Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - March 2012

Posted On: Thursday, March 1, 2012

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Dear Indigenous enthusiast

Isn't it amazing how quickly the day length changes?  The leaves have started falling from the trees.  Although I am seeing signs of the approaching autumn the Black Cuckoo and the Paradise Flycatchers are still very vocal.  All very confusing.

We had a late calf born this month.  It was exciting for the people staying in the cottages and the early visitors to the nursery as they could watch the whole event.


In the Nursery

March seems to be a month of colour - a riot of blue Plumbago auriculata, golden Crocosmia aurea. See above!

The Scabiosa in particular attract the butterflies and you are almost guaranteed a winged visitor every time you look at them. 

If you look a little closer they also have tiny crab spiders the same colour as the flower living in them - just waiting to jump out and capture an unwary insect.

It is also national Water week, and we are dedicating the month of March to this precious resource and its conservation in the garden.

You will notice an exciting development underway in the back of the retail nursery.

We are constructing a water conservation garden, complete with interesting succulents and useful tips on how to implement elements of this planting in your own garden.

The display will be completed by the end of this month.

Some of you may have read my blog on Creating a small pond in your garden. We have made changes to the pond in our wildlife garden. 

I put my money where my mouth is, and built the pond as per the instructions on the blog.  It turned out beautifully.   We are just waiting for the water to clear and the wildlife to take up residence and visit again after the renovation!

Something special for your garden

We have just received stock of a quirky range of garden creatures and items made from the bent and woven young stems of alien invader plants. Prices range from R35.00 to R135.00 .

They make a delightful semi-permanent feature in the garden, and when they start looking a bit tatty, can be recycled on the compost heap.  Not only are we getting rid of aliens by supporting this initiative but they are fully recyclable and don't add to our problems with rubbish dumps.

They are made locally, so we are very happy to be able to be able to support business initiatives from our "neighbourhood.

We also have 'Leca' biofilter bags in stock. You will see them on a stand in the front of the nursery - R69.50 per bag. We recommend that you use one bag per 1000 litres of water.

The filtration bags can be packed in shade netting around the pump which draws the water through the medium where the bacteria will digest all excess nutrients from the water. Our staff are happy to assist if you are not sure how many you need for your pond.


The updated "Guide to Grasses of Southern Africa" by Fritz van Oudtshoorn (third revised edition, 2012) has arrived. Grab a copy while they are available at R275.00. Many of the grasses are still in flower now, so it's an ideal time to brush up on your knowledge of these lovely plants.

This weekend we will be putting out a little display of named grasses in vases.  This may help you identify the ones in your garden

Plant specials - 'Bargains for your Garden'

Random Harvest always has some little gems tucked away in corners and rows that one misses if you are hurrying through your shopping list.

Our "Bargain Corner" is back - with all the plants costing less than R10.00 each.  Come and browse and see what treasures you can pick up for your garden.

As it is water month we have discounted a number of our water plants to help you with the set-up and greening of your garden pond. We have included some smaller plants that are ideal for tiny ponds.

Cyperus prolifer - Miniature Papyrus (E)

Hardy, small sedge with each green stem topped by a cluster of grass-like flower spikelets.  The very decorative stems can be used in flower arrangements.  This decorative little plant is ideal for planting in a small pond or wet area in sun or semi-shade.  Will gradually colonise an area through the repeated emergence of adventitious shoots or if you pull a stem down to the water level, roots will appear under the spikelets
Size 30 to 40cm

Gomphostigma virgatum - River Stars (E), Otterbossie (A)

Very hardy, graceful, evergreen, water loving perennial shrub with grey leaves.   It blooms profusely with spikes of white flowers almost all year round.  This shrub grows well in both running water and in a normally irrigated garden.  Prune regularly to keep neat.   Plant in full sun or semi-shade in closely planted groups for a good show in the garden.
Size 1m

Public Holidays

21st March Human Rights Day

We will be open from 8.00 to 17.00. 
Breakfast special - On Human Rights day.
Eat like a Bird breakfast of 2 Rashers of Bacon, 2 slices of grilled tomato and scrambled eggs served with toast and homemade jam.  Served with your choice of filter coffee or tea.  All this a cost of just R35.00 per person. 

6th April Good Friday - We will be closed

7th April Saturday open -  We will be open from 8.00 to 17.00 as usual

9th April Easter Monday open - We will be open from 8.00 to 17.00 as usual

Tea Garden

Our tea garden continues to provide good quality, healthy food in generous portions. Did you know that the muesli in our "Kick Start " Health Breakfast is home-made by chefs, Frans and Yolam, with carefully chosen ingredients?

Upcoming Events

Habitat Walk at Random Harvest Nursery
Saturday, 17 March 2010
07h30 - 10h00
Cost: R40.00 incl. refreshments before the walk.

Booking essential: Call David at Random Harvest Nursery - 082 553 0598

Join Paul de Luca at Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery for a habitat walk through several different garden related habitats (urban garden, tall forest, grassland etc.). Paul is back by popular demand, to give some wonderful insights into how to read a garden's health by the life it sustains.  Please remember to wear comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sun block.  Come early enough (7-ish) to enjoy rusks, muffins, tea and coffee before the walk.

Earth Hour

Saturday, 31 March 2012 8:30 to 9:30pm

Random Harvest supports Earth Hour when we switch off our lights and appliances for 1 hour - and we encourage you to join this initiative.  It's not what that one tiny hour can save, but being conscious of our commitment to caring for our precious planet.

"Earth Hour is about hundreds and millions of people around the world uniting in a single moment of contemplation for the planet and celebration of their year-round commitment to protect it,"  WWF-South Africa spokesperson Quathar Jacobs.

Perhaps you could explore your garden by torchlight, by yourself or with the kids / grandkids. You are bound to discover something that you don't see by day.

School Holidays - Easter Egg Hunt from 31st March to 29th April

This is no ordinary Easter egg hunt! Children can follow the clues around the nursery to discover wonderful facts about our indigenous plants as they search for answers to their clues.  We have a treat and a local biodegradable Garden Bunny made out of Alien Invader branches awaiting them once they have completed the hunt.

Latest Blogs

You are welcome to email us and suggest indigenous gardening-related topics that you would like to know more about. Send your emails to [email protected]

This week I will be putting up pictures and a description of smaller water plants that can be used in a small pond.

On the Farm


Two of our young (under 12) visitors got stuck into one of the compost heaps and unearthed an astounding number of species of grubs and beetles! The larvae can do quite a bit of damage to the garden, but are excellent in the compost as they help to break down the plant material. 

They put them back in the heaps after photographing them, much to the Hadeda and Sacred Ibis's delight, as there was an easy free meal.   Here is a photograph that Julian took of a number of life-cycle stages that he unearthed.

I am happy to report that we have bats in the hollow wall of Sagewood Cottage.  I have seen them flying around but have not been able to find where they roost.  There were dirty marks on the inside wall of Sagewood just below the air bricks.  Much to my delight we found that bats had colonised the hollow wall. 

Unfortunately the guests we unimpressed with bats in their rooms so we had to block the air bricks on the inside and only allow them access from the outside.  I have put up a bat box next to the outside air brick - watch this space and I will let you know if they decide to use it.

It is my ambition to turn Johannesburg into one big nature reserve by every garden and open space being planted up with indigenous plants and creating habitat. 

The whole area would then be teeming with the wildlife attracted to the habitat.  That this would be possible was graphically illustrated when I was visiting the life clinic in Fourways. 

At the clinic the gardens around the hospital are the normal boring, almost lifeless exotic gardens but around these gardens they have planted up an amazing wild area of grasses and Acacias. 

To my amazement I saw a Slender Mongoose in the grasses, he took absolutely no notice of the peak hour traffic on the side and carried on with his business of driving the birds crazy.

I have added a few pictures that I thought you would enjoy.

I loved the picture of the newborn calf still wet with her mom leading him to her udder to drink.

The other picture I loved is this Masked Weaver sitting proudly on top of his nest he has built upside down.  He surely has no chance of attracting a mate to this nest.
The first flowers are starting on the early Aloes.  The Aloe gerstneri are in bloom and what a bonus for the bees and insects - in particular the bees.  Just look at this lot - very busy collecting. Jeff and I found this baby bulbul sitting on the fence.  I first had a fright thinking it had been abandoned as it looked so forlorn sitting in the circle of wire.  Luckily its parents were just foraging for their hungry baby and were up and down responding to his hungry cries and endlessly feeding him.  Children can be so demanding!!

I have been searching for the Purple Heron at the dam - with no luck.  The reeds have grown so tall you can see very little on some of the edges.  I was sad as I thought he had abandoned the dam.  Imagine how happy I was to see him sitting comfortably in the tree

Seeing a Terrapin out of the water was also ultra-exciting.  Normally all you hear is a plop and see some ripples on the water.  The chap in this picture took a little time to plop into the water so we got a nice picture of him.

These beautiful days of late summer make me want to sing.  I certainly wake up with a song in my heart looking forward to the new day. 

I hope you feel the same.



Cell 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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