Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - December 2022

Posted On: Thursday, December 1, 2022

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

After the heatwave the rain was both a relief and a joy. The dam is huge and almost overflowed. It looks more like a lake than a dam and is absolutely beautiful.

Jeff and I have been spending some really peaceful times there looking at the water, listening to the birds and feeling the cool gentle breezes blowing over it.

The reflections in the water are an added feature of just how beautiful it is down there. How lucky are we that we can enjoy this every day.

Unfortunately, the dam leaks so we are enjoying it while we can, and I think you should visit and sit down there and let the peace seep into your soul.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading this newsletter and for your loyal support over the last year. I would like you to know that it is truly appreciated by all of us.

I wish you joy and peace over the holiday season and may all your wishes come true in 2023.

May all your plants be indigenous.

Linda and the team


Our biggest project in November was building a local plant display that incorporates our Christmas Tree for the Birds. This was done by Jabulani and Emmanuel who had to work sporadically between downpours, but they finished it.

They did a great job and I am thrilled absolutely with the result. The birds also seem pleased as they took no time at all to find the food in amongst the local plants they use and the beautiful, beaded decorations.

We also decided to change the succulent display and after lots of discussion and hard work, we came up with, what I think, is a gorgeous display for our visitors to enjoy.

One of the most difficult places to garden is under huge deciduous trees like the Tipuana (which I hate but it protects the nursery) in our parking. Eventually after many false starts we decided it was easier to garden there in pots. It is looking the best it has for years.

If you look carefully at the picture, you will see where we have planted a strangler fig in a basket in the tree. I am excited as the roots have reached the ground and I am hoping it will finally strangle the Tipuana and we will have a beautiful Fig tree in the parking lot.


Once more I have to thank you for your incredible generosity. Your donations are enabling us to continue feeding the hungry in the informal settlements around us. I can assure you these parcels make a huge difference to the families that receive them, and they keep expressing their gratitude for your assistance. I cannot begin to tell you how much joy I get out of being able to help them with your help. Thank you, Thank you.

I was so excited as it was recently my birthday and my staff bought me 144 cans of baked beans to help fill the food parcels – I don’t think anyone could have given me a better gift. I was completely overwhelmed and overjoyed.

If I could, please, continue to rely on your generosity the banking details are.

Random Harvest Nursery, FNB 51441129818 Cheque account: code 25 07 41, Reference: Food Parcels.


We are closed on the 25th and 26th December 2022 and the 1st January 2023


With Christmas on the horizon bring the children along to Random Harvest. We have laid out a trail called ‘Advice from Birds’ to teach them about birds. They will collect a pamphlet and follow the trail to collect their sticker from each station to stick onto their pamphlet. Once completed they can collect a little Christmas gift, we have prepared for them, from reception.

The kids love this fun activity, and it helps make them aware of nature around them. This will be held from 1st December 2022 to 15th January 2023


Astri Leroy, who has vast knowledge of spiders and other insects has kindly agreed to share her passion and enthusiasm with our customers by taking them on a walk through our almost pristine grassland and revealing the enormous diversity in the grassland. The walkabout should yield all sorts of interesting spiders and other goggas.. I think this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Date: Sunday 11th December @ 8h00 for 8h30
Cost: R75.00 per person welcome coffee and rusks and tea and scones after the walk

Booking is essential - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 082-553-0598 or 066 587 3143


It is such a beautiful time of year to walk around the farm in the early morning and to have Andre Marx as your guide to the birds makes it a very special time to spend in nature.

Our bird list stands at over 170 species which makes Random Harvest a special birding spot.

The next bird walk is

Date: Saturday, 10th December 2022
Time: 6h30 for 7h00

Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a breakfast buffet – a great way to start the weekend.

Booking is essential - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 082-553-0598 or Tel. No.066 587 3143


Treat yourself to (or give an early Christmas Gift of) a bird course here at Random Harvest during the December holidays.

If you are keen to learn more about birds and the birding hobby and have always wanted to develop the correct habits of identifying a bird, or perhaps need a refresher, then this Birding Basics Course is just what you have been looking for. The course comprises two sessions (each 90min) and includes a birding walk to apply your newly acquired skills.

Course content includes:
Reviewing the essential tools (binoculars, field guides, and how to navigate them); knowing the parts of a bird and an introduction to plumage patterns, bills/beaks, and the different avian foot structures.
The 7-habits methodology to develop when identifying birds and an overview of the key habitats where one can find different birds.

Date: Saturday 17th December
Time: 6h30 for 7h00
Cost: R500.00 per person fully inclusive of the course, welcome coffee and rusks and a buffet breakfast.

We will start with a welcome drink then a bird walk, while it is still cool.

Booking is essential - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 082-553-0598 or 066 587 3143


Although coffee mornings are free of charge, if you are going to join us, I ask you to please remember us when out doing your grocery shopping. We would love a donation of tins of baked beans, pilchards in tomato sauce or tins of tomato and onions for our food parcel drive

Date: Wednesday 7th December 2022
Time: 10h30

Topic: Walk in the Grassland
The grassland should be looking magnificent at this time of year. We will enjoy coffee in the boma followed by a walk in the grassland where we will have water and juice available for you.

Date: Wednesday 4th January, 2023
Time: 10h30

Topic: Local plants
We have amazing plants growing here on the Highveld. I will do a slide show to showcase some of their beauty and how they can be used to create a beautiful biodiverse garden


Give your gardener the gift of knowledge and confidence by booking for them to take part in Lindsay Gray’s last DOMESTIC GARDENER TRAINING for this year held on the

2nd of December from 8h30 to 15h30

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

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

These workshops will commence again in February 2023 We are pleased to announce that Lindsay will resume her gardening workshops for homeowners on Saturdays as well. Watch this space.


A lady has booked the venue here at Random Harvest for art classes and I thought there may be some who are interested. Here are the details:


As we are all excited about the fast-approaching holiday break Random Harvest Country cottages has the simplicity and the silence you need for a fresh and peaceful start to the New Year.

The past year has been frantic for most people why not spend a few days relaxing with us over the holiday season and reconnect with nature surrounded by people who are dedicated to service and making your stay a happy.

When we remember a special Christmas, it is not the presents that make it special but the laughter, the feeling of love and the togetherness of friends and family and beautiful surroundings.


Book for 2 nights or more and get a meal for 2 on the house.

To book a stay call Paul on 082-553-0598


I thought I would remind you that we are a lovely venue for special events particularly at this time of year.

It is a happy and peaceful place to reconnect with family and friends when we have the elusive ‘little more time’ to spend together. Sit in the tea garden, listen to the birds and enjoy attentive service and good food.


Our Christmas tree for the birds is up and garnering a lot of interest. Why not create your own with beaded Christmas decorations and beaded bird feeders to encourage the birds to visit and decorate your tree even more beautifully.

We have handcrafted Christmas Trees to decorate your table this festive season as well as beaded sauce bottle holders. Both make for a lovely table setting

Browse in the shop for interesting handmade and home-made gifts, something very different from the mass-produced items in most shops.

The Painted Bird Slabs are always a hit with our customers. I have to control myself or my house would be full of these beautiful pictures.

We have also made Christmas decorations from seeds of indigenous plants and decorated small trees for you to use over the festive season and then either plant in your garden, or if you have no space, hand them on to someone else to plant. Think of the value the tree will add to the lives of birds and insects in the area.


At long last the stock of handmade plant pots has arrived from our suppliers. Remember if you select your pot and plant, we will plant them up here for you. For bigger heavier pots we can deliver and place them for you.

The Grinding Stone bird baths have also arrived. They attract birds to the garden as birds always bathe in shallower water.

Remember we can now arrange for someone to visit your garden for onsite advice. The cost would be R300.00 per hour, excluding transport, with 1 hour credited for every R2500.00 spent on plants.


To our Wholesale customers remember we are open for sales and deliveries every day except the ones mentioned above. I am sure a lot of you have work to catch up on after the weeks of rain we had.

I would also like to remind you to check out our availability list on the website www.rhn.co.za. A lot of our customers have found it very useful.


Plumbago zeylanica - Wild White Plumbago
This quite constrained, pretty scrambling shrublet looks lovely tumbling over rocks and retaining walls or trained as a small climber that does not get out of hand. The pretty white flowers have attractive reddish calyxes and attract a whole host of insects to the garden. The flowers are also edible and can be used to decorate food and drink. Plant in sun or semi shade.

Agapanthus campanulatus - Bell Agapanthus
This is our local Agapanthus which can be found in amongst rocks on ridges and Koppies. It is deciduous and very hardy. In spring it sprouts its new leaves, followed by long-stemmed, umbels of lovely sky-blue flowers with a darker blue stripe. Although dormant in winter they do tolerate normal garden watering so can be left in situ. Plant in sun in compost rich, well-drained soil. Plant in amongst rocks and grass or use in mixed herbaceous borders.

Zantedeschia albomaculata - Arrow-leaved Arum
Deciduous Arum that is perfect planted in or around a pond, in a cottage garden or even en masse under trees. It is useful for ponds in the shade as it is difficult to find flowering plants that will grow in water in shade. The cone-shaped petal (often flushed with pink) surrounds a central column which carries the tiny pollen rich flowers. They often have a dark purple base. Birds and other creatures relish the nectar, pollen and fruits. It makes an exceptionally beautiful cut flower.

Chaetacanthus setiger - Fairy stars (E)
Hardy, evergreen, flat-growing groundcover with attractive, glossy, round leaves. From Aug. to Jan. small, starry, white flowers are borne along the trailing stems. Plant in sun or shade. Butterflies find it irresistible, making it an attractive addition to a butterfly garden. It is the host plant of the Yellow Pansy and Gaika Blue butterflies. Plant trailing over the edge of containers, in hanging baskets or planted in retaining walls where its bright little leaves look good all year round. Prune to keep in shape. Plant in sun or semi-shade.

Gymnosporia buxifolia [=Maytenus heterophylla] - Common Spikethorn
A tough, spiky small tree or shrub that has a character all of its own. I love the long spikes and have used it extensively in our barrier along the perimeter of the farm. When each long, graceful branch bursts into flower in spring it is a sight to behold, and one can hardly see a leaf for all the flowers. Insects are irresistibly attracted to them. They then offer a bounty of seeds throughout summer. I think it is a must have if you would like to plant a garden using only local species.

Lantana rugosa - Birds Brandy
For lovers of a local grassland garden this little shrub is a must. From September to May it bears dense clusters of pink to purple flowers, and these are followed by bright purple juicy fruits that are relished by birds. It is an essential component of a bird and butterfly garden. Plant as a sub-shrub in flower beds or amongst grasses in a grassland garden. Plant in sun or semi shade.


Ficus burkei [ = thonningii] - Common Wild Fig
This majestic tree is not suitable for smaller gardens but does make a beautiful container plant and bonsai. It bears white-spotted pinkish (when ripe) figs in its crown of dark green leaves. The figs are edible although normally full of insects. As you can imagine, birds and insects feast on them. It is also the host plant of the gorgeous Fig Tree Blue butterfly. Remember that figs have very invasive roost. If planted in a big container it would make a good small shade tree for a courtyard. Plant in sun or semi shade.

Chloris gayana - Rhodes Grass
Hardy, evergreen, very leafy, tufted, perennial grass that spreads by means of stolons. It has finger-like flowering heads from Nov. to May When it is in seed it will be regularly visited by seed- eating birds. It is very attractive when you see a stand of these grasses waving in the breeze - adding movement to the garden. As it propagates by stolons it is great for stabilising banks. It also grows in wet areas and looks particularly good growing up to the edge of ponds. Plant in sun or semi-shade.

Tetradenia riparia - Ginger bush
Fairly hardy, deciduous, fast growing, aromatic shrub with soft, heart-shaped leaves. Tall spikes of pale mauve, male flowers at the ends of the stems transform the shrub into a misty mauve cloud during autumn and winter when little else is blooming. Female flowers are not as showy. A very good plant for bees and other pollinating insects. Protect from frost, otherwise the flowers will be damaged and won’t put on an impressive show. Prune back hard after flowering to keep in shape and promote flowering next season. It needs a rich, well-drained soil and full sun.

Diospyros lycioides - Bluebush
This very hardy, deciduous, large shrub makes a wonderful tree for the smaller garden when it is pruned into a single stem. The distinctively veined leaves start off as bright green and mature to a bluish, grey-green. I have shared the picture of the flowers as they are quite small but exquisitely formed. These are followed by large berries that mature to red. They are both decorative and attract birds. (Only female plants bear fruit). A perfect plant for a local garden that grows well in rocky areas. Plant in sun or semi shade.


I thought I would share a few miscellaneous gardening tips with you this month to help your garden bloom.

First off, the dreaded Amaryllis worm which makes it appearance at this time of year. An environmentally friendly solution is Margaret Roberts caterpillar remedy which works well. It is a bacterium that is sprayed onto the plant, when the worm munches the plant, it ingests the bacteria which causes it to stop eating and thus starve itself to death. As this remedy washes off easily it should be mixed with Ludwigs Spray Stay to help it stick to the leaves and be available to the worms. As with most environmentally friendly solutions this needs to be done on a regular basis.

Please try and persist with this rather than resorting to one of the many deadly poisonous solutions available.

Sometimes our trees let us down and don’t flower. We experimented with PANAF No. 10 and sprayed a few trees. The accelerated growth and the mass flowering has been markedly noticeable.

Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) flowers are beautiful nodding in the wind. They start flowering early in spring and continue until late autumn. To ensure you enjoy this long flowering time add lots of compost, which they love, and they will reward you with flower after flower.

Plants of the Iridaceae family such as Dierama, Hesperantha, Crocosmia, Watsonia and Babiana do not like fertiliser. A sure sign of overuse of fertilised is die back of the tips of the leaves which first turn brown and then die. If you feel they need feeding use a Seaweed based fertiliser.


I was very excited that the TV Program Tuin Toere filmed Random Harvest for their program. They loved the gardens and the grassland and filmed enough material for 2 Episodes. I will keep you posted on when it will be showing on Kyk Net.

Unfortunately, the huge Acacia karroo (Sweet Thorn) uprooted itself with all the rain and, sadly, is no more. It took out my beautiful Olinia emarginata when it fell on it. But in the end, it is just an excuse to do more gardening which is always a total pleasure.

My poor staff had the monster job of cutting it up for firewood.

Luckily, we have lots more sweet Thorns on the farm and are able to enjoy their bright golden flowers after each shower of rain in summer.

Jeff and I couldn’t resist visiting the dam a few times a day in the rain to watch the water gushing down our water harvesting furrows and the dam growing by the hour.

We also saw lots of interesting things like the terrapins leaving the water to excavate their nests. I have seen them singly before but there were about 8 in the grassland preparing nests to lay their eggs in.

The Bullfrogs came back, and we heard them calling and saw them fighting for dominance and the right to breed. We have not seen them since, but the dam is so big and has so much grass around it we are hoping that they’re still there and we will see the tiny frogs when they start leaving the dam.

If you decide to take a walk in the grassland, there are lots of Lapwing babies although they are so well camouflaged that they are difficult to see. They also hunker down in the grass making them even more difficult to see.

After soaking rains it is always a good time to weed the grassland. We seem to have won the battle against Pom-pom weed and Verbena and are now starting on Plantago longifolia which, I think, is the next bad weed of grasslands. So far, we have filled 300 garbage bags with this weed. Unbelievable!

I was so touched; I have a wonderful teacher who teaches my staff English and literacy. They had their graduation, and with the teachers help, wrote this song about Random Harvest.

They also sang it for me and made a wonderful video for my birthday which you can see on our Facebook page.

I have so much more I would like to share but seem to have run out of space so I thought I would just caption the pictures and share them with you. There are also 2 videos, one of very busy bees in the video gallery and another of the tiny, adorable Bronze Mannikin drinking

I wish you all the best over the holidays and if going away please drive safely. We look forward to welcoming you at Random Harvest.

All the best,

Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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