Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - September 2014

Posted On: Monday, September 1, 2014

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Here I sit on about the coldest day of the year in front of a roaring fire endeavouring to write about spring being in the air - weird.


Container display

Jonathan and the chaps in the nursery have built a display of plants in containers that I think is quite inspiring.  You could incorporate a potting area within your own display of containers if you liked.  

This I think is especially inspiring for people who only have small gardens and yearn to express their creativity in their garden more than what the space allows.

Courtyard Garden

This garden is developing well with plenty of flowers. 

Not only has it been a favourite place for our tea garden customers to sit in the sun and out of the cold wind but the Laughing Doves have also found the sunny spots on the rocks. 

At any time of day there could be up to 10 birds sheltering from the cold wind in the protected little garden.


Garden Safari for Adults – the Ecology of the Garden
Date: Saturday 18th October, 2014  -  Time: 09h30 – 13h00 including tea
Cost: R125 per person including Tea on arrival and Tea and scones mid-morning.
Booking Essential: David: 082 553 0598  Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

As part of their Ecology Week, on Saturday 18th October, Gill and Heather of Two Green Ladies will run a morning at Random Harvest, looking at the garden from an ecological perspective. 

In a garden maintained to support life systems, one can be constantly awe-struck by the interactions between the living and non-living components of the garden.

Time will be spent looking at freshwater ecology, grasslands and gardens, as well as soil ecology.  This is not an academic course, but rather a morning of discovery of nature’s smaller-scale wonders. 

It will include a short slide presentation and then a walk around Random Harvest, including the grasslands, compost heaps and ponds.

Children’s Birding Morning at Random Harvest

Following on from our adults’ bird-walk on a chilly August morning with a typical deep blue Highveld Sky.  

We have decided to offer a bird-walk specifically aimed at encouraging children to start with this great hobby. 

Our August bird-walk was which was actually most interesting - they spotted the Marsh Owl, the African Olive Pigeon and the Fairy Flycatcher amongst the 54 bird species they saw.  .

Children should bring along binoculars, good walking shoes, a water bottle, a hat, and sunscreen.  The morning will start with hot chocolate and rusks, and we’ll walk Random Harvest with an experienced birder. 

As there will be a lot of walking we recommend this for age 10 and up. We can take a maximum of 18 children so book soon to avoid disappointment!

Date: Sat. 4 October 2014  -  Time: 7h30 for 08h00 to 10h00
Recommended age group: 10 years and up - Cost: R40.00
Booking Essential - David: 082 553 0598  Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

New products in stock

There is new stock of earthworm compost in.  Bev, who does the earthworm compost has brought us two exciting new products - a Natural pesticide and a plant tonic.  The products come with a will be a full information pamphlet with the products.

The beautiful terracotta pots have arrived from the Natal midlands.  These are a perennial favourite and really good quality to boot.

Plants that are looking great at this time of year


Carissa bispinosa (Forest Num-Num (E); Bosnoemnoem (A)) I love this hardy spiny shrub with its glossy leaves and clusters of beautiful, scented, white flowers. 

The amazing thing is that the red elongated berries ripen over the whole summer providing a feast for the birds. 

I have to get up real early to beat the birds so we can share the seeds. 

The Forest Num-Num at our entrance arch is in full flower at present, making your arrival into the retail nursery heavenly!


Cyrtanthus breviflorus (Wild Crocus (E); Geelvuurlelie (A)).  This beautiful little bulbous plant is evergreen and blooms almost all year round.  It is very versatile and will grow in a normally irrigated garden, makes a wonderful container plant and will also grow in marshy areas around a water feature.  It is difficult to photograph so this picture does not do it justice.


The perennial favourite Mackaya bella (River Bells (E); Blouklokkiesbos (A)) are looking great especially the 40 litre standards which are in full bloom. 

There is no better plant for those difficult shady areas of the garden.  Remember to prune them pack quite hard after flowering to ensure a fabulous show of flowers next spring.


Talking of those shady areas of which we all seem to have too many we have decided to offer a special on Clivia miniata (Bush Lily).  At just R15.00 each you can afford to have a show of these magnificent blooms under your trees.  They thrive in the dry dark conditions under trees.  Just remember to add a lot of compost.  You can actually plant them in compost only without actually digging it in to the surrounding soil


If you are looking for a shrublet with gorgeous deliciously scented flowers that are irresistible to butterflies Selago canescens (Bitterbush (E); Blouaarbossie (A)) is the plant for you. 

Plant in full sun in well-drained soil for a great show.  Prune lightly after flowering.


Compost and Mulch

My customers seem to have appreciated this special on compost and mulch so we have decided to extend it.  You can once again purchase Random Harvest’s own compost and mulch this month – at just R19.50 a bag.  This means that you can get ten bags for under R200! What a bargain, when the cost of everything else seems to be relentlessly rising. 


We have reduced the price of Firewood to R15.00 per bag.  A good opportunity to stock on fuel for all those lovely summer braais.

Function venue

I thought I would mention that our function venue is perfect for small meetings of clubs such as garden clubs and book clubs.  If you are interested please call me.  As many clubs are are feeling the ever spiralling cost of inflation, I am sure you will find our special packages most affordable. 

On the farm

The night before this cold front hit us it was amazing at just how silent the night was. 

When I wake up in the night I can always hear some creature scratching around or the Thick Knees calling at the very least but this night it was so silent I felt as if I had gone deaf. 

More amazing was that there was almost no dawn chorus in the morning – it was as if all the creatures had hunkered down preparing for the cold. 

I am always amazed at how nature works.

Talk about the cold.  I have already planted many of my seedling up and thought they would get annihilated by the cold so I decided to put them to bed.  I had grass bales I had collected for my compost and lay a nice thick cover over the baby plants. 

It has certainly worked for the cold we will now have to see how the plants have fared in the dark.  I do think they will be fine as it will only be for 4 days and we will take the grass off on Monday.

I have got the gardening bug and started to re-vamp the garden behind the office. 

It is amazing how things change over the years.  

Going through some old photos I found this picture of the Aloe garden which was one of the reasons my mom bought the farm.

Over the years it has changed to a forested garden! 

Can you believe these two pictures are of the same area on the farm.  Hard to believe eh!

I am putting in a brick mowing edge to help keep the shape of the bed and pruned the trees. 

I am busy with an irrigation system and will then finish pruning and planting. 

Next time you visit you can check up on our progress.

I am making it my next project to re-vamp the whole garden.  Nothing like biting off more than you can chew – but I never did do anything by half.

A few things that are looking really amazing in the garden at the moment are the Scadoxus puniceus (Natal form) which is bigger and earlier than our local one and the Yellow Clivias are magnificent at the moment.

I love the Highveld in winter. 

Looking at this picture of a winter scene reminds me of why I live in this beautiful part of the country.  

I just love the grasslands at this time of year.

Not that it is going to look like this for long as it is our year to burn.  I will be cutting the grass next week and then burning about two thirds of the farm. 

We have to walk the farm in front of the tractor when it cuts to make sure it is not going to chop up any wildlife that may be in its way. 

Quite laborious but really important to me that we don’t spend most of our time encouraging wildlife just to destroy it up because we are too lazy to make sure it is out of harm’s way.

You will be amazed if you walk in the veld after a burn just how quickly it greens up and the flowers start to bloom.

This Thrush sat on the edge of the very bird unfriendly water feature in the Courtyard garden having a good drink. 

Unfortunately this water feature is more for visual effect rather than wildlife so he cannot bathe but I was happy to see him at least using it to drink from.

I am amazed at this Common River Frog out so soon. 

Gift took this amazing picture of him.  It looks like there is lots of hidden talent here at Random Harvest.

I have cut back all the Bullrushes at the dam. 

Timothy did a really great job – and hard work it was too.

I am looking forward to all the new green shoots and the birds that will use them a little later in spring.

Finally I couldn’t resist but to share these pictures of the beautiful bark of Heteropyxis natalensis (Natal Lavender tree (E); Laventelboom (A)) and the beautiful algae and lichens on the bark of the Pittosporum viridiflorus (Cheesewood (E); Kaasuur (A))

I would like to thank you for your support over the years. 

We could not carry on living our dreams if it were not for you so a great big thank you from all the team at Random Harvest.

Please like our Random Harvest Facebook page - we are going to be sharing more through Social Media - And if you are like me a beautiful plant picture always brightens my day.

Happy Spring Gardening!


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