Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - September 2013

Posted On: Sunday, September 1, 2013

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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Can you believe I had my first swim this morning (heated pool of course I am not so brave)! The weather has been so amazing I just had to jump in the pool and treat myself to the dawn chorus which is getting louder and louder with each passing day - what a treat.  It wasn't so much fun getting out of the pool at 6.30am but small price to pay.

I definitely didn't swim on the last freezing weekend. Hopefully that is winter's last gasp.

The best thing about this time of year is the swelling of the leaf buds and the blooming of the trees. 

The nursery changes every day with different plants popping buds or flowers making it an adventure just driving through the nursery and around the farm. 

Why not make a little time to walk in your own garden each day and experience the new life around you.  You could also take the children along on a garden adventure and map the daily changes. 

Besides being fun and inspiring these little walks communing with nature are good for your soul.

Well spring fever has certainly paid off and the nursery is looking great.

For those customers who have been so supportive through our upside down time of sprucing up, building and painting… thank you so much!!  We have loved your encouraging comments and especially your understanding when the noise, dust and shambles has made Random Harvest retail nursery not as peaceful as it normally is.

I have been amazed at how our Tea Garden Team have coped with the chaos and have consistently welcomed their customers with a warm smile and produced great food.  Well done guys!


I am really happy that Andre Marx has agreed to do another Bird Walk on the 12th October.  The last walk was a huge success with over 50 different species seen including the Crimson Breasted Shrike. 

In October you will be able to see all the migrants that have returned for the summer

So many people were disappointed last time as we are only able to take 20 people at a time and the walk was quickly booked up.  Be sure to book early to secure your place on this walk.  Call David on 082-553-0598.  The cost is R95.00 per person including coffee and homemade rusks on arrival and a yummy breakfast after the walk with Andre.

Even if you don't manage the bird walk we are going to celebrate birds and Elaine from Elaine Bird and Wildlife Products will be here to chat to you about feeding the birds in your garden.

Wiebke Biemond will also be here - she is the talented lady who paints the birds on the slate which are so popular with my customers.  She will be painting and talking to you about how she does it.  Very interesting.


To celebrate Heritage Day we are planting up a display garden with indigenous medicinal and food plants as well as plants with many traditional uses that have been an important part of daily life.  The garden will be ready for heritage day when we can celebrate our natural heritage of plants and wildlife.


We have a lovely large 2 bedroomed cottage to let here at Random Harvest.  If you know of anyone who may be interested in living on the beautiful secure farm please ask them to call my mom Rita on 083-302-7370


I am always looking for products that are natural, homemade (with a conscience) and healthy for our little shop and am happy to let you know we have some new products for you to try.

Firstly we have hand embroidered purses, bags and key rings which come from the joy machine project in Groot Marico. 

This project helps teach the ladies in the area new skills and helps them earn some money.  The products are really beautiful and by purchasing any of them you are helping someone out.  A win win situation don't you think?

We also have Khoisan Salt in stock.  This is another company committed to the environment - a portion of their proceeds goes to Birdlife South Africa's seabird development fund.  It is a labour intensive business with most of their salts being handpicked and so they offer employment to local people.

They also supply 'Fleur du Sel' which is really delicious.  I used to have to get my friend to bring my supply from France when she visited - but no more 'Local is Lekker'

We are now stocking Marbrin Farm's award winning Olive Oil and yummy Olives and Olive tapenade.  It is coming direct from the farm to you.

Frans is now making the homemade rusks for sale in the shop.  These rusks full of fruit, nuts and healthy goodness are a hit with our Bed and Breakfast customers who are always asking to buy a supply to take home with them.

Lastly Herb Afrique have brought out a deodorant powder.  I have tried it and will never use normal deodorant with the attendant dangers of the Aluminium in them again.  It is a really great product.


Prepare your gutters for the summer rain with 'Leaf Guard'.  This easy to fit product helps to keep leaves out of your gutters making your life a whole lot easier.   The customers who bought it to try in the last month have all been back to buy enough to do the whole house.  It is also relatively inexpensive at R11.50 per running meter.  Think of all the effort it will save you.

There is a new stock of pots in with a lot more arriving in the next month.  I have painted them all with stone sealer so you simply need to fill and plant them.

I was lucky enough to get a supply of well-rotted kraal manure which I then put through my chipper.  This has made a lovely fine product which is easy to spread, good for your plants and smells really earthy and good.

The amazing Earthworm compost is back in stock just in time for you to spread it in your garden and on your lawn and the weather is perfect for all the eggs in the compost to hatch and populate your garden with earthworms.  A bonus for the soil and the thrushes and robins.


At this time of year is when Ochna serrulata (Mickey Mouse bush) is looking its best.  This gorgeous glossy-leaved shrub has pretty yellow flowers that smell wonderful and best of all have a bright red calyx which persists on the shrub for a long time.  My problem with this plant is that I have to get up really early to beat the birds to the seeds which I need for growing.

The Dombeya rotundifolia (Wild Pear) (left) are magnificent this year, full of white flowers and not a leaf in sight.  Sometimes we forget just how beautiful our more common plants are.  This is a good size tree for a smaller garden.

The Starry White Jasmine (Jasminum multipartitum) is particularly pretty at this time of year with it masses of spidery white flowers which are shown up perfectly by the background of dark green glossy  foliage.  This creeper looks good all year round and is really hardy.  This is another of those plant that I have to try and beat the birds to the seeds.

Green mulch your garden with low growing groundcovers.  They help protect the soil by keeping it cool and moist, offer a feast of insects for the wildlife in your garden and look really pretty as well.

A few suggestions are:

Crassula spathulata (Creeping Crassula - left) - this pretty groundcover has small pink and white flowers  and lovely round almost lime green leaves.  Although it looks quite delicate it is tough and looks good all year round.

Ornithogalum juncifolium (Grass leaved Chinchereechee) - This bulbous plant has grass-like leaves and bears massed spikes of white flowers in spring and early summer.  It needs pruning back at least once a year and should be grown in full sun.  It multiplies easily and is water wise and rewarding.

Sutera cordata (Trailing Phlox) is an old favourite with its attractive dark green round leaves and masses of white flowers.  It grows best in semi-shade but does require regular watering.

Chaetacanthus setiger (right) is similar to Trailing Phlox with dark green round leaves  and white flowers but is is more drought resistant and grows in semi-shade or sun.

There is nothing better or prettier for sunny areas that Gazanias.  They should be planted in well-drained soil and never over watered.  If you dead-head them regularly they will bloom almost all year round.

Plectranthus cilliatus (Speckled Spurflower) is another low growing plant for shady areas.  It is a butterfly host plant, has beautiful foliage and pretty flowers.  What more could you want.


Lindsay Gray has kindly offered a special on her Garden Design Course especially for our Indigenous Enthusiasts.  See advert following:

Lindsay Gray will be offering the popular Introduction to Garden Design course at our nursery from 13 - 15 September. Take advantage of the Spring Special - Normal price

R2 800 - for September, its R2 240. Our add-on module on the Friday (13th) on the subject of Biodiversity and Sustainability for the Urban Garden, with guest speaker Tinus Oberholzer, is R650 as a standalone module, or if you would like to combine it with the three days, the total cost is R2 690 - another saving! Plan your garden now before the spring rains set it. There is also no finer venue for this course than our nursery which will be ablaze with spring colour.

To book your space, contact Lindsay on 082 44 99 237 or email [email protected]


I was so excited the other morning.  I got up early and heard the Spotted Eagle Owl.  I pulled out my phone which has the Roberts Birds App. and played the call to him.  To my great joy he answered - boy did I have fun.

Talking of owls Jeffrey is in the dog box.  He went down to the dam the other day and saw the Marsh Owl sitting in the Karree tree not more than 3 meters from him.  The owl just sat and watched him and didn't seem worried at all.  Did Jeffrey have the camera with him?  No - what a missed opportunity for a beautiful picture.

I have really had a bad dose of spring cleaning fever.  I decided to clean up the last really messy area on the farm which had a huge heap of twigs and branches as well as bricks and junk lying around.  I hired this amazing chipper from a company called Mr. Rubbish and chipped everything up to use as  mulch. 

I then started repacking my logs and messed up the habitat - cleaning is always a double edged sword.  About 6 Scorpions and a whole lot of skinks and lizards were disturbed.  We were running around trying to catch them and move them to the new wood piles where they could make their new home.

After all the flowers on my Scolopia I have only managed to beat the birds to a handful of seeds.  Hopefully these seeds germinate and I will have some stock of these magnificent trees.

The Strychnos madascarensis (Black Monkey-orange) is full of seeds.  The huge round seeds are really beautiful.  You can actually shallowly carve designs on these seeds and as they age they go brown and are most attractive.

Once again was my face red.  What I thought were Red-billed Quelea are actually Pintail Whydah in their winter plumage.  Sorry about that.

The Weavers seem to have gone crazy this spring with their weird nests.  The first one  tried to weave his nest around one of the Suet balls. 

I guess he thought he would get a wife easier if he had a built in supply of food.

The other one made such a huge nest - maybe he thought he could get multiple wives. 

The Erythrina lysistemon (Common Coral Tree) outside my office is in full bloom and looking really magnificent.  As usual the Masked Weavers are crooking by making holes in the bottom of the flowers and robbing the nectar without actually pollinating the flower.

In closing I just had to share this with you.  One of my customers sent this to me after spending a quiet morning away from the office, and working at one of the tables in the tea-garden.

"I sit in your nursery, at a charmingly hand-painted table. Steaming cup of tea in hand and carrot cake poised for sublime enjoyment!  I wish my own recipe was as good as this.

All around me I hear life; the muffled conversation of employees, the trickle of the water feature, the rattle of plant trolleys and gentle rumble of a tractor in the distance. 

The wind makes whispers in the Fountain Grass leaves and a little Tawny-flanked Prinia bleats and flits around. With an astonishingly blue sky behind the tops of the trees and the sun warming my back on a chilly morning, there is no other place I would rather be."

Enjoy your garden



Cel 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 Sunday

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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