Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - January 2015

Posted On: Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Happy New Year! I wish you all the best for the New Year.

In The Nursery

Domestic Gardener Training - Price R650

The domestic gardeners courses were a real hit in 2014 and have helped a lot of gardeners to gain both knowledge and confidence in what they are doing.  We are going to continue with the courses this year and the dates are as follows:
16 January : 27 February : 27 March : 22 May : 21 August: 23 October : 20 November
Booking is essential:  Please call David on 082-553-0598 to secure your gardener’s place.

Some testimonials from employers who sent their gardener on the course

"Emmanuel thoroughly enjoyed the course, and we have already put his learning to good use over the weekend transplanting trees and planting the ground covers I bought on Friday from Random Harvest. If you decide to run a slightly more advanced course for the gardeners, then please count us in."  Diolinda Tallack
"Thank you for the feedback and the notes. I am very impressed with what you have to offer and they all thoroughly enjoyed the course. The certificates are already laminated and proudly displayed. Thanks again for a very informative and worthwhile course."  Mrs Ros Truelock, Principal, Crawford Pre-Primary Lonehil

Introduction to Garden Design & Maintenance.  
Price of courses:
Workshop One (Saturday) R950 Workshop Two (Sunday) R1 150 - (attend one or both workshops)

Saturday - Covers the practical and creative aspects of garden design plus the four essential elements of good garden maintenance.
Sunday -   You will learn how easy it is to draw an accurate plan of your garden, incorporating all of the essential requirements.
28 February and 1 March : 28/29 March : 23/24 May : 22/23 August : 24/25 October : 21/22 November

A testimonial from a student

“Thank you so much for the most enjoyable two days I spent with you.  I found your 2 day course intensive and beneficial. I particularly appreciated the additional drawing component." Deanna Taylor”

Booking is essential: Please call Lindsay on 031-765-3434 or 082-449-9237 to secure your place.

Water Wise Garden display

We have built a water wise garden display in place of the succulent roof. 

It is developing well l and I hope it will be an inspiration to you to change your garden and make it more ‘Water Wise’.  

At the cost of water these days, this will save you money and help to save our most precious resource – water.

This also makes for an interesting garden from a lush tropical section where we have channeled the runoff water into a dip with thirsty lawn to a texturally lovely area of succulents on higher, drier ground.

Urban Farm Display

I am happy to report that our Vegetable Garden display is developing amazingly.

We added some of our new ‘Hya-Organic’ fertiliser and we have started harvesting, what I think, are prize winning veggies from it.

We are harvesting tomatoes, brinjals, strawberries, lettuce and the lemon trees have blossoms, which incidentally are full of interesting insects pollinating them, and young lemons.

The companion planting also seems to be working as there are no pests competing with us for the fruits of our labours.

The chickens have been a hit with our customers and look very happy in their enclosure and love scratching in the mulch. 

They have carved out a nest for themselves under the stepping stones. 

I have to prop it up so we don’t land up with a chicken trapped if it falls.

Plants that are looking great

Kirkia wilmsii (Mountain Syringa (E); Bergsering (A))

This beautiful tree has interesting foliage and magnificent autumn colours.

As it is a large tree with aggressive roots it is only suitable for a large garden.

If you have the space this tree will make a beautiful, textural addition to your garden.

Eucomis species (Pineapple Lillies (E); Pynappellelie (A))

This deciduous bulbous plant has attractive foliage and spectacular, long lasting flowers.

It comes in a variety of sizes and colours from the tiny wine red E. vandermerwei through pink E. comosa, E. autumnalis which I think look like little men from Mars and the tall spectacular E. pole-evansii.

They also make long lasting cut flowers.


Plectranthus hybrid ‘Mona Lavender’

An exquisite hybrid Plectranthus with dark purple-green leaves which contrast with the bright dark lavender coloured spikes or flowers.

It flowers almost all year round in a shady corner of the garden. Nip back to encourage it to bush out and to encourage the next flush of flowers.

Salvia species

The Salvias are small, evergreen, drought resistant shrubs for sunny areas.

They come in a whole variety of shades of blue and white. Insects and Sunbirds are attracted to the copious nectar they offer.

Plant in different coloured groups in well-drained soil

Scabiosa columbaria (Wild Scabiosa (E); Bitterbos (A))

A plant more irresistible to butterflies you won’t find. You will inevitably find butterflies and other insects hovering around or on these beautiful long stemmed flowers.

Plant in either half day or full day sun and remove the dead flowers for masses of flowers almost all year round.

Chlorophytum bowkeri

This deciduous plant has a basal rosette of glossy strap-like leaves. In summer it bears long spikes of glistening white star-shaped flowers in summer.

Best of all it grows in the shade which is useful as most of us have big shady areas in our gardens thanks to our love of trees.

Nymphoides indica Yellow Waterlily (E); Geelwaterlelie (A)

A submerged plant that is the perfect size for smaller water features. It floats on the surface and bears pretty fluffy yellow flowers that are carried above the leaves.

It creates habitat for many aquatic creatures. It only needs about 25cm depth of water but can be planted much deeper.

Zantedeschia rehmannii Pink Calla Lily (E);

Extremely hardy, deciduous bulbous plant that has beautiful small arum type flowers and varies in colour from white flushed with pink through pale and dark pink.

The arrow-shaped leaves are also an attractive feature of this plant.

On The Farm

2014 was a year of drama for us at Random Harvest, what with the compost fire.  We finished the year off with drama as well.  

My Mom had a huge 100 year old Syringa in her garden and 2 days before Christmas I heard this almighty crack and then a noise like a bomb dropping. 

The Syringa split in half and landed on her roof. 

My instant reaction was yay! the Syringa is gone but when I saw the big hole it left, I hate to admit, but I felt quite sorry at its loss.

As you can see from the picture this was a really huge triple stemmed tree and we had to take the whole thing down as it was rotten at the centre.

My mom was always saying as how she had no sun in her garden and this has now left her space to grow all the pretty sun loving plants she has yearned for.


As you can imagine we had fun so close to Christmas getting the tree cut down but luckily Brands Tree Fellers was able to help us and my staff did temporary repairs until the contractors are back at work.

The grassland walk was a real success even if it did rain – once we got into the veld it was fascinating, both for the grasses and wildflowers and also for the insects we found.  Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.


Grassland Walk

Pelargonium luridum

Oxalis obliquifolia

Hypoxis hemerocallidea & Beetle

Hypoxis argentea

Chironia purpurescens

Talking of the grassland Jonathan found this baby hare in the grass near the dam.  You have to admit they are really adorable.

I also found a disgusting new invader in the grassland.  In the time I was trying to identify what it was it multiplied into about 500 plants in 6 weeks, which to me is terrifying. 

Not only did it multiply like that but the roots were so tenacious that we could not use our normal long screwdriver to dig them out but had to use a pick.  We can even get the revolting pom-pom weed out with screwdrivers. 

Its name is Cynoglossum lanceolatum  (Hound’s Tongue). If you have a plot please watch out for this plant as I think it is going to become a huge problem.

Once again our ‘Christmas Tree for the Birds´ has been a great hit with the Weavers and we have had what seems like millions of them visiting. 

They are eating me out of house and home. 

We are putting out 15 seed bells, 8 Suet Balls, 8 dishes of bird pudding, masses of fruit and fresh mealies. 

What is really so great is that they just ignore anyone walking by so you can stand and gaze at them to your heart’s content without them even noticing you.

As you can see from the picture while the tree was full the birds waiting in the queue were scrounging on the ground.

As if this is not enough food the Red bishops have to go and steal food off our bird food stand – greedy little beggars.

A friend, Lievke, brought me a whole lot of pupae of the Garden Acraea butterfly she had stuck down for me so we could wait and watch the butterflies hatching. 

One of my staff, Sydney, is particularly interested in butterflies.

When he saw this butterfly hatching his face was just illuminated with joy. What a treat for me to see the joy and interest. 

My interest must be rubbing off on some of my staff.

The bees in one of our hives swarmed to make a new hive.  Jeffrey was lucky to catch them collecting on the side of our box. 

I am just sorry I was not there to see it.  Unfortunately we don’t know where they have made their new nest – maybe next time.

We found these miniscule little gecko eggs in the electric box of one of the geysers.  Unfortunately Jeff and I both missed the hatching.

The one and only time this season we have heard the Bullfrogs they were in my mother plant beds for the water plants. 

Even though we could hear them neither Jeff nor I could, for the life of us, see them. 

The Karomia speciosa (Mauve Chinese Hats) are blooming beautifully in the garden.  (We do have a limited number of them in stock).  

This beautiful little tree would grace any garden but I have been having trouble propagating them. 

At long last we seem to have cracked the secret and hope to have lots for sale within the next two years.
Great excitement! 

The Englerophytum magalismontana  (Stamvrug) in the garden have fruit for the second time but at least this time there is not only one but about 10 fruits on the tree. 

I will have to persuade my staff to bring the seeds to me if they eat them as they are really delicious.

You live and learn things about indigenous plants all the time. 

I saw my Heteromorpha trifoliata (Parsley Tree) was dying. 

We could not work out what was happening. 

Only when the tree was dead did we see the roots of an Aloe rupestris (Bottlebrush Aloe), which has the habit of leaning on trees for support, had pushed right into the tree. 

I am almost certain this is what killed the tree.  I am also amazed that the roots worked their way right into the centre of the main stem.  I have never seen or heard of this before.

A few other pictures to share with you before I end. 

The Plectroniella armata (False Turkey Berry) is in flower and every insect and his brother is visiting. 

This beautiful plant has glossy leaves, wonderfully scented flowers and hard thorns which make it a great addition to a security barrier.

The Tabernaemontana elegans (Toad Tree) has been in full flower. 

This wonderfully shaped, deciduous tree is great for a smallish garden, has wonderfully scented flowers, glossy leaves and interesting seedpods that look like the back of a toad.

Somehow when you observe nature something strange always happens. 

Jeff and I were driving in the grassland when he saw this amazing tiny blue bird sticking its head above the grass. 

I caught his excitement and was straining my eyes trying to see what he had seen. 

I caught movement and caught a glimpse of the bird and decided it was something I had never seen before. 

After all the excitement and me trying to access my Roberts app. on my phone, a Guinea Fowl nonchalantly gets up and walks away. 

So much for our new sighting of a rare blue bird!

I would like to thank you all for reading this newsletter and for the support you gave us in 2014. 

Random Harvest would be nothing without you loyal support.  It is really appreciated by both myself and all my staff. 

May all your plants be indigenous in 2015



Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

For directions please go to our website www.randomharvest.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

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