Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - July 2019

Posted On: Monday, July 1, 2019

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

I think we should all take time to look at the sky especially in winter when it is so deep blue and the cloud formations are endlessly fascinating.

For those that received our barrage of “spam” emails regarding upcoming events – we apologise sincerely. Our new website has amazing capabilities…some of which we are learning about as we go, and a box ticked in error here and there caused havoc with emails. 

I believe we have resolved the problem, but should you have any feedback or further concerns, do please let us know. You can email me on [email protected]

Follow us on Instagram! We share snippets of what’s happening or just beautiful moments at Random Harvest as they happen. Ronald has been helping me with this and I think he’s doing a wonderful job.


Our retail nursery is set out in the meandering pathway and “flower bed” style for a very good reason.

We believe in creating inspiration for our customers, and we strive to give the maximum information about each species with our plant labels, if you don’t find what you are looking for, please don’t hesitate to ask as we’ll do our best to help you.


I think a sunny spot under our Acacias or being cosied up to the fireplace in our gazebo is the best place to enjoy our beautiful winters in Gauteng.


Our shop has unusual gifts and lovely books.

Books –This month we feature “Making the Most of Indigenous Trees” by Fanie & Julye-Ann Venter. Both useful and practical, this book deserves a place on the bookshelf of anyone with a love and appreciation of trees. This book sells for R410.00

Super EM is a concentrated, all-natural, biological product, which eliminates odours and breaks down solid waste. We advocate it for keeping natural ponds clean and healthy. Together with enhancing the filtration system of a natural pond with Biobags, the EM is highly effective for this purpose. Both Super EM and Biobags are R125 each and are available from Random Harvest.



First Wednesday of every month

Time: 10h30 – 12h00

Cost: No cost – please support our tea garden, shop and nursery before or after the discussion

What to bring: A notebook, a pen and a friend.

Date: 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.

Date: Wednesday 7th August

Topic: Creating a biodiverse garden in the face of the Shothole Borer and people spraying terrible poisons around.

Extremely topical at the moment is the extensive damage to our trees done by the Shothole Borer Beetle – Euwallaceae. Let’s discuss the alternatives to using highly toxic pesticides and poisons that have been employed in controlling this beetle with little thought to the repercussions on our environment and our health.


Saturday, 6th July – Andre Marx

Saturday, 10th August – Lance Robinson

Start time: 7h00 for 7h30 sharp.

Cost: R155 per person, including a great buffet breakfast after the walk

Bookings: (Essential) Contact Paul on 0820 553 0598 or Ashley on [email protected]

Take a walk through the various vegetation patches of Random Harvest. The diversity of habitat increases the chances of seeing some of the 166 bird species spotted here. A bird list is supplied.

Binoculars, good walking shoes and a hat are advised for the bird walk.

*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.


Date Friday, August 16th: Domestic Gardener Training (08h30 – 15h45):

Give your gardener the gift of knowledge! Most languages are catered for on the day. A truly uplifting course! Breakfast and lunch included.

Date Saturday, August 17th: Easy Steps to Designing & Planting your Garden (08h30 – 16h00):

Design is the first step in landscaping. You cannot landscape (or plant) a garden until you have designed it and, for that, you need to understand (a) how to organise spaces so that they meet your needs or that of your client, and (b) the environment to which it is attached.

This course covers key elements of garden design, plant selection and creating habitats for wildlife. Our beautiful nursery also enables Lindsay and her students to explore all the attributes of indigenous plants. Refreshments & lunch included.

For further information, including costs of courses, or to reserve your place, contact Lindsay on 082 44 99 237 or email [email protected]/ or www.schoolofgardendesign.com


Date: November 9th and 10th
Venue: Random Harvest Nursery


Arriving at Yellowwood Cottage, our featured cottage of the month is like stepping into an enchanted world away from the stresses of life. A quaint, thatched cottage that oozes charm. It is spacious, comfortable, and has a lovely view onto a private garden from a table at the window or the seating area in the cottage garden. We have hot water bottles provided for chilly nights, Wi-Fi and DSTV. Yellowwood cottage has nearby parking under cover. For more information and bookings, visit our website: https://www.randomharvest.co.za/en-us/Accommodation/Yellowwood-Cottage

– monthly gardening tips

Watering in winter should be done only in the mornings. This allows the surface of the soil to dry out and prevent freezing on the surface. A layer of mulch will also act as a blanket for the soil.

July is an excellent time to plant trees, as they are still not actively growing above ground but are growing underground. This gives them a head start when it begins to warm up.

Plant with an active compost, rock dust and an organic slow release fertiliser such as Vita Grow.

Cut grasses right down to about 2cm above ground level to remove all moribund dried grass to keep them healthy. This should be done from mid to end July.

Plan flower beds for spring. Prune your shrubs and trees and think about new plant combinations for areas that you are not happy with.


Part two of “Gardening for Birds” is now available to read on our website. It’s full of useful advice on attracting and keeping birds in the garden.

We’ve had so many requests for advice on Indigenous Indoor Plants, that we have written an article on this for the website. You can read it here.


Polygala virgata - Purple Broom (E) is a very hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, slender shrub that makes a beautiful addition to a sunny or semi-shade garden.

From Oct. to July it bears tall terminal spikes of massed purple to mauve pea-like flowers that attract insects.

Prune back once a year

Sutherlandia frutescens - Cancer Bush (E) is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, sun-loving shrub with lovely silver-grey foliage, and striking, large, luminous orange pea-like flowers (Sept. to Dec.)

They attract sunbirds and insects to the garden. Inflated green to pink, papery pods that follow the flowers are equally decorative.

Plant several together for effect and use as a textural plant. Makes a beautiful container plant.

Pittosporum viridiflorum - Cheesewood (E) is a very hardy, beautiful, evergreen garden tree that can be used in forest and bush clumps as well as an effective hedge plant.

Grow in sun or semi-shade in well-composted soil.

Suitable for smaller gardens as it is a small to medium-sized, well-shaped tree.

Helichrysum splendidum - Cape Gold (E) can be used as a sub-shrub at the edges of treed areas, as it can tolerate semi-shade.

The thin, silvery, aromatic, small leaves also add colour and texture to a mixed border.

Felicia erigeroides - Wild Michaelmas Daisy (E) is a little shrub sure to delight any gardener.

This very hardy, evergreen, mound-forming perennial has small, bright-green leaves and delicate pink to lilac, daisy-like flowers with yellow centres (Jul. to Sept.).

It attracts butterflies and other insects to the garden.

Senecio macroglossus - Flowering Ivy (E) – whether allowed to climb, used as a beautiful groundcover or planted in hanging baskets and containers, this fast-growing creeper with attractive, glossy, semi-succulent, ivy-shaped foliage will be an asset in the garden.

The lemon-yellow daisy-like flowers are borne from Mar. to July.

Aloe striata - Coral Aloe (E) has a large rosette of grey-green leaves with pink spineless margins.

This Aloe has beautiful pinkish-red flowers from July to Oct. in a flattened mass at the top of the branching stems. It is a lovely form plant and a great addition to any garden.

It attracts birds and insects with its copious nectar. Mass plant or use simply as a form plant, either way it is a stunning plant.

Chasmanthe floribunda - Cobra Lily (E) is a hardy, summer-deciduous, winter-growing, bulbous plant with tall, sword-shaped, light-green leaves arranged in a fan-shape.

In early winter, it bears spikes of numerous, narrow, tubular, orange or yellow, oppositely-arranged flowers which are pollinated by Sunbirds.

Mix with deciduous Agapanthus sp. or Crocosmia sp. for a lovely effect of complementary plantings that give colour to the garden in winter and summer.

Helichrysum petiolare - Mattress Everlasting (E) The lovely silvery-grey foliage of this hardy, evergreen perennial adds colour and texture to a mixed border.

It can also be pruned into a small hedge. The clusters of tiny, cream flowers (Nov. to Jan.) attract many pollinating insects and butterflies to the garden.

It is useful for planting on the south side of walls and buildings where it will tolerate afternoon shade in winter. Prune lightly to keep in shape.


A reminder that our special on all Trees of less 10% continues to run throughout July.


You probably think Jeff and I are weird having so much fun in the grassland. But it is so beautiful with the wonderful autumn colours moving in the breeze with their shiny white hairs glistening like diamonds in between.

What I found so amazing is that I have always loved the grassland and yet this year I have taken the time to really see each grass and flower species and how they change throughout the years.

We have been looking at the individual grasses and their interesting seed heads and beautiful red and gold stems. Nature is so amazing and intricate that I feel humbled in the face of its diversity and beauty.

The other thing to look for in winter is the architecture of the branches of the trees against the deep blue, winter skies of the Highveld.

There are so many things to wonder at if you spend some time outdoors in winter.

It is also much easier to see the birds when the trees either have fewer leaves or are bare.

The birds are also patrolling the Aloes that are in flower, looking for either a feast of nectar or insects that are attracted to the flowers.

Our patch of Aloe arborescens with their beautiful orange flowers is mixed with the silvery white flowers of the Kalanchoe luciae. A sight to behold.

There is also a bounty of food offered by the Wild Dagga (Leonotis leonurus) which are also in full bloom and full of nectar. This female White-bellied Sunbird does her regular patrol of the bushes.

Remember to cut your Wild Dagga back by half to two thirds after flowering. This will ensure mass flowering the next season and with the flowers will come the birds and insects, ensuring that your garden is alive and a haven for wildlife.

The bees have been visiting our bird feeding table on a regular basis sipping at the fruit juice exuded by the apple and pears.

Sometimes one fails to see how beautiful a plant can be when it is in the right spot. I sometimes assume too much when planting.

The Honeybell Bush (Freylinia lanceolata) are really scruffy when they have too much water. Assuming that as they come out of riverine bush they need water, I thought I was mimicking nature. How wrong can one be?

The ones I planted in a dry spot where they only get water only sporadically are magnificent. They bear about three times as many flowers with a much more intense yellow colour. The flowers smell of honey and are alive with insects and butterflies. Just to sit and watch the life in this big shrub gives you a little time out in a busy day.

The weather has been kind of weird and actually not very cold until today. This has confused the plants somewhat.

Can you believe this is a Boophane disticha flowering now instead of in spring?

In fact, some of the Combretum’s are also budding.

On the way to the dam I laid some logs in the grass mainly to keep my staff from driving on the grass. This has been a boon to insects that break down the wood. The logs are also fascinating to watch at the moment as they are full of really interesting looking fungi that are breaking down the wood.

I have been quite worried as there have not been many birds at the dam. Jeff and I decided that there were entirely too many reeds and grasses. We had a clean-up and cut the reeds and are happy to say that slowly but surely the birds are returning. The Green-backed Heron has once again taken up residence. Here he is pictured with a Spoonbill.

The most interesting visitor was a single Spoonbill. They are fascinating to watch when they are feeding, sweeping their huge beaks from side to side.

This Spoonbill decided he could be a Sacred Ibis. They have been seen together and preening each other for the last 2 weeks.

We were lucky that this Terrapin was oblivious of us as normally he plops back into the water before we can get a decent picture.

The Wagtails have been very busy around the dam. These beautiful, busy little birds always make a person smile

At this time of year, we are often visited by the Three-banded Plover. They peck around in the mud looking for a quick meal. These tiny birds are so beautiful in their neat little suits.

There have also been a lot of Wattled Lapwings in the veld. This bunch looked as if they were having a serious conversation.

It was really interesting seeing our resident Moorhen perching on a Papyrus stem. This is the first time we have observed this.

The Hamerkop who are busy building another nest in the garden are also regular visitors to the dam. Interestingly the Egyptian Geese are nesting on top of the Hamerkop’s huge nest. This works well as when the crows start harassing the Hamerkop the Egyptian Geese go crazy and chase the crows and help protect the nest. I am sure the Geese are protecting their own and, in the process, are helping to protect the Hamerkop.

The birds on the farm are getting tamer and tamer. The Guinea Fowl have finally decided we are to be trusted and this little family is behaving just as if they are our chickens, totally relaxed around us.

There are quite a few Mongoose around. I love seeing them but wonder what toll they are taking on the bird’s eggs. They certainly take advantage of stealing my Mom’s chicken eggs when they have a chance.

With The Gardens of the Golden City coming up we are very busy upgrading and maintaining the gardens. Timothy has been very busy with his chainsaw, pruning the trees.

I had to share this picture of my garden. I was so shocked when I took out a huge Pyracantha in the garden (I had been agonising on this for years). The plants have now grown and I am thrilled with my garden. Needless to say, I planted too many trees again and am sure over time it is going to be very shady again.

I was so pleased to see this Monsonia jasminiflora blooming. I was afraid I had lost this in amongst the masses of plants we have here. I am carefully watching for seeds and hope to get it into production.

Some plants are very pretty but are very slow growing like this Mitriostigma axilare (Dwarf Loquat). It grows in deep shade and I planted it and forgot about it. Some 5 years later we were rewarded with these beautiful flowers.

Yesterday Jeff and I were driving on the farm, checking the barrier plants along the fence, when this delicious perfume wafted by us. I told Jeff I thought it was an Asparagus – he disagreed but we could not find the plant.

Jeff being Jeff had to go back and find out where the perfume came from. Deep in the barrier he found this Asparagus transvaalensis in full flower.

This picture looks like an aerial view of a landscape. It is in fact mosses growing on the rocks around of my Moms pond.

We have been very busy propagating plants. This is a picture of Rosina on her way to our mist house with new cuttings that will be ready to plant in spring.

It is such a joy to come to work in the morning and see the glory of the sky. Every morning I am totally enthralled by the sheer beauty of the world we live in and just what a miracle the interactions in nature are.

Keep warm, hope to see you at Random Harvest.



Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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

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