Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - March 2015

Posted On: Saturday, March 1, 2014

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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

I have found a new way to spoil myself.  Instead of sitting inside in the mornings I go out to my pool and sit on the step in my heated pool drinking my tea, listening to the birds and watching the beautiful eternally changing sky.  Talk about spoiled – aren’t I the lucky one?

Public Holidays

Please note: Random Harvest is closed on 3rd April (Good Friday) and 5th April (Easter Sunday).

We will be open on Sat. 4th April, Family Day Monday, 6th April, Freedom Day 27th April and Workers Day 1st May


In order to fulfil legal requirements, we have had to register for V.A.T.  Our prices have adjusted to accommodate this and now include V.A.T.

In The Nursery

The grassland display is looking stupendous. I just love the wildness and glow of a grassland garden which is ever changing with new things to see on a daily basis.

The play of light on the Natal Red Top in the afternoons is breathtaking.

How to plant an indigenous grassland garden in 10 steps

It is important to distinguish between a grass garden and a grassland garden.  Grass gardens are planted up purely with grasses. Grassland gardens, on the other hand, include grasses, wildflowers, bulbs, Aloes etc., and non-living elements (wood, stone and often, water). 

They are full of life, with a multitude of creatures visiting and living in them.  Careful consideration of what to include in your garden will result in good biodiversity (plant, animal and micro-organism).


We have outlined 10 steps to create a healthy grassland, in a comprehensive article on our website.  To read more click here.

Visit our grassland display garden in the retail nursery to be inspired, and for more useful information.

Here are pictures of some of the more robust plants you can use in a grassland garden.


Crinum bulbispermum (Orange River Lily). You can also use the unusual C. buphanoides and C. macowanii

Agapanthus inapertus (Drooping Agapanthus). You can also use Agapanthus campanulatus

Themeda triandra (Red Grass). One of the many grasses with beautiful seed heads

Chloris Guyana (Rhodes Grass). Another of the many grasses with beautiful seed heads

Eucomis autumnalis (Pineapple Lilly). Peeping above the grass like little aliens.

Gloriosa superba (Flame lilly) I thought Jeff was mad when he put this in the display as I thought it was a forest plant. Was I ever wrong? It is both forest and grassland.

Cyrtanthus breviflorus (Wild Crocus). The name says it all.

Babiana hypogea (Bobbejaanuintjie). I think we are one the first to offer this unusual bulb it in cultivation.

It is amazing how the grasslands change. 

This picture of some of our customers enjoying the display was taken a month ago. 

Compare to the picture above and see how it has evolved.

Childrens' Holiday Activity

School Holiday Activity: Eco-Facts Treasure Hunt at Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery
25 March to 3 May 2015

Where: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery – please ask at reception for your Eco-Treasure-Hunt sheet.

Cost: Free – and there’s a prize at the end of it too!
For more info: David – 082 553 0598 or [email protected]
If you are planning a family outing to Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, remember our ever-popular school holiday Easter Eco-Facts Treasure Hunt, from 25 March to 3 May.

Children love the excitement of finding answers to clues, and this is coupled with learning some interesting facts about nature. 

Collect a lovely prize at the end of the activity. Parents browse for garden plants in our indigenous nursery, or enjoy the tea garden with delicious, healthy menu options.

Time for Plectranthus

The many and varied species of Plectranthus are coming into their own now and just starting to bloom.

These lovely plants are perfect for shady parts of the garden.  They also look good for most of the year as they have beautiful foliage as well.

Domestic Gardeners Course Price R650
The next two course dates are the 27th March and 22nd May

The domestic gardener’s courses will continue to be run here, in our conference venue, by Lindsay Grey.  Some friends of mine sent their gardeners and have reported back that they have grown enormously in confidence and even their attitude to their job has changed since they understand why they are gardening. 

I also sent a few of my chaps on the course, and they too gained a lot.
Booking is essential:  Please call David on 082-553-0598 to secure your gardener’s place.

In the Shop

Herb Afrique

This month our special shop feature is the gorgeous, all-South African, Herb Afrique range of products. 

We just love them, particularly the deodorising powder which does not contain the aluminium that is in most other deodorants. 

I believe their healthy products complement our way of thinking at Random Harvest - caring for the environment at the same time as helping us to achieve a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  

Their natural creams are free of mineral oil, petrochemicals, parabens, artificial fragrance or colourants.  Don’t forget to pop one in your shopping basket next time you visit us!

This is what they have to say about their products: “Our skin care products are made from natural, locally sourced ingredients and carefully selected herbs which have been chosen for their balancing and corrective properties.”

Stand by Power

I thought I would let you know that in spite of load shedding by Eskom we are fortunate to have a generator powerful enough to the run the entire farm. 

The people who had booked a High Tea for a special occasion were certainly happy as their function went off without a hitch.

I bought the generator years ago when we had trouble with power and we couldn’t pump our water.  You could just imagine what would happen to a nursery if we were to run out of water.

Now we are really reaping the benefits and are never without power in either the Bed and Breakfast or the farm.  We can remain confident that the generator is in good order as we have a great person maintaining it

On The Farm

There are lots of pictures to share with you and little snippets of all the interesting things that have been happening on the farm. 

Mike has taken over training the staff about plants. 

You can see from this picture that when he was explaining how cuttings work the staff were completely fascinated.

Their great attitude towards learning is really heartwarming.

The geese are driving me crazy.  We had just completed the holding pond to clean the laundry water so we can reuse it. 

The geese thought this was just a beautiful new swimming spot for them.  So now the water is a bright green from goose droppings. 

Next job on the list is to fence it in to keep them out. 

This is just another of the everlasting battles I have with the geese.  Even with all this I just love them. 

The domestic animals, I think, live in bliss here at Random Harvest.  

This is a picture of the chickens feasting on vegetable from our Urban Farm display.  What a life.

Not only are the domestic animals feasting but the insects as well. 

This Green Shield Bug (Nezara viridula) was feasting on a brinjal.

I was so silly I thought the markings on its back were babies.

The larvae of the Emperor Moth are back munching on the Cabbage Trees (Cussonia sp.) and also on the Cape Ash (Ekebergia capensis). 

This year I was not lucky enough to see them dropping to the ground where they pupate. 

I am just looking forward to all the beautiful moths one sees when they hatch out. 

There is always something exciting to look forward to in an indigenous garden.

I am not sure what the bug is in the picture is and think it may be a tip wilter.  I will try and find out.

I loved this mother Hadeda Ibis taking her young ones along to the compost heap to show them a rich source of food. 

In particular juicy, fat, white Rhino Beetle larvae.

The Black Cuckoo babies have been making a racket in the garden begging for food from their Bulbul host parents. 

The poor Bulbuls have been running themselves ragged trying to keep up with voracious Cuckoo appetites.

The Bird Walk was a great success. 

The one this month will probably yield the last sightings for this season, of the summer migrants.

We can now look forward to winter migrants like the Fairy Flycatcher returning.

Talking of summer migrants I am going to miss the cheerful calls of the Paradise Flycatcher as they will be leaving soon. 

They are such a cheerful and beautiful part of the summer garden - they will be missed by me.

Jeffrey and Solomon have set out the logs on the walk to the dam. 

They will be good resting points on the trek back up the hill. 

You can sit and contemplate the beautiful grassland while taking a well-deserved rest. 

We have cut the grass that was not burnt in spring. 

Ben, the tractor driver, outdid himself, as usual. 

This will be a good place to look for birds that like the short grass such as the Cape Longclaw.

Talking of grass the LM lawn in seed, I think is just beautiful.  

This wonderful lawn grows in both sun and light shade.  It only needs to be cut every 2 or 3 weeks. 

You could also leave it to go to seed, as I do, at this time of year.  Then carefully observe it and you will see the many creatures that visit it.

It can then be cut once again back, once again, into a beautiful lawn.

I had to share this lovely picture of a Striped Tilapia happily swimming amongst the Vallisneria aethiopica in the fish tank in the Gazebo.

What I find amazing is that the Vallisneria seems to keep the water clean as we have no filtration in the tank. 

We only have to clean some algae off the glass quite infrequently.

One of my customers generously gave me this miniature tree aloe (Aloe barberae). 

It got infested with scale insect which gave Jeff even more work to do as we had to thoroughly clean it off to save this unusual plant. 

This is in the hope of one day being able to propagate it and have it for sale.

There are some beautiful pods on the trees at the moment. 

I love the red brown edged seeds of the Weeping Boerbean (Schotia brachypetala).

The Corky Barked Thorn (Acacia davyii) is an ideal Acacia for a small garden. 

It has been in flower for months and months and is now adorned with both flowers and lovely curved seed pods.

This year the Splendid Thorn (Acacia robusta) had masses and masses of flowers and lived up to their name ‘Splendid Thorn’.

The masses of seeds pods are testament to this. 

These will turn dark brown, very woody and will eventually split to reveal the seeds.

Our compost heaps are very productive this year with pumpkins the staff planted and with our Calabashes.

We are hoping for a good crop of Calabash which we can turn into beautiful bird feeders. 

If they grow big enough they also make wonderful pots for succulents if you waterproof the insides.

The ‘Shady Ladies’ Garden Club paid us a visit.  I gave a talk and then they had a walk through the gardens being introduced to the trees by Jeffrey. 

Judging from the comments they had a marvellous time with us.

The TV Program ‘Kleinsake’ on Kyknet did an insert on Random Harvest which I think came out very well.  Jonathan in particular was very professional and came across extremely well.

I think they captured the atmosphere beautifully, and what Random Harvest is really about.

To watch the insert click here.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDYVGGKZYi4

Remember you invest a great deal of money and effort in your garden and sometimes forget to reap the benefits. 

Take a few minutes each day to walk in your garden or sit a while and just enjoy it and drink in the atmosphere.

Enjoy the changing seasons.



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


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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