we still are so far into the “sleepy season” for gardeners and landscapers alike. There has also been a flurry of activity around pruning shrubs and trees. The late rains extended our growing season, but now it’s time to let a bit more light into parts of the nursery and lift branches to see the beautiful tree architecture.

We’ve made a few changes to the front of the retail nursery. I love how the shifting around of plants creates an entirely new “look” for this area, and a different feel altogether.

As our customers loved the display of plants on the old Railway Trolley we have moved it out into the parking area so it can still be enjoyed.

I’d also like to remind customers of our delivery service, should you not be able to transport your purchases to the planting site or your home. Please contact us on 082 553 0791 for a quote and to arrange delivery.

Pensioner’s Day on Wednesdays

To all Pensioners - A reminder that every Wednesday we give you a discount on all plant purchases (less 10%) and that you can enjoy delicious tea and scones in the tea garden for only R35.00 per pensioner!


Books – The books on sale in our shop are carefully selected for their relevance to our interests as an indigenous nursery. This month we feature “Creative Indigenous Garden Design” by Bruce Stead. A rich source of inspiration, the book gives a new approach on how to capture the essence of a beautiful landscape and then recreate it so that the spirit of a place is embodied in the design.

We have stock of the loveliest printed placemats. I think they make even the most ordinary meal a festive occasion with their cheerful beauty.

Remember we are stockists of Hazel’s Harvest range of creams made from Kigelia africana (Sausage Tree) seeds.

A reminder that all items from our shop can easily be packaged and posted if you do not live locally. Contact us on [email protected] or 082 553 0598 for a quote.


Sunday 16th June is Father’s Day, and we have a few tea garden offers to spoil Dad on his special day:
• Breakfast buffet at R155 per person Children under 12 years ½ price. This will be served up to 12.00 pm.
• Buffet breakfast includes: Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Pork or Beef Sausage, Sliced Tomato, Creamed Mushroom, Muesli with milk or yogurt, Fruit salad, Cocktail Rolls, Butter and Jams, Tea, Coffee, Water Jugs, Orange Juice
• Revert to normal menu after 12.00
• 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.

All Dads visiting us on Father’s Day will receive a free gift which is our way of celebrating Fathers, and how important and appreciated they are.


Time: 10h30 – 12h00
Cost: Free – please support our nursery and tea garden after or before the coffee morning.
What to bring: Notebook, pen, gardening questions and a friend!

Date: Wednesday 5 June
Topic: World Environment Day - where we fit in as Indigenous Gardeners

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.

Wednesday 3 July

Topic: Indigenous Trees in the Garden.
Always one of my favourite topics – as I love our indigenous trees! We’ll chat about how to plant a tree once you bring it home from the nursery, how to care for your trees, and some important points to consider when choosing a tree for your garden. We’ll also take a gentle stroll through the garden to look at some of the trees that have particularly beautiful architecture.


Please note: We have no scheduled bird walks with Andre Marx for the month of June, and as yet, none for July. Should you belong to a birding group that would like to book a guided bird walk at Random Harvest during these months, please contact Ashley who heads up our events team on [email protected] or 011 957 5356.

Jeff got this lovely picture of the Diederik Cuckoo – a really difficult bird to photograph.


Lemon Thorn Cottage is charming and spacious. Open-plan, with a slightly raised patio that gets morning sun…perfect for an alfresco breakfast.

Additionally, there is a massive avocado tree that protectively overhangs a garden full of interesting indigenous plants.

This is a firm favourite for honeymoon accommodation.

You can either book via our website (hyperlink to Nightsbridge), or contact our hospitality team on [email protected] or 072 562 3396.

Do you have friends, family or work colleagues that may be interested in our bed and breakfast accommodation in Muldersdrift? Please like and share our Facebook Page with them, where we feature images and news about our cottages.


Maintaining container plants through cold winters

Nip or prune off any tender new growth that could be damaged by excessive cold. Top up containers where soil has sunk down due the decomposing of organic matter. Random Harvest’s Potting Mix is ideal for this, as it contains good ratios of compost, potting soil and fertilizer.

Mulch the surface of the soil around the plant to protect surface roots from the cold, and to retain moisture during these very dry months. Make sure that plants only receive the water that they require and not more.

How to plant a tree

I have spent years planting trees and have always had great success with the method illustrated here.

For easy to follow written instructions, have a look at our blog on How to plant a tree

Polyphagous Shothole Borer Beetle Control

The May Newsletter featured Mike Viviers’ contact details for environmentally control of the Shothole Beetle Details of how this control method for PSHB Beetle works are available on our website.

Contact Mike on 082-721-2478 or email him on [email protected]

All Trees on Special for June and July

All trees on sale at Random Harvest are discounted by 10% for June and July 2019. Please note that this excludes any fruit or medicinal trees on sale in our herb section of the nursery.

Plants Looking Good

Ilex mitis (Cape Holly) is a neat, beautifully shaped small to medium sized tree that lends itself to being planted as a specimen, an avenue tree or part of a tall screen of trees in the border of the garden.

It also bears fruit which attracts many birds. Does well in shade, semi-shade and sun.

Rapanea melanophloes (Cape Beech) is an evergreen tree with beautiful, light grey bark that ages with dark rough strips, and a crown of dark and leathery leaves.

The small, greenish-white flowers attract a whole host of insects and bees and the fruits attract fruit-eating birds.

A good garden subject, especially for screen planting, in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil

Halleria lucida Orange and Yellow/White (Tree Fuschia) is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium-sized tree that makes an excellent garden subject and is an important element of a wildlife garden.

An attractive foliage tree with a graceful drooping habit.

Masses of orange or pale-yellow tubular flowers laden with nectar adorn the branches and attract birds and insects.

The fruit that follows blooming also attracts wildlife that relishes it.

Metarungia pubinervia (Red Sunbird Bush) is an unusual offering for nurseries, particularly in Gauteng.

This shade loving, hardy, deciduous to semi-deciduous, understory shrub is fast growing, and has, large, almost quilted, dark green leaves.

The beautiful, bright red flowers that resemble snap-dragons, attract Sunbirds, which are their pollinators, as well as a whole host of insects that find them irresistible.

Freesia grandiflora (Forest Freesia).

This delicate looking little bulb is surprisingly hardy, and is a breath-taking addition to a grassland garden (where is it not over-shadowed) or a rockery or rocky outcrop planting, and makes a beautiful container plant.

Beautiful red, star-like flowers are held on delicate stems in autumn, when little else in the grassland is flowering.

Plant in semi-shade, in loamy, well-drained soil and don’t over water.

Aloe arborescens (Krantz Aloe) – I had to include these as they are looking magnificent on the bank of the growing section – please do go and have a look.

This very hardy, drought-resistant, large, branched Aloe is an ideal garden plant that does well in sun or semi-shade, and can take a wide range of watering regimes.

It is very floriferous, with nectar rich flowers, which attract Sundbirds and many insect species.

Popular as a hedging plant, or as a magnificent solitary clump.

It also compliments a planting with many horizontal elements in the indigenous garden.


I have been approached by Gardens of the Golden City to be one of their featured gardens this year. I agreed to be slotted in in November, so it’s time to garden madly…nothing like a gardening goal to work towards! We’ll keep you posted on dates and more information as it becomes available.

I bought this really expensive spray machine when I panicked about the Shothole borer. Thinking if it does arrive I have to be ready.

Well! We do not have the Shothole borer. Here we are spraying with Panaf 2 a fertiliser and Panaf 6 a fungicide. They are both environmentally friendly and should help keep the borer at bay as we are destroying its food source which is a fungus. This certainly beats some of the frightfully dangerous chemicals that are being sprayed around.

With the dew on the grassland glistening in the low sunlight one can see just how many spiders there are in the grassland. Watching the little Funnel Web spiders disappearing down the centre of the web is really fascinating.

Ashley took this picture of a little small species Wolf Spider.Astri Leroy identified them for me and says ‘All female wolf spiders carry the egg sacs attached to their spinnerets and when the little ones hatch they climb onto mama’s back till they are ready to strike out for life on their own.

We have more than 100 named species of wolf spiders in South Africa and they vary in size from really big ones (almost as big as rain spiders) to tiny spiders less than 3 mm from “nose” to “tail”. It’s a very difficult family because very little taxonomic work has been done on them.”

The Forest Elders (Nuxia floribunda) have been in full bloom. The flowers are literally buzzing with life. There has been an amazing array of tiny insects doing their share of pollination. This beautiful Electric Blue spider hunting wasp (Hemipepsis tamisieri) is flashing iridescent blue against the white flowers.

The bees have also been helping these tiny insects pollinate flowers. This one is having a drink off a waterlily leaf.

If one takes the time to really look carefully at the flowers you will be rewarded with seeing the life in and around indigenous plants.

This delicate Mauve Moraea polystachya has a tiny ant on its petal.

Once again the butterflies have been enthralling this month.

The pale green butterfly is an African Migrant and is perched on a Kalanchoe rotundifolia (Common Orange Kalanchoe). While the Citrus Swallowtail is sipping nectar from a Kleinia fulgens (Coral Senecio) flower.

This month I have a “was my face red” moment.

The pink plume flower in this picture was incorrectly named Thorncroftia succulenta, but is actually Thorncroftia longiflora so named because of its long slender flowers). 


This month I have had such fun watching the rare and beautiful bulb Haemanthus deformis put out its flowers.

Initially it looked like a scrap of paper as it started to unfold.As its leaves are flat on the ground it is always better to grow it in a container in shady areas.

Plants always have a surprise for you.

This thread of gum exuding from a Sweet Thorn (Acacia karroo) was glistening like a ruby in the sunlight.

There haven’t been too many birds at the dam this month but the Malachite Kingfisher has been rewarding us with many sightings.

Jeff and I saw this unusual bird at the dam and were initially excited thinking it was a rare vagrant - the Spurwing Lapwing, but sadly no, it was a juvenile Blacksmith Lapwing. Almost fooled us. Not that we were not pleased to see them.

There may have been few birds at the dam but the other birds have afforded us a good few, happy hours watching them.

Jeffrey was so excited to get this lovely picture of a Tawny-flanked Prinia. This is a picture he has been struggling to get but his patience has eventually been rewarded

The Brown-hooded Kingfishers have been calling incessantly with their beautiful liquid call.

I felt sorry for the Hamerkop. He was perched atop of a metal frame above the sump we use for recycling water runoff from the nursery.

Sadly, there is nothing there for him to eat.

We have been watching a couple of Guinea Fowl in a patch of the grassland and thinking they may be breeding. We never found the nest but did get to see the babies.

It was unusual to see the Western Cattle Egret poking in the nursery. They are normally in the grassland.

The Grey Go-away Birds have been very visible in the nursery and this one is taking a sip from the waterlily pond. Talking about the grassland (my favourite subject) it has been absolutely gorgeous.

Especially as the light is low and any drop of water or shiny tiny hair on the grass glistens like diamonds. Never mind the diamonds the grassland is worth so much more especially to your soul.

It seems to change on a daily basis and hold many surprises like the beautiful lilac on the flowers and stems of the Turpentine grass or having a Slender Mongoose pop up to check on you.

You can sit in the grassland and just watch the beautiful Highveld sky with its ever changing clouds and colours.

Our lives get so busy that sometimes one forgets just what a beautiful world we live in. It is always good just to stop and breathe.

Even the stems of the Cat Thorn Asparagus (Asparagus laricinus) were shining in the sun.

Aren’t I the lucky one to have just such a place around me to love and preserve.

You can always visit us for a cake and coffee and buy a few plants. When you are done with the shopping take a walk in the grassland and share this beautiful place with me. If you do remember to bring your binoculars.

When Jeff and I were at the dam we kept on seeing the water being agitated and were puzzling on what it could be. One day the light was just right and we saw shoals of tiny fish. I was really pleased as I was not sure if the fish were breeding enough to keep up with the numerous predatory birds.

We have had lots of fun with maintenance on the farm and are once again digging it up.

I was so relieved when this huge branch of a Paper Bark behind the office fell at night and not on someone’s head.

It is breeding time and the turkeys have been displaying, puffing themselves up and fanning their tails. At this rate it looks like we are going to be overrun with turkeys

The plants in this container really fooled me. I asked Jeff to check what the mauve flowers were. What they actually were, were Plectranthus in the ground behind the container. It just goes to show how one can create illusions in a garden.

The Aloe arborescens (Krantz Aloe) are in full bloom and planted with many other succulents. 

This planting is a sight to behold and along with the many Sunbirds that are visiting them they are worth taking a stroll when you next visit us.

Looking forward to sharing this cool time of the year but especially the play of light on the plants, a real joy.



Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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