Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - July 2013

Posted On: Monday, July 1, 2013

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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Is this winter?  Mid-winter is past and the light is starting to brighten and the days have been absolutely so amazing.  The plants are still looking absolutely beautiful although some of them are confused with this weather. 

The Clivia's are all pushing their buds - really very early.  This great weather is not necessarily a good thing for our gardens which need time to rest and build up their reserves.

We have had a few frosty mornings which Jeffrey and I have enjoyed.  The compost heaps have looked as if they are covered with snow while at the same time gently steaming in the cold morning air.

Let's not wish winter away as there is real beauty in the winter landscape with the beautiful architecture of the deciduous trees.  They create the most beautiful shadows on walls and across the garden, letting weaker sunshine through to warm the ground. 

Their fallen leaves provide a warm winter blanket for the garden too, so resist raking them up popping them in a bag for the dump or on the compost heap. 

The leaves trap much needed moisture in the soil, and protect fine roots from freezing in below zero temperatures. They also provide valuable shelter for insects and other small creatures that live in the garden.

If you have Aloes in your garden you will know how rewarding this time of the year is.  The nectar is life-sustaining for the sunbirds as they busily flit about sipping nectar and singing songs of thanks, as it takes an enormous amount of energy for their little bodies to stay warm through the cold winter nights. 

Choose a few species that will flower at different times, so that the nectar supply is available throughout the whole of winter. Here are some examples:

Early winter flowering: Aloe arborescens, Aloe fosteri, Aloe pretoriensis, Aloe tenuior

Mid-winter flowering: Aloe greatheadii (in full flower at the moment), Aloe marlothii, Aloe castanea, Aloe ferox

Late winter flowering: Aloe striata, Aloe vanbalenii, Aloe africana, Aloe rupestris, Aloe globuligemma

Plants that are looking good at the moment

Ruttya fruticosa (Jammy Mouth). We haven't had this beautiful shrub in stock for some time.  This plant occurs in tropical East Africa but is surprisingly hardy and copes well with frost in gardens where it is a bit protected.  The flowers are so beautiful it is worth a try in any garden where it also tolerates a surprising amount of shade and still flowers well.

The Clerodendrum myricoides (Blue Flowered Tinderwood) are in flower and looking good.  This is a beautiful evergreen shrub with blue flowers that have long stamens.  It flowers almost all year round and grows in half day shade. 

The butterflies are busily flitting around the Freylinia lanceolata (Honeybells) sipping at the nectar.  This large shrub is great for screening and with sufficient water flowers for an exceptionally long time.

Diascia species - many are still in full flower.  You can't help smiling when you see this cheerful, mass of flowers.

Some other plants looking good are the Green Arum (Zantedeschia Green Goddess), Euryops virgineus (Honey Euryops) and the Lachenalia.


July is Tree Month - All trees less 10%

For the month of July we are offering a 10% Discount on all trees purchased.  To inspire you to plant trees we have set up a few small displays.

We also have new stock of Sisal Nesting logs in and now is a good time to put them up in your trees as the leaves have thinned out as you can see what you are doing.  It is just in time for the birds to start using in early spring.







Events - what's on in the next two months.

Bird Walk with Andre Marx
We are looking forward to offering another of Andre Marx's Bird walks in mid to late August. Please check on our website - we will put the date up as soon as it is confirmed.

Children's Events
We have been asked by a number of people for a holiday workshop for kids. As usual, our children's activities are packed full of eco-information while the kids have loads of fun. Booking is essential for all of our events, so please contact David on 082 553 0598 or email [email protected]

Beastie Boxes and Pebble Bugs
Activity Morning
Date: Thursday 11 July 2013
Time: 09h00 - 13h00
Cost: R140 per child (best suited to children 6 to 12 yrs)
If your kids love to be outside then don't let them miss this super-fun morning. Build a big "Hotel for Minibeasts" - learning about many of the creatures that would use it, and how to make it as welcoming as possible! At tea-time we show you how to build a campfire to roast marshmallows, and have hot chocolate. Get creative and make some pebble-bugs too. 10% Meal discount voucher for the tea garden is issued per child paid and booked.

Scarecrows and Seedlings Workshop
Date: Saturday, 13 July 2013
Time: 09h00 - 13h00
Cost: R180 per child
(Best suited to 5yrs and up - parents welcome to tag along)
In one action packed morning you will: Prepare a vegetable garden, plant seeds, plant vegetable seedlings (to take home with you), make soup, create your own scarecrow and have so much fun you don't want to leave Random Harvest! 10% Meal discount voucher for the tea garden is issued per child paid and booked.

Succulent Display

The Succulent display is looking great and we have added a few new species.  There are lots of Aloes in bloom in the display and of course this means lots of Sunbirds flitting around the display area

Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly garden is looking absolutely beautiful and the number of butterflies flitting around the masses of flowers is amazing. 

I have put a little bench there so you can sit and spend a few minutes just enjoying the flowers and the masses of butterflies visiting them.

Wildlife Garden

The Wildlife Garden is looking just as beautiful as the butterfly garden.  It too has masses of butterflies visiting the Selago sp.


We should all be very aware of taking out alien invaders so when I was offered Black Wattle firewood at a really good price I jumped at the chance.

Packets of dry Black Wattle Firewood just R13.00 per Bag.

Remember the Chrissiemeer Crane Festival

CHRISIESMEER CRANE FESTIVAL - Friday 12 & Saturday 13 July 2013
Main festival venue: Chrissiesmeer Community Hall, King Edward Street
Enquiries or to book for trips: Ursula Franke [email protected] or 083 332 8859

Training for gardeners

We did a very successful short training course on gardening at St. Mary's School.  They were so happy with the outcome that we thought it would be a good idea to offer the course for domestic gardeners.

I will keep you posted on when these courses will start and I am sure if you send your gardener they will find it really beneficial.

Open on Sundays

Thought I would give you another reminder that we are now open on Sundays from 8h00 to 17h00 and that we are no longer associated with the nursery at Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden.


Now I have the proof of the pudding.  At long last I have seen the Crimson Breasted Shrike and the proof is in this lovely picture Jeffrey managed to get of him.  He definitely seems to have taken up residence in one of the cottage gardens.

The birds are very busy at the bird feeding station with both the Southern Boubou and the Red-winged Starlings using it extensively. 

I know I sometimes rattle on about things but I have to mention the beautiful call of the Red-winged Starlings as they come closer and closer to the feeding station. 

I just have to stop my work and listen and watch them coming in closer.  Aren't I the lucky one that this is the type of interruption I have to my working day.

Another bird who has been gobbling up my suet balls is the Glossy Starling.  I must say I think I am single handedly keeping Elaine in business the way the birds are munching at the feeding station.  I have put up a display stand of the bird goodies we have at the feeding station and I think it looks great with all the birds around it.

I have been pruning some of the older trees that needed cleaning up. 

The one that amazed me most was the big Sweet Thorn (Acacia karroo) at the corner of the nursery. 

Everyone thinks I took out a tree as you can now see the Fever Trees (Acacia xanthophloea) so beautifully especially now with the low light reflecting off their yellow stems. 

In fact I only took off 2 branches of the Sweet Thorn and what a difference it has made.

It is always a good think to shape your trees every now and again but please remember take out some but not all of the dead wood as this is a rich source of insects to feed the birds and a place to make nesting holes.

I thought I would show you a picture of my staff sitting under the trees undergoing their regular training sessions. 

How would you like a classroom like this one? 

They are so committed to improving themselves and I think this is one of the reasons they are so popular with our customers

There has been so much going on in the bird world on the farm this month I just had to share these last few pictures with you.

Talk about beautiful haunting calls and you have to go a long way to beat the Grey Hornbill.  They have been living and breeding here for years but I have never been able to get a picture of one. 

But Jeffrey has managed to get a few really nice pictures - at long last.  Thank goodness for Jeffries powers of observation.

Anyone who doubted Jeffrey and I had seen a White Breasted Cormorant can now allay their doubts as Jeffrey got this lovely early morning atmospheric picture of the Cormorant in the mist coming off the dam.

The African Spoonbills visited us for a few weeks. 

Normally we have only seen the odd vagrant. 

But this year there was a whole flock of them at the dam.  Obviously they found a rich food source there. 

Enjoy watching the birds in your garden and take notice of the beautiful shadows cast by your deciduous trees.

Hope to see you at Random Harvest



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 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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