Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - April 2013

Posted On: Monday, April 1, 2013

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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Good news - We will be opening on Sundays from the 1st April.

I am sure that all the Indigenous Enthusiasts who have been unable to get their dose of the peace of Random Harvest (and maybe also the homemade cakes) will be happy and I am really looking forward to seeing people whom I haven't seen for a while. 

My staff are also very enthusiastic about us opening on Sundays and are looking forward to helping you with your indigenous gardens and serving you with some delectable goodies in the Tea Garden.

In the Nursery

Succulent Display

This year we have gone completely different with our Succulent Display.  Unusually for Random Harvest it is a formal layout and, I must say, looks really great and shows off the succulents well.

The lovely thing about succulents is their form and texture and you can have a lot of fun mixing and matching.  Some have astonishingly beautiful flowers.  The shapes, forms and odours will also keep you interested. 

Plants like the Stapelias with flowers that have a really unpleasant odours to attract their pollinators but are a joy to see the amazing shapes and colours of the flowers they produce.

We have brought in an interesting array of plants for you to enjoy.

Butterfly Garden

Our butterfly garden has been in its planning stages for many months now, and at last we have almost finished it. 

Even while we were still busy putting it together the butterflies seemed to know that it was for them and hovered expectantly around some of the plants that we were putting in. 

The garden includes both nectar (butterfly food) plants as well as host (caterpillar food) plants, and we have added a mineral-rich muddy area and rocks as warm perches.  The garden is taking shape slowly, in between many other projects.

All that is left is to add a mowing edge so that we can keep it neat and pleasing to the eye. This should be done in the next week or two. 

It is not in the immediate retail nursery confines, so please just ask and we will direct you up to the garden.

If you have a moment, it is most worthwhile sitting for a bit and watching the beautiful visitors to this spot we have created for them.

Have you ever tried to photograph butterflies that are flitting about the garden? It is no easy task! I will have to just settle for sample pictures of the species we have seen in the garden so far.

African Leopard
Common Dotted Border
Painted Lady
Sweat Bee

Sweat Bee

We also found a most interesting insect - one I had not seen before.

It belongs to the Sweat Bee or Flower Bee Family - so named as they are often attracted to sweat.

The name we have for it is Nomia amabilis. It is found in diverse habitat, and nests in burrows in the soil.


African Honey Bee

Garden Design Courses

I am really excited that Lindsay Gray, principal of The School of Garden Design, is coming to do her courses in our conference venue.  She is offering convenient weekend courses on garden design and maintenance.

Lindsay shares my passion for indigenous gardening, wildlife, sustainable gardening and creating different habitats.

Even the wildest of gardens needs to be planned to save money and see the desired end result.

Day One:  Discover what the terms 'sustainability' and 'biodiversity' mean to the urban/peri-urban gardener. Take a 'walk on the wild side' with Random Harvest's Jeffrey and see nature in action.

Day Two:   Learn the logical process of the practical, creative and maintenance aspects of garden design and caring for your garden

Day Three:  Learn how to draw an accurate plan for your garden from scratch. No previous drawing experience necessary. We will rehash everything you learnt at school that you might have forgotten!

Consider this course a gift to yourself. Contact Lindsay on 082 44 99 237 or
Email: [email protected]   Web : www.schoolofgardendesign.com
Dates:  3 - 5 May; 19 - 21 July; 13 - 15 Sept; 15 - 17 Nov.

Looking great

The Grasses Melinus nerviglumis (Bristle Leaved Red top) and Aristida junciformis  (Gongoni Three Awn) are looking particularly good.  I thought I would include the picture of Bulbine abyssinica (Bushy Bulbine) which is beautiful when mass planted as you can see in the picture.  It is also great interplanted between grasses which is its natural habitat.

Water Lillies (Nymphaea nouchali) are also looking good and if you want to plant a waterlily in your pond now is the time as they still have time to settle before winter.

The autumn garden is really colourful and here are some plants that are really brightening up the nursery at the moment.

Euryops virgineus (Honey Euryops) with it bright yellow flowers makes a lovely garden plant for sunny areas. Prune after flowering to keep in shape.

This is the time for Plectranthus species (Spurflowers) and they are really looking marvellous giving a haze of beautiful colour under the trees.  

Hypoestes Little Pink (Pink Ribbon Bush).  The nectar of the bright flowers of this beautiful plant for shady areas attracts many species of butterfly to the garden.  Prune at the end of winter for gorgeous flowers next autumn


Dyschoriste thunberbergiflora is a small to medium sized shrub for sunny or semi shade areas of the garden.  The dark markings in the throat of the flower guide the insects that visit for the nectar.

Tecomaria capensis 'Salmon' (Cape Honeysuckle) is the well-known shrub with beautiful funnel shaped flowers. 

This version has beautiful soft salmon coloured flowers. 

It makes a great hedge or shrub for sunny areas and a good container plant.

New book - Creative Indigenous Garden Design by Bruce Stead


Bruce runs the natural gardening courses for Lifestyle College where he encourages the students to garden for wildlife as well as people.

This book is a must if you are wanting to design your garden.  It is very easy to use with lots and lots of pictures.  It takes into account natural landscapes and how to get the same feel in your own garden.

Bruce has been passionate about the environment his whole life and has visited many different areas that have inspired him to write this book and help you create your own unique natural garden.

I love this wonderful book and for R350.00 will give you years of inspiration and hours of pleasure just looking at it.

Special in the guesthouse

Take this opportunity of spending some time at Random Harvest and experience some of the happiness and joy I feel each day living on this amazing place.

To encourage you to take the time we are offering a winter special for the months of May and June of R395.00 per person and we will feed you a hearty farm breakfast included in this price.


I thought I would give you a little reminder of events this month.

Easter Treasure Hunt for Children - from Sat. 30th March to Sat., 6th April
An Easter treasure hunt with a strong environmental theme.  At the end of the trail they will receive an Easter basket with treats for the kids and the birds.
Free of charge - No Booking necessary

Succulent Planting Day - Sat., 6th April 08h00 to 17h00
Create a succulent garden in a container. A range of small succulents and accessories will be available, that you can combine with help from our staff.  A great family activity as it is for all ages. Bring your own container or choose from our selection of pots and let us help you plant them up.
Free. Items used to be charged individually. 

Mixed Media Workshop - Sat., 13th and 20th April 09h00 to 12h30 - Part 1 & 2
Decorate a picture frame with mosaicking items and bits and pieces of memorabilia. We will provide the basics, but bring along anything you would like to add to your frame.  No grouting necessary. Proceed at your pace, and complete over one or two mornings.
R180.00 per person per day incl. tea. R150 per day if booking both days. 

BOOKING ESSENTIAL - David: 082 553 0598

On the farm

I couldn't resist showing you this picture of the Croton gratissimus (Lavender Fever Berry) and the Leonotis Leonurus (Wild Dagga) growing together in one of the gardens.  I love how the colour of the orange leaves and the flowers of the Wild Dagga match.  This was by mistake not design.  I just love how I get surprises like this popping up in the garden.

The Aloe fosteri (Foster's Aloe) in the ground are looking absolutely amazing as you can see from the picture.  The flowers are a whole range of colours from yellow through bicoloured yellow and red and a whole lot of shades of orange and red. 

I just love the almost lilac coloured flower stems against the bright green leaves.  I just had to share these pictures with you even though we will only have large stocks from next year.

Not only are the flowers amazing but there is a real dance of the Sunbirds in amongst them.  I have seen 3 different species and they are really busy and arguing about who gets the best nectar.

The bees and insects are also making the most of this bounty and pollinating the flowers so I can have millions of seeds to plant.

Aloe fosteri is a really easy plant to grow and problem free.   I think it makes an exceptionally beautiful landscaping plant which can be used for mass planting. 

This morning I went into the nursery at first light to collect grasses to decorate the high tea plates.  It was so gorgeous that it made me wonder why I sit in my house and work at that time.  The sun was rising and the sky was a delicate pink. 

The air was cool and refreshing and felt good on my skin.  I drove past the cows peacefully chewing the cud and the chickens roosting on the fence.  I felt really blessed and content.

I haven't been down to the dam much as I have been so busy but I see the Moorhen are coming out and not cryptically hiding away so I assume the babies are gone. 

The other day I saw one standing on a Nymphaea lotus plant.  I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement as I thought it was a Jacana - but no luck.

There was a Rinkhals in my mom's house the other day I am sure it came in because it has been so dry.  He managed to wedge himself under a kitchen cupboard.  While we were trying to get him out we got him so upset he spat at my friend Kathy. 

Luckily only on her shirt.  After half demolishing the cupboard we managed to catch him and let him go in the veld by the dam.  Hopefully I see him again and he decides to stay.

I was also very happy to see a Rinkhals as they are an indicator species for the health of the environment.

On that scary note I wish you all the best for Easter.



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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