Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - September 2020

Posted On: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

I am so grateful to all our customers who have been to visit and shop for indigenous plants or just for a cup of tea. Everyone seemed to love the fires we placed in the garden to keep them warm on chilli days.


With the many visitors we have had and the trees starting to produce their delicate green leaves and flowers it feels like a rebirth with lots of good things to come.


Remember to use our convenient delivery services and reduce your logistic plans.
Feel free to ask for Linda, Jeffrey or Jonathan for advanced knowledge on plant choices, habits and care.

I am busy clearing an area where we will be building our bulb beds. These are to allow the bulbs to grow to flowering size before we plant them into containers. Bulbs are a marvellous addition to a garden with them popping up at different times of the year to add interest to a garden bed.


Heritage Day Thursday, 24th September we are open
Seed sowing – save our natural heritage by growing only indigenous plants
Mike will host a workshop on how to grow indigenous plants from seed. 10h00 Cost R85.00 per person and everyone will leave with some indigenous seed to grow at home


In strict compliance with all health and safety precaution i.e. Temperature taken and keeping your social distance and wear a mask.
Saturday, 19 September 2020 – Lance Robinson Time: 6h30 for 7h00 sharp
Cost: R85.00 per person, this excludes breakfast, which will be for your account.
Bookings: (Essential) Contact Paul on 082 553 0598 or Ashley on [email protected] - Bookings cannot be made on our website – please use the details listed here. We have a maximum of 20 spaces available per bird walk.
Take a walk the gardens and grassland and see the burgeoning spring. It is a beautiful time of year full of promise
Note: Don’t forget your binoculars, comfortable walking shoes and a hat.


I am now going to ‘un-quarantine’ myself and do the coffee morning talk.
Booking is no longer necessary as we are able to achieve social distancing and comply with Covid-19 regulations.

Remember that our coffee mornings are free of charge – we just ask that you support the nursery and / or tea garden.

Date: Wednesday, 2 September 2020
Time: 10h30-12h00
Topic: Useful and edible plants

An informative discussion on plants to include in your garden that are edible or useful. We’d love to hear what you use plants for or how you include them in your food dishes.

Date: Wednesday, 7th October 2020
Time: 10h30-12h00
Topic: How to create a security hedge with hardy shrubs - not just species to use but spacing and positioning.

A security hedge is significantly more effective when planted properly and with the right species for the desired effect.


Together we have made a huge difference to many people.

The winners of the R1000.00 vouchers are Colleen Ross, Bev Woolfe, Elma van Rensburg and Lad Le Roux.

With your kind and generous help, we have now distributed 3800 food parcels. We are hoping to continue with this food drive for as long as people are able to sponsor them. There are a few people out there who make a monthly contribution – and to them I say a huge Thank You! A huge thank you to my sister Louise and Sabrina for distributing the parcels.

Random Harvest is sponsoring food in a bag which is 8 nutritious meals which just needs water and a little boiling time. This makes 8 meals and for the minimal cost to us of R10.00 per bag. So far, we have handed out 500 of these bags and are busy making up another 500.


We have been very busy in the tea garden with visitors even arriving on horseback. It was nostalgic seeing the horses wandering in the paddock. It brought back memories when we had horses wandering all over.

Building the new thatched gazebo is firmly underway. It already has its name – The Fever tree. Now when it rains one can sit in comfort and watch the rain and finish one’s food in peace. Here’s hoping for the rain to comesoon.


We are thrilled to, once again, be able to take visitors from the whole of South Africa. If you haven’t visited us before, have a look at the reviews, ratings and pictures on Google. You can also follow us on Facebook (Hyperlink) – just follow the link and like our page.

The upgrading of Sweet Thorn and Wild Olive should be ready by the end of the month. I am chuffed with the results and look forward to seeing how these changes will enhance your stay. For bookings follow this link: https://book.nightsbridge.com/15178


If you are running out of ideas for family gifts, why not get them a nursery voucher and allow them freedom of choice.

Here are just a few items available in the shop:
Decorative Map of Africa @ R180.00
A pack of 10 Gift and Greeting Cards @ R180.00
Beautiful coffee mugs with Bird motifs @ R95.00
Reed diffuser @ R180.00
Nitrosol Liquid fertiliser to boost your plants in spring @ R120.00
Fridge magnet notebooks with natural motifs @ R70.00
Book of the month: Creative indigenous garden design – Chock full of inspirational ideas for your garden @ R375.00


Prune your perennials and groundcovers in time for the new growth in spring

Cut Leonotis back severely to about a quarter of its size. This will encourage mass flowering next autumn. Do the same with your Ribbon Bushes (Hypoestes aristata).

Prune, to keep your other shrubs into the shape you require

Broadcast an environmentally friendly fertiliser which will see to your plants needs for at least 6 months.

Spread a layer of compost about 50mm thick on the garden beds. Although I prefer not to turn the soil as it is bad for the microorganisms, but sometimes the soil needs it. Digging in the compost and turning the soil will aerate the soil and stop it from compacting too much. If you use good active compost the microorganisms will quickly re-establish themselves.

Please remember to check for the dreaded Shot Hole borer and spray with PSHB Fungicide at the first signs. By doing this we have not lost a tree at Random Harvest to the borer. Thank Goodness!

For your lawn please go to our website www.rhn.co.za (Hyperlink please) or find the article in the August 2019 newsletter in the newsletter archive


Mimusops zeyheri - Moepel (E); is a fairly hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, fairly fast-growing decorative tree that is a must for wildlife gardeners who want to attract birds and butterflies to the garden. It produces shiny, yellow-orange fruit that is tasty and high in vitamin C. It attracts birds including Barbets, Bulbuls, Louries, Mousebirds and Rameron Pigeons. The larvae of the Bosduval’s False Acraea and the Pied False Acraea butterflies feed on the tree. Grow in sun, semi-shade or shade

Aponogeton distachyos - Cape Pondweed (E) is a hardy, deciduous, fast-growing, water plant with glossy, oblong leaves that float on the water’s surface. Once established, it can cover large areas of water. Waterblommetjies flower in profusion during winter and spring and attract bees and other pollinating insects. The flowers are edible and used in the well-known local delicacy, Waterblommetjie Bredie.

Gonioma kamassii - Kamassi (E) is endemic to South Africa, and is evergreen and hardy. This beautiful little tree or large shrub is ideal for small gardens is a shady to semi-shade position. It prunes well and makes a decorative garden subject with its dense crown of leathery, shiny, dark-green leaves and clusters of small, white, wonderfully scented flowers (borne mostly in Oct).

Salvia africana-lutea - Wild Sage (E); Sandsalie (A) Very hardy, evergreen, small- to medium-sized shrub with aromatic, grey leaves that is an attractive, easy plant to grow and forms beautiful silvery clumps. The brown flowers and persistent purplish calyxes provide unusual colour and texture in the garden. Particularly drought hardy.

Polygala myrtifolia ‘Riviersonderend’ - September Bush (E); Bloukappie (A)
This handsome, compact form of the well-known Polygala myrtifolia is a useful garden and container plant. It is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant shrublet with bright green leaves, that only reaches 1m tall. In summer and autumn, magenta flowers are borne in lax terminal heads. They attract Carpenter Bees, butterflies, and other tiny, pollinating insects to the garden. The seeds are relished by Laughing Doves.

Osteospermum hybrid - ‘Blydskap’
This hybrid is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant sprawling shrublet that attracts insects and butterflies to the garden with its cheerful, large, pure white, daisy-like flowers. It starts flowering in late winter and by spring it is a blaze of colour. Plant in a sunny cottage gardens, borders or rock gardens.

Barleria repens ‘Pink’ - Small Bush Violet (E) is beautiful planted at the base of small trees or in amongst smaller grasses for a more natural look. It can also be pruned to form a lovely small hedge and makes a wonderful container plant. It is a hardy, evergreen, small and drought-resistant herbaceous shrublet or groundcover that blooms profusely with glossy, pink flowers in summer and autumn but also has a few flowers for most of the year


Asparagus virgatus - Broom Asparagus (E) is an extremely hardy, evergreen, erect, stiff shrublet with slender, spineless stems and very fine, dark-green leaves. The foliage is useful for flower arrangements and lasts for ages in a vase. This is a drought-resistant, attractive plant that grows in deep, dark shade as well as semi-shade and is very useful for planting under trees.

Dodonaea angustifolia -- Sand Olive (E) is a very hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, fast-growing, decorative garden shrub ideal for windbreaks and screening and is also used to stabilize sandy soil. It prunes well and makes an attractive formal hedge or can be trained into a single-stemmed, small tree. It is a useful nurse plant for helping to establish plants that may not be very hardy. It grows in most types of soil including rocky soils, needs little water and will do well in sun or semi-shade.

Jasminum angulare - Wild Jasmine (E) is quite a delicate looking but hardy, evergreen climber that can be trained over arches and along fences and walls. It also grows well in containers. Use as a climber or as a rounded shrub depending on how it is pruned. Plant close to a patio or window where the wonderful scent when it is in flower can be appreciated. It takes a little time to settle once planted out but once it has done so, it grows quite quickly. The clusters of star-shaped, white flowers look velvety and are sweetly scented, especially at night. They are followed by decorative black berries that attract birds to the garden


I bought Ronald a new camera and gave his older one to Bester to help Jeffrey with the pictures. These two young people are taking such amazing photos it was difficult for me to choose which were the best ones.

The Red Bishops are starting to congregate at the dam for the breeding season. Although they are not yet coming into breeding colours. The Southern Masked Weavers are already getting their colours and building nests.

Ronald loves taking action pictures of the birds and he caught this Sacred Ibis on the wing.

The Moorhens are also breeding. I am sure they are nesting but we haven’t been able to spot their nest in the Papyrus.

It is breeding time for the Lapwings now. There are Blacksmith Lapwings calling around the dam trying to sort out mates.

The Wattled Lapwing are already sitting on their nest under the watchful eye of their partners.

There was some algae floating on the dam and Jolam is so conscientious about removing it. Jeff and I were laughing at the size of our dam being cleaned as one would do a swimming pool.

We cut and baled the grass at the gras sland in preparation for burning the veld. I felt sad cutting the grass as it was still so beautiful – but if we want a blooming grassland in summer, we have to do this.

I love the picture Jeff took of a perfect pastoral scene with the cows, bales, and guinea fowl.

Needless to say, the Black-headed Heron have been stalking around looking for prey in the short grass.

We have also seen a few Hares. As you can see from this picture, they are perfectly camouflaged against the winter grass.

We are busy in the nursery at this time of year and have started producing cuttings from the plants in our Mother stock beds, which incidentally, are worth taking a walk to see as they look gorgeous

The machine was here to mix more soil for our hectic planting we are doing at the moment. We mix the compost with this machine as well and boy do the birds love it!

The machine turns so many insects and their larvae, creating a feast for the birds. Even the Fiscal Flycatcher was there looking for a quick meal.

The birds are getting really busy. My favourite this month has been listening to the Fiery-neck Nightjar which I am happy to say seems to have to come to stay. Between him and the Thick Knees calling at night I am permanently smiling as I fall asleep.

Jeff found this beautiful little Sunbird nest in a spiny Euphorbia. The camouflage is so perfect. What I can’t believe is how low down the nest is.

The Sunbirds are still feasting on the Aloe flowers. They are not the only ones - the insects and Mousebirds are joining the in the feast of nectar and pollen the Aloes offer.

The Sunbirds are still feasting on the Aloe flowers. They are not the only one but the insects and Mousebirds are joining themin the feast of nectar and pollen the Aloes offer.

Aloes are not only beautiful but bountiful as well.

I loved this picture of the Common Waxbil acting like love birds and cuddling up together.

The butterflies are still out in full force dining on the nectar offered by the winter and spring flowering plants.

Although most of them are quite common, they are always a joy to watch.

There are so many plants looking wonderful in early spring including, of course, the Mackaya Bella (River Bells).

These beautiful flowers have dark maroon stripes which act like landing lights for insects and entice them in to collect nectar and at the same time pollinate the flowers. This is a wonderful plant for shady areas.

At last the Rothmannia capensis (Scented Bells) have made a few seed pods which I am going to harvest and grow with great success – I hope.

Talk about colour co-ordinating. I don’t remember planting this Aloe. It just popped up in amongst the Namaqualand daisies and the colour was a perfect foil. I love getting these little surprises in the garden.

In South Africa we have a huge array of succulent plants. They are perfectly suited to creating a bed full of coloured and textured leaves. When the flowers pop out that is an added bonus.

Did you notice how beautiful the full moon was this month.

I think we should all be in awe of the beautiful things happening around us.

The beautiful moon, a beautiful sunrise, plants full of cheerful flowers and the insects and birds that visit them.

A bulb, like Scadoxus puniceus (Paint Brush), that as regular as clockwork, pops up in the garden. It gives me great happiness and a feeling of continuity when I see things all working so perfectly together.

When next you visit Random Harvest take a walk down this avenue of trees. They may not be indigenous, but it is still a peaceful, awe inspiring stroll.

Happy spring day and keep well and keep gardening - it is good for the soul.


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email [email protected]

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