Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - September 2021

Posted On: Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Spring is in the air and as usual with this time of year, we go from summer to winter overnight. This last cold spell was the worst we have had in years. Luckily, we didn’t have much damage with only a few of the plants touched by the cold. The good thing is, that I think the cold almost resets the weather and gets the environment back in balance. The other good thing is that the cold doesn’t last too long, and we are soon enough back into balmy days.

The last leaves of the Wild Pride of India (Galpinia transvaalica) are glowing in the sun while others are showing signs of waking up.

The Mickey Mouse Bush (Ochna serrulata) is in full bloom and its new leaves are also glowing red in the sun.


Please remember our food parcel drive. If it is possible to donate our bank account number is - Random Harvest Nursery, FNB 51441129818 Cheque account: code 25 07 41, Reference: Food Parcels.

These ‘Meal in a Bag’ are making a big difference as with your kind donations we are putting together between 800 and 1000 per month – that is 6 to 8000 meals - amazing.


We are open on Heritage Day, Friday 24th September.


We are almost done with preparing our new herb area and although there is still a bit of work to be done, we have started planting up the herbs.

Our busy time is coming up with my favourite activity imminent in the nursery…... the planting of seed. Sylis, who oversees the seed section, is also super excited and has prepared the area in anticipation of beginning to plant. The most exciting time is when the seedlings start to pop their heads above the soil – I never get tired of watching them grow.


Bird Walks

Saturday, 18th September 2021 – Andre Marx
Start time: 7h00 FOR 7h30 sharp.

Saturday, 9th October 2021 – Lance Robinson
Start time: 7h00 FOR 7h30 sharp.

The migratory birds are beginning to return, and we have already seen the Lesser Striped Swallow. Join us for a pleasant, informative walk and talk about all thing’s birds, lots of fun and then enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast with like-minded people – a great way to start the weekend.

Start time: 7h00 FOR 7h30 sharp.

Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a scrumptious breakfast buffet

Booking is essential - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 011 957-5356 or 066 587 3143


The start of this interesting course is imminent. If you are interested, I urge you to treat yourself and book now.

Bruce has such passion for indigenous gardening and loves to impart his knowledge to his students.

If you have never done anything like this before don’t worry as he will start the course with the absolute basics and lead you through creating a garden or gardens which are both beautiful and accommodate the needs of wildlife. I am sending four of my staff members on the course, they are really looking forward to it.

These will be held on Saturday mornings from 9h00 to 12h00.
Dates: September 4th, 11th, and 18th and 25th and October 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd
Cost: R2500.00 for the full 8-day course.

To Book - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 011 957-5356 or 066 587 3143


I am so happy we have been able to hold our coffee morning talks. The one we had to postpone was the Succulent talk and I’m happy to now reinstate it.

Date: Wednesday 1st September 2021
Topic: Succulents in the Garden.
Jonathan and Jeffrey will guide you on how to create a waterwise succulent bed in your garden. They will give tips on how to create a beautiful display of colours, textures, shapes, and flowers as well as how to maintain the bed for the best effect. They will then demonstrate how to plant up beautiful containers using succulents.

Date: Wednesday 6th October 2021
Topic: Growing indigenous plants from seed
I love seed sowing so much I thought a good topic for the October coffee morning should be about growing indigenous plants from seed. We will share our experience with you and welcome you sharing your experiences and asking question.


I am happy to be able to re-instate the bee and honey talk after the Covid clampdown as there were many of you interested in joining Clem for this hugely informative and entertaining talk on bees and honey. You are sure to go away with a new respect and love for these hard working, useful creatures.

Saturday, 25th September 2021
Start time: 10h30
Cost: R50.00 per person, this includes tea, coffee and fresh homemade scones

Bookings: (Essential) – Please contact Lindelani on telephone 067 889 0648 or 011 957 5356 or email [email protected]


Another request we have had from you is to organise a repeat of this fascinating talk by Dan Barwick of Turfnet, this time on a Saturday for all you hard working folk who can’t attend Wednesday Coffee morning talks.

I learnt such a huge amount about soil and earthworms and am sure you would also love listening to him.

Date: Saturday 18th September 2021 - 10h00.
Topic: Regenerating the soil with the assistance of earthworms.

He will introduce us to other interesting products that will add microbes to the soil and increase its fertility vastly. These will also be available in the nursery.


Lindsay Gray will be holding her courses just in time for spring when we are all itching to get back into the garden in preparation for summer..
Your gardener will be more excited and confident to help you create your own personal haven.

The next courses are as follows:

DATES: Friday 17th September 2021 and 15th October 2021
TIME: 8h30 to 15h30

The cost of the course includes a set of notes for both the gardener and employer, tea/coffee and biscuits on arrival, breakfast and lunch and a certificate.

TO BOOK or for more info including cost of the course contact Lindsay Gray on 082-449-9237 or [email protected]


For us at Random Harvest Country Cottages, it’s important to constantly improve our service to you and make a stay in our self-catering cottages more comfortable and pleasurable.

Your comments and suggestions are taken to heart and have helped us to keep constantly making changes to ensure our guests have the best possible experience. Please keep the helpful comments coming – we do sincerely appreciate them.

Here are just a few ways that we hope to make you feel well looked after when you choose to book and stay with us.

Our secure, 21-hectare farm offers you a variety of outdoor activities such as

  • Our popular 1km walk and run track.
  • Take your kids to the soil preparation area where they can see huge rows of composting raw materials and learn how it all works.
  • Book a picnic during your stay and invite your family or friends to the farm, or just enjoy some peaceful “me time” in the outdoorss.
  • Take a relaxed nature walk to the dam through our restored natural grassland which is habitat to a lot of little creatures.
  • Bird watching wherever you find yourself on the property.

You can now book your stay directly with us via Google Stay, saving you the time and hassle of looking for a reliable booking agency.


Every South African loves a braai and boerewors. For Heritage Day on the 24th of September, we are offering a special of Boerewors Roll with salads and relish. We will be braaiing the boerewors in the garden and then serving you either in the garden or the Tea Garden. The special will be served from 11h00 to 15h00.

Remember if you are looking for a peaceful happy place to work there is free WiFi in the Tea Garden


Spring is in the air and the birds are getting very busy and vocal. Therefore, we have dedicated the shop products to helping them to get fat and sassy for their breeding time. There are also a few bird goodies for you just because they are beautiful.

A variety of bird feeders as you can see from the picture,
Bird food to fatten them up so they have lots of babies, including Suet bits, Peanuts, Love bugs, Nectar powder, Seed bells and Nutty putty

There is a range of beautiful Bird cards, fridge magnets and mugs to use each day with a bird motif just to remind us with our first cup of coffee, why we love birds.

BOOK OF THE MONTH - Creative Indigenous Garden Design by Bruce Stead. R375. 00
An inspirational and practical book on how to design wildlife friendly, beautiful gardens. The birds and butterflies will thank you.


Geranium incanum – Carpet Geranium
A beautiful, very hardy feathery groundcover that bears masses of light purple flowers almost all year round. Plant around water features where it will actually float on the water, hanging over walls, in hanging baskets and almost any other sunny spot in your garden. The insects will certainly appreciate the flowers and you can immerse yourself in their beauty.

Freylinia tropica – Honeybell bush
An extremely hardy, floriferous shrub. It bears white or blue flowers en masse almost all year round. Although it looks lush it is drought resistant. It grows in semi shade and sun but flowers more profusely if planted in full sun. Use as a smaller screen, in a mixed hedge, prune into a formal hedge or in containers. A versatile and beautiful shrub.

Scadoxus puniceus (Tall Natal Form) – Paint Brush
This is a tall form of this plant that blooms with huge red to red-orange flowers much earlier in the season than the local form, so it is always an exciting harbinger of spring. It is hardy and deciduous and looks beautiful planted in amongst the evergreen Barberton Daisy or in amongst grasses. It also makes a great container plant. It is one of those bulbs that will give you a lovely surprise in your garden when it pops up. It attracts birds and insects to the garden as well.

Calpurnea aurea – Calpurnea
A beautiful evergreen small tree or large shrub that is very hardy, has emerald, green leaves. It bears pendulous bunches of brilliant yellow, pea-shaped flowers in profusion in summer with a few flowers all year round. Solitary bees are attracted to the flowers. Prune the tips of the branches lightly to create a compact shape and encourage flowering. Ideal tiny tree for tiny spaces.

Heteropyxis canescens – Forest Lavender Tree
A beautiful hardy small to medium sized tree with large glossy, lavender scented leaves that turn brilliant red in winter and persist on the tree. With age it develops a truly beautiful, sparkling beige, flaking bark. A delightful tree for small spaces and containers or plant in groups to create a forest feel in the garden. This rare little tree grows best in moist semi shade conditions although it grows in dry conditions as well.

Carissa bispinosa – Forest Numnum
A very hardy, dense, evergreen shrub that looks lush all year round even though it is drought resistant. It has Y-shaped thorns which make it a safe space for birds to nest. In early spring it bursts into flower with massed clusters of pretty, star-shaped, scented flowers but will bear a few flowers up to January. These are followed by red, edible fruits that are relished by birds. Use as a small screen, an informal or formal hedge or in containers. It grows in sun or shade and enjoys well-composted soil


Carpobrotus edulis – Sour Fig
This very hardy, drought resistant, succulent, spreading groundcover bears edible fleshy fruits which make good jams and preserves. The large Vygie-like flower is yellow when young and turns pink with age. It is great to retain soil on banks as it roots at the nodes. The juice of the leaves has excellent healing properties. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun.

Searsia [=Rhus] lancea – Karee
This is an extremely hardy, drought resistant tree with a lovely graceful form. The thin bright green leaves contrast beautifully with the dark fissured bark. The abundant tiny, yellow-green flowers are quite inconspicuous but borne en masse they give the tree a lacy look. They are followed by bunches of beige seeds that are edible and much sought after by birds. It does well in clay soil and is fast growing if watered regularly.

Euryops pectinatus – Golden Daisy Bush
The common name is appropriate as its flowers are golden and cheer up the garden in winter when they bloom in profusion although they have some flowers all year round. The flowers attract butterflies and other insects to the garden. It is very hardy and fast growing with soft grey-green foliage. Plant in full sun in well-drained, well composted soil. Dead head regularly to promote flowering. Prune back quite hard once a year to promote flowering and prevent it from becoming woody.


This gardening tip was written by Dan Barwick of Turfnet, who will be giving the talk on earthworms. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

“Composting is the conversion of solid organic material into a humus-like substance by controlled biological decomposition. It is the process of letting mother nature transform organic matter into material with environmental benefits and uses.

The process is aerobic, meaning it requires oxygen and uses naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria, actinomyces and fungi to break down the organic compounds into simpler substances.

Composting is a viable process of treating solid waste for beneficial use and destroying pathogens, diseases, and undesirable weed seed during the process. By properly managing air, moisture and nutrients, the process can transform large quantities of organic material into compost.

Earthworms are one of nature’s greatest species that perform this process.

Our earthworms help convert the organic material we feed them into natural, organic plant food that is the most potent soil conditioner.

Earthworm castings provide the essential compounds for regenerating soils damaged by years of chemical-based fertilisers and modern farming practices.

Our earthworms are fed only on a recipe that’s 100 % organic which the worms like to eat.

Benefits of Earthworm compost:

100% Organic Certified, Chemical Free, Odourless, High in Humus, Promotes Nutrients in Soil, Retains Water in the Soil, Prevents Disease, Medicine for Soil, Will not burn Plants, Weed Free, Balances the PH levels of the Soil, Improves Plant Nutrient Density


I am so excited that PSHB fungicide has been gazetted by the government as the only approved treatment for this plague and best of all IT IS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY.

Better still, nurseries are not allowed to sell infected trees. I am so glad we have been proactive and been spraying our trees for the past 2 years and thus the population of the pest on the farm has decreased dramatically.

If you need help with product or spraying, please contact Mike on 082 721 2478 or me on 079 872 8975


This is the last of the articles sent to me by Connal Eardly and I thank him for his input into all of us having a better understanding of theses amazing insects.

Get involved with other bee friendly gardeners. This is a fairly new, but fast growing, field and we can learn from one another. There are activities that you can join now and there are more being designed. There is Candide’s #PolliNation campaign  and the citizen science WhatsApp group.

In September 2022 the Twelfth International Symposium (watch www.icppr.com) will be at Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, and the programme will be designed to accommodate pollinator friendly gardeners, photographers and citizen scientists (it will probably be a hybrid with in-person and virtual participation).

On WaspWeb (www.waspweb.org) there are plans to produce identification tools to help you get to know your bees. Tutus Loco (www.beehotels.co.za ) market bee hotels. With a little practice you can add a lot more enjoyment to gardening.

Although we all love trees, it is easier to see the bees on low growing plants and shrubs. And a camera is extremely useful to learn what bees you have in your garden –taking nice pictures takes a lot of patience but is very rewarding. It also enables you to share your unique knowledge.

When you visit a nursery to buy a plant look for those that bees are visiting. It is good to plant these near your fruit and many types of veggies (e.g., tomato, beans, pumpkin, cucumber etc.) need as they need pollinators to produce fruit.


To all our wholesale clients reading the newsflash please remember that Random Harvest Nursery has a well-established Wholesale nursery offering bulk quantities of landscaping plants and organics. We are also able to help with plant choices and layout ideas and offer a delivery service country wide. Please contact us with all your landscaping and general design needs.


Jeff and I decided it was time to clean the dam as it had silted up. Oh, my Word! I didn’t realise what a huge job it was going to be.

As you can see from the picture the silt was knee deep. As usual, my staff were amazing and happily removed about 50cubic meters of mud from the dam by wheelbarrow. We then had to load it onto the tractors and take it away. All this while trying to preserve the fish in a pool of water and keep the Terrapin happy.

This really messes with the ecosystem, and I am going to have to make a plan to catch most of the silt before it reaches the dam. This is exciting as I am happiest when I have lots of projects to do.

We tried so hard not to chase the Moorhens who have been living here and they stayed around until the very last. I am so sad that they left and go down to the dam every day hoping that they will return. Jeff thinks I am wrong, and that they will be coming back. Please hold thumbs that they do as I miss them a lot.

The Malachite Kingfisher, in contrast, thought he was in heaven and came to feast on the tiny fish trapped in the little pools we left for them.

Then just to add to all the work I conjure up it was time to burn the grassland. We first had to cut the grass, rake it and bale it.

When we cut the grass, we always have people walking in front of the tractor checking for creatures and nests as the slasher will chop up anything in its way (Horrible). My tractor driver, Alam is amazing and does a great job of this.

All this activity removes the fuel load and makes the fires manageable when we burn. Another added benefit is that I get lots of organic material to make the mountains of compost I need for our soil mix.

Jeff and Phanuel have become past masters at this job. It is always scary that the bales of grass might catch alight, but they managed to carry it out safely and quickly.

The birds love it when we burn as they come to feast on the insects that are flushed out by the fire.

The Fork-tailed Drongo, who we haven’t seen for a while, was also there to feast on the insects.

While we were filling the dam, I was delighted to see some of the birds did come back.

The Black-headed Heron and the juvenile Grey Heron were at the dam at the same time.

It is unusual to see them together as they live in different habitats.

The birds are getting so cheeky in the nursery. This Grey Go-away bird couldn’t wait for his fruit to be served and landed on the plate to make sure he got the lions share. What a privilege.

The Red Bishops are congregating in masses at the dam in preparation for breeding season. I can see that they are going to eat us out of house and home when they come to the feeding table. I don’t mind as it is always a joy to watch them.

The Black-headed Oriole has been feasting on the nectar offered by the last Aloe flowers of the season.

Speaking of which we had our first Aloe angelica flowers this year which was exciting as this is quite a rare Aloe.

I just had to mention and congratulate Bowa and Godfrey who completed their woodworking class with flying colours. They made these beautiful boxes. I am so proud of them and trust they will do as well with their next project.

Now that spring is in the air and gardening is on your mind, I hope to see you in the nursery and remember if you need help laying out your garden (you will need to make an appointment) or what to plant where we are there to help.

Finally, I thought I would share this beautiful picture of a Hoverfly visiting a Freesia flower.



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