Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - December 2014

Posted On: Monday, December 1, 2014


Dear Indigenous Enthusiast

I can’t believe 2014 has gone.  It seems to have just flown by and it is now time to wish you a very Happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year.  May all your wishes come true.

In The Nursery

Urban Farm Display – (Sustainable Food Garden)

The display we have done is looking absolutely beautiful and is inspiring as well.   It gives great garden ideas on just how you can make the most of a small space to create a thriving urban farm.

It incorporates a raised vegetable garden, herb garden, useful indigenous plants, chickens, a model bee farm and rainwater harvesting system.

So inspiring in fact that my Mom said that if she lived on a small property it is exactly what she would do.

The Bantams are happy in their little home and are starting to lay eggs. 

How they feel about the Red Bishops and Doves stealing their food – I am not sure. 

It didn’t take the birds long to find the alternate source of food.

Christmas at Random Harvest

To show our appreciation for your loyal and continuing support we have made up a little Christmas present of Clivia seeds with instructions on how to grow them.  So when you visit don’t forget to collect your gift.  They will be available until the middle of January.

We have also made up a gift for the children of a beaded Christmas decoration some sweets and a homemade gingerbread man. 

Kids Program

From Saturday, 6 Dec 2014 to Sunday 11 Jan 2015, Wednesdays to Sundays. Programme closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

This holiday we are running a free Childrens' fun outdoor activity where they learn about growing vegetables in garden soil that is full of goodness.

Look at a working vegetable garden, learn about vegetable gardening in containers, how to plant vegetable seeds and seedlings and much more. 

They will plant a vegetable seedling into a pot to take home with them.

Parents can relax with a great coffee in the tea garden or find indigenous and food plants to buy in our beautiful nursery while your kids are learning through play.

Walk in the Grassland at Random Harvest

Date: 16th December 2014 Time:  7h30 for 8h00 (before it gets too hot)  Cost: R50.00 per person including Tea and coffee and homemade biscuits on arrival and Tea and cake afterwards.

Jeffrey and I would love to take you for a walk in the grassland here at Random Harvest.  It is looking so beautiful at the moment with masses of wildflowers. 

I will give you a copy of the article that was written on the restoration of the grassland in the prestigious environmental magazine ‘Footprint Limited”.  Afterwards we will have tea and coffee and cake.  We can then chat about grasslands in general and I will answer any questions you may have.


Public Holidays

We will be open on the 16th December if you would like to visit us then.  We will be closed on 25th and 26th December and on the 1st Jan. 2015.

Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree we did for the birds last year was such a hit with the birds and customers alike that we decided to do the same this year. 

The tree is looking great with its new decorations. 

We have had some extra decorations made which you could buy and have the pleasure of a ‘Christmas tree for the Birds.’

It took the bird about 30 minutes to find the tree with its bounty of food.

Gifts in the Shop

As you know I am very interested in helping out with community projects which provide opportunities for people to earn a living. 

We thus have a lovely range of gifts made by members of social upliftment projects.

Twanano Paper products – these beautiful creations are so organic and just wonderful to touch

Zandspruit ladies – Felt Christmas Decorations made by these ladies are the first of the products they are able to sell.

Bambanani – Ladies earning money by making beautiful jewellery from the handmade beads they make from paper, sisal and grass.

Clopas – Makes the beautiful wire bird feeders and has also made the Christmas decorations for the birds.

Nakedi – I taught Nakedi to make the seed bells for the birds as well as the floating pots so vital for a pond.

Other Products

Shingi has delivered some beautiful organic shaped, terracotta bird baths.

If you are looking for colourful light weight pots and pretty bird feeders our stock of new pots and bird feeders made from of resin have arrived.  

This is really an effortless way to garden in containers.

Plants to tempt you


Zantedeschia elliotiana
This beautiful yellow Arum is deciduous.  It resprouts each spring with lovely, broad spotted leaves. 

The large, golden yellow flowers with a dark spot in the throat are borne on long stems from Nov. to Dec.  This plant is rarely found in cultivation.

Halleria elliptica (Robust form) Rock Tree Fuchsia (E); Kinderbessie (A)
This beautiful, evergreen small shrub does well in sun or semi shade and flowers almost all year round. 

I just love the tiny green ‘hats’ on the flowers.

Trichodiadema bulbosum – African Bonsai
This beautiful little succulent is perfect for containers and rock gardens. 

It is long lived and over time develops a thick caudex (stem) which can be exposed in containers.  It then looks like a perfect little bonsai.


Streptocarpus formosus – Cape Primrose (E); Kinderbessie (A)
The flowers are amazing especially as it grows in the shade.  It needs well composted soil.  When it comes to watering - rather under water a little than overwater.  The long quilted leaves and beautiful flowers look great planted next to a pond.
Pelargonium gibbosum – Gouty Pelargonium (E)
There are very few species of Pelargonium that have yellow flowers.  This species flowers profusely in winter and is summer dormant.  This unusual plant develops a thick swollen base which is attractive particularly in containers.  It has slightly succulent blue green leaves.
Be careful not to overwater in summer as it is from the Western Cape and therefore winter growing
It is called Gouty Pelargonium because of its swollen nodes along the stems.


Boweia volubilis – Bowiea (E); Knolklimop (A)
What you see in the picture is actually the flowering stem of this unusual and increasingly rare bulbous plant.  The brilliant green tendrils bear glossy greenish little flowers on the tips. It makes an interesting ornamental container plant or plant at the base of trees.  It is extensively used as a Muthi plant and is thus in need of protection.

Peltophorum africanum – African Wattle (E); Huilboom (A)
I think this is one of our most beautiful trees especially when adorned by spikes of brilliant yellow flowers in summer.  The rest of the time it has lovely feathery leaves and an elegant weeping habit.  (See the picture of the Umzimbeet with the Sweet Thorn below.  Imagine if the Sweet thorn was an African Wattle – the effect would be amazing)


Chironia linoides –  Cape centaury, (E); bitterwortel (A)
I think of this pretty shrublet as a fairy plant with its delicate leaves and long stems topped by wonderful delicate glossy pink flowers.  It grows to only 30cm and is one of those plants that just make you smile.  Plant packets of them in your garden for a splash of magic. 


Book Launch

Remember we will be hosting the book launch for the popular new book on Indigenous gardening ‘Indigenous Plant Palettes’ written by Marijke Honig

We now have the book in stock and it is absolutely beautiful and user friendly – I have already taken my copy.

Place:  Random Harvest    When: 13th December @ 12h00
Cost:  R95.00 per person including High Tea during which you will be able to chat to Marijke.    Booking is essential – please call David on 082-553-0598

You will be given a number on arrival, as there will be a lucky draw and 2 people will get a signed copy of this beautiful book as a prize.

Calabash Feeders

After waiting about 6 years I have finally managed to get some of these beautiful bir d feeders that I can now offer you.  I was really taken with them when I first saw them and must say I was not disappointed when they were delivered

Hya-Organic Fertiliser and Rock Dust

I would like to remind you of these really nutritious fertilisers for plants.  I have had a lot of positive feedback from the clients who decided to take my word and try them out.

Spoil your plants for Christmas with a good feeding and watch them thrive, flower and grow.

On The Farm

One of the most beautiful sights on the farm was the Milettia grandis (Umzimbeet) blooming in front of an Acacia karroo (Sweet Thorn). 

This combination of purple and yellow was just breath taking.

I would like to thank you for your kind donation of stationery and sweets for the children of Zandspruit. 

It is greatly appreciated.

The bird walk was a great success in spite of the downpour.  They walked for a while then the heavens opened. 

By then everyone was dry and safe on the veranda and tucking into a hearty breakfast.

When breakfast was done the sun came out and the walk continued. 

They spotted a new bird to add to our list a Red Billed Teal.  Exciting!

Talking of the dam – I bought a thousand Striped Tilapia to put in our newly cleaned dam. 

We got such beautiful fish.

In spite of the fact that I have put a lot of branches and twigs in the dam to create hiding places for the fish.

Still the fish eating birds are having a field day. 

We have seen Purple Heron, Cormorants and Pied Kingfisher visiting in the hopes of an easy meal.

Was my face red the other day? 

As we were driving up to the dam I saw this bird sitting on a rock. 

In my defence we were a little way away from the rock but I was convinced it was a vulture and just about jumped out of my skin with excitement. 

After using the telephoto lens to try and take a picture of the vulture - it was the strangest vulture ever. 

It was in fact a Hadeda hunkered down. 

Now you know why my face was red.

We had a visit from the mounted division of the South African Police Service. 

When I saw these horses tethered to the Celtis africana in the front of the office I really enjoyed it and thought to share the picture with you. 

Don’t they look healthy and well cared for?

We have had a few strange things happening around the feeding table in front of the office. 

There is a Masked Weaver who insists on building his nest around the suet ball. 

I am sure he thinks he will impress the female with a built in kitchen. 

He really has bad luck as, as fast as he builds the nest so the Cape Glossy Starling breaks it down so he can feast on the suet ball.  This has been going on for the past two months.

The Grey Hornbills have finally plucked up the courage to visit the feeding station. 

It is so wonderful to hear their calls as they come closer and closer. 

They not only eat the suet balls but have been feasting, along with the Glossy Starlings, on the fallen plums on the ground.

We have had a few new additions to the farmyard. 

The geese have babies which for them are very late. 

They normally have their babies in August.  The season in general is late this year I have noticed it in the plants as well.

The chickens also have babies.

This is a time when you know why you take the responsibility of a farm as these tiny creatures give you immense joy.

Finally I thought I would share these pictures of the passing migration of Brown Veined White Butterflies on the farm. 

They brought a huge grin to my face while I was sitting watching them. 

I first saw them on the Vernonia oligocephala in the grassland and then came up to see them enjoying the Delosperma lydenbergensis. 

How can a person not be happy sitting watching the dance of the butterflies? 

There were many, many more butterflies around but as I got closer they moved along so I only managed to photograph a few.

We have posted a link on Facebook for you to contribute any information to the research group that is studying their migration.

Please have a look, and don’t forget to like our page if you haven’t already!

I wish you all the very best for the holiday season. 

If you are going away have a safe journey and a wonderful holiday.



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