Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - December 2012

Posted On: Saturday, December 1, 2012

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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Here I am writing to you and it is Christmas time again!  It has certainly been an interesting year ... But where did it go?

Opening times and public holidays

We are open on the 17th December public holiday but are closed on the 25th and 26th of December and on the 1st of January, 2013.

In the Nursery

There are lots of interesting activities at Random Harvest in December.  Not least the Kids Events - see the list at the end of this newsletter to remind you again of what's on.

Bird Walk with Andre Marx - Sat 8th Dec.

If you have missed out on the bird walks with Andre, this is a gift of an opportunity.  He is amazing and very patient even with the greenest of beginners.  The information you will garner is priceless.

He will be taking a walk on Saturday 8th December, starting at 6.30 to avoid the heat and catch sight of the interesting birds.

Booking is essential and the price of R95.00 per person includes a slap up breakfast.

Payment beforehand is essential to secure the booking.


Christmas is a time for giving and showing our appreciation of others. 

Please visit us during December to collect your little gift from us to say "THANK YOU" for your continued support during these tough times. 

We have made seed bells for you and seed decorations and sweeties for the children. 

Thanks to my friend Les for working out a natural healthy formula for making these seed bells. 

And, of course, being a gift there is no charge.

You simply have to visit and see our Christmas tree that I am so chuffed with.

This year the theme is dragonflies.  So needless to say my imagination ran riot. 

Not only have we been glittering and gluing wooden dragonflies, but in true Random Harvest style we had to build the habitat as well. 

We have included water plants, grasses and places for the nymphs to hide.

If you go to our website www.rhn.co.za there is an article on the habitat that dragonflies require or I have printed out some copies you can collect at the nursery.

What was originally a tree and a bit of water has turned into a pond with water almost surrounding the tree.  And, just to be really different the tree is a Toad Tree (Tabernaemontana elegans).

I love it and hope you do as well. Incidentally, have you noticed how many dragonflies are around this season? Perhaps it is due to the early rain and extra moisture.  If you have any answers, we'd love to hear from you.


There are a variety of interesting gifts in the little shop starting from under R10.00.  Many make great stocking fillers or gifts for teachers.

There is a subscription form 'EnviroKids' at the end of this newsletter.

This is a wonderful magazine to encourage children to appreciate nature and is inexpensive.  From Saturday we will have a number of back issues for sale.

Give a Random Harvest gift voucher to someone you love - because "gifts with roots grow deep into the heart."

Bring a friend

We have decided to extend the offer of free tea and scones for yourself and any friends you bring along if they sign up to receive this Newsletter via email.


To entice you to visit Random Harvest we are offering a breakfast special of a 'Sunrise Breakfast' at just R40.00 per person (This includes 2 eggs, 3 rashers of bacon, 3 sausages, grilled tomato, toast and jam'….and don't forget the unforgettable setting.

Come along and spend some quality time peacefully under the trees.


Remember our function venue is ready and is the perfect place for holding meetings and training sessions with lots of space for breakaway meetings.

As you can see from the picture the garden is looking gorgeous as it matures.



The groupings of Scabiosa, Gazania,and  Arctotis,  not only have beautiful flowers that brighten up the garden, but they are also wonderful butterfly plants. 

Mix them with Grasses and Hairbells (Dierama sp.) and they bring gentle movement to the garden with even the lightest breeze.

Pick off the dead flowers regularly and be blessed with flowers almost all year round.

Adding Arctotis with their bold beautiful silvery leaves creeping through the grasses, you add texture to the garden.

We have been a bit low on the variety of grasses we have been offering (I never seem to be able to keep up with the demand) but are remedying this and now have some new species available with more to come.


Mackaya bella

We have some lovely standard Mackaya bella (River Bells) in stock.  These plants are quite easy to keep in shape.  The more you nip the tips off the more flowers they will bear in spring.

They are shade loving and useful for those dark shady areas.  Underplant them with Clivias for an incredible show in spring.

Dovyalis rhamnoides

Dovyalis rhamnoides (Common Sourberry) is a wonderful thorny plant to use for a barrier.   This dense versatile shrub grows quite large (up to 2.5m and ± 2.0m wide), grows well in light shade or half day shade.  It can be pruned into a striking hedge with its wonderful glossy leaves and red fruit.  It also takes well to growing in containers.

The fruit is edible and quite sour but with a good flavour.  The fruit attracts birds and they also use it for safe nesting sites.


Grewia occidentalis

Another attractive shrub is Grewia occidentalis (Crossberry) which I think is a great subject to espalier along a wall or fence.

If you used the Crossberry you will be rewarded with pretty pink, star-shaped flowers and also delicious fruit that you will have to compete with the birds for your share.


Now is a good time to think about planting Plectranthus species to ensure a good show of flowers and butterflies from March to April.

  Espalier (Left) is the art of pruning and tying woody plants to a frame so that they grow in a flat plant.  (See diagram).  Espaliered plants also give a formal look to an area.

This is a perfect solution if you have limited space and would like a fruit tree or two.

No Longer at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden

Please remember we have not been involved with the nursery at the garden for at least 3 years now.  If you would like plants and assistance from Random Harvest, you will need to visit us in Muldersdrift.

On the Farm

All the additional money I spent on security for the Moorhen and Egyptian goose babies has paid off and we still have the Moorhen babies and 2 Egyptian goose babies. 

The only problem is that the Egyptian geese chase all the other birds away from the dam while their babies are there so most of my sightings have been away from the dam.


The bulbuls are certainly enjoying a bath in the millstone in the display of bird attracting plants.

I am not sure if they are the parents of these cute babies we found in a nest. 

I like to think that I am providing them with everything they need for a happy life.

This dove made itself at home in a Harpephyllum caffrum (Wild Plum) in the nursery.

As you can see from the picture, the tree came away from its stake and we couldn't stake it up for fear of knocking the dove off her nest.

It is always nice to be rewarded by the wildlife for the trouble you take to create habitat and a safe haven for them in a wildlife garden.

How is this tiny frog on the rock in the pond at  the biodiversity garden in the nursery?  

The rocks are not very big as the pond is small so you can judge how tiny he is.

I just love him.

The bird feeder outside the office has been full of traffic with the birds coming and going filling up for energy in the breeding season.

This picture shows the very colourful Red Bishops.  They have been on the feeder along with the yellow Masked Weavers. 

A really bright and cheerful horde.  Unfortunately we haven't managed to get a decent picture of them all on the feeder together.

Look into the heart of the flower and you never know what is waiting for you.

How is this tiny spider in the Arum?  I just love seeing nature working this way and find that I am endlessly fascinated.

Matt Pretorius, an expert on Grass Owls, came to check if we had any breeding pairs on the farm as they are really endangered.

Sadly, they only seem to visit us as there is not enough of their habitat on the farm.  They breed in the Cottonwool grass (Imperata cylindrica) and the patch we have is too small.

Needless to say I have to go on a mission to plant more of this grass and encourage the owls in the area to come and live permanently at Random Harvest.

Interestingly enough they are called Grass Owls but prefer a wetland habitat where Imperata grows and their prey, Vlei Rats, flourish.  Whereas the Marsh Owl uses grassland to breed and hunt - these I know breed on the farm as we have seen their tunnels in the grassland. I vote for a swapping of names - what do you think?

I was very excited to see a Fork Tailed Drongo sitting on the windmill - another tick for my list.

On the last bird walk they spotted an Ovambosparrowhawk - mega exciting.

Finally, on the farm side, we are overrun by Goose and Chicken babies.  It is really fun watching them grow up. 

The Chickens chase the golf car as my mom feeds them from there.  I thought you would enjoy these pictures.

Finally I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and Happy Holidays. 

If you are going away drive carefully and enjoy your time off.   If you are going to be around, don't forget to check out our list of events (for children and adults) below.

December Events

We have organised some fun and educational events this December.  I am particularly excited about Geoff Lockwood coming to do some bird watching and giving children a peek into the lives of the birds.

Please remember to book with David on 082 553 0598 and to book well in advance to avoid disappointment. 

We do have to be paid to secure the booking.

Bird watching with Geoff Lockwood for children.
When: Saturday, 8 December 2012
Join well known bird expert Geoff Lockwood for a fascinating morning looking into the lives of birds. This is a must for any nature-loving child that would like to know more about our feathered friends. The early start is important to be able to view as many birds as possible.
Ages: From 6 - 13 years
Time: 07h00 to 10h30
Venue: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, Muldersdrift
Cost: R55 per child. Breakfast snack pack available at R25 each
Contact: David: 082 553 0598 or [email protected]. Website www.rhn.co.za

There's a Nature Reserve in My Garden - Garden Safari
When: Monday, 10 December 2012, Wednesday 12 December 2012, Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Armed with magnifying glasses, binoculars, and keen eyes, we will be going on a garden safari to discover a whole world that exists in our gardens - from tiny soil bugs to butterflies, birds, mice and other creatures.  Maximum 10 children per safari, so book early to avoid disappointment. Bring a hat, water bottle and walking shoes.
Ages: From 5 upwards
Time: 08h30 to 12h00 - incl. two short breaks
Venue: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, Muldersdrift
Cost: R50 per child, excl. refreshments. Snack pack available at R25 each
Contact: David: 082 553 0598 or [email protected]. Website www.rhn.co.za

There's a Nature Reserve in My Garden - Garden Safari FOR TODDLERS & MOMS
When: Tuesday, 18 December 2012
A sensory experience from beginning to end - join us on a garden safari to discover a whole world that exists in our gardens. Your little ones will be able to experience water, mud, textures in nature and a whole lot more.  Maximum 10 toddlers, so book early to avoid disappointment. Bring a hat, water bottle and walking shoes.
Ages: From 18 months to 3 years.
Time: 10h00 to 11h30 - incl. a short break
Venue: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, Muldersdrift
Cost: R50 per child, Refreshments available from Water Lily Tea Garden.
Contact: David: 082 553 0598 or [email protected]. Website www.rhn.co.za

Making Christmas Decorations
When: Tuesday 11 December, Wednesday 19 December 2012
Brief description Make a variety of beautiful Christmas decorations - with many inspirations from nature. Cost includes 3 different decorations.
Appropriate age group 4 to 6 yrs - accompanied by an adult. 7 years upwards - adults also welcome.
Time 9h30 to 12h30
Venue: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, Muldersdrift
Cost R100 per person (Note: no charge for adult assisting a young child) incl refreshments and items made
Contact: David: 082 553 0598 or [email protected]. Website www.rhn.co.za

Card and gift-wrap creations for Christmas - with inspirations from Nature
When: Thursday, 13 December 2012, Monday 17 December 2012
Make your own Christmas cards, tags and giftwrap, either to use or give as a gift. Wear old clothes or bring an apron.
Appropriate age group 7 years upwards - adults also welcome. 4 to 6 yrs -to be accompanied by an adult.
Time: 09h30 - 12h30
Venue: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, Muldersdrift
Cost R100 per person (Note: no charge for adult assisting a young child) incl refreshments and items made
Contact: David: 082 553 0598 or [email protected]. Website www.rhn.co.za

Mosaic and Mixed Media workshop for beginners
When: Friday, 14 December 2012, Saturday 15 December 2012
Colourful mosaicking workshop for beginners - no grouting so you can take your items home with you on completion. Workshop will be run by experienced mosaickers.
Age level: from 6 years up - regret no children younger than this.
Time: 09h30 - 12h30
Venue: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, Muldersdrift
Cost R90 per kiddies mosaic, R160 per adult mixed media project - suitable for 11 years upwards (Note: no charge for adult assisting a young child) incl. refreshments and materials.
Contact: David: 082 553 0598 or [email protected]. Website www.rhn.co.za

Wildflower Day at Chrissiemeer
Treat yourself to an interesting and beautiful outing to Chrissiemeer Wildflower Day. It is here you will see and feel the magic of our grasslands.
My friend Carol Knoll will be leading some of the outings and she is incredibly knowledgeable about the wildflowers.
Saturday 19 January 2013
Time: 08h00 for 8h45- Registration for day walk and bookings for dinner, talk and slideshow by guest speaker Alan Abel (Booking is essential and preferably done prior to the day)
Place: McCloud's Art Café and Coffee Shop- N17 Main Road (Tea and Coffee available)
Price: R100 pp including Lunch (Please note the evening cost is separate)
Lunch: This will be a picnic basket supplied by the SAVF. Cash only
Necessities for Flower Walk: Comfortable shoes, Books, Hat, Water, Snacks, pencil, binoculars, magnifying glass.
Program: 08h45 -Introductory talk by Carol Knoll (Editor of Environmental Management Magazine) and Ton Sanders (Local Historian)
N.B-From there, everyone will have to drive with their own transport to the various sites in the surrounding area!!
The group will be accompanied by wildflower lovers and flower specialists who will be able to guide you and share their knowledge with you as you explore are local fauna and flora.
Dinner, talk and slide show: 18h30 - 22h30 The Venue @ Florence R120pp booking essential - Guest Speaker: Alan Abel
Bookings: [email protected] Ane Steinberg 082 804 1771 web address: www.chrissiesmeer.org



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 Saturday, 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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